Knowing our backstory is a key element to understanding why we do what we do.
At Reliant, we have brought together a caring, creative team whose diversity is as important as its expertise. Combine film, education, psychology, and marketing, and mix in hearts for serving…that’s Reliant.
Mike Sukraw • CEO
I sat down a couple of years ago and tried to count how many times I’d moved – 34 is the number of moves that I could remember between birth and the age of 23. No military. No job relocating. We were just always on the lookout for something “perfectly ideal.”
I’ve been conditioned to pursue the ideal in everything. When I let that pursuit get out of control, people (myself included) get hurt. But when used within proper boundaries, the pursuit of idealism is what pushes myself and the rest of the team to seek excellence. So that’s what I do. I try to cast the vision that allows us to reach our potential and to impact our clients in big ways.
So why authenticity? I’ll just say that I was impacted by people in my life who chose to maintain a false reality in order to manage their wounds. This deception caused me to crave honesty and transparency later in life. It turns out there are a lot of other people out there that crave the same thing – in relationships with people and companies. People don’t seem to desire fabrication as much as they used to. People want what’s real.
Kristin Sukraw • President + Executive Producer
I was always a listener. Being an introvert who valued close relationships with my friends, I would often find myself tucked away at a coffee shop listening to someone’s story and trying to help them make sense of it. This natural ability lead me to pursue a Master’s degree in counseling.
I love to apply my psychology background to help organizations tell their stories through video. In essence, it is the same thing – listening, learning, asking the right questions, and guiding people to conclusions that will hopefully help change their lives (or their organizations) for the better.
I’m married to Mike, Reliant’s CEO, and we have a lot of fun building the company and working through challenges together!
Jared Staab • Director + Post-Supervisor
So here’s the short version: I was born. I watched movies. Possibly too many. And now I work for a great company that lets people tell their stories in a cinematic way.
Knowing our backstory is a key element to understanding why we do what we do. At Reliant, we have brought together a caring, creative team whose diversity is as important as its expertise. Combine film school, education, psychology, and marketing, and mix in hearts for serving… that’s Reliant.
Calling what I do a “passion” isn’t enough but calling it my religion probably goes too far (…maybe). I guess I’m somewhere in the middle and that’s right where Reliant Studios is. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Allea Grummert • Director of Film School Operations
I’m that person who can make friends with strangers. Whether it’s the cashier at the grocery store, the barista at a coffee shop, or the helpline person on the other end of the phone, I am incredibly attracted to people. I think we all have a desire to connect with one another – to find something in common.
My degree in advertising and public relations has helped me to understand the value of authentic promotion as an extension of an organization’s brand image. By creating a video that truly represents an organization, we remove doubt while building viewer confidence in its message. We want people to know the mission and people of your organization as if you’ve just been chatting over coffee.
Ellen Kohl • Story Producer
I am a native Texan who is still getting used to the Nebraska winters! Professionally, I have worked for many years as an Art Director, which is how I originally met the Reliant team!
As a creative person, I always want to know more about the “why,” especially why people do what they do. I am a curious person, and I find people fascinating! I love to ask questions to find out all the information I can about a project or to get to know someone in a more personal way.
So, as the Story Producer for Reliant, I get to ask those questions and find the most interesting aspects for our stories. I have the best job, because every day I get to hear what’s on people’s hearts, and I come away so inspired and encouraged! (I also have to self-edit whenever I write because I use too many emojis and exclamation points!)
Carrie Todd • Editor
I’ve always been obsessed with stories. As a kid, I was a voracious reader, and in high school, I wrote for my school newspaper. I began college determined to become a serious journalist. When I moved to Los Angeles at 20, I had the opportunity to intern on a few productions and was fascinated by the foreign world of filmmaking. When I went back to college in LA, I changed my major to film and started learning how to tell stories in a new way.
Since graduating in 2010, I’ve worked on a lot of different kinds of productions, but I’m especially drawn to stories that are real. Whether filming or editing, I always end up feeling a connection to the people whose stories I help to tell.
Mickey Seiler • Editor
It was a warm summer evening in the late 1980’s, much like any other, when I saw my first PG-rated movie. As my parental guides powered up the new, sparkling VCR, anticipation began to build. The colorful label on the VHS read, Back to the Future. For the next 2 hours and 6 minutes I was completely mesmerized. As the ending credits rolled, and just before we were going to be kind and rewind, I suddenly knew what I wanted to do with my life. Yes, I had been bitten by the movie bug. My soul had been stirred and I vowed then and there that I would be a part of bringing great stories to living rooms everywhere. Stories that would touch peoples hearts. Take them on astounding journeys. Stories of hope, love, loss and redemption. I also wanted a flying DeLorean.
Jump forward 25 years. Life is good! I’m blessed to be living out one of those dreams each and every day. It’s amazing to be able to edit together stories worth telling. And Honda Accords are dependable.
Josh Rusler • Coordinating Producer
I have never worked a day in my life! Well, technically I have, but I feel like I haven’t because I absolutely love what I do for a career. My passion for production and love for helping others are the two reasons why I am ecstatic to be at Reliant. It’s a true blessing to have the opportunity to visually tell life-changing stories from one-of-a-kind organizations while working day-to-day with individuals who share my same passion.
My fascination of production started while I was a cast member of a reality show in high school, where I observed how the whole process was done. The energy on set and behind-the-scenes was addicting and is what kickstarted my drive to learn the process and perfect the craft.
After graduating with my Broadcasting degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I moved to Los Angeles where I worked in television for some of the top networks like NBC and HGTV. Whether it’s TV or video, I have always had a love for producing, which is exactly how I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be today.
Karl Birchley • Cinematographer / Colorist
I grew up on the east coast of Australia where I initially pursued VFX. I quickly realized I was more interested in the art of image creation and began to shift course. I moved cities, built a portfolio, met my Nebraskan wife and now have landed in Lincoln, NE.
Finding beautiful light & unique, visual perspectives have been the obsession since picking up the camera some 10 years ago…. but thankfully story keeps my disproportionate desires in check.
Chelsea Marine • Office Administrator
I have always been passionate about people, in any sort of capacity. I believe we are all a part of a bigger story and I can easily find connections with almost anyone. My degree is in Psychology from Grace University, and I love helping any person or organization develop. I am a “relational introvert” and kind of obsessed with the Enneagram (I’m a 4 wing 3).
Throughout the years, I have learned how unique my skills are. While I do photography and have a creative side, I am also great at details and getting things done. I find it easy to get behind anything I believe in!
At Reliant, you’ll find me managing the office, handling our marketing and assisting the team with all things production.