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Curated Collection Of The Best Interviews From Our Sandy Springs Studio

Special Edition: OAUG Recap Show


Today’s Special Edition of High Velocity Radio recaps the recent OAUG Conference held in Denver, Colorado.

Christine Hilgert/Meeting Expectations 

As vice president of the Meeting Management Business Unit with Meeting Expectations, Christine is responsible for the day-to-day staff/client management and strategic direction of the unit’s staff, which is comprised of meeting planners, registration staff and contract management staff. Her focus is to introduce the latest ideas and opportunities offered by the industry to her staff and clients.

Christine has extensive experience in budget management, and has overseen client budgets ranging from $100,000 to $10,000,000. Christine has also facilitated speaker management for programs consisting of 30 – 350+ speakers. In addition, Christine has managed show floors with up to 300+ exhibiting companies and 100,000 gross square feet. She has also coordinated the fulfillment and management of many high profile partner programs.

She has experience working on meetings at hotels and conventions centers throughout North American, Europe, Asia PAC and the Middle East. Christine has been the lead venue liaison for programs ranging in attendance, 200 – 10,000.

Before joining Meeting Expectations, Christine worked as a multi-sport manager with Special Olympics of Georgia. Christine holds a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management from Florida State University.

Katie Pereira/Meeting Expectations 

Conference Manager Katie Pereira manages logistics, sponsorships and exhibits for a diverse range of clients.

Previously, she served at Meeting Expectations as a registration coordinator, handling multiple clients’ registration needs, including building online forms and managing on-site logistics. She also coordinated speaker programs for a large conference with over 500 speakers. Her clients include groups and companies in the technology and salon/spa industries, higher education, communications/marketing field, and a networking group for women in the STEM field.

Prior to joining Meeting Expectations in 2007, Pereira was a sales assistant at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta, where she was responsible for managing projects. She gained valuable experience in the hotel industry which she uses in serving her clients daily.

Katie has a Bachelor of Business Administration in hospitality management from Georgia State University.


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Raj Rajan with TiEAtlanta, Steve Brumer with 151 Advisors and Marc Gorlin with Kabbage


Raj Rajan/TiEAtlanta 

Palaniswamy “Raj” Rajan is currently the co-founder, Chairman & CEO of Virima Technologies, Inc., an IT Operations and Datacenter software developer serving the fortune 5000 companies. He brings more than 15 years experience in the technology industry and combines a deep understanding of current technologies with the ability to articulate the application of these technologies in various business contexts and models. A highly versatile and proven entrepreneur, he has co-founded several ventures including, Vigilar, Inc, a leading network security technology firm; eLaunchpad, LLC, an early stage venture capital firm/incubator focusing on Internet infrastructure and network security technologies; and Resourcis, an executive recruiting firm. During his tenure at Vigilar, he conceived the company’s business plan and methodology, raised venture capital funding, recruited a talented management team and grew annual revenues from $0 in 2000 to $32M in 2005 in probably the most difficult technology industry climate. Another previous success, VerticalOne, a financial aggregator; was sold to S1 in 1999 in a deal valued at $166 million. Mr. Rajan serves on the Board of Directors of the above companies and as well on the advisory boards of several early stage technology firms around the country. A leader in the business community, he is also involved in several professional and community related organizations. Mr. Rajan was instrumental in establishing the Atlanta CEO Council, a non-profit networking group of more than 1000 CEOs, CxOs, and investors in the Southeast. Mr. Rajan served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the CEO council from 1999 through 2011 and is currently one of its Board members. Mr. Rajan also co-founded and serves on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE), a national mentoring organization for entrepreneurs.

The organization will be holding it’s marquee event, TiECON Southeast 2013 on Saturday, April 27. The event marks the chapter’s 15th anniversary and to date is the largest one-day professional networking conference for entrepreneurs. Attendees have the opportunity to learn from workshops, keynote speakers, networking and even pitch opportunities. TiE Atlanta partners with other global chapters from Florida and the Carolinas to host the event. It is designed to introduce attendees from all stages of the entrepreneurial lifecycle to the essential skills and traits of the super entrepreneur – who is in relentless pursuit of success.

TiE supports entrepreneurs at all stages of the entrepreneurial life cycle with the goal to create over $100 million in new wealth by 2017. This is in line with Forward Atlanta, the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s plan to help ignite the region’s economy.

Marc Gorlin/Kabbage 

Marc Gorlin is a serial entrepreneur who has built several tech companies including Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) and VerticalOne. His dad started numerous small businesses when he was a kid and he saw firsthand the impact entrepreneurs have on the economy. He co-founded Kabbage to speed up the process of funding small businesses. He likes to say that Kabbage provides a small business cash more quickly than a bank can cash a check.

Steve Brumer/151 Advisors 

Steve Brumer has over 25 years experience in the wireless/mobile space and has unprecedented knowledge of the industry. During his accomplished career, Steve has been a dynamic entrepreneur with proven expertise in sales, marketing and channel development. His specialty is helping wireless/mobile products and services find the right distribution and channels to ensure commercial success.

Before joining 151 Ventures, Steve co-founded and served as CEO of Wireless Rain which helped wireless carriers, manufacturers and solution providers build channel programs for B2B products, machine-to-machine products, and professional services.


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Gary Price with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Kevin Martinez with Premium Capital Management and Victoria Watkins with East Cobb Business Association


Gary Price/PricewaterhouseCoopers 

Gary Price is an advisory partner with more than 28 years of experience providing a wide range of assurance, advisory and controls services to a wide range of organizations. Gary joined PwC in Cleveland, Ohio in 1983 where he served a number of public manufacturing clients. Gary participated in a industry based tour in the Firm’s public utility practice between 1985-1988. During his tour, Gary was responsible for both audit and advisory services to clients in the utility sector.

Gary was admitted to the partnership in Cleveland in 1995 and transferred to Atlanta in 1999 where he was responsible for delivering a wide range of services to a large, global transportation company. From September 2004 until January 2006, Gary served as the Firm’s Assurance strategy leader. In January 2006 he was appointed the Managing Partner of PwC’s Atlanta office, and in July 2007 he assumed responsibility for PwC’s practices in both Alabama and Tennessee.

Gary is actively involved in the metro Atlanta community with his focus and passion on improving public education. Gary is currently: the Treasurer of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; the Audit Committee Chair of the Woodruff Arts Center; Member of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Metro Atlanta; and, Chair of the Georgia Council on Economic Education.

Kevin Martinez/Premium Capital Management

Kevin Martinez is President and CEO of Premium Capital Management, LLC. He is the author of “The Book on Put Option Writing” and is a noted lecturer on the subject of writing puts to enhance portfolio value.

Kevin is a graduate of the University of South Florida and is a Life Member of its alumni association. He has also served as president to a number of civic organizations.

Victoria Watkins/East Cobb Business Association 

Attorney Victoria Watkins was born in the Motor City and raised in sunny Southern California. Victoria completed her undergraduate coursework at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia, and Reading, England. She graduated cum laude from the Georgia State University College of Law, where she was a member of the Moot Court Board and interned with the Georgia Council on Aging.

Victoria is a member in good standing of the Georgia Bar and the Cobb County Bar Association, is an Accredited Attorney with the Veterans Administration, and is an active member of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers and the Academy of VA Pension Planners. She serves on the board of the Cobb Services for the Elderly and the Cherokee Services for the Elderly, and is the current President of the East Cobb Business Association.

Victoria enjoys gardening with her husband, playing with her two children, knitting and reading mysteries.

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Special Edition: Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce

Debbie Fuse/Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce 

Debbie Fuse is the Executive Director of the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce. Debbie’s background was in sales management, and sales to the construction industry. Prior to that, she held positions in management in the hotel and restaurant industry. She led highly successful sales teams in the Southeast – from 11-28 sales reps with each position – and requirements of traveling up to 80% of her time. After two downsizings, she decided to redirect her focus locally and work within the community where she lives. She’s been in Dunwoody for 14 years after moving from the Baltimore area.

Kevin Holston/Holistic Consulting 

Kevin Holston is the Managing Director of Holistic Consulting. His practice focuses on enabling groups, organizations and companies to improve their health, well-being and productivity. This includes quantifying, evaluating and optimizing a company’s investment in its workforce. Holistic believes in Well-being Well-Business – a healthier workforce leads to a healthier bottom line. The firm performs assessments of organizational culture and workplace wellness programs, including evaluation of their data and metrics, operational plans and interventions – and looks for areas of improvement.  Holistic provides strategic planning services and provides solutions through its network of health providers and technology alliances.

Kevin has over 15 years of experience working in healthcare with payers, providers, healthcare IT and in the medical device industry. He is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, received his Master of Science degree in Applied Statistics from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the University of Tennessee.  Kevin is a member of the National Wellness Institute and affiliate member of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Janine Anthony Bowen/Jack Attorneys & Advisors 

Janine Anthony Bowen is the Lead Partner at Jack Attorneys & Advisors. Her practice focuses on commercial transactions involving technology and intellectual property. These include licensing and acquisition of technology; issues surrounding the protection, utilization, and commercialization of Internet-based assets; as well as cloud computing and data privacy issues. The firm also handles trademark and copyright issues and technology and IP disputes. Janine is a Certified Information and Privacy Professional with expertise in information security, web privacy, and data sharing and transfer issues.

Prior to practicing law Janine worked at Accenture and IBM.

Janine received her JD from Georgia State University College of Law and both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University.



Sandy Springs Chamber of Commerce

Lara O’Connor Hodgson/NOWaccount

Lara co-founded Nourish Inc, shortly after becoming a mom. Nourish is a brand dedicated to bringing nutrition, safety and convenience to young children and their families. Nourish introduced its first patented products, Nourish Baby – a formula-ready bottled water for babies (just add formula, shake, serve and recycle) and Nourish Toddler – a spill-proof bottled water for toddlers, in airports, hotels, entertainment venues and retail outlets across the US. While growing Nourish, Lara experienced the challenge of managing cash flow in a growing business and having to fund the trade credit required to support the growth. Not finding a solution that worked, she partnered with John Hayes and launched NOWaccount Network Corporation, the first merchant service that works for B2B and enables small companies to get paid NOW while their business customers still enjoy trade credit that allows them to pay later. NOWaccount is poised to change the way small businesses manage cash flow and to turn a portion of the $1.2T of trade credit that small businesses hold into cash. NOWaccount is currently the subject of a Harvard Business School case study.

Lara is an internationally recognized speaker & facilitator, leading seminars on creativity, diversity & innovation. Internationally, Lara has worked in Koriyama, Japan with the U.S. Defense Department’s EAGLE Japan Program and served as the Ambassador to Lebanon for the 1996 Olympic Games.

Lara received an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a BS in Aerospace Engineering with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She was featured in USA Today as one of the top 20 students in the US and was the ODK National Leader of the Year. Lara was a scholarship member of the varsity Track & Field team at Georgia Tech.

Lara has served on many public and private Boards including: ACE Loans, Atlanta Heights Charter School, Flag Bank, Georgia Tech’s Alexander Tharpe Fund, Society of International Business Fellows and HERO for Children. Lara is a member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2005 and the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2004. Lara teaches Real Estate Finance as an adjunct professor in Georgia Tech’s MBA Program. Lara was appointed by the Governor of Georgia to serve on the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) Board and the Transit Planning Board, and she was recently honored by the Georgia Tech Athletic Association with the Total Person Alumnus Award and by the  Georgia Tech Women in Engineering as the Alumnus of the Year. She is a member of the Georgia Tech Young Alumni Hall of Fame. Lara is a recipient of a Womenetics 2013 POW! Award honoring Purposeful Women.

Tom Mahaffey/Sandy Springs Chamber

Tom Mahaffey is President of the Sandy Springs Chamber of Commerce.

Andrea Settles/Weinberg and Associates

Andrea Settles is with Weinberg and Associates,  a commercial real estate and small business financing firm specializing in financing for NNN credit tenants, retail, hospitality, SBA for owner occupied properties, multifamily and industrial. They originate commercial real estate and small business loans and handle all property types – investment and owner occupied. Their business is connecting clients with the best suitable money sources for their particular needs.