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About Us page for e-websmart

Since 1999 e-websmart has worked with hundreds of businesses and organizations across the U.S. developing new and professional marketing materials that closely reflect their mission, goals, and values.


e-websmart’s talented team of developers, designers, copywriters and social media experts is what makes us stand out as a design firm. 

We each bring years of experience to every project as well as a level of dedication and enthusiasm because we love what we do.  Our team develops ongoing relationships with our clients and it is incredibly gratifying to watch their successes and achievements even after the project has been completed.

Michelle Tjelmeland | OWNER AND WEB DEVELOPER

Michelle Tjelmeland, the high-energy dynamo behind e-websmart, is also the founder of the Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation.  She is a sought-after public speaker, a certified Social Media Specialist, and a dedicated wife and mother of two daughters.  In 2013, Michelle created District 23 Mercantile & Foundry, which is a boutique in Springfield and Rochester, Illinois which benefit CIAF.

What most people do not realize is that Michelle created her business and non-profit all while being profoundly deaf, hearing only through a miraculous technology called a cochlear implant.  The implant translates sound in the environment into electrical impulses that the brain can interpret.  Because of her life experience with cochlear implants, Michelle founded CIAF in 2005, a non-profit organization that provides information and resources for individuals who can overcome deafness through utilization of cochlear implant technology.  CIAF has nationwide name recognition because of Michelle’s intuitive marketing skills and sheer determination.

Before losing her hearing, Michelle taught 7th and 8th grade language arts for the Springfield Public School District.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in Education from Eastern Illinois University and then completed her Master’s in Education and Computer Technology from the University of Illinois—Champaign-Urbana. 

Michelle is actively involved in her community and serves on the Board of Directors for CIAF and participates in many local events.  She is also an active member of the Great Springfield Chamber of Commerce and a former member of the Taylorville Chamber of Commerce.  Her achievements through e-websmart and her work with CIAF have been recognized as she has received many nominations and awards:

  • Recipient, Illinois Hands & Voices, Guide By Your Side Parent Achievement Award presented by Northwestern University, February 2016
  • Recipient, Non-Profit of the Year award from MacArthur Blvd Association for District 23 Mercantile & Foundry, December 2014
  • Recipient, Non-Profit Director of the Year from the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, June 2014
  • Co-recipient, The Interagency Committee on Employees with Disabilities Non-Profit Award from the State of Illinois, May 2014
  • Certified Expert Constant Contact E-mail Marketing Trainer, February 2011
  • Named Distinguished Lincoln Land Community College Alum, May 2010
  • Co-Inventor of Alerts Made Easy the original 4-in-1 Web, email, text, and phone messaging service.
  • Recipient, Woman of Influence Award by Security Bank and the Springfield Business Journal, April 2009
  • Recipient, Woman on the Rise Award by Illinois State Treasurer, March 2008
  • Recipient, Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Inc. Magazine, November 2007
  • Recipient, Silver Addy Award from the American Advertising Federation, 2006, 2007 & 2008
  • Winner, Microsoft’s Start Something Amazing Campaign in the culture and community category, 2005
  • Recipient, National Inspiration Deaf Person of the Year Award, by Oticon, February 2005

Darren Gander | SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Darren is an imaginative designer with more than 25 years of experience in graphic design and printing.  His creative talent and conceptual designs have achieved international recognition.

Darren’s expertise includes working knowledge of Quark Express, InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.  He excels in working with small-scale print design as well as large-scale signage, exhibition displays, and textiles.



Amanda Folwell | SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER


Amanda is a talented graphic designer who has over 23 years of design experience creating vibrant and unique work.  She enjoys experimenting with different design techniques and tools, but relies on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create most of her artwork. 

Having once worked for a printing company as a typesetter, Amanda’s interests have expanded as the industry has evolved and she now works as a freelance designer creating designs for Web sites, print media, and advertising.

Amanda is married and is the mother to one daughter.  Together they enjoy spending time in the garden and creating “edible messes” in the kitchen.

Crista Gebhardt | DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING

Crista is our Director of Sales and Marketing, and collaborates with our designers and writers during the site building process.  She enjoys many aspects of the e-websmart business, especially working directly with clients, and working on the web sites from design to completion.

Originally from the Chicago area, she has called Springfield home for almost 20 years with her husband and 4 children.  She spent 8 years as a gymnastics teacher and competitive coach, and then chose to stay home with her very active kids.  During that time Crista has sat on the board of the Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation, acted as the President of the Home and School Board at Christ the King, for 4 years, and has chaired various fundraisers.  Her fantastic intrapersonal skills and can-do attitude makes her perfect to lead the e-websmart team.

Sarah Chandler | SENIOR COPYWRITER

Sarah Chandler: The "outdoorswoman" of e-websmart.

At e-websmart, Sarah conducts copywriting interviews with clients, writes and edits Web content, and provides document support for CIAF.  Her photography skills have been used on occasion as well.  Sarah enjoys the process of copywriting as it is often a puzzle of ideas, words, and phrases which must be expressed in a creative but coherent fashion.  By getting to know the clients, she is able to learn the attributes which makes their company, business, or non-profit special and describe this to the design team.  Each project holds unique challenges, but Sarah reiterates, "It is a great feeling when it comes together just as the client envisions."

Sarah holds a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Writing from Pacific Lutheran University and has used her education over the past 15 years to create documents for businesses, churches, schools, and Web sites. She is also the Newsletter Editor for The James Project, a non-profit organization providing homes and support for fostering families.

Sarah is a Springfield native, married to Jeff, and proud mom of a fun-loving boy and an energetic girl.  As a family, they love to be outdoors for hours in all seasons and weather; however Sarah can also be found indoors quilting for friends, family, and clients.



e-websmart offers a full array of custom design services