Keerstan and Joel flying their plane.
Happily married for 32 years, Keersten & Joel Nichols enjoy spending time together on and off the Apollo clock.

Twenty-six years ago this month, Joel Nichols discovered his calling: becoming a world leader in Gobo design and manufacturing.

Over the years, Joel has worn a variety of hats: sales, art, production, maintenance, self-proclaimed delivery boy (often by airplane), President, and now Chief Innovation Officer. Admittedly, his weakest area is that of art.

His favorite position, he shares, is Chief Innovation Officer. "I get to be creative and break stuff."

A problem-solver at the core, he thoroughly enjoys the Apollo staff and the challenges that the customers bring our way.

Away from the office, Joel's favorite role is that of "Opa," a.k.a. Grandpa. "Time with our grandkids tops the list, and I am a serious aviation nut, so flying. I also enjoy hiking with Keersten and my dog, Tango."

"Breaking the mold and doing what others say cannot be done is a huge motivator for me." Joel continues, "My favorite memory at Apollo is when I first talked to Keersten about starting the company." Joel paused then asked, "What is a gobo again?"

Joel, no worries about your lack of artistic abilities. You're creative in a myriad of other ways. And the art department has your back!

Keersten Nichols co-founded Apollo Design Technology, Inc.® 26 years ago. She has worked in various positions over the years including Accountant, Graphic Artist, Art Director, Glass Department Manager, HR Manager, Blue Pony Administrator, and now President.

A naturally task-oriented individual, Keersten thrives on getting things done. "I Like the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing things."

Her favorite position was Graphic Artist, where she helped develop the ColourScenic® art process. "It was fun and challenging. I have always loved art," shares Keersten.

Keersten knew that Apollo would be a success when they moved to their first manufacturing facility on Option Pass. Knowing that they could afford their own building and support themselves and a few employees brought encouragement.

"I love being a business owner and the daily challenges and responsibilities that come with the role. It is rewarding to have control over your destiny and future," stated Keersten.

Outside of work, Keersten can be found spending time with family, and everything that has to do with her horses (riding, caring, training, etc.).

Keersten enjoys working alongside the Apollo team. Keersten reminisced, "When my horse Apollo died at 25 years old, the staff had a memorial plaque and tree planted by the entrance to the parking lot. That meant so much to me. I feel very blessed to be able to work with such amazing people every day!"

The Apollo team thinks you're pretty amazing, too, Keersten!

MMelissa Montes and Tim VanMeter.
Melissa Montes and Tim VanMeter.

Melissa Montes is Apollo's customer service Email Coordinator for Apollo.

"I enjoy being a part of the quality control process at Apollo." Melissa continues, "I ensure that information on each order is correct as well as confirm that all necessary information is gathered for the next department."

Melissa is partial to Apollo Dealers. "Many of our Dealers have a great sense of humor – we definitely get our laughs in throughout the day as we read some of the crazy things they say when emails come through!"

Remembering her first day on the job like it was 2 years ago – because it was 2 years ago – Melissa shares, "The people at Apollo were very welcoming and friendly. If I had any questions, everyone was willing to help answer them. Not only did this make my first few weeks at work less stressful, but it also makes the work environment at Apollo engaging!"

For pleasure, Melissa spends time with her dog, friends, and family. Cookouts are a favorite activity, as well as home renovation projects. "My boyfriend and I bought a house a couple of years ago that needed major updating. I get a kick out of the design element to home renovations and truly turning a house into a home.

Melissa, we're so glad to have you at Apollo. Your attention to detail and warm smile adds value to everyone's workday.

Crystal Ross Profile Picture
Crystal Gonzales

Currently, Crystal Gonzales' position is Marketing Coordinator. She formerly served as Email Coordinator, Customer Service Representative, and Marketing Assistant.

Crystal finds satisfaction in the projects she manages. "Watching them all come together and knowing that I had a part in it is gratifying."

Even on her first day, she knew working at Apollo would be new and exciting. "Everyone was super nice and helpful. and I could tell I would fit in nicely."

When she isn't on the job, Crystal savors time with her 4 children and husband. She enjoys boating, swimming, cookouts, playing cards, and spending time with her parents. One of her and her hubby's favorite pastimes is cruising in their 1981 Buick Regal.

Crystal strives to pass on a good work ethic to her children. Besides, having teammates who are also driven to succeed as much as she does provides motivation.

Always looking for a way to make life more fun, Crystal has given nicknames to over half of her co-workers, including Princess, Poptart, Cupcake, Queen B, CO, and Shorty.

We love your enthusiasm for life, Crystal!

Rita FaFavour
Rita FaFavour

Nineteen years ago, Rita LeFavour began her career at Apollo as Outside Salesperson, and later as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. She currently holds the title of Customer Relations Specialist, her preferred position to date.

When asked why she favors this role, she credits her interactions with various company departments.

Rita first met Joel while managing a cellular phone store. "Joel was referred to me by his brother and my customer, John. Joel came in to buy a phone and liked how I took care of him. He told me he’d like to hire me, but I wasn’t ready at the time. A few years later I called him, and the rest is history."

"I have been blessed to be a family member of Apollo for 19 years. I have met lifelong friends here who I love dearly. My time here has never felt like a job. God placed me here, and I thank Him every day for this opportunity," Rita added.

Rita, we thank God every day for the opportunity to work with you!

Camille Shiffli
Camille Shiffli

Graphic Artist Camille Shiffli creates Custom Gobos using customer provided artwork.

She attended International Business College. Camille resides in Auburn, Indiana, with her husband and two sons.

Camille was unavailable for an interview. "Camille is on a summer vacation with her family. We look forward to having her back in the office soon," shares Tracie Schmidt, Art Director.