These seasoned industry professionals volunteer their time every year to help the East Coast Conference experience. They work hard to ensure that the quality of the content and the experience of the conference provided is high-level. Their dedication is critical to the success of the conference. Read below to find out about the extraordinary members of the ECGC Advisory Board.
Co-Founder and Co-Chair
Troy has 20 years of experience in the gaming, learning and design industries and is an entrepreneur at heart. He has worked as an animator, lead application engineer, head of project management, and director of global production. His experience began in the seminal days of virtual reality in the mid ‘’90s. Troy helped spin out companies from Virtus Corporation that focused on creating business applications using gaming platforms. In 2001 he became president of his own creative agency, Bluemoon Design, which created interactive media, e-learning applications, simulations and serious games. After Bluemoon’s main client expanded their operations, they acquired the Bluemoon team to help run the global productions division. Through the years, Troy saw a gap in the marketplace for experts needed in the industries of learning, design, and gaming. To meet demand, Troy’s built a consultative practice at Vaco that supported those industries in building strategies and team structures with that core expertise. As the practice accelerated, more clients were tapping into the expertise that Troy provided to strategize and create solutions. Troy spun out the division and launched BLDG-25, Inc. a Software solutions company creating and execute leading-edge digital strategies leveraging their gamification collaboration platform.
In 2011, Troy was selected for the Triangle Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 elite class for up-and-coming entrepreneurial leaders under the age of 40.
Co-Founder and Co-Chair
Co-President of the Triangle Game Initiative and Co-Chair at the East Coast Game Conference
Long time facilitator and innovator, Walter began making video games with his Commodore 64 back in the early 1980’s. After one of his programming students wanted to know why he would have to go all the way to Florida to learn how to make video games Walter pushed to start a new curriculum at Wake Tech Community College. He started and directed the Digital Game Expo (DGXPO) in 2005 to help bring attention to North Carolina’s game industry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Game_Xpo
After returning from reserve duty in Iraq in 2009, Walter met with Alexander Macris (VP of Themis Group) to plan the expansion of the highly successful DGXPO into a larger event to be moved downtown Raleigh and rebranded the Triangle Game Conference. After a couple of years it was time to expand again and move to a larger venue, the Raleigh Convention Center. The East Coast Game Conference (ECGC) was formed. Walter has been a managing partner throughout and currently is Co-President of the Triangle Game Initiative, the non-profit that runs the ECGC.
Tom Gross serves on the Board of Directors of Triangle Game Initiative as its Treasurer, and helps coordinate the TGI’s East Coast Game Conference. He previously was the CEO of CDV Software Entertainment USA, Vice President of Sales for Atari, VP Sales Infogrammes, and VP Sales and Distribution for GT Interactive Software. He lives in Cary, NC, and consults to the video game industry. He also serves in his church and the Boy Scouts of America.
Cindy Foster is the director of the Simulation and Game Development program at Wake Technical Community College. With her team of industry experienced professionals, she leads the robust degree program that feeds many of the Triangle area game development companies. When not in the thick of encouraging students to reach their potential, Cindy hunts dead people and is the author of four genealogy related books.
Dana Cowley heads up marketing for Unreal Engine at Epic Games, where she works with the engine team, partners and developers to foster the success of the Unreal ecosystem. This includes shining a light on outstanding games and applications for PC and console, virtual reality, mobile, visualization and simulation, and film and animation.
Brenda Romero is an award-winning game designer, artist and Fulbright scholar who entered the video game industry in 1981. As a designer, she has contributed to many seminal titles, including the Wizardry and Jagged Alliance series and titles in the Ghost Recon and Dungeons & Dragons franchises. Away from the machine, her analog series of six games, The Mechanic is the Message, has drawn national and international acclaim, particularly Train and Síochán Leat (The Irish Game) which is presently housed in the National Museum of Play. In 2015, she won the coveted Ambassador’s Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards. In 2014, she received a Fulbright award to study Ireland’s game industry, academic and government policies. In 2013, she was named one of the top 10 game developers by Gamasutra.com
Career Lounge Lead
Suzanne has 15+ years experience in the game industry focusing in environment art with 18 shipped titles. She recently accepted a position with the Living Arts College as their Assistant Director of Professional Services. Prior to, Suzanne was the Lead Environment Artist at Vicious Cycle Software, Inc. for 5 years. She shipped Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends & Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations in late 2015.
In 2009, Suzanne decided to change up her 10 year career as an artist to focus on recruiting for the game industry. She joined the large recruiting firm Vaco as their Director of Design and Gaming, specializing in job placement and business development. Prior to recruiting, her passion has always lied as an artist. She was the Lead Environment Artist at Atomic Games and worked on the controversial game Six Days in Fallujah. Suzanne also worked for Red Storm Entertainment as a Senior Environment Artist for 7 years. She created environments on AAA titles such as the Ghost Recon series and Rainbow Six.
Suzanne has worked for the East Coast Gaming Conference as their Career Lounge Coordinator since the first year in 2010. She organizes and recruits industry professionals to host round table discussions and portfolio critiques. Suzanne has had numerous speaking engagements at local colleges as well as conferences in Raleigh, NC and Atlanta, GA.
Randy has over 20 years of professional experience in video game development across PC, consoles, mobile and handhelds. He’s a hands-on designer and creative leader who has contributed to major franchises including Command & Conquer, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, Lord of the Rings, Ghost Recon, America’s Army, Ratchet & Clank, & Breach & Clear. He has worked for several game studios and publishers including Westwood Studios, Red Storm Entertainment, Relevant Games, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts and Insomniac Games. Randy currently works with Gun Media as Executive Producer leading up the production side of their development adventures on titles like Friday the 13th: The Game. He’s a retro game collector, mentor, and staunch proponent of games for change.
The Central Clancy Writer for Ubisoft Red Storm, Richard Dansky has contributed to over 40 titles in iconic franchises like Ghost Recon, Might & Magic, Splinter Cell, Far Cry, and Rainbow Six, His most recent credit was on Tom Clancy’s The Division. Richard is also the developer of the 20th anniversary edition of the acclaimed tabletop RPG Wraith: The Oblivion, and has published six novels and one short story collection. A former executive of the IGDA Game Writing SIG, he serves on the advisory board on the Game Narrative Summit at GDC. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and their mathematically improbable collections of books and single malt scotches.
Serious Games Lead
Phaedra Boinodiris is IBM’s global lead for serious games and gamification at IBM. Since the start of her career at IBM she has incubated a game development ecosystem on IBM’s cloud, and IBM’s first serious games practice solving complex problems across industry. She is also the author of Serious Games for Business, published in 2014 by Megan-Kiffer press. Boinodiris’ earlier work in serious games are being used in over 1000 schools worldwide to teach students the fundamentals of business optimization. Boinodiris was honored by Women in Games International as one of the top 100 women in the games industry. Prior to working at IBM, she was a serial entrepreneur for 14 years where she co-founded WomenGamers.Com, a popular women’s gaming portal. There she subsequently started the first scholarship for women to pursue degrees in game design and development in the US. In November of 2015, Boinodiris was elected as a member of IBM’s Academy of Technology and has 6 patents in the gaming space. Boinodiris happily mentors business school students at her alma-mater UNC-Chapel Hill where she is also UNC’s 2016 Social Entrepreneur in Residence.
Lori is a young multimedia designer with skills ranging in web design, print design, motion graphics, and web media. Lori has achieved a Bachelors of Science in Digital Arts and Design from Full Sail University, where she has received numerous design awards as well as the Advanced Achievement award and Salutatorian of her 2013 graduating class.
In 2015, Lori moved to the Triangle area from Orlando, Florida with her newly wed husband so he could pursue his career as a software engineer for an indie game studio. Lori continues to build her portfolio by working for top name attorneys and an award winning Orlando marketing agency.