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🎮 🚗 Former Video Game Developer Advances to Next Level with Family Business


Ward Childress worked on Guitar Hero and Skylanders before returning home to start a family and work alongside his mom at Ben Mynatt Family of Dealerships.

In today’s world, almost every kid plays video games at one time or another. If only they could grow up and get paid to just play games all day! Well, maybe not play them…but what about creating them?

  • That’s exactly the career goal Ward Childress had when he headed to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in New York to study computer science and pursue his dream of creating video games. Turns out he was REALLY good at it!

In fact, in 2005, while still in school, he was hired as employee #74 at a small company that was started in an incubator program out of RPI called Vicarious Visions. He worked on Nintendo games like Tony Hawk, Shrek, and Spiderman, and eventually the company was acquired by video game giant, Activision.

Ward’s next projects are the ones you probably had in your home if you had teenagers… Guitar Hero and Skylanders. Imagine if your job was to go to work every day and develop these incredible games, both of which had features the market had never seen before and became extremely popular.

After working on Skylanders for over two years, he knew the next step in his career would need to be a move to California where most of the video game studios are based. However, he had met his future wife, Marcella, at work and the two discussed where they wanted to settle down and start a family.

Following in His Mother’s Footsteps

Cyndie Mynatt, daughter of Ben Mynatt Family of Dealerships founders Ben and Grace Mynatt, also had big dreams while growing up in Cabarrus County. She attended Duke University, where she earned a degree in Anthropology and aspired to one day work for the Smithsonian.

  • Cyndie worked for the Mint Museum in Charlotte for several years and then stayed home once her son Ward was born. Contemplating what to do next in her career, she decided to give the family business a try and absolutely loved it… and especially continuing her family’s legacy of great service and community involvement since 1976.

Like his Mom, Ward considered moving back to Cabarrus County and getting involved with the family business. Wanting to be closer to family after getting married in 2014, they settled down in Concord and Ward joined Ben Mynatt, immediately getting involved in the business and the community.

Getting Involved in the Community

He learned a great deal as part of the Cabarrus Chamber’s 2015 Leadership Cabarrus class, and then joined the board of Habitat for Humanity of Cabarrus County, eventually serving as their Board Chair. He also currently serves as the Cabarrus Chamber’s Board Chair, a position previously held by his mother, grandmother, and grandfather.

You may recall seeing this self-proclaimed introvert dancing on stage to raise money for the Cabarrus Arts Council in last year’s Dancing for the Arts. While he is more comfortable at home on his Dance Dance Revolution pad, he stepped up and put himself front and center because it was for a good cause, and that is just what Ben Mynatt does organically.

“You can’t help but get involved in this community,” said Ward.

He and Marcella are now the proud parents of two small children, and they love that they made the move home to Cabarrus County. With a growing community and culture that they can find all around them, they really are advancing to the next level right here at home.

The Ben Mynatt Family of Dealerships is family owned and operated and includes Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, GMC, and Nissan brands. Visit their website for information on how you can buy from a business that supports its community and has for almost 50 years! They also host the annual Ben Mynatt Children’s Foundation Golf Tournament that has raised and distributed over $1 million in the last 21 years. This year’s event will be held on September 25th at Trump National Golf Club.


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