Our Team

Adam Hopkins:  Co-Founder

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Adam Hopkins is a bassist, composer, improviser, and educator born and raised in Baltimore, MD and currently living in Brooklyn, NY.  Adam is the co-founder of the Out of Your Head, a curated collective of improvising musicians, devoted to broadening the local creative music scene, with chapters in both Baltimore, MD and Brooklyn, NY. Adam has released albums featuring his compositions with several ensembles, both as a leader and co-leader/sideman, with several forth-coming releases in 2017 and 2018. He has toured nationally and internationally as a bassist, clinician, and workshop facilitator.  Adam held a faculty position at Loyola University for six years as a professor of double and electric bass, improvisation, music theory, ear training, and jazz ensemble. He holds a graduate performance diploma from Peabody Conservatory in Jazz Studies, a master’s degree from Michigan State University in Orchestral Bass Performance, and a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University in Music Industry.  Adam’s position as a senior partner in the International Musician’s League — an international company dedicated to the enrichment of the music industry — gives him unique insight into the intersection of the arts and business management.

Danny Gouker:  Co-Founder

Danny lives in Brooklyn, New York where he works in a wide range of educational and creative contexts. In his work with the Art of Science Learning, Danny has worked on groundbreaking strategies to measure changes in behaviors that lead to innovation. As a musician, he works closely as a curator, composer, and trumpet player with a large community of improvisers/composers who prize creativity and ingenuity. He is a committed educator who enjoys teaching in a wide variety of contexts- from corporations to universities, to inner city public schools. Danny has a music degree from Towson University on a full scholarship, where he was nominated by a committee of professors to give the commencement speech, and has a Masters in Jazz Performance from New York University which he attended on scholarship.

Eric Trudel:  Co-Founder

photo (1)Eric Trudel is a saxophonist, composer, and educator originally from Baltimore, Maryland. Eric attended Towson University on scholarship where he earned a Bachelors Degree in jazz performance before moving to New York City to earn his master’s degree from NYU, also on scholarship.  He was also a winner of the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award grant for non-classical solo performance. Eric has nearly ten years of teaching experience, including holding faculty positions at NYU, Loyola University in Maryland, and his alma mater, Towson University.  Eric has led and co-led workshops and master classes both in the United States and abroad, covering topics about music, improvisation, and creativity.  Eric currently lives in Brooklyn and keeps an active performance schedule both as a leader of his own groups, and as a sideman.

Toby Gouker, Ph.D:  Head of Strategy and Curriculum Development

Toby Gouker has over 38 years of management experience in industry and academia. For the past five years, Toby served as the Provost and Chief Academic Officer for the SANS Technology Institute. In addition to his work with SANS, Toby held a number of academic positions over the past 10 years. As the Provost at Lyman Spalding Institute, he led the effort to build a global continuing education program for scientists and engineers, as the Vice President of University Affairs at American Graduate University, he functioned as the lead academic and operating officer, and as Executive Director at Laureate Education he led National Technological University through its merger with Walden University.

In addition to his academic endeavors, Toby has worked extensively in industry. He worked as the Chief Strategy Officer for LongView International Technology Solutions and as Chief Operating Officer for Computer Technology solutions to build federal healthcare information technology and security practices. Prior to his federal contracting positions, he was the Director of Operations at CertisUSA where he managed several biotech facilities, a Research and Development Manager at W.R. Grace commercializing power plant and other source air pollution control products, and a Project Leader for several synthetic fuels ventures at Exxon Research and Engineering.

Dr. Gouker received his Ph.D. in Applied Management and Decision Sciences from Walden University, his M.B.A. in Management of Innovation at the University of Houston, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Gouker brings his impressive expertise in management, innovation, and business strategy to his role at SFZ — designing curriculum, assessing program efficacy, and developing business strategy.