Speakers Are The Heart Of WordCamp
Yesterday we gave a big thank you to all of the very generous WordCamp Sacramento Sponsors and today we’re continuing the gratitude with big thank yous to our speakers!
We’ve mentioned that WordCamp wouldn’t happen without the sponsors because you need money to host an event for more than 200 people. It also wouldn’t happen without the generosity of the speakers who give of their time and talents.
While several of our WordCamp speakers are local to the greater Sacramento region, many are from the Bay Area, Santa Cruz, Southern California, or from other states — and they all pay for their own travel expenses, including airfare, gas, hotel, food, etc. They also aren’t paid for their talk, which means they are investing their time, energy, and skills into planning, creating, practicing, and delivering valuable talks to further the collective knowledge in our local WordPress community.
Some of our speakers are seasoned veterans, some are speaking for the very first time, and others are somewhere in between — and they all have some great information to share with you this weekend!
Check out our lineup of speakers:
2015 WordCamp Sacramento Speakers
Russell Aaron was born over the hill (literally less than an hour and a half away from WordCamp Sacramento) in Reno, NV. He is the Lead Organizer of WordCamp Vegas 2015 & WordCamp Nevada 2016! He is a User, Developer, Enthusiast and Designer of the WordPress CMS. First and foremost, he’s just a fan. This is not Russell’s first WordCamp presentation and it’s definitely not his last. Speaking at WordCamp Events and giving back to the local community is something that he loves to do. “The good ones sweat it. Because sweating it makes you one of the good ones.” — Merlin Mann.
Peter is a partner at Modern Tribe, the digital agency responsible for The Events Calendar and Image Widget WordPress plugins as well as for large scale WordPress builds including Harvard Law, Stanford Law and Steelcase.com. Peter often leads large technical projects with budgets in excess of $500k. Peter is also a father, musician, artist, surfer and list maker with an obsession for google spreadsheet formulas (though not necessarily in that order).
I’m a originally a midwestern at heart who moved out to the great big city of trees to pursue my passion of working on the web. I graduated from The Art Institute of California — Sacramento with my B.S. in Web Design and Interactive Media. I first started off in web design then quickly came over to dark side and started working as a web developer.
Since moving to Sacramento I’ve interned at Digital Gear, was the lead marketing director and web developer at a Psychiatry firm and currently I’m the lead web developer for the Clinical Translational Science Center at UC Davis Medical Center. I’m very passionate about UI, UX, and ecommerce design and development.
Some non-web related hobbies of mine include long exposure night photography, backpacking through beautiful northern California, cooking, and rough housing with my two dogs.
Jason Cosper is currently employed as the Developer Advocate for WP Engine. Honestly, that’s just a fancy way of saying “he gets paid to talk to people about WordPress development.” Nice work if you can get it.
In his spare time Jason hangs out with his wife Sarah, divides his attention between two very tiny dogs, maintains the Force Strong Passwords plugin, organizes the Bakersfield WordPress Meetup, grills various meats, scours the internet for vinyl, samples assorted craft beers & whiskeys, and writes cranky tweets about the Lakers.
Nolan Erck has been developing software for 19 years. Starting in the video game industry working on titles for Maxis and LucasArts, then advancing to web development in 1999, his list of credits includes Grim Fandango, StarWars Rogue Squadron, SimPark, SimSafari as well as high-traffic websites for various clients.
Nolan manages the SacInteractive User Group, teaches classes on aspects of software development, and regularly gives presentations at conferences and user groups across the country.
When he’s not consulting or talking about himself in the third person, Nolan can usually be found working on one of several music projects.
Suzette Franck has been in web development for over twenty years; she started making hand-coded HTML websites on geocities with font tags and tables back in 1995. Since then, she has taught herself CSS, Sass, PHP, MySQL, and became a WordPress expert; evangelizing and presenting at over twenty-seven WordCamps across the US and Canada.
Sallie Goetsch has been online since 1985, hand-coded her first website in 1995, and discovered WordPress in 2005. She is the organizer of the East Bay WordPress Meetup in Oakland, California. She runs her WP Fangirl consulting and development business from her home in Oakley, which she shares with her husband and two cats. She has presented at academic and business events large and small and even at Assembly hearings, but this will be her first time speaking at a WordCamp.
Vasken’s 15 years of technology leadership and experience working in both the public and private sectors have brought him most recently to 10up, a leading WordPress engineering and design firm, where he mentors a team of 80+ engineers.
Before learning about WordPress in 2007, Vasken worked at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, in several roles ranging from desktop support to systems administration, and occasionally, adjunct faculty member.
In November of 2010, Vasken joined GigaOM, a leading technology news and research online publication, as a WordPress developer working remotely from New Hampshire. Upon moving to the Bay Area in mid-2012, he assumed the role of a team leader within GigaOM’s rapidly growing product development group, a position he held until joining the team at 10up in February of 2013.
Vasken enjoys creating natural, consistent user experiences that enhance and promote interactivity through simplicity. As a developer, one of Vasken’s strengths is his ability to communicate highly technical concepts in a clear, non-technical way in order to build understanding between various project stakeholders. This, along with significant experience across several technology sectors, has allowed him to lead teams and engineer successful projects within organizations ranging from small, independent businesses to public universities to online publications with millions of unique visitors each month.
A strong believer in open source technologies, Vasken has spoken and hosted panels at numerous WordCamp, NERCOMP, and EDUCAUSE events, on subjects ranging from Green Computing to WordPress-based centralized authentication systems. He currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in German Studies from Haverford College and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Plymouth State University, where he was also an adjunct faculty member in the Computer Science and Languages and Linguistics Departments.
When he’s not testing cache performance or planning projects, Vasken enjoys spending time with his wife, hiking with his dogs in the Bay Area’s many beautiful nature parks, and as a recent California transplant, is once again trying to find a good group of musicians to jam with in yet another new city.
Ben is Lead Audience & Revenue Strategist at 10up, a full service digital agency focused on creating amazing web and content management experiences with a passionate team of 125+ full-time strategists, designers and engineers working around the globe.
Ben has 10 years of experience as an entrepreneur, publisher and innovator, that make him well suited to 10up’s monetization, content conversion, and ad ops business. He has led product development, analysis and iterative design processes, while overseeing all business operations at The Sacramento Press and AdGlue. Ben has consistently stepped over the edge to experiment with new models for creating healthy media ecosystems.
In 2008, Ben launched The Sacramento Press as a new breed of local publication dedicated to rethinking how media interacts with a local audience. In just a few years, his team built an army of over 1,500 volunteer community contributors. During this time, Ben built the first independent online local ad network (SLOAN) that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for over 60 publishers. He was also a founding board member of the Local Independent Online News publishers (LION).
Rob La Gatta
Rob is the Head of Quality + Support at Modern Tribe, a remote digital agency comprised of freelancers + traditional employees. Coming from a background in journalism, Rob got involved with WordPress in 2009 as lead project manager at a Seattle company building blogs for lawyers on Movable Type and, later, WordPress. When he’s not working to support Tribe’s customers or building out the company’s QA infrastructure, he can be found bicycling or hiking around the North Bay.
Bernice “Be” Lee
Bernice began her journey as a self-taught developer in 1998, but stopped to complete a college degree and a graphic communication certificate. At the urging of a friend, Bernice attended a WordPress meetup in early 2013, where she caught the WordPress bug. Since then, she has attended 13 WordCamps, countless meetups, and continues her self-taught journey as a developer. She is passionate about helping others who are starting to learn WordPress themselves. Bernice currently creates websites using WordPress, focusing on development, design, and web strategy.
Chris Lema is the CTO and Chief Strategist at Crowd Favorite. He’s also a daily blogger, a public speaker, and product strategist. He helps companies leverage WordPress, and helps WordPress companies find leverage. For twenty years Chris has developed and managed high performing engineers to build software products — particularly SaaS products in a variety of B2B vertical markets. He’s also spent the last ten years coaching startups on product development & marketing strategies.
Dawn Pedersen first learned a morsel of HTML in Y2K, and it was the sunrise of a beautiful love affair. Her passion for great user experience has led to a career as the webmaster (how’s that for a Throwback Thursday word?) for Sacramento City College, and as a web design teacher at Art Institute and other colleges. Her fondness for WordPress began with a little self-hosted blog in 2004, and she has been a WordCamp fanatic since 2011. She holds degrees in art and education, and loves science to boot. Dawn lives with her husband and their son in West Sacramento.
Nikolay Shipilin is a web developer who received his Bachelor of Science in Web Design and Interactive Media from The Art Institute of California — Sacramento. He is Russian, with English being his second language, and with that comes an accent and a certain perspective on things. He believes in intuitive and functional web pages both on user and (UI/UX) and code-wise in terms of future support. He works for a company called i-Tul Design & Software in Roseville, CA in the technical support department, writing new code and supporting old projects.
Nick’s skills are in front-end web development and back-end & database architecture, as well as design and photography. He is passionate about… paying his bills and the rest he does for fun.
After working in marketing and business development for over ten years, Greg decided to pursue his passion for WordPress development and content marketing by starting his own company. Tired of seeing sites that look great but don’t achieve results, he founded Marketing Press to help business owners find the best of both worlds.
Zack Tollman is Application Architect on the WIRED tech team. Before joining WIRED, Zack worked as Technical Lead at the Theme Foundry and Senior Web Engineer at 10up. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Lawrence University and PhD from Washington State University. He currently lives in the Bay Area with his wife and dog.
Jonathan Trujillo is the lead web designer and developer at Tytanium Ideas. He has been building WordPress sites for a few years. He has a BS in Web Design & Interactive Media from the Art Institute of California — Sacramento. He is a Believer, Husband, Dad, and Star Wars Fan.
Luke Woodward is an engineering manager with 10up, a freaking amazing web agency. He has been working in the WordPress space for 4 years. While he enjoys code and difficult software engineering problems, his real passion is continuous learning. If he has some down time, you’ll likely find Luke listening to podcasts, reading, or writing about a variety of topics ranging from leadership and business to software and graphic design. This passion for learning has pushed Luke to share his knowledge. It’s absolutely true that the best way to learn something is by teaching it. Working through problems with others is the hallmark of a good day for him. Luke can sometimes be a little shy, but he works hard to make everyone know they matter.