The Team

Sohail e. Najafi

Sohail e. Najafi

Principal Designer | Chief Creative Officer​

Sohail e. Najafi began his career designing primarily for the stage, but in 2008 broadened his ambitions to include design for special events and concerts. In 2014 he added design for multi-camera television to his repertoire with his first full-length network special. In the time since, his designs have premiered on networks such as Comedy Central, Netflix, and MTV.

Sohail thoroughly enjoys designing rich and imaginative lighting, audio, video, and special effects designs for immersive experiences ranging from live events for corporate brands to permanent installations such as performance venues, themed entertainment environments, and high energy nightlife experiences.

 

Over the years, Sohail has developed the methodology governing all SIE staff that is collaborative-driven and focused by a strict, unwavering attention to detail.

 

Originating from Northern California, Sohail settled in Los Angeles after attending UCLA's School of Theater, Film, & Television, where he received a formal education in stage design and directing with specialties in both lighting and sound design.  IMDb

Joshua Cuellar

Joshua Cuellar

Principal Technical Producer | Chief Operating Officer

Joshua began his career in entertainment as a musician.  As a classically trained pianist, he found himself crossing over into the world of theatre by playing piano in the orchestra pit for many musicals in and around his community.  Although his passion for music quickly evolved into a broader passion for design, however Joshua still relies on his musical origins to create refined lighting designs with a uniquely dynamic flare.  A California native, Joshua received a formal education in theatrical design from UCLA’s school of Theater, Film, & Television. 

 

Prior to co-founding Stories Illuminated™, Joshua served as head of the Entertainment Production Services electrics department at Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas.  While tenured there, he learned to combine his artistic and technical knowledge with an unparalleled level of service.

 

Joshua’s specialization primarily focuses around large scale corporate and premium special events.  With a keen eye for details, Joshua enjoys the technical challenges involved with managing collaborations among teams. 

Ian Momii

Ian Momii

Designer | Programmer

Ian has been tinkering with lighting and audio design since high school, though he took a break to study engineering for a spell while still in Texas. He moved to California in 2007 where he worked mostly in corporate production while designing for local theaters in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

In 2008 Ian found his way to the Los Angeles area, where he joined the immersive theater scene. Before joining SIE, Ian collaborated with various escape room experiences and experiential activations, including the THEA award winning "The Nest",  while serving as a CAD designer for a large production company. 

 

Ian draws inspiration from the story being told coupled with what emotions it should elicit from its audience, crafting lighting and sound seamlessly into any experience. A source of technical knowledge and creative innovation, Ian is honored to be a part of the Stories Illuminated team.

Brian Tien

Brian Tien

Associate Designer | Programmer

Originally from Texas, Brian has always been passionate about the arts. He was introduced to the world of lighting design in middle school, where it forever became part of his life. Driving and supporting storytelling in theatre, film, and events through lighting has proven to be the career that Brian would never have predicted, but he wouldn’t trade it for the world.
 

Brian graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design. Since then he has had the fortune to work on numerous theatrical productions, music videos, feature films, and broadcast television productions. Before joining SIE, he worked as the assistant lighting designer at Knotts Berry Farm. 

Derek Jones

Derek Jones

Designer | Programmer

Derek’s journey into the arts began as an actor and musician.  As his interest in live performance grew, he transitioned into design, collaborating on works for fashion, museum, dance, and theater along the eastern seaboard including New York, Washington D.C., and Virginia.

 

Specializing in architectural lighting design for hospitality and themed environments, Derek supports our Architainment division with unending creative energy and technical prowess.

 

Derek holds adjunct professorships at three Southern California colleges including Glendale College, Long Beach City College, and Los Angeles City College.

He received both a BA in Theatre and BS in Physics from The George Washington University and his MFA in Lighting Design from Indiana University.

Alyssa Najafi

Alyssa Najafi

Operations & HR Manager

Alyssa first crossed paths with sie serving as Production Stage Manager on a project with one of our principal designers. Since then, her incredible talent for enabling organization, coordination, and collaboration among creatives and clients has become a core contributing force to the firm's continued success and growth. 

In addition to her daily responsibilities maintaining the firm's operational affairs, Alyssa manages sie 's staff of creative technology specialists & technicians. 

Vincent A. Sanchez

Vincent A. Sanchez

Senior Systems & Technology Specialist | Programmer
Q-SYS & ETC Paradigm Certifications

From an early age, Vincent has always been fascinated with how things integrate together to create something greater. He serves the Stories Illuminated™ team as our resident technology specifier and programmer.

 

Always the tinkerer and technophile, with a background in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington, Vincent adds a thirst for discovering new technologies, tools, and methods for creative story-telling that never stops pushing the team towards new levels of creativity. 

Mi Young 'Mimi' Lograsso

Finance & Office Administrator

Before joining the sie team, Mimi served in the Finance Department of

The Rose Bowl Aquatics Center where she managed financial interactions with all visiting organizations, live events, as well as guests. At sie she oversees daily administration and finance.

Mimi is excited to work alongside the ever-growing sie team.

Matthew Bakken

Matthew Bakken

Master Electrician | Programmer 

ETCP Certification

Matthew Bakken brings over 22 years of lighting experience to sie as an ETCP Certified Entertainment Electrician. His expertise spans a wide range of projects including theater, concerts, weddings, special events, and corporate productions. Before joining our Las Vegas office, Matthew co-led the Wynn Entertainment Production Services Lighting Department.

 

Matt is proud to be a member of the sie team, supporting the ideals and standards set forth by our principal partners.

Dayton Turney

Dayton Turney

Video & Projection Specialist | Programmer

Resolume & TouchDesigner

Stéphen Banks

Stéphen "Swizz" Banks

Project Assistant

Chris Rivera

Chris Rivera

Lighting & SFX Technician

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Michael Back

Audio Engineer | Lighting Technician