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Curated Collection Of The Best Interviews From Our Sandy Springs Studio





Biz Radio U Featuring Gary Austin with OneCare

Biz Radio U
KSUEntrepreneurship
Biz Radio U
Hosted by Adam Wozniak and Darren Parkinson

 

Gary Austin / OneCare
CEO and Co-Founder

Gary Austin is an experienced and visionary entrepreneur with 20 years of experience starting businesses, developing technology, building sales channels and raising capital.  He has deep experience in the electronic payment systems industry, and has been involved in the development of unique banking and healthcare solutions, products and transaction systems.

Gary is the inventor of the patent on merchant paid cash rewards tied to credit and debit cards and is the founder and CEO of HERO, Inc., a holding company managing intellectual property in the payment-card-based, cash rewards business. At HERO, developed client relationships with some of the country’s leading financial institutions such as Citibank, Chase Merchant Services, and Discover.  HERO’s Board of Directors included the chairman of MasterCard.  Under Gary’s direction, HERO introduced merchant-paid cash rewards, opt-out auto enroll marketing initiatives and Omnibus-Trust-Lockbox bank accounts. Because of these initiatives, the bank, the cardholder and the merchant were finally aligned. Today almost every card-issuing bank offers merchant-paid, cash reward cards. The patent was sold to a leading credit card rewards transaction processor for $10,000,000.00 in stock plus 15% of patent proceeds.

From HERO, Gary went on to become a co-founder of Clearwave Corporation where he invented a kiosk system that enabled patients to check themselves in and out when visiting their doctors. With the swipe of a card and entry of a 4-digit pin number, the patients were checked in and insurance eligibility was verified. The Clearwave kiosk improved patient flow and cash flow for medical practices, reduced claim rejections and decreased the amount of paperwork patients needed to complete. Today millions of patient self-check-in/check-out transactions are taking place each year through Clearwave Kiosks.

In both HERO and Clearwave, Gary raised more than $15 Million in early-stage, private and venture capital investments.

After Clearwave, Gary formed Austin Capital & Consulting, Inc.   Clients of Austin Capital & Consulting included innovative companies within the healthcare, technology, biometric ID and pharmaceutical industries.

In 2008, Gary became a founder of Symbionce, LLC.  Symbionce is a technology and revenue cycle management company performing medical billing and collections for hospitals and clinics. At Symbionce, Gary designed a healthcare payment technology and transaction processing solution, which replaced the legacy healthcare claims payment system. This novel process creates a healthcare payment solution that works similarly to credit cards. A patent is currently pending on this process.

In 2005, Gary was chosen to receive the CEO Diversity Award by the Georgia Minority Business Leaders Association.  And in 2007, Gary was selected to be a Keynote speaker and was recognized as one of the innovators of the year by the Georgia Chapter of The Healthcare Information Managers Systems Society (HIMSS), the largest healthcare technology organization in the US.

Gary is very active in his church and he enjoys music, hunting, fishing and cooking for his friends and family. Gary and his wife Reva, live in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Cory Hewett and Evan Jarecki with Gimme Vending, Rodney Koop with The New Flat Rate and Brandon Vallorani with Vallorani Estates

Brandon Vallorani Cory Hewett Evan Jareski and Rodney Koop

 

Cory Hewett / Gimme Vending
CEO and Co-Founder

While he isn’t your typical techie startup founder, Cory Hewett always had a vision, drive, and an ability to think outside the box.  His 10+ years of vending experience began back in high school after his parents told him if he wanted to drive, he’d have to buy his first car.  Not only did Cory grow his route to 26 machines, but he eventually hired a close friend to service the machines.

When the iPhone released, Cory was first in line (and is still Apple’s biggest fan).  This leap forward in technology sparked an idea in his mind: always be connected to my vending machines.

Cory ran with this idea and convinced his smart friend Evan to help him develop the technology.  They learned from hundreds of vending operators exactly what they were looking for before crafting Gimme into the award-winning technology it is today.

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Evan Jarecki / Gimme Vending
CTO and Co-Founder
Evan Jarecki was an electrical engineering intern working at Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah, GA when he first met Cory, a like-minded entrepreneurial dreamer.  While working together, Evan learned all about Cory’s vending business and they tossed around ideas to start a business together one day. That day came right before graduating from Georgia Tech, when Cory pitched Evan the idea to connect every vending machine in America.  Evan agreed.

He serviced a machine daily at Georgia Tech for 6 months before spending another 6 months in the field alongside a vending service driver, to learn the nuts and bolts of the business.  Teaming his technology background together with Cory, Evan has helped turn Gimme into the award-winning technology it is today.
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Rodney Koop / The New Flat Rate
CEO and Founder

Rodney Koop – CEO and Founder of The New Flat Rate, is a motivational speaker, author, entrepreneur, and solutions based enthusiast. Over the last three decades, Koop has founded and sold HVAC, Electrical, and Plumbing service companies. Koop is a Master Electrician holding 10 unrestricted electrical licenses and has helped to write and qualify exam questions for state board testing. During his career, Koop has contributed numerous articles and industry assessments to multiple publications and recently authored his first book. Koop is dedicated to challenging all audiences to utilize their brains in creative ways for growing their companies.

Working from a place of strength is Koop’s motto, where he believes success and advancement can be achieved with the right tools in our expertise. When he’s not advancing his company forward, Koop can be found on the trails riding one of his four-wheelers or traveling around the world with his wife Karen.

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Brandon Vallorani / Vallorani Estates
Founder

Brandon Vallorani is a practiced entrepreneur and accomplished CEO. He founded a five-time Inc. 5000 media conglomerate, author of the new bestselling book, The Wolves and the Mandolin: Celebrating Life’s Privileges In A Harsh World (ForbesBooks, March 20, 2017), and now has shifted his focus to Vallorani Estates, a brand of hand-curated luxury goods. Vallorani began his career in the non-profit sector, quickly rising through the ranks to become director of media, and then executive vice president. He simultaneously earned his Master of Business Administration, a testimony to his hard-working attitude and drive that would propel him through the rest of his career. He went on to boost revenue at another non-profit from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million per year in a period of only three years.

Vallorani graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in graphic design. He also holds of Master of Business Administration from Thomas More College. He lives in Atlanta, Ga., with his wife, seven children and two dogs. In his free time, he enjoys playing in casinos around the country and world.

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Biz Radio U Featuring Sven Cowart with Traxion

Sven Cowart

KSUEntrepreneurship

Biz Radio U

Hosted by Adam Wozniak and Darren Parkinson

 

Sven Cowart / Traxion
Head of Design & Engineering

Sven Cowart is the co-founder of Traxion, a business accelerator that focuses on supporting start-up companies by harnessing the collective power of our community by bringing local governments, corporations, educational institutions and individuals together to provide a solid foundation for early-stage companies to establish themselves, gain traction and thrive.

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Women in Technology (WIT) Special Edition

Kathryn Finney Sandy Welfare

The work of Women in Technology has an incredible impact.
Since 1992, Women in Technology has had a mission dedicated to promoting the advancement of women in Georgia’s technology community. Through the WIT COMMUNITY, WIT Also educates and encourages girls and young women to pursue careers in STEM.

 

Christina Beyer /  WIT 
Director of Programs and Events

Joining WIT (Women in Technology) as Director of Programs and Events, Christina serves as a primary leader in the organization with oversight of programs, volunteer services and events. Christina is a personable, detail-oriented manager with experience demonstrating improvements in sales and marketing efforts, operations, customer service ratings and team productivity.

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Kathryn Finney / digitalundivided
Founder and Managing Director

Kathryn Finney is the founder and Managing Director of digitalundivided (DID), an organization that invests in the success of Black and Latina women tech founders by providing them with the network, coaching, and funding to build, scale, and exit their high growth companies. DID runs the BIG Innovation Center, home to the BIG accelerator program, a 16 week program for high potential startups led by Black and Latina Founders. She is also a General Partner in the Harriet Fund, the first pre-seed venture fund focused on investing the untapped potential of high potential Black and Latina women led startups.

One of the first social media “stars”, in 2014 Kathryn sold her site, The Budget Fashionista, to a midwest media company and later was the editor at large at BlogHer (sold to Sheknows), a platform representing 40MM+ women influencers.

An honors graduate of Yale University, and Rutgers University, Kathryn received the Champion of Change Award in 2013 from the White House for her work increasing inclusion in the tech industry and is an Eisenhower Fellow. She’s also listed in Marie Claire’s 10 Women to Watch in 2016, Entrepreneurs Magazine’s “Woman to Watch in 2016”, New York Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award, SXSW Black Innovator Award, The Grio 100, Ebony Power 100, Black Enterprise “40 under 40” list, and inducted into Spelman College’s “Game Changers Academy.”

On February 26, 2015 she was honored by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer with the “Kathryn Finney Appreciation Day.”

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Culinary Atlanta Series Featuring Jay Bandy with Goliath Consulting Group and Eric Leland with DTT

Eric Leland and Jay Bandy

 

Jay Bandy / Goliath Consulting Group
President

As President of Goliath Consulting Group, Jay Bandy has built a broad foundation of expertise in the restaurant industry.

Jay’s record of achievement ranges from McDonald’s USA to RTM to BLIMPIE and now to full service restaurants. He has opened more than 300 restaurants; developed supply chain systems, strategic plans and restaurant operating systems; and trained area developers, franchisees and staff in all facets of the restaurant business. At each of his prior stops, Jay has been recognized for his contributions with several internal awards.

Through Goliath, Jay is now offering a full array of consulting and management services to the industry.

Jay’s broad-based background gives him the know-how to bridge the critical areas of strategic planning, operations, marketing, supply chain, and restaurant development. Restaurants are a complicated puzzle with many moving parts. Jay knows how to put the puzzle together and make it work.

At Goliath, Jay works with restaurant management to assess current conditions – both financial and brand-related. After developing an action plan, Jay directs all members of the Goliath team to deliver results that exceed client expectations. As an expert in understanding how the components of restaurant operating systems tie together, he will make sure that the team maximizes sales opportunities and profit and unit growth based on each client’s vision.

Over the years he’s developed expertise in communications, marketing and developing and rolling out new products. Jay has overseen operations at hundreds of restaurants, written training manuals and coordinated operations. Jay has done a lot of everything in each of his industry positions. He’s also a results-oriented people person, which gives him the skill to bring teams together to achieve their goals.

Before taking the step into consulting, Jay was the McDonald’s Atlanta region deployment manager and a member of the region leadership team. He was responsible for implementing new products and procedures in 755 restaurants throughout the Southeast. He was project manager for McDonald’s specialty coffee and drive-thru initiative — a $70 million project involving 650 restaurants.

Through Goliath, Jay continues to work with regional chains and franchisees but also has successfully consulted with multiple full-service restaurants in the Atlanta area.

Jay has a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Louisville and earned CFM certification from the International Food Service Executives Association. He’s also a graduate of McDonald’s Hamburger University.

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Eric Leland / DTT
Regional Sales – DTT Surveillance

Eric Leland is the Regional Account Executive for DTT Surveillance. He has over 10 years of restaurant experience in sales, marketing and promotion. He lives in Cumming GA with his wife, his two boys and his dog.

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Sean Reardon with Zenith and Moxie and Brad Shaw with Crazy Good Turns

Brad Shaw and Sean Reardon

 

Sean Reardon / Zenith & Moxie
CEO

A nine-year Zenith veteran, Sean has moved across multiple facets of the business in his nearly two decades of experience. From account planning, media and strategy to data, insights and technology, Sean is able to connect the dots across disciplines in a way that brings flexibility to our agency and our clients. While he considers himself a “big thinker,” Sean is a firm believer that big ideas are only as good as the ability to execute upon them. He takes tremendous pride in not only generating ideas, but in translating ideas into actionable outcomes that impact the bottom line.

In his freshman year as CEO for Moxie, he has attained a level of unprecedented growth in its 16-year history, adding American Cancer Society, Delta, TaxSlayer, Atlanta Braves and TGI Fridays to the client roster. With even less time since taking the helm at Zenith, he has rendered immediate effect with the retention of 21st Century Fox as a client and injected a tangible spirit into the halls of the company that drives innovation, collaboration and outside-the-box thinking.

Prior to taking over the helms at Zenith, ROAR and Moxie, Sean spent time at Publicis & Hal Riney, Goodby Silverstein & Partners and AKQA.

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Brad Shaw / Crazy Good Turns
Co-Creator and Host

Brad Shaw is host and co-creator of Crazy Good Turns, a nonprofit podcast that tells stories about people who do amazing things for others. Shaw retired from The Home Depot in April, 2015, after more than 10 years as the company’s vice president and chief communications officer, reporting directly to three CEOs during his tenure there. Prior to joining Home Depot in 2004, Shaw served as chief communications officer at Gateway, Inc.

Shaw is actively involved in philanthropic efforts and has served on various non-profit boards including The Points of Light Foundation, Ken’s Krew, Kaboom and the Metro Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Brad and the former CEO of The Home Depot, Frank Blake, created Crazy Good Turns together when they realized that through the power of storytelling, they could help ignite change and inspire people to give back.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. in 1988.

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Culinary Atlanta Series Featuring Skye Estroff with Taste of Atlanta & Robert Gayle with Chef Rob’s Caribbean Cafe

Skye Estroff and Chef Rob

Taste of Atlanta
Food that Rocks

 

Skye Estroff / Taste of Atlanta / Food that Rocks
Marketing and Media Manager

Skye Estroff is the marketing and media manager for Atlanta’s largest food festival, Taste of Atlanta. Skye manages all TV, radio and print media relationships, as well as strategizing and planning all social media. She is an Atlanta native, a University of Georgia graduate and an expert in Atlanta’s best food.

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Food that Rocks: For one night only, more than 20 of Sandy Springs’ favorite restaurants will be rocking the big tent in Hammond Park, in the heart of Sandy Springs. This all-inclusive event will provide you with food, wine, beer and cocktail tastes from local mixologists, local musicians and will benefit Sandy Springs-based charities Second Helpings, Ian’s Friends Foundation and the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance. Follow on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

 

Robert Gayle / Chef Rob’s Caribbean Cafe / Upscale Lounge
Executive Chef and Owner

Robert Gayle, the Executive Chef and owner at Chef Rob’s Caribbean Cafe, combines his Caribbean background with a Culinary Institute of America education, gathering flavors from around the world to refine a menu of island comfort fare. After spending his childhood in Jamaica West Indies, Chef Rob relocated to the United States and began to develop his culinary love at age 13 by working as a steward in Brooklyn.  Shortly after obtaining his culinary degree in 1993,  his skills and prestige steadily increased over time, allowing him to eventually assist with the openings of Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs’ New York and Atlanta venture, Justin’s Restaurant, in 1997. There he was able to deliver his culinary expertise for the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Akon.

Chef Rob’s mental Rolodex includes recipes for top-selling entrees and Caribbean Cuisine such as braised beef oxtails, ackee and saltfish, jerk chicken, curried goat, dry-rubbed spare ribs, and his signature spicy jerk seasoning. In addition to opening his Atlanta-based restaurant in 2006, the Chef Rob brand continues to grow with its wide selection of signature sauces, intimate cooking classes, and event catering options. He was recently featured on Atlanta Eats, April 2017, and continues to bless media outlets with his extraordinary delights.

After many years of success as an esteemed restaurateur, Chef Rob’s Upscale Lounge brings an exciting, zesty addition to Sandy Springs’ eccentric nightlife scene. The lounge presents tastemakers and professionals throughout the city with a unique experience. Guests will be treated to assorted tapas, cocktails, top-shelf choices, hookah, signature wine selections and the option of various VIP Packages. The couture ambiance seasoned with contemporary furnishings will provide host to an assortment of exclusive events, private mixers and social activities attended by industry influencers.

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Biz Radio U Featuring Ryan Claterbaugh with Mr. Mister Mosquito Control

Mr. Mister Mosquito Control
KSUEntrepreneurship
Biz Radio U
Hosted by Adam Wozniak and Darren Parkinson

 

Ryan Claterbaugh / Mr. Mister Mosquito Control
CEO

Ryan Claterbaugh is an entrepreneur from a small town in West Texas. At a very young age Ryan dreamed of owning his own company. He started Mr. Mister four years ago, and has since grown it into the largest mosquito control company in the state of Georgia. Ryan also owns a sister company, Peoples Pest Control, that was founded in 2016 to keep up with the growing demand to add household pest control for their current customer base.

Ryan moved to Atlanta in 2008 from Austin, TX. He and his wife married in 2013, and they had their first child last year.

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KSU Entrepreneurship Center The Shrimp Tank Featuring Tara Murphy

Shrimptank1

KSUEntrepreneurship

Where can a young entrepreneur figure out how to turn their dreams into reality? Just take a step into the Shrimp Tank. The Shrimp Tank brings you interviews with some of the most successful business owners in the United States to learn the do’s and don’ts of starting and running a successful business. Then, the fun really starts when we bring in high school and college students to pitch their business ideas to the Shrimp Tank. We don’t fund any business, but we do teach kids how to turn their business ideas into a successful business.

Hosts of The Shrimp Tank Chris Hanks, Ted Jenkin and Lee Heisman

 

Tara Murphy / 360 Media
Founder

Tara MurphyTara Murphy is the definition of a self-made woman. As founder and president of 360 Media, a leading Atlanta-based public relations boutique, she started on her own and now has a flourishing media and marketing company serving top-name clients. Since establishing the firm in 1996, Tara has become well-known as one of Atlanta’s foremost public relations and media mavens, having launched many of city’s top events including Music Midtown and Peach Drop. Renowned events like these, plus her dedicated work ethic and overall knowledge of what works, makes Tara a prominent in voice Atlanta’s entertainment, lifestyle and hospitality industries.

Earning her stripes as a successful public relations practitioner in the music industry, Tara headed up PR for notable companies including Ichiban Records, NMC Records and Concert Southern, where she successfully managed PR and promotions as an independent contractor for what would become Atlanta’s largest outdoor entertainment event, Music Midtown. Out of a simple need for space and a business name rather than an entrepreneurial plan, 360 Media was born in her former boss’s basement. Her reputation for creativity and integrity spread quickly and soon additional clients and projects came her way out of natural, authentic relationships.

From its humble beginnings as a one-person shop, now 21 years later, Tara has grown 360 to seven employees and expanded the agency’s services by adding culinary, lifestyle and hospitality clients to its roster. With clients and connections that span the globe, 360 Media represents some of the best culinary personalities, hotels, brands, bands, non-profits and food and wine events. Some notable 360 clients have included Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, Music Midtown, Voodoo Music Experience, BottleRock Napa Valley, Lakewood Amphitheatre, Charlotte Marriott City Center Hotel, Krog Street Market, Netherworld Haunted House, Miracle On Monroe Christmas Pop Up, ADAC, Renaissance Atlanta Airport Gateway Hotel, Jennifer Nettles/Sugarland, 10th Anniversary of the Olympics, The Atlanta Jazz Festival, W Atlanta Downtown, Cousins Properties, The Lawrence, radio personality Bert Weiss of Q100, Eight Sushi Lounge and non-profits such as Bert’s Big Adventure, The Frank Ski Kids Foundation, Grady Health Foundation and March of Dimes.

Tara has spoken to groups at many conferences including the Winter Music Dance Conference, Atlantis Music Conference, GA Chapter of PRSSA, Georgia State University, other universities and the International Festivals and Events Association Southeast Conference. Tara is also the recipient of several professional awards, including the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Best in Atlanta Real Estate – Retail, for Underground Atlanta (Public Relations mention); and a nomination for the National Leadership Award. She was also named as “One of the 25 Power Women to Watch,” and was nominated as one of Atlanta’s Top 25 Women by Rolling Out Magazine and has received leadership accolades by the MS Society and March of Dimes and has been featured in Styleblueprint, Jezebel, Rolling Out, Piedmont Review, The Atlanta Journal and Women’s Business Daily. Tara is also an active member in the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), was featured in the 2014 digital curriculum for Usher’s New Look Foundation about entertainment PR and landed on the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Book of Lists for “Top 25 PR Firms” in 2015.

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