Management Team

Bassim Hamadeh

CEO & Founder

Bassim founded Cognella in 1992 while a student at the University of California, San Diego, and continued to run the company part-time before devoting full-time efforts in 2005. Under Bassim’s leadership, Cognella has transformed from a local, print-only course pack operation into a full-scale, international publishing service. Bassim earned his B.S. in structural engineering from UCSD and his M.B.A. from Stanford Business School. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, cooking, and staying active.

Dave Wilson

Vice President of Technology

Dave is responsible for overseeing Cognella’s transformative development initiatives. Dave has worked with a variety of development technologies and processes at previous software companies in roles such as Product Engineering Manager, Operations Manager and has held several programming positions. Dave earned his B.S. in computer science from the University of British Columbia. When not cranking out code, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons, cycling, hiking, and running.

Dmitry Shpak

Vice President of Operations

Dmitry oversees commercial and internal operations, processes, and analytics for Cognella, along with the company’s distribution, procurement, and customer service efforts. Previously, he served in several supply chain roles and also led process improvement and operational excellence programs for DJO Global. Dmitry earned his B.S. in economics from the University of Management and Business, Minsk, Belarus, and his M.B.A. with a concentration in finance from San Diego State University. He is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and Kaizen Facilitator.

Kassie Graves

Vice President of Editorial

Kassie manages Cognella’s specialist acquisitions editors, field acquisitions editors, and oversees the Cognella Academic Publishing imprint. She brings a wealth of publishing and marketing experience to Cognella with over 20 years of experience in the publishing and marketing industries. Prior to joining Cognella, Kassie served as associate director, publisher, and acquisitions editor for SAGE Publications. Kassie holds a B.A. in journalism from California State University, Northridge, and an M.B.A. from California Lutheran University.

Ryan Bailey

Vice President of Finance & Administration

Ryan supports the growth of Cognella through leadership in the areas of accounting, finance, administration, and general management. Prior to Cognella, he audited small- to mid-sized private companies and implemented administrative and management strategies at both a private information technology firm and a public transit agency. Ryan earned his B.S. in accounting from Sam Houston State University and is a licensed certified public accountant. He enjoys exploring new travel destinations with his wife and two children and will always have a place in his heart for the game of baseball.

Sean Nakamura

Director of IT Operations

Sean helps the company efficiently and successfully implement new technology initiatives while also maintaining the integrity and performance of the company’s current IT infrastructure. As one of Cognella’s first team members, he has developed and managed a variety of business and technology initiatives for Cognella, including the initial build and launch of the company’s e-commerce and fulfillment system. Sean earned an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering, arts, and music from the University of California, San Diego. He is an ultramarathon runner who enjoys competing in 100-mile mountain races.

Jamie Giganti

Director of Academic Publishing

Jamie oversees the start-to-finish success of Cognella’s publications, from equipping authors with the tools they need to develop a manuscript to ensuring the production preparation for all Cognella books runs smoothly. Before joining the company, she worked with the Journal of International Affairs as the director of production and with the publication division of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue. Jamie earned dual B.A. degrees from Emory University in Russian language and literature and dance and movement studies. She also holds a Master of International Affairs from SIPA at Columbia University. She loves the intersection of education and books, which is what attracted her to academic publishing.

Natalie Piccotti

Director of Marketing

Natalie is responsible for overseeing brand management, product marketing, marketing communications, creative design, and project management for Cognella. Prior to joining the company, Natalie managed global product and field marketing for publishing industry leader Bowker. She also worked for Pfizer Global Research and Development as a business operations manager. Natalie holds a B.A. from Michigan State University, an M.A. from Wayne State University, and an M.B.A. with a concentration in marketing from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Natalie is an avid reader and enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and two daughters.

Sara Anderson

Director of Operations

Sara leads customer service, distribution, and inside sales efforts for Cognella. Prior to joining the company, she managed planning for the Trade Division at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, served as Operations Manager at Harvard University Press, and worked as an Editorial Assistant at HUP and McGraw-Hill. Sara has a B.A. in English literature from Washington University and an M.B.A. in supply chain management from Northeastern University. She moved to San Diego from Boston with her husband and their 16-pound cat, Sonny. In her free time, Sara enjoys reading, hiking, and playing bridge.

Natalie Lakosil

Senior Licensing Manager

Natalie leads the licensing team and subsidiary rights efforts for Cognella. Prior to joining the company, Natalie spent nearly four years at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency handling permissions and working under the contracts and subsidiary rights managers. She previously wrote author profiles and book reviews for the San Diego Union Tribune as well. Natalie holds a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego, in literature/writing. In her free time, she enjoys reading, dinner parties with friends, and spending time with her husband and two beautiful children.

Rose Tawy

Senior Acquisitions Manager

Rose leads the Cognella Custom and Cognella Active Learning teams for Cognella. Rose has worked in higher education instruction, curriculum design, student affairs and administrative services, and in publishing as a writer, reviewer, and acquisitions editor. She holds a B.A. in English and political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in literature, and a graduate certificate in community college teaching at San Diego State University. In her free time, Rose works with local at-risk youth and adults to promote literacy and social justice, and enjoys reading, cooking, and hosting the occasional juggling workshop.

Carrie Montoya

Revisions and Author Care Manager

In her unique role, Carrie identifies, signs, and develops revisions and new editions of Cognella titles, while also overseeing a team dedicated to providing the highest level of care to Cognella authors. Previously, she worked at SAGE Publishing in various editorial roles. Carrie holds a B.A. in English from California Lutheran University and a Certificate of Professional Editing from University of California, Berkeley. In her spare time, you’ll find Carrie reading and writing in the dry sauna, skateboarding with her husband, or cooking with their dog and cat underfoot.

Gina Madnani

Software Development Manager

Gina leads an IT team dedicated to improving internal IT processes for Cognella and ensuring the company’s systems are operating smoothly. Previously, she worked for Search Initiatives as a Senior Java Engineer, Accenture and iGate Patni as a Tech Lead, and Lee Financial Corporation as a Software Developer. Gina earned her M.S. in Computer Science from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. When not at her keyboard, Gina enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with her husband, Tanuj, and son, Viren.

Ivey Preson

Sales Manager

Ivey leads the adoption sales team, a dedicated group of adoption specialists who help instructors discover Cognella learning materials to support their unique curricula. Before developing the adoption sales program for Cognella, Ivey served in various roles within the company’s operations and administration departments. She earned her B.A. in history from the University of California, San Diego. When she’s not helping professors find the ideal text for their courses, Ivey enjoys baking, reading, and competing in pub trivia.