The Gaud-Hammer Gaming Group® / G3 Esports is dedicated to delivering entertaining products and real money services that resonate within the gaming community.
We are seasoned industry executives with decades of experience developing, operating and publishing AAA video games and media outlets.
Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder
Anthony is an accomplished Emmy-Award winning entrepreneur and media executive with a remarkable 25-year career collaborating with renowned entertainment, gaming, and technology organizations. His professional portfolio highlights strategic partnerships with industry giants such as The Walt Disney Company, Comcast, Microsoft Games, Viacom, Hasbro, and Nexon South Korea.
Throughout his career, Anthony has achieved numerous exits and acquisitions for diverse startups, including a free-to-play game development studio, an intellectual property development firm, and a children's VOD and digital platform developed in collaboration with Comcast. His projects consistently receive accolades, garnering multiple nominations and wins for prestigious awards such as Emmy, Hugo, and Pulcinella.
With extensive executive experience in interactive games, television programming, media platform technology development, and esports, Anthony has held influential creative roles on AAA-level projects for iconic franchises like Star Wars, Marvel, Batman, The Transformers, and Disney games such as Epic Mickey and Kingdom Hearts.
As a dedicated leader in the industry, Anthony has actively contributed to shaping the landscape. He played a pivotal role in drafting legislation related to real-money video games in New Jersey and pioneered the first public-private esports partnership in the United States in collaboration with Atlantic City's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
Anthony is the founder and Chair of the Esports Trade Association's Regulated Videogame and Esports Committee, the first nationally recognized organization dedicated to establishing standards and practices for esports and video game wagering.
Additionally, Anthony holds an executive board position at the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce and serves as an advisor to prestigious educational institutions including Seton Hall, Rutgers, and Stockton Universities. Moreover, he is widely sought-after as an expert witness in trial cases involving intellectual property and the video game industry.
JAMES D. HAMMERSTEDT, CPA
Chief Financial Officer, Co-Founder
Jim is the Managing Partner of Fabietti, Hale, Hammerstedt & Powers PA, a well-established Public Accounting Firm based in Southern New Jersey which caters to a diverse client base of over 2,000 businesses and individuals in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
With a successful 30-year career in public accounting, Jim specializes in corporate financing, entity structure, and business planning across various industries. He possesses the expertise to analyze business opportunities from both strategic and financial perspectives, effectively conveying complex concepts in a clear and accessible manner.
As a Co-Founder of the GaudHammer Gaming Group, Jim brings his strong business acumen, organizational skills, and commitment to professional standards to the burgeoning real-money video games and esports industry. Jim plays a crucial role as a dedicated lead investor in G3, bringing valuable business acumen and a vested interest in the organization's success. This ensures a well-rounded and comprehensive approach to decision-making and strategy implementation within the company.
Jim maintains active professional affiliations with prestigious organizations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New Jersey Society of Public Accountants. Furthermore, he actively contributes to the community and education sectors, having served on the Board of Directors for organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cumberland and Salem Counties, as well as The Hendricks House Foundation.
Esports Illustrated, President
Nafeeza Hassan is a highly accomplished Team Leader and Technical Product Manager with a demonstrated history of delivering innovative and successful products. She brings extensive experience from her tenure at prestigious entertainment companies such as NBC Universal, CBS Interactive, and Universal Music Group.
Nafeeza excels in crafting and executing product roadmaps by leveraging agile software development methodologies. She possesses a keen eye for product vision, platform user experience (UX), and conducting customer and usability testing to ensure optimal user satisfaction. Nafeeza's leadership skills are evident in her ability to lead teams, resulting in the design and publication of numerous interactive games, online portals, and notable digital marketing campaigns.
In recognition of her exceptional contributions to the industry, Nafeeza was honored with a Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award in 2014, further cementing her reputation as a trailblazer in her field. With her extensive expertise and remarkable track record, Nafeeza is a valuable asset in driving the success of G3's product development initiatives.
VP, Product Development
Kirby is a seasoned senior game producer with an exceptional career history at renowned gaming companies including Microsoft, Nexon, and Electronic Arts. Serving in key executive positions, he led the launch of the highly successful FIFA, Need for Speed, and the SSX brands.
Upon selling his game studio to Microsoft, Kirby subsequently led content development for the Xbox 1 launch in both the United States, Canada and China.
Most recently, Kirby held the position of Senior Project Manager at Nvidia, focusing on Autonomous Vehicles, Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision.
In his capacity as Vice President of Product Development, Kirby expertly manages both in-house and external software development teams, overseeing various areas such as game development, analytics, and machine learning.
Additionally, he assumes responsibility for regulatory and compliance oversight across all G3 development projects.
VP, Operations & People
James is a Human Resources Business Partner with a multitude of experience across various HR functions, primarily in leadership development, people analytics, and talent acquisition. Previously James held a position as a Program Manager and Coach with the global leadership development and consulting company, Team Concepts Inc. While working with Team Concepts Inc., through experiential learning, James assisted in developing hundreds of professionals and executives that work for Fortune 500 companies and participants in the top 15 business school’s Executive MBA programs on how to create and maintain high-performance teams. He currently holds a position as Talent & Development Director for Quantis Group and its entities. He is also the HR Strategies & Solutions Consultant for Archerview, a business management consulting firm.
Throughout his career, James has managed and implemented multiple HRIS and CRM products for stakeholders and has the drive to provide personalized talent acquisition and onboarding services to his clients. James is certified by the Society of Human Resource Management and is affiliated with SHRM Chapter 260, the Human Resource Association of Southern New Jersey. James is also a certified Organization Development professional through the Institute of Organization Development. While attending school for his bachelor’s degree, James was a member of Saint Joseph’s University’s Division I Men’s Rowing Team.
Game Industry Advisor
Throughout his 25-year career, Doug Kennedy has been a highly regarded and accomplished executive in the video game industry. He is the founder and CEO of Studio Wildcard, a game development studio known for creating the hit game "ARK: Survival Evolved". Studio Wildcard has achieved massive success under Kennedy's leadership, generating over $1.6 billion in revenue and establishing itself as one of the world's leading game development studios.
Kennedy is also the co-founder of Reverb Communications, a 20-year-old marketing agency that launched games such as Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Rocket League, and PUBG. He also established Reverb TripleXP, the agency's indie publishing arm.
Over the course of his career, Kennedy has earned a reputation for his innovative approach to game marketing, leadership abilities, and ability to build and manage successful teams. As a trend spotter in the gaming industry, he has also been recognized for identifying new trends and capitalizing on them. He is widely praised for his unique approach and insights that have contributed to shaping the direction of the game industry.
In addition to his roots in the entertainment industry, Kennedy has taken on a variety of business ventures throughout his life, including founding Ironstone Winery Summer Concert Series, building a bespoke bourbon bar, and being instrumental in reviving a beloved hometown newspaper.
Mike has been a serial entrepreneur over the past thirty years, primarily in the agricultural industry, where he founded D’Ottavio Produce in 1992 and many other ventures since then. Mike is a Southern New Jersey native who has successfully overseen and developed over a dozen companies in his career. Through his operational experience, Mike has insights into navigating the pains and hurdles of growing a business from a local start-up to a multiple-state operation.
Mike’s ability to build relationships with customers and partners has established success in all his endeavors. This ability has allowed Mike to start and sustain business ventures across multiple industries, such as agriculture, fitness, and consulting.
Senior Advisor Business Development
Steve has had a fifty-year career in the insurance and international business consulting and development fields. Throughout his career, Steve held executive positions at Marsh as Senior VP in Charge of Global Client Development, advisor to the Bass family of Fort Worth, Texas on acquisitions in the insurance brokerage sector and was on the management committee of Bayly, Martin, and Fay when it was acquired by the Aon Corporation.
He constantly maintains relationships throughout his global network. Steve currently serves on the Board of The World Trade Center, The Global Independence Center at the University of Pennsylvania, The Hughes Center for Public Policy and served as chairman of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, the Southern New Jersey Development Council, Stockton University and the AtlantiCare foundation as well as many other institutions. New Jersey Governor, Thomas Keen, appointed Steve as Chairman of the Governor's Advisory Commission on Gaming. Steve has undergraduate and MBA degrees from The Wharton School– the University of Pennsylvania and holds profession designations of CPCU and CLU. Earlier in his career, Steve was commissioned in the United States Coast Guard attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
While at Penn, Steve was a member of the varsity swimming team, crew and ice hockey, Steve rowed competitively and won several Canadian and American National Championships. Steve is a qualified scuba instructor and licensed pilot. During his free time, Steve is "trying to keep up with his grandchildren."
Shawn is a Brand President, CMO and Strategic Business Leader with more than 30 years of spearheading strategies, steering enterprise-wide initiatives, and directing innovations that position major global brands. Most recently the President of GoldieBlox, Shawn is a veteran serving executive roles with the NFL, DreamWorks, Mattel’s American Girl, Dell, MasterCard, and Universal Studios.
Shawn's stellar reputation is driven by her numerable high-profile successes driving profitable and sustainable growth. Her background includes successful experience defining business priorities, championing corporate missions, and creating synergies between brand assets to build customer relationships and loyalty. She has pioneered explosive retail growth, the launch of new business units and integration of content and storytelling that deliver high customer engagement.
iGaming & Compliance
Nick is Chair of Fox Rothschild’s Gaming Practice Group, having practiced all aspects of gaming law since 1980, including licensing, acquisitions, compliance plans and investigations, and financing. Nick has annually been named as one of the leading gaming attorneys in the world by Chambers Global since 2008. His clients include casinos, gaming equipment manufacturers and other technology providers, Internet gaming companies, private equity firms, and investment firms. Nick’s legal experience includes handling gaming matters in numerous domestic and international jurisdictions, including Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, Australia, Great Britain, Jamaica and Singapore. Nick serves on the Board of Directors of International Masters of Gaming Law and on the editorial advisory board of Global Gaming Business.
Video Game Publishing and IP
John Pleasants is an entrepreneur and business executive who has led a number of digital media and technology companies over the last two decades. Pleasants spent three years as the brand manager for PepsiCo/Frito-Lay from 1995–1998, and took Ticketmaster public in September 1998, and subsequently served as their CEO. John entered the gaming industry as COO of Electronic Arts in 2008 and left to be CEO of Playdom, a social gaming company that sold to Disney for $563 million in 2010. As Disney Interactive President, Pleasants had success in helping to bring the division from significant losses to material profits, most notably with the launch of the title Disney Infinity. After leaving Disney in 2015, Pleasants served as Executive Vice President (EVP) of Samsung of America and led their mobile content strategy. Pleasants was CEO of a smart kitchen startup, Brava Home, a company acquired in 2019 by The Middleby Corporation, a leading foodservice equipment company. Pleasants serves on numerous boards including Peloton and M&M Media.
Over the past two decades, very few individuals have done more to establish the casino online gaming industry than Lee. Since 2013, he has established and operated leading online casino sites and gaming divisions for no less than four of the industry’s leading online gaming portals:
MGM’s Borgata’s Borgataonline.com (2013),
Resorts Digital Gaming’s ResortsCasino.com (2014),
Mohegan Sun’s MoheganSunCasino.com (2016),
Hard Rock Casino’s HardRockOnline.com (2018).
Lee is an exceptionally well-rounded gaming executive with exemplary skills in casino product management, online portal management, card-room management, strategic planning and execution, loyalty program conception and service execution, live service operations, departmental budgeting as well as regulated product game design and CRM marketing.
Pierre is a celebrated executive who specializes in strategic, corporate and business development, investments, finance, and operations in free-to-play social and mobile games, real money online gambling and sports betting Pierre was previously SVP of corporate strategy and business development at Nexon and head of corporate strategy at Crunchyroll when it was acquired by WarnerMedia for $1.2B. Prior to that, Pierre helped build Caesars Entertainment's social, free-to-play casino games business, Playtika, through acquisitions, investments, partnerships, brand licensing relationships, and commercial agreements - until it was acquired by Shanghai Giant Network Technology for $4.4B.
Tom has spent his entire career in games and is well known for his contributions with Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Frogger, Star Wars, Roller Coaster Tycoon and many other hit games. Tom is the founder and former CEO of Hasbro Interactive and Games.com. He was the lead Hasbro executive that acquired Wizards of the Coast, Atari, MicroProse, Spectrum Holobyte and Avalon Hill. Tom severed as the COO of KNEX toys and founded the NASCAR HEAT game series that went public under Motorsport Games. He is currently involved with game publishing, licensing and game development in all aspects of games which includes metaverse, NFT, crypto, play-to-earn and skill-based games.