At 5 years old, Hunter’s engineering background started when he built room defense contraptions to protect his little sister from imaginary “bad guys” that would do her harm. From there, he knew he had a passion to build things to improve people’s lives. He attended the Georgia Institute of Technology on full scholarship to pursue an education in Mechanical Engineering. Before graduation, he interned with Pratt and Whitney for jet engine spray optimization algorithms, Sandia National Laboratories for nanoresearch, and PCS Phosphate, and he also helped to develop the first intelligent flotation device for toddlers and pets. After graduating at the top of his class with a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering, he led multiple software design, development, and testing projects with IBM. Hunter realized that unless you can wrap a business around a product, it would never be able to impact the world. That is when he decided to go to the University of North Carolina MBA school on scholarship to learn how to evaluate the viability of a business opportunity and how to make it successful. While in school, he worked with venture capital firms and startups to further hone his skills as an entrepreneur. He had the opportunity to work with faculty on a project for Boeing to commercialize a military technology before graduating with Beta Gamma Sigma distinction. Hunter’s passion for educational instruction has been an integral part of his life. Some examples include: multiple K-12 education programs (including entrepreneurship, math, science, and robotics), teaching assistant for 7 engineering courses, teaching assistant for 3 MBA courses, and assisting with curriculum design for 2 MBA courses. Hunter combined his engineering, business, and educational instruction skills with his passion to create products that improve people’s lives to give birth to Athena’s Compass.
Randy has over 22 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 & Friday the 13th. He has worked for many notable game studios and publishers including Westwood Studios, Red Storm Entertainment, Relevant Games, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Gun Media and Insomniac Games. He’s a retro game collector, mentor, and staunch proponent of games for change.
Andrew is a highly talented software engineer with a passion for game development. He has experience with developing serious games and purely entertainment games across multiple platforms, engines, genres, and styles. Andrew is excited to design and code the future of educational games. He has a BS in Computer Science and a BS in Mathematics from Carson-Newman as well as a masters in computer science from North Carolina State University.
Annie Moore, CPA
VP Accounting and HR
Annie’s strong public accounting and financial reporting background makes her a tremendous asset to Athena’s Compass. She keeps the company running smoothly by overseeing human resources, payroll, financial reporting, tax, and procurement. Annie has a BS and MS in accounting from Samford University.
Lead UI/UX Designer
Cody is an artist and illustrator with a diverse background in print and digital media. After spending several years as a 3D animator, Cody went back to basics and earned an MFA in Illustration from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He has since worked with Disney to create animated comic book apps, Fisher Price to create animated short films, illustrated a children’s storybook, painted several book covers and illustrated a comic book or two. In his spare time, Cody creates oil paintings of dragons and designs collectible card games.
Ryan is a talented animator with an eye for detail and a strong desire to constantly improve. He graduated from Living Arts College as Valedictorian with a Bachelor of Arts in Animation and Game Design. Ryan is extremely passionate about video games and has developed many of his own going all the way back to summer camps he attended while in elementary school. When he’s not at work making video games, he’s at home playing them.
Melissa is a 2D and 3D artist who studied video game design at the Art Institute of Raleigh/Durham. She spent years building up her talent as an artist and has worked with a multitude of mediums ranging from charcoal drawings to digital illustration and character modeling. Melissa joins Athena's Compass as an Environmental Artist to build levels and assets for the team and create a diverse world for the player to explore.
McConnell Golf - CEO, McConnell Golf
Mr. John McConnell is an investor and member of Athena’s Compass’ board. His experience includes co-founding and leading Medic Computer Systems through its initial public offering (IPO) in 1992 and eventual sale to Misys Plc for $932 million in 1997. As CEO and Chairman of A4 Health Systems he grew and sold Allscripts (Nasdaq MDRX) for $304 million in 2006. He was recognized as a top CEO in the United States for stock price appreciation in 1995 and 1997, and was inducted into North Carolina’s Entrepreneur Hall of Fame 2017.
IBM - Serious Games Global Program Manager
Phaedra is recognized by the IGDA as one of the top 100 women in the gaming industry for her work founding WomenGamers.com. Currently, she serves as Serious Games Global Program Manager for IBM, where she led a team of experts in the development Innov8 and City One game platforms. She is also the author of Serious Games for Business: Using Gamificaiton to Fully Engage Customers, Employees, and Partners. Bonodiris has been publish in Forbes Magazine, “Let’s Play! Turning Serious Business Issues Into Games” and has as well as holds multiple patients. She holds a BS and an MS from the University of North Carolina where developed her first serious games and spearhead the initiative to offer scholar ships for women who want to start their own careers. Bonodiris also speaks 5 languages and is a co-host for a gaming and all things tech pod cast.
DR. CHRIS HAZARD
Hazardous Software - CEO, Hazardous Software
Chris is an artificial intelligence engine expert and his research interests lie in multi-agent systems: robot coordination, simulated time travel and reverse computing, artificial intelligence, and Serious Games. Some examples of topics covered in Chris's presentations include designing math computer games, evaluation of reputations systems, and allocation of multi-vehicle systems. He holds a patient for methods, systems, and programs for simulating a scenario by updating events over a time window including the past, present, and future. Chris has been a reviewer for IEEE publications and has experience in quantum computing. As President and Founder of Hazardous Software, Inc., Hazard coordinates business and advanced game developments. At Kiva Systems, he developed algorithms for simulation implementation for combinational routing and packing problems for a warehouse robotics solution. Chris has a BS with honors from Valpraiso in Computer Science with minors in Computer Engineering, Physics, and Math and a PhD from NC State University.
DR. ANTHONY HYLICK
IBM - Technical Research Assistant to the VP of Systems Research
Anthony was a part of the famed Watson Super Computer project at IBM and is an expert in big data analytics. His current capacities at IBM include system and software architecture design for big, distributed graph databases. Previous projects have included incorporating novel tagging and classification schemes into parallel, distributed file systems; and designing hybrid storage architectures for maximum performance and energy savings. His technical interests include Infrastructure Engineering to support Data Science over Big Data, Graph Databases, Graph Analytics Processing, Distributed Graph Processing System Design, Storage Energy Consumption, Big Data File System Design, Power-Aware Systems, Server Energy Consumption, Storage and Systems Architecture/Configuration Design, and Embedded Systems design. He received his BS in Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology and his PhD at the University of Cambridge.
DR. JASON VAN HEUKELUM
Cabarrus County Schools - Deputy Superintendent
Dr. Jason Van Heukelum is the Deputy Superintendent for Cabarrus County Schools and oversees the Curriculum & Instruction Department with the primary objective of ensuring that every student receives an engaging and relevant education that will prepare them for life in the 21st century. Jason believes that great schools use a combination of academic press and high community to challenge students in a nurturing environment. Prior to joining Cabarrus County Schools, Jason was a teacher, school level administrator and district director. Most recently, Jason was the principal of Mount Mourne School, an IB World School with the Iredell - Statesville Schools. While principal of Mt. Mourne, he also served as the district director of International Baccalaureate education, overseeing three IB schools within the district. Jason's previous positions in administration include being the principal of Troutman Middle School where he led the school to be a top 25 "most improved" school in the state of North Carolina and was named the Middle School Principal of the Year in his first year as principal. In addition to public education, Jason took a three-year hiatus to South America, where he was the director of Highlands International School in La Paz, Bolivia.
Aurora Fund - Managing Partner
Scott is a co-founding Venture Partner of Aurora Funds and leads the IT investment team. Prior to forming The Aurora Funds, Scott was the Chief Investment Officer of the North Carolina Technological Development Authority, Inc. ("NCTDA"), a state funded corporation that supports technology based entrepreneurial companies in North Carolina. While there, he led the new venture investment efforts and performed portfolio company monitoring for the NCTDA's extensive statewide portfolio. Prior to serving at the NCTDA, he was at Criterion Venture Partners in Houston, Texas, as a General Partner for a $30 million pool of capital and with Golder, Thoma and Cressey, in Chicago. In addition, he has served as President of a venture-backed start-up company. During his venture capital career, Scott has helped close more than 40 investment deals including a broad range of Information Technology and Life Sciences companies. Scott currently serves on the board of StrikeIron, Inc. and has oversight on several other Aurora portfolio companies. Scott was previously on the boards of Solution Technology (acquired by Rodel), DataFlux (acquired by SAS), Porivo (acquired by Gomez/Compuware), Unitrends (acquired by Insight Ventures) and led the Aurora investments in Blackboard (NASDAQ: BBBB/acquired by Providence Equity Partners) and Accipiter, Inc. (acquired by CMG). Scott has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Duke University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
FORMER SENATOR HOWARD N. LEE
The Howard N. Lee Institute - Founder
Former Senator Howard N. Lee, Co-PI, President of Howard N Lee Institute, has written many articles on a variety of subjects with heavy emphasis on education, has contributed chapters to several scholarly books. He recently published his autobiography: The Courage to Lead, which details the challenges he faced in the segregated South of the early 20th century, his graduation from college, his Army service, and his eventual rise in politics. He is a graduate of Fort Valley State College in Georgia and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. In 1966, he was a key member of the staff of the Education Improvement Program at Duke University funded by the Ford Foundation. His primary responsibility was to create and direct a project in selected Durham North Carolina City Schools focused on enhancing the prospects of middle school students graduating from high school prepared for college. He has a long history of influencing education policy and enhancing student success in various roles as Mayor of Chapel Hill (1969-1975), a North Carolina Senator (1990-2004), and as Executive Director of the North Carolina Governor’s Education Cabinet. After leaving the Senate, he started the Howard N Lee Institute for Equity and Opportunity in Education. The Howard N Lee Institute has several programs, most of which recognize and support economically disadvantaged students who aspire to academic success in STEM courses.