Meet the Team

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Dylan Tashjian (Cofounder & Executive Director)

Dylan Tashjian is a New York City based human person (often mistaken with assorted birds). He graduated from NYU (Summa Cum Laude) with a BFA in Drama from Tisch Schools of the Arts and a minor in Business, Entertainment, Media, and Technology from Stern School of Business. In January 2018, Dylan was able to travel to Accra, Ghana to study wealth disparity in a global context in an effort to develop strategies to make art more readily available in under-served American communities.

Dylan now works as a freelance producer in New York City with a goal to produce original and affordable projects.  Recent credits include The Golden Girls Musical Parody: Pride Edition, Anecdoche: A Circus on Mental Health, Painted Alice, Dreamboat, among others.  He grew up in Hickory, where he participated in the arts at Hickory High School and in the community.  He thanks the teachers and artists that taught him advocacy and compassion, and he strives to return the favor by being a mentor and active participant in the community that raised him.  

Dylan is a recipient of the 2018 Innovative Artists Grant, awarded by the United Arts Council of Catawba County. 


Jordan Makant (Cofounder & Technical Director)

Jordan Makant has moved around too much in his life and is now a Charlotte-area based human person. He graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne University in December 2017 (Magna Cum Laude) with a BA in History. He was at various times a mentor for the Honor’s Academy, Vice-President of the Playmakers, and President of the Lineberger Fellows. Mainly, he spent his time working as a stage technician, writing, and helping Dylan and Robert create the Hickory Playground.

In addition to his work with HPG, Jordan works as a lighting technician, freelance writer, and audio engineer for DIY punk concerts. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Juked, Wizards in Space, Rat's Ass Review, The Ekphrastic Review, the Winston-Salem Writers’ Poetry in Plain Sight, and others. His acting credits include but are not limited to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), The Good Doctor, and Picasso at the Lapin Agile, as well as the first-ever stage-adaptation of Cynthia Lord's children's novel, Rules. He has provided technical assistance, direction, and management for hundreds of clients and events in venues that seat up to 1,500 people. 

Jordan is a recipient of the 2019 Human Relations Award, awarded by the Hickory Community Relations Council.


Robert Fuller (Cofounder & Board Member at Large)

Robert Fuller is an Asheville based human person. Born and raised in Hickory, Robert graduated from the Asheville School and then moved to Massachusetts to attend Boston University, where he studied film. After a year, he was extended an offer to work as a Production Assistant for Plan A Films, an independent production company based in Asheville. He spent several years working and traveling full time, making both of his co-founders extremely jealous with his amazing photography and his tales of adventure (and woe). Robert has recently transitioned into a part-time role with Plan A Films so that he can attend the University of North Carolina Asheville, where he is studying the Spanish language and the diverse cultures that speak it.


Simone Elhart (Marketing Director)

Simone Elhart is a New York City based human person. She graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts (Summa Cum Laude) with a BFA in Acting. During her time at NYU, she met Dylan Tashjian, and subsequently all of the founders of the Hickory Playground and fell in love with the mission of the company. Her first contact with HPG was when she donated to the 2nd Annual Playground (her name even made the program!). Through years of friendship she began working administratively for the Hickory Playground and is now stepping into the role of Marketing Director.

Outside of the Hickory Playground, Simone is an actress and model in New York City and also works as an administrative assistant in arts companies across the city. She was born and raised in a small town on the west coast of Michigan, and Hickory has always reminded her of home.

Hickory Playground's Board of Directors

Ed Tashjian - President
Cynthia Honeycutt - Vice President
Steve Copulsky - Treasurer
Bess Fuller - Secretary
Charlotte Williams - Member At Large
Robert Fuller - Member At Large