Optimus promoted senior producer Tracy Spera and EP/VFX and design John Desir to executive producers, “roles in which they also will assume internal leadership and business development responsibilities,” said EP/managing director Brian Hrastrar in making the announcement.
Tracy Spera is a 14-year veteran at Optimus, “where I felt lucky to have started my career,” she said, hired as an intern after graduating from Columbia College in 2002 with a BA in TV postproduction.
For the next several years she was a relief receptionist and worked in accounts payable. Thereafter, she had a rapid rise to associate producer, producer and as senior producer she is currently producing for three editors. Commercials she’s worked on include Bayer, Henry’s hard soda, Olive Garden, Payless, Rust-Oleum and others.
As an executive producer, she said, “I will be more involved in sales and promoting talent from within during these rapidly changing and exciting times.”
She has been married to Ken Winke, Optimus’ director of technology, for six years.
Jon Desir also started his post career as an intern, hired by now-defunct Red Car editorial after graduating Eastern Michigan University in 2004 with a BA in psychology — “it helps as a producer,” he said — and a minor in business and communications.
His older brother, Julio Desir, encouraged him to move to Chicago, where he has worked for many years as a creative director most notably on Coors Light.
At Red Car, Desir progressed to producer and was an EP when the post house abruptly shuttered in 2013. Optimus immediately brought him aboard as EP/VFX and design. He also produces for editor Aaron Porzel. “I’m very hands on in design and editorial project management,” he said.
His work has included American Family Insurance, CDW, Coors Light, McDonald’s, Miller Lite and State Farm.
Optimus editors are Mike Berg. Dana Huiras, Randy Palmer, Aaron Porzel, Kate Wrobel, Ruben Vela and Carl Schumacher.
Producers are Katie Smith, VFX and design and Jen Grede, who focuses on editorial.