Kevin Eichelberger is the Founder and CEO of Blue Acorn, an award-winning, full service eCommerce agency helping retailers and brands achieve eCommerce growth through a build - attract - optimize approach. A numbers driven entrepreneur, Kevin exhibits a focus on measurable success and a results-oriented approach that has led his Blue Acorn team to triple-digit annual growth since its inception.expanded bio
Founded in 2008, Blue Acorn is the byproduct of Kevin’s great passion and knowledge of all things eCommerce — knowledge he gained from starting his own online retail operation for which he single-handedly developed its platform, designed, and marketed the bootstrapped startup.
Kevin relocated Blue Acorn to Charleston from Atlanta, and has since grown the Charleston-based team to over 34 technology professionals, with additional growth on the horizon. Today, Blue Acorn works with worldwide brands such as Reed & Barton, DJO Global, Char-Broil, Speck, SmartWool, and Kelly Paper.
Kirk King is owner, president and CEO of CSS, one of the South’s fastest growing and highly respected technology consulting companies. CSS specializes in the implementation and support of Oracle software systems.expanded bio
Kirk King is owner, president and CEO of CSS, one of the South’s fastest growing and highly respected technology consulting companies. CSS specializes in the implementation and support of Oracle software systems. Over nine years ago, King plunged into the start-up world with a small team of fellow consulting experts he forged over years of industry experience. Today, CSS now competes with the likes of IBM, Deloitte & Touche, and Bearing Point as a global provider of systems integration services. King attributes his success as a technology entrepreneur to the loyalty and strengths of his employees.
Before starting CSS, King was Client Services Manager for ICS in Jacksonville, Florida. He was responsible for software and services sales, as well as project delivery and management. During his tenure, King’s team surpassed sales quotas each year and closed more new license business than any other business partner. This climax came with ICS’s closure of the largest deal at that time ever closed in J.D. Edwards' history.
King also served as V.P. of Operations for Oneita Industries, a Charleston-based apparel manufacturing company, where he managed Customer Service, Production Planning, Purchasing, Distribution, Transportation and Information Systems. Before joining Oneita, King worked for various Up-State manufacturing companies (including Springs Industries). During this period, he led multiple systems implementation and engineering projects in support of manufacturing and distribution process improvement initiatives.
Thanks to consistency, perseverance and profound respect for both customers and employees, King has created an organizational culture of excellence across the company. As an Oracle Certified Advantage Partner and Oracle’s highest rated JD Edwards partner in North America, CSS software experts bring years of industry experience in manufacturing and distribution to each project. This combination of skills provides a critical business end-user’s perspective to the complex task of properly implementing software. Since its inception, CSS has engaged in numerous process and technology engineering projects for companies like Giant Cement, Nucor Steel, Hill-Rom, CommScope, GlaxoSmithKline, Baxter Healthcare and Ball Container Corporation.
CSS was honored by the Charleston Regional Business Journal in 2003, 2004 and again in 2005 as one of the 20 fastest growing companies in the Trident area. It now employs approximately 100 consultants. CSS was recruited to Daniel Island in 2001 as one of the charter members of the Charleston Digital Corridor.
King has a BS degree in Industrial Management from Clemson University and CPIM certification from APICS (American Production and Inventory Control Society).
Eric Wages is the Site Operations Manager for Google’s Data Center in Moncks Corner, SC. Eric oversees the teams that are responsible for deploying and maintaining the many computer hardware systems within the datacenter that run the various Google services such as YouTube, Gmail, and Docs.expanded bio
As a professional in the lowcountry, Eric is an active member of the Board of Trustees for Trident Technical College and is also a large advocate for Science, Technology, Engineering and Match (STEM) education and training. Prior to arriving at Google, Eric was the primary engineer responsible for the deployment, operation, and evolution of the MACH5 supercomputer, the world's largest Apple-based computational cluster.
Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. is widely considered one of the most visionary and highly effective governmental leaders in America. First elected Mayor in December 1975, Mayor Riley is serving an unprecedented eighth term.expanded bio
Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. is widely considered one of the most visionary and highly effective governmental leaders in America. First elected Mayor in December 1975, Mayor Riley is serving an unprecedented eighth term. Under his leadership, Charleston has become one of the most livable and progressive cities in the United States. Mayor Riley has led a city government with an impressive record of innovation in economic development and urban revitalization, public safety, housing, arts and culture, and the creation of park and other public spaces.
Mayor Riley has held a number of national leadership positions and received many awards and distinctions. He served as President of the U. S. Conference of Mayors 1986-87 and currently serves on the USCM's Executive Committee. He served as Chairman of the Cities Task Force of the Southern Growth Policies Board, served as President of the National Association of Democratic Mayors (1988-92). He was given the Outstanding Mayors Award by the National Urban Coalition, the Distinguished Citizen Award by the National Association of Realtors and named the 1991 Municipal Leader of the Year by American City & County. Mayor Riley has received the Order of the Palmetto, been named South Carolinian of the Year, and given the 1982 Verner Award by the South Carolina Arts Commission for outstanding contributions to the arts. In June, 2000, he was awarded the first President's Award from the U. S. Conference of Mayors for outstanding leadership. In July 2000, he was honored as the first recipient of the Urban Land Institute J. C. Nichols Prize for Visionary Urban Development.
Through his lifetime of experience in Charleston, Mayor Riley has become a leading expert on urban design and livability issues and is a frequent speaker across the country on these topics. He was a founder of the Mayors' Institute for City Design (MICD) and has provided critical urban design support to over two hundred fifty mayors across America. Mayor Riley received the 1994 Thomas Jefferson Award from the American Institute of Architects for Public Architecture for "his exceptional leadership and 'Jeffersonian' vision in redefining the promise and, ultimately the future, of our nation and its cities."
Joseph P. Riley, Jr. was born in Charleston in 1943. He graduated from Bishop England High School, The Citadel (1964) and the University of South Carolina School of Law (1967). In 1968, Mayor Riley was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, where he served for six years. He and his wife Charlotte have two sons, Joe and Bratton.
Nate DaPore is the spirited leader of PeopleMatter. He is passionate about providing employees, including his own, with a rewarding workplace experience. Nate possesses 10 years of sales, operations and marketing leadership in the human resource and benefits software space.expanded bio
Nate was a principal at Battery Park Ventures, where he led strategy and investments in the healthcare space. Prior to Battery Park, Nate served as Vice President of Enterprise Sales at the highly successful SaaS software provider Benefitfocus. There, he led consistent triple-digit, year-over-year growth, cultivating the company to become the leading employer benefits software provider. He has created, launched and executed unique sales, operational and marketing strategies for SaaS business models and developed teams that yielded remarkable results. Being an avid offshore fisherman and private pilot, Nate rarely spends his time away from PeopleMatter on solid ground.
Mr. Grier Allen is the President and Co-Founder of BoomTown, a real estate software as a service (SaaS) company based in Charleston, SC. Allen has over ten years of experience in both the real estate industry and software development, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the nuances of forming and growing technology-based businesses.expanded bio
Mr. Allen was able to leverage his years in the real estate industry, web marketing, and software development experience to form a business, truly pushing the limits for web marketing in the real estate industry. Since its formation in 2006, BoomTown has experienced triple digit, year-over-year growth by focusing on a measurable and predictable method of ensuring a high broker/agent return on investment using their end-to-end web marketing platform.
Prior to BoomTown, Allen co-founded (2004-2006) SLANT Media. There, Allen gained experience creating effective web marketing campaigns and developing intuitive websites and web applications for clients from various industries. Previously, Allen provided consulting services in software development for large, residential real estate companies throughout the country (2001-2004).
Allen received his bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Clemson University in 2002.
Andy Howell as the Chief Operating Officer for Benefitfocus, a company that trades on the NASDAQ stock exchange. During his tenure at Benefitfocus, he previously served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the insurance carrier business unit as well as Senior Vice President and General Counsel.expanded bio
Prior to joining Benefitfocus, Mr. Howell served from July 2002 to March 2007 as Vice President and General Counsel at Blackbaud, Inc., a publicly held software company. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Andy was a practicing attorney with Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, where he focused on corporate and technology law. Mr. Howell received a B.A. in economics from Washington & Lee University and a J.D. from Mercer University.