Meet the team

Landon Rhodes

Founder & CEO

Landon started Grindstone on the floor of his apartment in 2018. He wanted to find a way to help companies promote their products and services beyond the traditional door-to-door sales model. He also wanted to take the work ethic he developed on his family farm near Exeter, Nebraska and grow his own successful business. 

To keep himself sharp, Landon listens to podcasts and reads books focused on entrepreneurship and personal development. He even hosts his own podcast called Spark to Fire where he interviews other successful business leaders. He’s a firm believer in the mantra: “If you’re not growing, you’re dying,” and applies that mentality to everything he does. 

Fun fact: Landon’s impressions are impeccable. Ask him to do anyone and he won’t disappoint.

Tristen Metcalf

 Agency Manager & Account Executive

Tristen is a proud graduate of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln where she double majored in marketing and management. She started her career in social media, including content creation and strategy, digital marketing analytics, and live event marketing. As Agency Manager, Tristen supervises and coordinates all aspects of Grindstone to ensure client satisfaction and internal team cohesion. She is the driving force behind the day to day operations within the agency. Tristen also serves as an Account Executive where she builds relationships and communicates with each client regarding every element of their contract. She collaborates with the entire Grindstone team to create client campaigns and projects from the initial development stage to the final product. 

Fun fact: If you caught the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you might have seen Tristen performing.

Meredith Q. Killion

Account Executive

Meredith received her BFA from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.  She has over a decade of experience as a graphic designer, creative director, project manager, and organizer of all things that need to be organized.

As Account Executive, Meredith will be the point of contact for clients and help them solidify their brand on videos, podcasts, and social media platforms.   She loves problem solving and puzzles.  These passions give her the upper hand when faced with challenges.  You may see her on her lunch break doing Sudoku in the break room.

Fun fact: Meredith has a mean poker face.  She plays texas holdem as often as she can with friends and acquaintances. 

Patrick McCarthy

Executive Producer

Patrick’s career in visual mediums started over a decade ago with a cable access sketch show called “Nerds with Birds” in Lincoln, Nebraska. What started as a high school passion-project has turned into a full-time career. Patrick is a full-time video editor at Grindstone Media. Patrick finds inspiration in nature and the work of film directors like Andrei Tarkovsky and Stanley Kubrick. When he’s not working on perfecting his video editing or finding creative ways to shoot, he loves to spend time writing music.

Fun fact: Patrick once owned a hot air balloon and was learning to fly.

AJ Cruz

Executive Producer

Dealing in good feelings is what he knows, and working with people is what he loves. AJ has been working in the filmmaking industry for 2.5 years and has found a way to intertwine his love for people and cameras to create lasting impressions on our clients.

Fun fact: Despite what fellow mortals may think, AJ is a warlock and can breathe fire and is trained in the art of healing…kind of. Ask him about it.

Kyle Andersen

Lead Videographer

Kyle is a self-taught visual artist, specializing in video and photo. Kyle has over 4 years of experience that includes producing music videos, building television commercial sets, and filming weddings.

Fun fact: The team calls Kyle “Gut Guy” around the office due to his extensive knowledge about nutrition and gut health.

Andrew Wentz

Producer

Andrew holds years of storytelling experience in public television and corporate marketing. He’s been developing emerging media content since 2016, including forays in VR, AR, and 360-degree video. He studied broadcasting at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, along with focuses in informatics and creative writing. Andrew’s other interests include animation, motion graphics, music production, and even computer programming! If it involves creativity or storytelling, count him in.

Fun fact: Andrew’s favorite bands are Sum 41, Blink-182, and Cartel, in that order.

Sam Trocki

Social Media Manager

Sam has a passion for contributing to the growth of a business and building connections by developing savvy strategies and compelling content for social media campaigns. Her creative mind and constant curiosity help her think outside the box and bring any vision to life. Sam found her calling through extensive experience in Account Management and earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. She finds joy in the little things, and can usually be found outside tending to her garden or exploring a new hiking trail.

Fun fact: Sam attended Tony Robbins first-ever Virtual Unleash the Power Within event and is excited to be a future fire walker at the next in-person event!

John Valeriani

Producer

John has enjoyed a variety of roles, from animator, illustrator, assistant photographer to now, a full-time video editor at Grindstone. John aspires to do work that is collaborative and meaningful, opens up new worlds, and tells different stories. When he’s not shooting or editing, he can usually be found biking on the trails.

Fun fact: John and his mother were almost on ‘Judge Judy.

Ben Weber

Producer

Ben picked up a camera when he was twelve years old and hasn’t put it down since. Ben specializes in both photo and video, and is obsessed with telling impactful stories. After graduating from high school Ben attended the University of Nebraska for a year then pursued his filmmaking and photography career. Since then Ben has worked on various projects, from meeting Garyvee in New York to building Youtube channels with Nolan Hansen (Trendcrave). When he’s not using a camera you can probably find him playing video games with his friends or cooking up some good eats.

Fun fact: Ben once drove twenty-four hours from Lincoln to Miami for a shoot #worthit

JT Martin

Host of Nebraska Made

JT Martin is a 5th generation Nebraskan who spent the majority of his life in the San Francisco bay area. He worked for venture-backed media and advertising firms in San Francisco and New York City for the past 8 years before joining the Grindstone team in 2020 to host the Nebraska Made podcast and grow the Grindstone podcast network.

Fun fact: JT is an avid joggler (juggling + jogging)! 

Julia Evertson

Intern

Julia is a senior Advertising and Public Relations major at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Her love of videography, editing, content creation, and connecting with people creates a wide variety of interests, so she’s down to learn just about anything. 

Fun Fact: Julia has to have dessert every day. The doctor prescribed it.

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