Aaron is a designer turned developer, and agency starter. He has been working with WordPress since 2008. He has worked on WordPress projects with many Fortune 100 companies and many other businesses. He regularly speaks at Meetups and WordCamps and currently helps lead the Atlanta WordPress Meetup.
I’m a husband, father of five, and digital agency founder/owner, so I have crazy days and the kids keep me busy too. I’m a digital media strategist at heart, though I have background in design and development. I’ve been working with WordPress since 2005 and started an agency dedicated to custom WordPress design and development in 2010. We have worked on sites for everything from a Sewing Machine Store to a Fortune X computer company (guess if you like). I love to speak at WordCamps and Meetups and geek out talking about digital marketing strategy.
Alicia started her career coding on Prodigy and AOL and has worked in magazine, newspaper, TV, and radio — all on the online side of the businesses. Today, she’s the founder and editor of BalancingMotherhood.com, a lifestyle and food blog. She is also the Digital and Social Media Manager at Blue Ridge Broadcasting.
Anthony D Paul
I help build great digital experiences and software through usability research, IA concepts, and prototypes. Outside the office, you’ll find me spread across regional meetups and conferences—evangelizing IA/UX, accessibility, and a variety of open source dev projects. When I’m not doing responsible adult things, I grow the world’s hottest chili peppers and bottle my own hot sauce. I’d divulge something funny from my past, but these days the internet does a better job of surfacing our embarrassing moments; find me anywhere by Googling “anthonydpaul”.
Ben is an educator and web development professional. As a faculty member in the Digital Media Program at AB Tech Community College, he teaches courses related to graphic design, web development, and professional practices. As a web development consultant, he delivers web based applications and media for a variety of organizations. His website is: TheSprinter.com
President and Co-Founder of emagine, a 50-person WordPress-based Digital Agency. Bill started with his co-founder in 1996 (the dawn of the Web) as a typical “2 guys in a garage” web firm with no college degree and no money. Over the past 20 years, Bill has driven emagine’s growth to become one of the nation’s leading WordPress agencies focused on healthcare, high-tech, B2B and construction.
With a degree from ASU in Industrial Design and a lifelong passion for web development, Boomer Sassmann has been running Big Boom Design Inc, an Asheville-based design agency since 2007. Currently, Sassmann manages a team of seven employees and supports more than 300 companies across the United States. His passion for web development, coupled with a drive to “bridge the digital divide,” has resulted in a unique educational approach to empowering local business owners about the internet. He is a serial entrepreneur, designer, builder and all around maker.
Designer and Front End Developer at WebDevStudios. New father and lover of tacos and IPAs. Making websites since spacer gifs were a thing.
Asheville is my second home. I lived there for 6 years, I got my undergrad degree from UNCA and I have a cabin just outside of town that I am at least once a year. I LOVE Asheville and will absolutely move back some day.
Over the past year I’ve taken my WordPress game from hacky to legit thanks to an incredible mentor Chris Wiegman. I’ve created some cool plugins including one that got featured on the WordImpress blog recently and I’ve been asked to contribute to some big time plugins for Slick Remix recently and have been doing some work for them.
Cliff is a Lead UX Engineer at Pardot, a Salesforce company. He’s passionate about keeping people at the heart of UX, and will design, code, and research to make it happen.
He’s the co-founder multiple profitable side projects, such as Evermore and TuneDig. He co-organizes amUX, a morning meetup focused for local UXers. He’s an accomplished speaker who’s given talks around the world. He’s also been developing with WordPress for many years, contributes back into the community, and participates in WordCamps.
Clifton brings front-end web development and design experience to our team. He enjoys the challenge of creating memorable and engaging websites that provide functional solutions for our clients. He is a problem solver and likes working with the team to develop the best web designs possible. When he is not developing websites, he enjoys the outdoors and is a huge college football fan. Clemson is his favorite team.
Derek started DesignLoud, Inc. in 2011, which was right about the time he started using WordPress. He was fascinated by the WordPress community and eco-system so he “dived in head first” and learned everything he could about it. He now runs a business mostly built around custom WordPress themes and plugins for small businesses and major corporations.
Ethan is a home cook, hip hop fan, sports nerd, and cyclist. He lives in Durham, NC, where he makes a living doing front-end development with Cuberis. Front-end development was a natural calling for Ethan, because he’s happiest when he’s throwing both halves of his brain at a problem – this is why you’ll find him bashing his head into his keyboard.
Licensed Caffeine Therapist & Data Geek. Huge lover of dogs, tea, coffee, and cantaloupe. Wanders on purpose. Often gets lost while driving.
I am the organizer for the Raleigh SEO Meetup and one of the organizers for the Triangle WordPress Meetup. I have been building websites since 1995, and using WordPress since 2010. As a graduate of Enka High School and UNCA, I look forward to speaking at a conference in Asheville.
Jack works as a Design Engineer with the WordPress.com VIP team at Automattic. He has been building websites since he was 11 and has very gradually got better at it. Jack loves to drink good coffee and experiment with emerging front-end technologies. He lives in Keswick in the English Lake District. Most recently, he enjoys telling anyone who will listen that this was the location of Takodana in the latest Star Wars movie.
Joan is a marketing professional specializing in marketing communications and public relations for photographers, artisans, and creative businesses. Her background includes strategic and focused marketing planning, brand management, and public relations. For several years, she co-owned a photography gallery in downtown Brevard. She works with photographers, artists, and businesses throughout the Southeast. A favorite part of her business is sharing visual examples of how to market a business.
John is one of the Asheville WordPress Meetup organizers. He’s been building websites and teaching others how to build them since 1995. Currently, he is the IT Coordinator for the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program and helps several friends with their websites.
Jonathan writes a lot of plugins, and though he has little formal education with OOP, he passionate about learning and discussing patterns and best practices. He writes custom plugins for development agencies, maintains multiple plugins in the WordPress repository, and has many more on GitHub.
Josh is a senior web engineer at 10up and a total boss dog. He’s got a cute kid too.
(Julien wrote this Bio because Josh stepped in last minute for a speaker cancelation)
Julien Melissas is a web developer from Asheville, NC. He has been working with WordPress for 5+ years now and has grown quite fond of it. Julien is a co-founder and technical director at Craftpeak, a creative agency in Asheville, where he works on UI/UX projects, as well as full website and web application builds. He’s on the Roots.io development team and works on open source whenever he can get a second away from work.
Kate Newbill has been building websites since she taught herself HTML and CSS to dress up her eBay listings in 1999. She flirted with a few primitive content management systems before finding WordPress in 2004 (version 1.2) and has never looked back since then. Today she runs 2FishWeb LLC, a general WordPress consultancy offering design, development, security, and maintenance services, and teaches classes on WordPress. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, two dogs, and a cat, and is currently planning zero trips in hot air balloons.
Starting at age 11, I began my personal journey of learning how to make things happen on the screen. I fell in love with HTML and CSS. Through the early nineties to today I love trying new tools and ways to make the front end faster. I teach older adults computer skills, and teach kids and women coding skills.
Laurel is founder and lead developer at Status Forward, an Asheville based web design/development, and branding agency building custom websites using WordPress. She is focused on building forward thinking brands and innovative websites that help small businesses stand out from the crowd, attract desired clientele, and get real results. In her spare time, you’ll find Laurel kayaking, biking, hiking with her dog, or enjoying a local beer at an Asheville area brewery.
Leah has worked in SEO for almost 5 years. Her favorite part of her current job at JB Media Group is teaching businesses and writers how to not only connect with their audiences, but also connect with Google. Plus Analytics. Analytics is real fun.
Leah has previously worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a science writer and project coordinator. She loves podcasts, hiking, and her cat, Pepito.
Lew has been a Server Administrator and PHP developer for over a decade. In May of 2013, he joined the iThemes team as a plugin developer working on iThemes Exchange and iThemes Sync. He lives on a small farm in a small town in Georgia with his wife, three kids, and a growing number of animals (25 and counting). Apart from coding, he enjoys hanging out with his family, eating delicious foods, tending to his farm, and listening to podcasts. He dislikes illogical arguments, laugh tracks, and corporatocracies.
Lydia designs and develops custom WordPress websites with her company Lydia Roberts Design. She also advises on email marketing best practices and gets clients set up with MailChimp. Lydia looks back fondly at her first spark of interest in the web — in the late 90s, when Geocities and Angelfire were kings. She taught herself basic HTML as a young teen. Her hometown of Chapel Hill didn’t quite have the college she was looking for, so she headed for the mountains and went on to graduate from UNC Asheville’s Multimedia program.
When she’s not in front of a glowing screen, Lydia loves to garden, read sci-fi, and travel with her husband with the goal of visiting all 59 of our beautiful National Parks.
My name is Mark Bloom, and my business name is Ray Access. I’m passionate about blogging. My business partner and I have written over a 100 blog posts for our own website and hundreds of blog posts for our clients. We prefer WordPress for our site because it’s easy to handle and provides a super and simple interface to a polished product. As a professional blogger, I have years of experience preparing, writing, editing, and promoting blog posts. I’d love to share my success stories as well as my failures. Because you succeed by failing first.
I’m Matt Gibbs, a Virginia-based developer. I’ve been involved with WordPress since 2008, contributing patches to WordPress core and writing an assortment of plugins.
FacetWP was released in late 2013, and I’ve been a full-time developer on the project since mid-2015. I hope you enjoy using FacetWP as much as I enjoy working on it!
Micah is an Atlanta-based, full-stack developer committed to improving his craft continuously and sharing his insights with the development community. He is currently the dev team lead at Narwhal Digital and specializes in building websites and applications on the WordPress platform for enterprise clients.
I am a web developer based in Asheville, NC. I use my formal mathematics background as a compass for working with code and navigating the world of web development.
I love open source in general, and WordPress in particular. I also love learning new things and helping other people to learn.
Lead Developer at a small WordPress firm in Knoxville. I’m passionate about modernizing WordPress, improving its speed and accessibility .
Nancy Thanki is a photographer, filmmaker, and Happiness Engineer. Whether she is tinkering on the web or editing a film, she’s enjoys introducing users and storytellers to visual design and how to avoid the pitfalls of “en vogue” to create products that can withstand the test of rising and falling fashions in typography, photography, moving images, and design.
Nathan specializes in building easy-to-use websites that help small businesses, professional firms, and nonprofit organizations look great on the web. He is a regular instructor at iThemes Training where he teaches WordPress, Web Design, and Freelance Business Development via live webinar. He also coaches web developers individually and in groups to help them become more successful in their freelance businesses.
Patty Alman is a co-founder of Treetop Interactive, an Asheville-based web and mobile-application development firm. Patty first fell in love with technology as a kid in the 80s programming text adventure games in BASIC. Over the past 18 years, she’s worn many hats in the web-development industry, including front-end developer, information architect, user-experience designer, and project manager.
When not running Treetop, you’ll find her practicing goofy new tricks with her border collie.
Peter has been a programmer for as long as he can remember. He started coding on a Commodore 64, and after attending the NC School of Science and Math, he went on to graduate from NCSU with a degree in Computer Science. Now at Rivers Agency, he is their in-house WordPress expert. Previously, he worked on developing the All in One SEO Pack at Semper Fi Web Design.
Rich is the owner of Local Is Where It’s At, an Asheville-based Internet marketing firm specializing in local SEO.
He has been an Internet marketer since 2005. After selling his tech blog in 2014, he now spends his time helping businesses improve their online presence.
Russell is a notorious troublemaker. He is mostly self-taught in web development, sysadmin, and other IT-related disciplines. He has over a decade of experience with WordPress and is a supporter of Camps and meetups throughout the US.
Russell has spent the past three years giving his time (and blood, sweat, and tears) to educating the next generation of hackers, teaching kids (and some grown-ups) about coding, computer science, IT, and other STEAM-related practices including woodworking, 3D modeling, sewing, and hot gluing among other things.
When he’s not saving people from choking thanks to a handy maneuver, Russell is known to save clients from terrible websites. Now if only he had time to save his own website http://www.russellheimlich.com from the jaws of 2006.
Sarah Benoit is the Director of Training at JB Media Group and co-founder/lead instructor of the JB Media Institute. She is founder and President of Creative Original, Inc., a small business web design firm. She has been teaching and presenting on Internet marketing topics like social media, SEO, PR, WordPress, usability, personal branding, and more since 2006. She is also a continuing education teacher at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Sarah loves astrology, latin dancing, visiting new places, and hello kitty. She also recently presented at WordCamp San Diego.
Sarah Ovenall is a full- stack developer from Durham, NC. She built her first web page in 1995, using Pico and a shell account. Since then, Sarah has worked in theming and front-end design, back-end development, information architecture, and usability. Today, Sarah works for SAS Institute, part of the development team rebuilding the company intranet in WordPress.
I am a WordPress user for over 11 years and a WordPress consultant since 2009. I also am the organizer of WordPress Chapel Hill since 2010.
I have been honored to be selected to present at WordCamp Raleigh, WordCamp Hampton Roads, WordCamp NYC, and WordCamp Asheville.
It’s important for non-technical WordPress users to understand the setup of their WordPress sites — from managed hosting and DNS to connecting with Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, and Google My Business (location pages for restaurants, bars, etc.).
Having used WordPress since it was called B2, Will has been an advocate, a consultant, a developer, and an avid WordPress user for many years.
After creating hundreds of custom WP sites and a few plugins, his career took a turn toward cyber security. Since then, he’s enjoyed helping people and businesses configure WP websites to be less of a target for cyber criminals and evildoers.
Wolf Hoelscher is a web developer and a writer with Status Forward in Asheville, NC. After spending more than 15 years as a book editor, he changed hats in 2008 and learned how to code.
Now he builds custom WordPress themes and websites with the aim of helping his clients share their stories online.