Each member of our team is ready to help you create the trade show exhibit that will help you stand out from the crowd. From lightboxes to tabletop displays, from portables and pop ups to custom designs, we have the expertise to create the right exhibit design for you.

Bud Nichols

As a former product development engineer with a great ability to understand exhibit hardware and think three dimensionally, Bud is ideally suited to head up our sales efforts and lead our dynamic team. He has over 30 years of experience in the tradeshow industry, and has grown Nichols from a product rep firm to the more customer-focused, full-service exhibit company that we are today. Bud holds a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. When he’s not working, Bud loves to be behind the helm of his boat or on stage. He is the harmonica player and a vocalist for the Chicago band, Hoopla (visit www.hooplarocks.com).

Christina Lewis
Key Account Coordinator

With over 10 years of experience assisting attorneys, working one-on-one with clients, and managing a busy law firm, plus three years as a construction project coordinator, Christina has built exceptional customer service skills and strong attention to detail. She knows how to manage a crew and ensure the completion of projects in a timely way. She attended the College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL. In her free time, Christina pursues her passions for cooking, attending concerts, and being a hardcore wresting mom!

Dan Hauswald
Studio Manager

Dan has been a part of the Nichols team since 2011, taking on client artwork submission, graphic design, and also 3D exhibit rendering. Dan has fine arts training in graphic design, 3D design, illustration, photography, drawing, painting, and video. His expert skills in Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop, along with a specialization in large format printing, help you get the highest quality product for your show. Dan holds a bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Eastern Illinois University. He particularly loves when technical skills can be applied to artistic endeavors.

Daniel Manganti
Exhibit Inspection

Daniel earned his degree from Northeastern Illinois State in 2018 and comes to Nichols ready to grow his experience and his career. He has natural curiosity, which has made him a quick study of every challenge he has met in his primary role of keeping your exhibits in show ready condition at all times. In his free time, Daniel spends a good deal of time reading and writing, playing basketball, and attending cultural events throughout Chicago.

Daniel Mena
Shipping & Receiving / Operations Support

A great addition to our operations team, Daniel has strong organization skills, is highly detailed, and is a great communicator. He has a strong background in customer service, which has helped him to fit in right away as he learns and supports all aspects of Nichols operations. His degree from Elgin Community College in Industrial Manufacturing Technology has also given him a unique insight into our business. In his free time, Daniel enjoys building things, from puzzles to home improvement projects, attending live music and sporting events, playing sports, and staying fit.

Derek Schmitt
Senior Account Executive

Derek comes to us with numerous years of sales experience in the exhibit and logistics industries. Most recently, he worked for Duo Display selling portable and modular turnkey exhibit systems. His responsibilities include new business development as well as working with existing Nichols clients. His energetic and helpful nature ensures that every aspect of your exhibit will be a success. Derek has a bachelor’s degree in Communications with a certificate in Entrepreneurship from the University of Iowa. He is an avid Chicago sports fan and volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Sportivo, an organization that brings sports camp opportunities to underserved Chicago youth.

Donna Cichowicz
Account Manager

Donna’s extensive administrative, bookkeeping, and customer service experience have made Donna a great addition to the client support team at Nichols. She is organized and helpful, sincere, a quick learner, and always looks out for our clients’ best interests.  Some of Donna’s particular tasks include organizing and managing client events, keeping trade show calendars, coordinating shipping logistics, updating inventory, preparing quotes, and invoicing, and she completes each of these with a positive and happy disposition.  Donna has many years of office experience, as well as a degree in Business from Robert Morris University. In her free time, Donna loves spending time with her family and friends, barbecuing and playing bags, going to the beach, taking walks, making crafts and cheering on all Chicago sports teams—but the team Donna supports the most is the Nichols team!

Edwin Colon
Inventory Analyst / I&D Supervisor

Edwin comes to Nichols with over 20 years of experience in warehousing, inventory and purchasing. His experience is combined with a strong attention to detail, solid organizational skills, and effective communication skills, making him a valued member of the team. Edwin takes a hands-on approach always looking for ways to streamline and improve processes and tasks resulting in operational efficiencies and cost savings that we can pass on to our clients. A native Chicago resident, Edwin enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, and traveling in his free time.

Jenn Jenison
Graphic Production and Design

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Biola University and a variety of experience from graphic design to gallery exhibitions, Jennifer brings a strong background in visual arts and an eye for design to her part time role in our Design Department. She brings her passion of materials and organization to her work at Nichols. In her free time, she can be found roaming the aisles of antique shops and bragging about the best state in the country, Michigan.

Joan Griffin
Portable Project Manager

Joan oversees the Nichols portable exhibit production schedule, making sure every component of an order is on track and where it needs to be.  She heads our accounts payable department and is part of our customer service team.  Outside of work, Joan is passionate about family, friends and music.  She loves to garden, play tennis and enjoys home improvement projects and travel.  Joan is a native Chicagoan and attended Mundelein College.

Jose Quispe
I&D Supervisor

Jose brought his efficient supervision skills and strong work ethic to the Nichols team in 2017. He’s diligent, carefully completing tasks, and the team knows him as a hard-working supervisor who goes above and beyond to make sure every job is done well. He loves to take on new challenges, both for our clients and on a personal level. In his free time he loves watching and competing in sports, particularly soccer, which he has played since an early age, and he supports Barcelona. He also enjoys travel, cookouts, family time and contributing to kids with cancer.

Julie Cohen
Controller & HR

Nichols has benefited from the 25 years of management, accounting, and HR experience that Julie brought to the team. Julie has enjoyed learning about the trade show industry and especially likes the combination of providing both product and service solutions to our clients. She enjoys the diversity of her roles managing our financial activities along with supporting the needs of our valued employees. Julie holds an accounting degree from Northeastern Illinois University. Outside of work she loves cruising, scrapbooking, weekend road trips, rock concerts, and spending time with her husband, two teenage sons, and dog.

Julio Lopez
I&D Supervisor

With 25 years of experience as an I&D Supervisor, Julio is a great addition to the organization. He has the know-how to ensure needs are met for our clients, as well as the understanding to help make the team even better. In his free time, Julio loves to spend time with his two teenagers, and he’s a huge Patriots fan. He also believes in doing good whenever possible, and is co-owner, along with a few friends, of the Humboldt Park Jeeps organization that provides support for families in need.

Katie DiVirgilio
Key Account Coordinator

With a background in the Food and Beverage industry and experience helping open two new restaurants, Katie discovered her passion for events, fast paced environments, and planning. Since joining Nichols she has discovered her strength and passion for event planning and customer service lend themselves perfectly to her exciting new chapter in the trade show industry. Katie holds a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University. Outside of work, she enjoys trying new restaurants and breweries with friends and family, and spending beautiful Chicago weekends down by the lake.

Krista McCloud
Account Manager

With five years already under her belt as a trade show manager, Krista realized she got much more joy out of creative design. She made the move from Indianapolis to Chicago to start working for exhibit houses, and Nichols was lucky enough to get her on our team. She has been a martial artist for many years and has earned a 2nd degree black belt, as well as a mother of two and an avid Chicago Blackhawks fan. In her free time she enjoys exploring the woods.

Kristen Guzofski
Customer Experience Manager

Kristen comes to us from Massachusetts with five years of experience in customer service and retail entertainment management. She also gained nine years of experience working in show management with a non-profit organization that runs a show in Boston every spring. Kristen’s experience leading teams in these fast-paced industries has helped her become great at thinking on her feet and solving problems. She thrives on keeping a busy schedule and enjoys handling all the little details for our clients. Kristen holds an English degree from Salem State University. She’s a big Boston Bruins fan (no hard feelings) and enjoys camping, cooking on the grill year-round, and spending time with her loved ones.

Kristen Martin
Sales & Marketing Coordinator

Nichols is pleased to welcome Kristen, with her 5+ years of marketing experience, to bring a fresh voice to our marketing team. She has worked with professional sports teams and venues, and has a great understanding of what it takes to build the right presence in the right places. Kristen’s degree is from Maryville University of St. Louis. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, or at home with her two dogs. And her love for baking has already been a big hit around the office!

Michael Kus
Graphic Design Production & 2D Designer

Michael is an illustrator and designers with Bachelors in Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois Urbana -Champaign. He joined the Nichols team to manage graphic production projects as well as 2D design work. His experiences in marketing, museum exhibit design, and production project management have given him a diverse set of skills that lend themselves particularly well to working with clients, vendors, and overseeing production pipelines in the design field. He’s a die hard Chicago Cubs fan, loves going to the movies at least once a week, and enjoys illustrating for personal and commissioned client work.

Omar Aguilar
Exhibit Specialist, I&D Supervisor

Omar is our hands-on exhibit expert. He is a master at keeping your exhibit looking great and show ready due to his innate mechanical ability. His deep knowledge of client properties makes him a valuable asset both in our warehouse and on the show floor, where he takes care of all of your I&D needs.  In and out of work, Omar keeps his cool, enabling him to handle any situation that may arise on the show floor and beyond. He has been a tattoo artist for ten years, which has cultivated his patience and strong attention to detail. He likes to work on cars and rides sport motorcycles.

Peggy Nichols
Vice President

Peggy works behind the scene work helps keep Nichols running smoothly. Most of her efforts are directed towards marketing, human resources and finance. Her passions are building beautiful exhibits, strategic planning and growing the company culture at Nichols. She is active with the EDPA (Experiential Designers and Producer’s Association) and is currently the Treasurer and a Board Member for the EDPA Midwest Chapter. Peggy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts from the University of Cincinnati. She loves to spend her free time with family and friends and learning new things.

Phil Calato
Project Manager

Phil joins the Nichols team with 15 years in live event production overseeing A/V for 7 music venues and countless Chicago music festivals, and  9 years of custom commercial AV installation/project management. His eclectic background, including a year break to cook at the world’s most northern truck stop in the Arctic circle (Coldfoot, AK) for ice road truckers, and 3 months volunteering on farms in Italy to harvest olives, build chicken coops and wooden toys, and make tofu to sell at local markets, will fit right in as he helps bring ingenuity and an entrepreneurial spirit to help our clients. In his free time, Phil enjoys writing music, cooking and baking, home improvement projects, and, most of all, playing with his three daughters.

Samir Alagic
Custom Production / I&D Supervisor

With a variety of work experiences over 25 years, Samir has honed his skills in carpentry and woodworking, art welding and metalworking, and can shape any type of material to create beautiful exhibits. It’s no wonder he says that if “you dream it, I’ll make it happen!” We all benefit from his experience, as he can fix virtually anything. Samir completed four years at the Electro Technical Institute in Bosnia. He has lived in four countries and speaks three languages. Though he’s a self-described workaholic whose goal is 100% customer satisfaction, he enjoys music and travel, and has a passion for building and play guitars.

Vladi Kotov
Exhibit Designer

The Nichols team was glad to welcome Vladi to help design structurally sound architectural exhibits, develop unique new 3D forms, and build detailed instruction sets. He has a hand in working with production, creating graphic layouts, templates, and marketing material. What he loves most about being a part of the Nichols team is the opportunity to work on diverse projects in collaboration with creative team members and renowned clients. In his free time, Vladi enjoys exploring Chicago, biking along the waterfront, and playing tennis. His goals for the future include working towards his master’s degree, and one day he hopes to start a creative business of his own.

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