Who we are



Michael Ackmann

Michael was previously a founder and owner of Ackmann & Dickenson, Inc. (A&D), which launched in 2007 and grew an average of 30% annually.

A&D’s unique breed of digital craftsmanship brought organizations to the forefront of technology by providing expertise in mobile, software and web development, user experience design, digital marketing, and eCommerce.

Serving a national client base across multiple industries, A&D had offices in Minneapolis MN, Phoenix AZ, and Charleston SC. A national media conglomerate acquired A&D in 2016. While at A&D, Michael was appointed to serve on the Board of Directors for the global non-profit organization, Matter.



Kevin Zinniel

Prior to co-founding Artisan Venture Lab, Kevin served as Vice President of Business Development at Ackmann & Dickenson, Inc. (A&D). Kevin has been involved with numerous startups, eCommerce initiatives and product launches throughout his career.

Kevin left A&D to focus on =RANGE= GOLF, a startup apparel brand. The collection was featured in the new product zone at the PGA Show. Currently, =RANGE= has partnerships in place with dozens of golf clubs throughout North America. =RANGE= has also developed co-branded apparel collections with Google, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Snowflake and the Thunderbirds | Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Since co-founding AVL Kevin has been instrumental in bringing various products to market most notably LiLLE Cover Company and SIR SHORT JOHN.

Kevin serves as a member of the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital (UMMCH) Advisor Board and the UMMCH Champions for Children Golf Committee.



Julie Fischer

Julie brings extensive software project management experience within both the service and product sectors.

Before joining AVL, Julie worked for multiple digital agencies in the Twin Cities managing initiatives for clients such as Delta Airlines (American Express Card), Gap, LifeTime, Surdyk’s Liquor and Cheese Shop, Three Rivers Park District, Sub-Zero, UnitedHealthCare, and Walgreens. She has led enterprise-level website builds in Sitecore, WordPress, Drupal, and eCommerce initiatives in BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce.

Julie is a certified Scrum Master who has managed large design, development, and DevOp teams — both onshore and offshore — and leads AVL’s design and develop processes within project management. These efforts ensure alignment with all client strategies and business objectives.