Keynote & Speakers

John Romero - 2021 ECGC speaker

John Romero

Game Director, Romero Games

John Romero is an award-winning game programmer, designer and level designer whose work spans over 130 games, 108 of which have been published commercially. Romero is the “father of first-person shooters” having led the design and contributed to the programming …

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Josh Fairhurst - 2022 ECGC speaker

Josh Fairhurst

Co-founder and CEO, Limited Run Games and Mighty Rabbit Studios

Josh started his gaming career in 2008 as a tester on Gears of War 2 while in his third year at NC State University. Upon graduating, Josh founded Mighty Rabbit Studios to develop his own games. In late 2015 …

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Wim Stocks - 2021 ECGC speaker

Wim Stocks

SVP, Partnerships & Commercial, Belong Gaming & Vindex

Experienced CEO & GM with a demonstrated history of success and accomplishments in the esports, gaming, and entertainment industries.

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Justin Johnson

Justin Johnson

TGI Education Lead; Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator of Art + Design, NCSU

Justin is an Assistant Professor of Art + Design and Doctor of Design practitioner at North Carolina State University. With over 13 years of experience in the game industry in a variety of roles including: level designer, environment artist, lead environment artist, character artist, and UI designer …

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Brad Swearingen - Game Art Committee

Brad Swearingen

Professor, Simulation and Game Development - WTCC

Brad Swearingen has been instructing students in 3d and game related topics for over 20 years. He is currently a Professor in Wake Tech Community College’s Simulation and Game Development …

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Toiya Kristen Finley - 2021 ECGC speaker

Toiya Kristen Finley

Writer, Editor, Game Designer ..., Schnoodle Media LLC

Nashville native Toiya Kristen Finley is a writer, editor, game designer, and narrative designer/game writer. With a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing, Toiya has nearly 70 published works …

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Ben McDougal - 2021 ECGC speaker

Ben McDougal

Co-Founder & CEO, Jet Set Studio

Ben McDougal is a tech founder, entrepreneurial ecosystem builder and inspired author. He co-founded Jet Set Studio in 2007 and launched a social network …

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Sergio Conti - 2021 ECGC speaker

Sergio Conti

Co-founder & Lead Artist, Broken Name Games

Sergio Conti is an environment artist and game instructor based out of Fairfax, VA. Currently, he is the co-founder and lead artist of Broken Name Games. There, he is building the world of the food truck simulation game …

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Alexander Goldberg - 2021 ECGC speaker

Alexander Goldberg

Co-founder & Lead Programmer, Broken Name Games

Alexander is a game designer, programmer, D&D player, and cat enthusiast. He is one of the founders and lead programmer for the three-person indie game studio Broken Name Games where he works on developing …

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Dorothy Phoenix - 2021 ECGC speaker

Dorothy Phoenix

Founder, Cloudy Heaven Games

Dorothy is a game developer and the owner of Cloudy Heaven Games, a small game development startup. Prior to starting Cloudy Heaven Games, Dorothy worked professionally as a software engineer …

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Alexander Brazie - 2021 ECGC speaker

Alexander Brazie

Co-Founder/mentor at Game Design Skill | Founder/CEO at Atomach

Alex (a.k.a. Xelnath) is a gameplay mechanics and systems designer with a history of work in studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, Microsoft, and Moon Studios.

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Adam Kling - 2021 ECGC speaker

Adam Kling

CEO, FYX Gaming

Adam leads the team building the FYX game technology company and platform. The FYX platform was born when they realized Ethereum/Enjin was a dead-end technology with scaling issues …

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Heather Ouida - 2021 ECGC speaker

Heather Ouida

CEO & Co-founder, the*gameHERs

A serial entrepreneur, Heather is the CEO and co-founder of the*gameHERs: a social networking and media platform for women who game and who work in the gaming space.

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Verta Maloney - 2021 ECGC speaker

Verta Maloney

CCO & Co-Founder, the*gameHERs

In addition to being the chief community officer at the*gameHERs, Verta also runs her own business helping individuals and organizations share their racial autobiographies and stories in order to act on …

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Laura Deutsch - 2021 ECGC speaker

Laura Deutsch

COO & Co-Founder, the*gameHERs

Laura, a serial entrepreneur, co-founded the*gameHERs in response to the need for an outlet for female gamers to congregate and socialize, share war stories, define their needs, and give …

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Rebecca Dixon - 2021 ECGC speaker

Rebecca Dixon

CMO & Co-Founder, the*gameHERs

Rebecca is an entrepreneur and marketing executive with a passion for businesses and organizations that support and amplify women. At the*gameHERs, Rebecca is …

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Amanda Gardner - 2021 ECGC speaker

Amanda Gardner

Narrative Director, The Deep End Games

Narrative Director at the Deep End Games, writer of the award-winning indie title Perception, and nationally-recognized wellness speaker, Amanda Gardner loves a good story and a hot cup of tea.

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Gabriel Pappalardo - 2021 ECGC speaker

Gabriel Pappalardo

Founder/Creative Director, Six Wing Studios

Dr. Gabe Pappalardo is the Founder and Creative Director of Six Wing Studios, a Raleigh-based creative studio making video-games …

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David Klingler - 2021, 2022 ECGC speaker

David Klingler

Founder & President, Solanimus Games

Hi I’m David, and as you can see, I don’t write about myself in third-person. I founded Solanimus in 2011, NonZeroSoul in 2019, co-founded Integrity Metric Systems in 2020, and co-founded …

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Charlie Breakiron - 2021 ECGC speaker

Charlie Breakiron

Owner & Artist, BREAKIRON® Animation&Design, LLC

BREAKIRON has its roots in Charlie Breakiron’s extensive experience as a freelancer and an instructor serving the industry in Los Angeles, Dallas, Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Koblenz, Germany.

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Brandon Crews - 2021 ECGC speaker

Brandon Crews

Assistant Professor of Simulation and Game Design, William Peace University

Brandon is from Tarboro, NC and lives in Garner, NC. He is an assistant professor of Simulation and Game Design at William Peace University and a technical animator who focuses on 3D character rigging, animation …

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David Schultz - 2022 ECGC speaker

David Schultz

Expert Environment Artist, Red Storm Entertainment (Ubisoft)

I first learned digital art in 2004 as an Intern at a small studio in Asheville, NC. I worked for a few years as a freelance artist and in various non art-related jobs, before becoming an Environment Artist …

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Ken Hubbell - 2022 ECGC speaker

Kenneth Hubbell

Owner, Wish and a Prayer Studio

Ken cut his teeth creating games for learning back when playing with rocks was fun. He had the fortune of working with Tom Clancy, Michael Crichton, NASA …

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Robin-Koman - 2021 ECGC speaker

Robin Koman

Lead Designer & Department Chair, Story Tonic & Full Sail University

Robin Koman is an designer, author, and educator focused upon the power of various media, including games, film, and literature, to prompt positive social change even as they serve an entertainment function.

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Juan Escudero Gómez - 2021 ECGC speaker

Juan Escudero Gómez

CTO & Co-Founder, Friday Mood

I work leading the development side of Friday Mood, a game outsourcing company where we create amazing mobile games for our clients. My commitment is …

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Ethan Levy - 2021 ECGC speaker

Ethan Levy

Executive Producer - N3TWORK Studios

Ethan Levy is a 20 year veteran game designer and producer who has contributed to over 70 shipped games across every genre and platform. He has worked at companies including EA, BioWare …

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John Corn - 2021 ECGC speaker

John Corn

Developer, Cheap Ramen Games

John Corn is an experienced game developer, designer, and professional juicer. Currently, at Cheap Ramen Games, he focuses on building games with …

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Michael Everett - 2021 ECGC speaker

Michael Everett

President, ITSS Inc.

Michael Everett founded ITSS in 2002 providing information technology business solutions to medium sized corporate clients nationwide. Starting in 2006 ITSS began producing live esports …

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Annette Stavenow Eriksson & Tommy Persson - 2021 ECGC speakers

Tommy Persson

Video Game Lawyer & Founder,

Tommy holds both Swedish and American Law Degrees and is a member of the New York Bar Association. He is the Founder of, a law firm specialized in video game law, and has been practicing law since …

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Alexander Paschall - 2021 ECGC speaker

Alexander Paschall

Unreal Engine Trainer, Epic Games

Alexander teaches UE4 development to AAA game studios, Hollywood cinematographers, automotive manufacturers, and students internationally.

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Tom Abernathy - 2021 ECGC speaker

Tom Abernathy

Studio Narrative Director, ArenaNet

At ArenaNet, Tom guides story development and execution on Guild Wars 2 and other projects. His major game credits include GW2, The Division, League of Legends …

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Amber Johnson - 2022 ECGC speaker

Amber Johnson

Associate Professor, Wake Technical Community College

Amber Johnson is an Associate Professor in Simulation and Game Development at Wake Tech Community College. She has worked in the game industry as an artist and level designer …

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Paxton Galvanek - 2022 ECGC speaker

Paxton Galvanek

General Manager, Funcom

Paxton Galvanek is the Studio HR/Operations Director at Funcom (makers of Conan Exiles, Conan Chop Chop, Anarchy Online, Secret World, and currently DUNE games). Paxton oversees Funcom’s Operations …

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Christopher Barney - 2021 ECGC speaker

Christopher Barney

Visiting Assistant Professor of Game Design, Northeastern University

Chris has spoken at conferences all over the world. He contributed his game design and programming skills to Pearson’s web based MMO, Poptropica …

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Matthew Hodge - 2021 ECGC speaker

Matthew Hodge

Assistant Professor of Music and Theatre, William Peace University

Matthew Hodge is an award-winning composer, award-winning bestselling author, and collegiate professor for 10+ years at multiple universities. His scoring …

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Beth LaPensee - 2021 ECGC speaker

Beth LaPensee


Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D. is an award-winning designer, writer, artist, and researcher who creates and studies Indigenous-led media such as games and comic …

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Richard Rouse - 2021 ECGC speaker

Richard Rouse III

Director/Designer/Writer, Paranoid Productions

Richard Rouse III is a creative director, designer, writer and consultant with a history as a Director/Lead at Microsoft Studios, Ubisoft Montreal, THQ …

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Danny Silvers - 2021 ECGC speaker

Danny Silvers

CEO, Lantana Games

Danny Silvers is an independent game designer, entrepreneur, and public speaker. He graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2009 with a BFA in Interactive Design and Game Development …

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Anya Stoyanova - 2021 ECGC speaker

Anya Stoyanova

Senior Marketing & BizDev Manager, Imperia Online JSC

Anya Stoyanova is а Senior Marketing & BizDev Manager at Imperia Online JSC, one of the biggest game developers and publishers in SEE, part of Stillfront Group. She is responsible for …

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Annette Stavenow Eriksson & Tommy Persson - 2021 ECGC speakers

Annette Stavenow Eriksson

CEO, Chairman of the board and President,

Annette is also the President of a Swedish film studio and been the Founder/President of several companies within the entertainment industry …

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Gregory Marlow - 2021 ECGC speaker

Gregory Marlow

Assistant Professor and Freelance Animator, East Tennessee State University

Gregory Marlow has worked in the animation and video game industry for over twelve years. He spent nearly five years at Firaxis Games (2K) in Baltimore, MD, working as …

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Pat Fitzgerald - 2021 ECGC speaker

Pat Fitzgerald

Associate Professor, NC State University

Patrick FitzGerald is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art + Design in the College of Design at NC State University. He has created and taught courses in illustration, multimedia, and animation.

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Ryan Grady - 2022 ECGC speaker

Ryan Grady

Assistant Professor of Simulation and Game Development, Wake Technical Community College

Ryan E. Grady is an Illustrator and Concept Artist based in Raleigh, NC. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art at Appalachian State University and her Master of Art + Design from NC State University. She is currently …

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Marc Russo - 2021 ECGC speaker

Marc Russo

Associate Professor, NC State University

Marc Russo has worked as an artist and animator in the Triangle for over 20 years. He is a professor of animation and interactive media with a focus on storytelling at NC State’s College of Design.

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Julie Demyanovich - 2021 ECGC speaker

Julie Demyanovich

Producer, Broken Name Games

Julie is a producer, composer, pilot, and YouTuber. She serves as producer on two independent game development teams. One team, Broken Name Games, consists of two fellow indie developers …

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Tobias Heussner - 2021 ECGC speaker

Tobias Heussner

Executive Producer, CI Games

Tobias Heussner is a Senior Game Content/Narrative Designer, Producer, and Writer. He has been working for over 20 years in the game industry. He has successfully developed and published more than …

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Jesse Scoble - 2021 ECGC speaker

Jesse Scoble

Lead Writer, Ubisoft

Jesse Scoble was lead writer on Hyper Scape for Ubisoft, and over the past 5 years has contributed to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Far Cry 5, AC Origins, and Watch Dogs 2. Before Ubisoft, he was lead writer on Wizard101 …

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Ryan Kline - 2021 ECGC speaker

Ryan Kline

Gameplay Programmer, Lost Boys Interactive

Ryan Kline is a Gameplay Programmer at Lost Boys Interactive, and previously worked in the department of defense for around 4 years on everything from VR and AR tools, …

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Charles OBrien - 2021 ECGC speaker

Charles O’Brien

Adjunct Professor and Principle Research Scientist I, University of Alabama - Huntsville

Dr. Chuck O’Brien has been the sole proprietor at Ceosol – a freelance contracting indie studio – for over 7 years. He also teaches game design, game scripting and project management …

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Max Litvinov - 2022 ECGC speaker

Max Litvinov

Senior Gameplay Engineer, Red Storm Entertainment | Ubisoft

Max Litvinov is a gameplay engineer. He has previously worked on a wide range of gameplay systems and mechanics for the following games: Cookie Jam Blast, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, Assassin’s Creed VR, and Tom Clancy’s The Division Heartland.

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Logan Williams - 2021 ECGC speaker

Logan Williams

Marketing Consultant, Indie Wolverine

For over six years, Logan Williams has worked with indie game developers and publishers on optimizing marketing strategies as a consultant at Indie Wolverine.

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Rachel Presser - 2023 ECGC speaker

Rachel Presser

Owner, Sonic Toad Media LLC

Rachel Presser is a game developer, writer, consultant, business educator, and speaker from The Bronx, now headquartered in Los Angeles. Former CFO and Executive Producer of Himalaya Studios, Rachel …

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John Parsons - 2021 ECGC speaker

John Parsons

Global Director for LiFi GTM Device Integration, Signify Corporation (Philips)

John is the Global Director for GTM Device Integration for LiFi at Signify Corporation (Philips), as well senior management for the LiFi Division at Signify …

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