Pinball EDU Charity, 501(c)3

Executive Director & Founder

Joe P. Said

joeJoe P. Said is the Founder of Pinball EDU, an organization he’s been developing since early 2012.  Joe is currently responsible for the vision, strategy and national fundraising efforts for Pinball EDU, as it expands across the country. “I love pinball.  I believe it has untapped potential and value as an educational and therapeutic tool.  I want to share it with everyone.” Joe brings over 15 years of experience making education accessible to people with disabilities.  Joe was the founder of the assistive technology firm, gh llc., that was responsible for making the SAT and GRE accessible to people with disabilities.  Joe’s academic background includes studies in electrical engineering and business management at Purdue University.  Joe’s love of pinball married with his interests in education and pinball motivated him to create Pinball EDU.

Advisory Board



Cristin Gasson, OTR/L

cristin & ethanCristin introduced her son to pinball in 2012  by joining a local pinball league. “I knew Ethan would love playing but I didn’t realize how much he would grow as an individual through playing. Pinball has provided him with an opportunity to develop social skills and friendships with other people who also love to play. This shared interest in pinball has motivated him to learn about the rules of pinball, improved his focus and communication skills.” Cristin is a licensed certified pediatric Occupational Therapist who has worked with families and their children for over 15 years both privately through her own practice and publicly through State and County Early Intervention programs. She is also the  parent of a young adult with Down Syndrome and has over 20 years experience as a skilled special needs education and inclusion advocate. Her  experience and expertise includes working with children and adults with disabilities in schools, hospitals, outpatient centers, and home-based settings.


Steve Marsh JD/PhD

stevemarshSteve Marsh is a patent/IP attorney specializing in patents, trademarks, branding and licensing. He has a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, and was a research scientist with the US Naval Research Lab for many years before entering the practice of law. Steve has always been interested in education, and has extensive experience in teaching, lecturing, and developing science courses.

Steve lives in New York City and currently volunteers as a teacher for educational field trips at Modern Pinball NYC in his spare time.


Kathy Gagno

kathyKathy remembers playing pinball back in the day when it was at the height of popularity. Her father lived in Southern California. While all her friends were sun-tanning on the beach in Santa Monica, she was in the arcade on the Pier, pale but happy.  She was thrilled when her middle child, Robert, began to show an interest in pinball at an early age. At the time, he had a hard time staying still and concentrating, and pinball seemed to be one of the few activities he could do for a long period of time. Robert was diagnosed with Autistic Disorder at about the age of 5, and Kathy began to notice that not only he liked pinball, but he seemed to be very good at it.  Robert stopped playing for a few years, but took it up again in his late teens, and she credits a huge leap in his communication and social skills to pinball. Through pinball, her family, and especially Robert, have met so many nice people and have had many unique opportunities as a result of pinball-related travelling to tournaments and shows. Her professional background includes special education, and she currently practices as a certified school psychologist.


Steven Zahler

szapSteven, co-founder of Modern Pinball NYC, brings to Pinball EDU his deep passion for teaching the arts and sciences that are harnessed inside every pinball machine, and the desire to enrich the lives of students young and old, and those disabled and/or economically disadvantaged. “Both Joe Said and I share a deep appreciation for pinball and the educational benefit it provides. To harness a gaming platform for use as an educational tool that can provide meaning as well as a fun conduit to learning the arts and sciences for this and future generations is something that brings meaning to and enriches our lives. I remember conversations from years back in which Joe and I spoke of reaching Autistic kids through pinball. Our philosophies are congruent in every respect and I am grateful to be a part of the very educationally generous and socially responsible vision of Pinball EDU.” Modern Pinball NYC is registered with the NYC Department of Education (VEN# MOD823743) and hosts class trips to engage students about physics, art and sound as they relate to pinball machines.


Roger Sharpe


Roger Sharpe is probably best known for his book, PINBALL! (E.P. Dutton, 1977) as well as helping to legalize pinball in New York City when he testified before the City Council in April, 1976. The former Director of Marketing and Licensing for Williams Bally/Midway, Sharpe was also the Managing Editor of Gentlemen’s Quarterly as well as the Editor of Video Games Magazine. He has designed pinball machines including Sharpshooter, Cyclopes and Barracora and was inducted into the Pinball Hall of Fame back in 2000 and was one of the founders of the Professional And Amateur Pinball Association (PAPA). Currently, Sharpe is the Co-Director of The International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) and the father of Joshua and Zachary.


Joe Rosenkrantz


Joe Rosenkrantz has loved pinball and arcade machines his entire life. He remembers the scene at the local arcade and that he used to ride his bike two hours to get there back in the 70’s. He has a passion for playing and restoring pinball machines and finds the whole hobby and community to be very good for the soul. He loves to share his games with people of all ages. He is the President and CEO of FaceFirst which is a facial recognition software company, which specializes in large-scale mobile and surveillance facial recognition systems serving a wide variety of industries. Joe has been in the computer security and networking industry for over 25 years with a focus on enterprise system architecture and data security.


Nicole Reik

Nicole Anne Reik is the Founder and Executive Director of Pinball Outreach Project (POP) an organization that brings joy to children using the game of pinball. POP brings pinball to Children’s Hospitals, and has a location in Portland, OR that offers free pinball and pinball instruction to kids. “I had no idea when I was playing pinball in bowling alleys and arcades in the Bay Area in the 90’s that this is where the game would take me. It’s pretty incredible when you think about all the different ways you can help people using this game” Nicole brings her experience of running POP for the last 3.5 years along with a 20 year background in Accounting and Business Administration.