Scaling the Staccato 2011® Team

January 18, 2020

Veteran-led Company Focused on Meeting Increased Market Demand in 2020

Georgetown, TX:  STI Firearms, LLC, makers of the Staccato 2011® – The World’s Best Shooting Handgun, announced today the appointments of Kristin Marlow as the company’s Chief Marketing Officer and Gary Silverthorn as the Director of Business Development.  The company also announced the promotions of Tony Pignato (US Army 1SG ret.) to Chief Experience Officer and Buck Pierson (USMC GySgt ret.) to Director of Law Enforcement and Military Business. The company is also growing its LE/MIL and Commercial business development teams with the addition of six new team members: Drew Estell, Matthew Little, Mike Pannone, Dick Hedges, Jim Erwin, and Tim South.

“At STI, we are shooters, patriots, and veterans.  We strive relentlessly to achieve our best, a common bond we share with our customers,” said Marine Corps veteran Nate Horvath, CEO, STI Firearms.  “The majority of our handguns are designed specifically to serve our nation’s law enforcement heroes who protect our freedoms daily, but they are also the handgun of choice for civilians who are serious about personal defense and protecting their loved ones.  With the growth of our team this year, we have the opportunity to tell the Staccato story to a wider audience and continue to evolve our understanding of our customers’ needs.”

“I’m honored to be joining the team at such an exciting time. Staccato handguns truly are built for heroes of all kinds: from the humble heroes in ‘blue’ and ‘green’, to the unassuming hero next door,” said Kristin Marlow. Marlow brings over 20 years’ experience in strategic brand and digital performance marketing to STI, having worked with brands like Hulu, Anthem, Visa, and Zipcar.  Most recently, she was an EVP with the global communications agency Weber Shandwick where she led integrated media and digital innovation.  Marlow received her MBA from Harvard Business School.

Gary Silverthorn brings 30+ years of experience to STI, having lead high-stakes, high performing teams during his time with the US Marine Corps, US Army, and in the private sector. As a former special operations leader, Silverthorn has held leadership positions for small, mid-level, and senior level teams, and has trained and developed countless leaders in the Army’s premier leadership school as a Ranger Instructor.  Silverthorn also brings over 15 years of executive leadership mentorship and business development experience in private and public companies.  “I am impressed by the performance of STI’s Staccato pistols, and continue to be impressed by the strong team Nate has recruited,” said Silverthorn.

Joining Silverthorn’s business development team are three veterans who will focus on commercial and dealer relationships:

  • Dick Hedges. Dick Hedges is a Retired Army veteran with multiple deployments to the middle east and South and Central America. Over his career he served as a foreign military advisor, and Joint Fires Observer Instructor. After the service, Hedges earned a degree in accounting. He has worked in the ammunition space, and has also worked as a Security consultant. Hedges is a certified NRA firearms instructor.
  • Jim Erwin.  Jim Erwin is a veteran of the U.S. Special Operations Forces, including service as a 1st SFOD-D (Delta) Operator. He was part of the 1st SFOD-D selection course – where he was ultimately one of five candidates chosen from a class of nearly 100. Erwin was awarded the Distinguished Honor Graduate of his U.S. Army Sniper Course while serving with 2/75 Ranger Bat. He also served as the ranking NCO for a military free-fall unit.  After leaving active duty, Erwin provided close protection and security for high-profiled clientele across the globe including many high-threat environments. He is a certified FBI Advanced Firearms Instructor, and has earned several instructor certifications for the NRA.
  • Tim South. Tim South is a 22 year Retired Army Veteran, having served in a variety of units and leadership positions in the infantry throughout his career. After retiring from the military, South began a career in business development and sales supporting the commercial and defense industries for firearms, ammunition and tactical equipment. South took a break to serve as a contractor overseas in Afghanistan managing a program to assist the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force ensuring our soldiers on the battlefield had the tools to be successful to win the fight.

Joining Pierson’s LE/MIL team is a seasoned roster of veterans, focused on meeting the needs of law enforcement and military customers nationwide:

  • Drew Estell.  Drew Estell is an Army Special forces veteran with multiple deployments to the middle east performing unconventional warfare and direct-action missions. His career includes duties on a Military Freefall Detachment and as an assaulter in the Crisis Response Force (CRF/CIF). Before leaving active duty, Drew helped to stand up and manage his unit’s concealed carry/active shooter program. Alongside other Special Operations Veterans, he co-founded the Mission 22 Shooting Team to help raise awareness of the veteran suicide epidemic, and is the owner of firearms training company BAER Solutions.
  • Matthew Little.  Matthew Little is a US Army Special Forces veteran with extensive law enforcement and military combat experience, including serving as training coordinator, and operational supervisor for the Chicago PD SWAT team. Matt has also worked as a government contractor in non-permissive environments and is an active USPSA competition shooter with a Master Class ranking. Matt continues to provide advanced training in firearms, tactics, and combatives through his company, GreyBeard Actual LLC.
  • Mike Pannone.  Mike Pannone is a former operational member of U.S. Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces (Green Beret), 1st SFOD-D (Delta) and the Asymmetric Warfare Group. He is an active USPSA pistol shooter holding a Master class ranking in Limited, Limited-10 and Production divisions. Mike has participated in stabilization, combat and high-risk protection operations in support of U.S. policies throughout the world as both an active duty military member, and a civilian contractor. He has spent countless hours on the range and in the classroom with military units, LEO and operational personnel sharing his vast combat and practical experience to increase proficiency and organizational success.

“I am proud of our growing team at STI, and honored they have chosen to be part of our organization.  If you are coming to SHOT, please come by booth 14270 to meet the team and see our 2020 product line.” said Horvath.


About STI Firearms, LLC:  Twenty-five years ago, STI revolutionized competition shooting by bringing the world a whole new gun platform, the 2011®. Built with FlaTec™, the 2011® is the best shooting handgun available and the choice of champions who have won thousands of competitions.  Today, STI’s Staccato handguns are the pistol of choice for elite law enforcement and military teams like the U.S. Marshall’s SOG team, as well as personal defense practitioners, home defenders, and recreational shooters.  Customers choose Staccato handguns for their proven reliability, durability, accuracy, and shootability.   With a lifetime owner warranty, Staccato handguns are designed, engineered, and crafted in the heart of Texas, built with American steel and parts.

As an American firearms manufacturer, STI is proud that over 25% of its team members are veterans and 100% are patriots.