Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer
Bill Ritchie is chief creative officer and co-founder of ThinkFun®, Inc. which is dedicated to making learning fun. He is a lifelong puzzle enthusiast whose passion drives the development of ThinkFun, Inc.’s innovative and educational products.
As a child in the 1960s, Bill played with as many puzzles and science toys on which he could get his hands on. Thanks to his father, a researcher at Bell Labs, Bill was also privy to intriguing concepts that never made it onto store shelves.
In 1985, Bill and his wife Andrea Barthello founded ThinkFun, Inc. (originally Binary Arts), with the mission “to translate the brilliant ideas of mathematicians, engineers, and inventors into simple toys that can be appreciated by boys and girls around the world.” It is a mission that continues to drive the company today.
Bill believes fiercely in the power of a great game to strengthen thinking skills that help kids succeed in school and throughout life. His pioneering efforts have led the development of innovative programs that stretch and sharpen the mind, and his partnerships with researchers and inspired educators all over the world are an important part of furthering this vision. He continues to push into new arenas, with the philosophy that innovation, creativity, value, and fun should comprise every game ThinkFun, Inc. creates.
Bill is a respected member of the international puzzle community and travels worldwide to share his knowledge, connect with fellow enthusiasts, and discover the next great game. He is a member of the World Presidents Organization and the founding President of the World Entrepreneur Organization. He was the recipient of the 2000 Sam Loyd Award for Lifetime Achievement in Mechanical Puzzles from the Association of Game and Puzzle Collectors and a featured speaker at TEDx.
Bill earned a degree in American Studies from Wesleyan University and a Masters in City Regional Planning from Harvard University. He and his wife Andrea live in Alexandria, Virginia, with a vintage car on their front lawn modeled after ThinkFun’s internationally acclaimed Rush Hour.
Andrea Barthello is one of the co-founders of ThinkFun®, Inc., which is dedicated to making learning fun. Her reputation for creative problem solving, talent spotting, and nurturing of young minds distinguishes her as a leader in the toy industry and as a role model for entrepreneurs everywhere.
Growing up in a big Air Force family, Andrea traversed the United States and Canada in frequent moves that taught her flexibility, the importance of family, and a roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic. Early in her career, Andrea worked full time while attending graduate school at night, and sharpened her business skills in industries ranging from healthcare to hospitality to finance.
In 1985, Andrea’s career took a life-changing turn when she and her husband Bill Ritchie launched ThinkFun, Inc. (then Binary Arts) as part of a dream to change the world through play. The budding company’s introduction of the handcrafted, wooden Hexadecimal Puzzle created a new category of games geared to challenge the mind, and Andrea’s entrepreneurial instincts were put to the test. She directed sales and shipping, marketing, public relations, and accounting, and administration while mapping a blueprint for growth.
Now celebrating 30 years in business, ThinkFun, Inc. has come a long way since its beginnings in the basement of Andrea and Bill’s home. Today, with a staff of 35, shipping operations in Pennsylvania and bustling headquarters in Northern Virginia, ThinkFun distributes to more than 50 countries and 5,500 retailers worldwide. Her belief in the power of problem solving as a conduit for adventure, accomplishment and lifelong learning has fueled international acclaim and accolades for beloved games such as Rush Hour, Zingo!, Laser Maze, Robot Turtles, and Gravity Maze.
Previously a member of the board of directors of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, Andrea is enjoying her third term as a board member of the Toy Industry Association and was honored as one of the region’s most influential women by the Washington Business Journal 2005. In 2018 she was recognized with inclusion into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.
Andrea earned her Bachelor of Science degree from George Mason University and pursued graduate studies in Public Relations at American University. She is the proud mother of two grown sons Sam and Mike. She is also the “American mom” of William Kamkwamba, a remarkable young man from Malawi. Her family remains her most adored responsibility and a consistent source of energy and new ideas.
ThinkFun Home Office Team
Our employees put their minds and heart into everything they do.
And we couldn’t do it without them!
ThinkFun Distribution Team
Our distribution team works every day to deliver ThinkFun games to more than 60 countries and 5,500
retailers to serve millions of passionate fans worldwide.