2019 SPEAKERS

Sean Morrison

ESPN Associate Esports Editor

Sean Morrison is an associate editor with ESPN Esports and the site’s lead editor for all college esports coverage. A former college football and basketball reporter, Sean’s passion for the scene led him to craft a plan for ESPN to invest in covering varsity esports and the leagues that support competitive gaming at the collegiate level, including the College League of Legends Coaches Poll. Sean has been with ESPN since 2016 and has been with the Los Angeles branch of the company since July 2017. He is also an adjunct professor for esports journalism at Indiana University-Bloomington.

Marty Strenczewilk

CEO and Founder, Splyce SVP of Toronto Defiant

A longtime veteran of the entertainment world, Marty "Lazerchicken" Strenczewilk worked in theater, film, and television for over 10 years, primarily in New York City. Esports started as a passion when he began writing blogs and managing class guides for World of Warcraft. He landed his first esports gig at a startup, where he led production on one of the most successful first-time broadcasts of a World of Warcraft tournament. He then went on to found Splyce in the winter of 2014 with his wife Meghan Strenczewilk (Business Director) and his longtime friend Vincent Garguilo (Creative Director)

 

Twitter: Lazerchickenzzz

Jonathan Schrader

National Lead for Digital and Social Media for National Sales at Learfield IMG College

Jonathan Schrader is the National Lead for Digital and Social Media for National Sales at Learfield IMG College, creating large-scale, innovative partnerships that leverage the best in digital media, social media, content, virtual reality, and augmented reality. In addition, he is Learfield’s leader and internal expert for gaming and esports, overseeing the development of its college esports strategy internally and at all of Learfield IMG's 200+ universities and conferences.  Prior to joining Learfield, Schrader was a Senior Manager at Wasserman for four years, creating sports strategies for brands, leading esports rights development and sales strategies, and managing rights and partnerships for sports properties and athletes. Clients included Riot Games, NFL, NBA, PepsiCo, and Airbnb. He is based out of Chicago and holds a Masters Degree from Boston University and Bachelors Degree from the University of Miami as a triple-major in Marketing, Legal Studies, and Political Science.


Twitter Handle: @thejonschrader

Kevin Hoang

Account Manager for Twitch Student

Kevin "Kebunbun" Hoang is the Account Manager for Twitch. Kevin currently works on the Twitch Student program and has dedicated himself to creating gaming and esports opportunities for students and universities around the world. Prior to Twitch, Kevin founded the Washington Gaming Association at the University of Washington and analyst at Team SoloMid.    

Twitter: @Kebunbun

Michael Cameron

Esports and Computer Systems Professor, Durham College

Michael Cameron is a full-time Professor at Durham College, in Oshawa Ontario, Canada, where he teaches in the Computer Systems department.  He is a life long gamer, former gaming journalist, and an Information Technology/Security Consultant. Michael was the Academic Liaison for Esports at Durham College, where he was instrumental in mobilizing his team to bring varsity esports and a broadcast-ready Esports Arena to campus. Michael is presently one of the leading thought leaders in Canada on esports education. He developing esports curriculum and academic at Durham College and serving as the Esports Coordinator on campus

Major General Frank Muth

Commander, US Army Recruiting Command

Maj. Gen. Frank Muth is the commanding general for U.S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he oversees about 13,000 personnel around the world who recruit more than 80,000 people each year to serve in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve. He commissioned in Army Aviation and has served for 33 years. The general has served in a multitude of positions and locations, to include Forts Bliss, Rucker, Leavenworth, Bragg, Campbell and Riley; the Pentagon; Hoenfels, Germany; and Saudi Arabia; and has deployed in support of Operations Desert Shield and Iraqi Freedom. Maj. Gen. Muth is a native of Columbia, Maryland, and graduated from Norwich University in 1986.

 

He has been instrumental in the Army's push to modernize the recruiting enterprise since his arrival at Fort Knox in July 2018. As part of this modernization, Maj. Gen. Muth established a competitive Army Esports Team and drove the development of Army gaming vehicles, which will travel the country to host esports tournaments and create awareness about Army career opportunities starting this summer."

Wim Stocks

CEO, Collegiate Starleague and WorldGaming

Wim Stocks has been a respected leader in interactive and online gaming since 1990. From 2001 to 2006, Wim was Executive Vice President of the “new” Atari Inc. (a roll-up and amalgam of Hasbro Interactive, Infogrames, and GT Interactive), leading and managing one of the most broad-reaching interactive entertainment publishing networks in the world. Wim was recruited to be the Executive Vice President of Virgin Gaming (now WorldGaming). In this role, Wim helped launch the company and develop brand, retailer, publisher, and technology partnerships. and platform in 2010, as well as a developed strategic investor, technology, game publisher, retailer, and other brand partnerships. In April 2016, Wim was named CEO of WorldGaming and Collegiate StarLeague, which was acquired by Cineplex in the Fall of 2015 (a leading movie theater operator having diversification into gaming, food/beverage, and other aligned entertainment and digital media businesses), and is presently leading the esports business, strategy, initiatives, and programs for the Company. Wim currently serves as COO of the International eGames Committee & Board of Directors, is a Board member of the MLSE & Ryerson University ‘Future of Sport Lab’, an Advisor and Mentor for Stadia Ventures, a traditional sports & esports cohort, a Board member of the emerging esports analytics platform

Nelson Rodriguez

Global Director of Media Industry Strategy, Akamai Technologies

Nelson Rodriguez, Akamai Technologies, Global Director, Media Industry Strategy

Nelson Rodriguez is a published author and entertainment industry veteran. He has helped launch one of the world’s first online video storefronts (Xbox Live Video Marketplace) and dozens of video games across every platform, including blockbusters like Halo 3, Tekken 5, and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, as well as indie titles like Tweet Defense and A Kingdom for Keflings. Nelson spent eight years creating award-winning digital marketing campaigns for clients like Ubisoft, Microsoft, Sony, and Hasbro. He has been a main stage speaker and panel moderator at dozens of global conferences, including GDC, NAB Shanghai, Gamescom, and Casual Connect. Nelson currently heads up Akamai Technologies’ media industry strategy.

Mark Brodie

Emerson College Adjunct Professor and Entreprenuer

Mark Brodie earned his BA at Bowdoin College and his MA in Integrated Marketing Communications at Emerson College. A digital marketing, media and technology expert, Mark has experience marketing an array of professional and technical services in markets including international territories as diverse as Europe, Asia, Central / South America, and the Middle East. 

As a fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) to a number of startup ventures focused on technology as well as improved health outcomes. Mark’s leadership, digital narrative, and creative skills are focused on helping early-stage ventures better define their mission, value quotient, and go-to-market strategy.

 

Mark and his team at KinesioLogic LLC, recently won their second patent for the Stair Assist Walker, a durable medical device that allows mobility challenged patients to ascend and descend stairs in a safe manner using a cost-effective alternative to home installed elevators, electric stair chairs and ramps.

 

When not working with startups, Mark is Adjunct Lecturer at Emerson College in the Department of Communication Studies where he lectures on Conflict & Negotiation, Management Communications and Sports Communications. He produces and directs the School of Communications Podcast, Campus on the Common. Mark is also an instructor with international projects such as the Rediscover Rosarito (Mexico) Civic Engagement project and the Emerson Blanquerna Center for Global Communications in Barcelona Spain. Mark recently produced and hosted an esports segment for the Sports Communications Department podcast at Emerson College. 

Yugina Yun

Esports Collegiate Program Specialist, Corsair

Yugina Yun is a Boston University CAS’16 alumnus graduating with a degree in Marine Science. Having been a competitive gamer for many years, she took over the gaming club at Boston University and helped host a number of intercollegiate tournaments for the Boston-local area. She has a passion for collegiate esports having worked with many community organizers and tournament platforms including Day9TV, SteelSeries, and for a number of Blizzard Esports projects including Tespa, Hearthstone Championship Tour, and Blizzcon. She currently works at CORSAIR as the Esports Collegiate Program Specialist helping to develop student programs that help students find their career in STEM.


https://twitter.com/HappyYugina

T.L. Taylor

Professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT Author and Director of Research for AnyKey

T.L. Taylor is a qualitative sociologist who has focused on internet and game studies for over two decades. Her research explores the interrelations between culture, social practice, and technology in online leisure environments. Her book Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming (MIT Press, 2012) chronicles the rise of e-sports and professional computer gaming. She is also the author of Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture (MIT Press, 2006) and co-author of Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method (Princeton University Press, 2012). Her forthcoming book, Watch Me Play: Twitch and the Rise of Game Live Streaming will be out this summer from Princeton University Press. She also serves as Director of Research for AnyKey (anykey.org), an organization dedicated to supporting and developing fair and inclusive esports. For more info about her or her work visit tltaylor.com

@ybika

Michael LaBelle

Pro FiFA Esports Player- NY Redbulls


Now aligned with the New York Red Bulls, the Major League Soccer team, LaBelle is now based out of New York and aims to change the way people view gamers.“The perception of gamers is better than when I started, but we still have a long way to go,” he says. “If you’re playing, it’s closer to being an athlete. If you’re creating content, it’s more like working as an entertainer. I want people to know we’re not just sitting inside all day, every day. I want to show that gamers are a lot cooler than you think.”

 

https://www.redbull.com/us-en/athlete/michael-labelle

Stephanie Orme

Lecturer, Emerson College

Stephanie Orme is an instructor of communications at Emerson College who specializes in the gaming and esports industry and culture. She is particularly interested in the ways games production, marketing, and player communities intersect and gender, racial, sexuality, and (dis)ability. She is the current Vice-Chair of the Game Studies Division of the National Communication Association and active member of Women in Games Boston and Boston's indie game community.

 

Twitter: @stephanieorme

Ahmed "Mel East" Kasana

NBA2K Pro Player for Boston CLTX Gaming Team

Ahmed is an all-around threat on the court as a Small Forward and team-oriented player. A lockdown defender that can drive the lane and work the ball around for open 3’s.  His 2K play style mirrors his traditional basketball skills where he thrives as a genuine player and teammate. Since 2011, Ahmed has been competing with oFAB, so they bring to CLTX Gaming a strong chemistry that has helped the team quickly gel.  Off the court, Ahmed stresses the importance of being a positive influence in the community and making an impact in Boston. Although he’s a loyal New Yorker, he’s always had great respect for Boston and is proud to represent the City of Champions.

Chris Allison

CEO of Geex.gg

Chris Allison is the CEO of Geex.gg, a student-focused esports, and recreational gaming platform. Chris previously worked for 5 years in higher education, running intramurals and on-campus recreational activities and currently serves on the Esports Task Force for the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA). Chris founded the 10th varsity esports program in the country at Southwest Baptist University and was a founding competition council member for the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE).

Paige Irvin

Captain of Emerson Overwatch’s B team

Paige Ervin is a junior at Emerson College majoring in media arts production with a specialization in screenwriting. She is the captain of Emerson Overwatch’s B team and is a member of Emerson Esports. In her spare time, she cosplays, streams on twitch, and overanalyzes movies

Alan Ritacco

Dean of the School of Design and Technology at Becker College


Alan Ritacco is the Dean of the School of Design and Technology and oversees, the first in the nation, Esports Management program, #3 in the world Game Design and #11 MFA Game Design programs, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Business departments.  Prior to his arrival at Becker College Alan worked in various administrative roles in higher education, industry, and the public sector including work as a computer scientist with a focus on High Performance Computing.

William “Amnesiac” Barton

Hearthstone Pro

William “Amnesiac” Barton is a Hearthstone player currently signed with Tempo Storm. Known as one of the best Hearthstone players in the world, he won the Hearthstone Americas Winter Championship at 15 years old, and has since taken prizes from various major tournaments such as the PAX East Hearthstone Showdown, DreamHack, and the 2017 Hearthstone Championship Tour. The American Hearthstone player plies his trade for Tempo Storm. Always a passionate gamer, William ‘Amnesiac’ Barton has taken the Hearthstone world by storm since his professional debut. His popularity exploded in 2016 when he won the HCT Americas Winter Championship in Los Angeles. After that, he honed his style of calculated play and added some strong words for his opponents to his game, which helped him tackle professional Hearthstone and high school at the same time. Barton balanced both pursuits to effect and even found time to produce a special esports TEDx talk.Amnesiac returned to the HCT grind in 2017 and continued to turn heads as the youngest player in competitive Hearthstone at 17 years old. Now he’s looking to use his enthusiastic and analytical approach to take him to the next level.

Andrew Cassidy

Director of Outreach and Implementation - Esports Professor

Andrew Cassidy comes to the CEX with more than a decade of marketing and communications experience. Andrew is currently the Director of Outreach and Implementation at Emerson College, internationally recognized as the nation’s premier institution of higher learning devoted to communication and the arts, where he is responsible for the marketing and communications strategy for its School of Communication. Prior to his position at Emerson, Andrew was the Director of Social Media at Miami Dade College in Florida, the nation’s largest and most diverse institution of higher education, where he led and oversaw its digital presence. In addition to his work in academia, Andrew is the president and founder of Cassidy Consulting – a Boston-based marketing and communication consulting company. Using experience garnered from across his distinguished career, Andrew has helped catapult brands and engages whole new elements of their communities. Andrew is currently an Adjunct Esports Professor in Emerson’s Department of Sports Communications

Lee Mucciarone

Microsoft Gaming Expert

Lee Mucciarone is a Microsoft Gaming expert focused on building the Boston esports community by providing hardware and technology to help to connect the collegiate esports community. Lee has a great spent a good amount of time hosting different LAN and online esports events in Microsoft store, local LAN centers, colleges, and communities with the goal of bringing esports to a broader audience. He is also the creator of a Massachusetts based Collegiate Championship Series where he aims to provide a unique platform for students to compete in esports competitions spanning some of today’s most popular videogame titles.”

Thomas O'Keefe

Manager, Brand Partnerships and Esports at Collegiate Sports Management Group

Thomas O’Keefe is the Manager, Brand Partnerships and Esports at Collegiate Sports Management Group. He works with college conferences and institutions in providing these organizations with growth strategies and revenue generating opportunities for esports. Thomas also works with blue chip brands on esports strategies and identifying partnership assets to help these brands grow.  

 

Thomas earned his Master’s in Sports Management from St. John’s University, where he was the Research Assistant for the College of Professional Studies and his bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College.

Andrew Fiori

Manager for the Boston Uprising Academy Team and President of Dramatik Gaming

Andrew Fiori has served as the owner and president of Dramatik Gaming for over 2 years. Dramatik Gaming currently boasts a roster of over 30 competitive players and streamers spanning titles such as League of Legends, Overwatch, CS:GO and Fighting Game Community titles. Recently, Dramatik Gaming has formed a partnership with the Boston Uprising to oversee the management and operations of the Boston Uprising Academy Overwatch team that currently competes in the Overwatch Contenders League. Dramatik Gaming also has formed a partnership with Vector Gaming, who will spearhead several esports camp in Massachusetts this summer. Andrew Fiori has over 20 years of sales and management experience and is committed to growing Dramatik Gaming as one of the premier local competitive brands in Massachusetts and New England.

Bryan Rasbury

Co-Founder of Balance Patch

It was in college that Bryan would meet someone with a similar passion and love for video games, Peter. Together they would watch the rise of small esports teams that would eventually become giants. But during these early stages of esports, it was puzzling to them that very few people contributed to the industry. The two could see the growth potential and what esports as a whole could be. It wasn't after college, once they had gone their separate ways, that the two would enter that world. Peter approached Bryan with a question and a thought, "What's missing in esports? Let's bring that to the scene." It was that moment that the vision for Boston's number one LAN and Gaming Center Balance Patch was born. 

Ross Magnant

Esports events producer and coordinator

Ross Magnant is an events producer and coordinator for Asylum Gaming and Esports, managing large and small scale gaming events from tournaments to conventions across New England; from the Boston Uprising Collegiate Cup, to Red Bull Battle Grounds and Arcade, to Bethesda's Gameplay Day at PAX East 2018 and 2019. Ross got his start in esports as an analyst and assistant coach for the Harvard League of Legends team 2014-2015, and he still finds time to coach Overwatch in the summers at the Asylum Gaming Camp in Patriot Place.

Tyler Combs

CEO, Super Nova Inc.

Tyler "TCombz" Combs is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Super Nova Inc., an amateur esports brand focused on helping develop young talent into future pros! Currently going on five years in the amateur esports scene, Tyler and countless other staff have helped more than a dozen players move from amateur to pro/collegiate teams. With a widely known brand in games such as League of Legends and Super Smash Ultimate, Tyler, along with his staff hope to continue the momentum of creating the next generation of pros and push the brand to new limits!

Austin Long

Founding Member, Omnia Media

Austin Long is a founding member of Omnia Media, YouTube's largest gaming network, and currently the VP of Gaming Partnerships and Strategy.  He oversees recruitment, channel growth, brand partnerships and franchise development for its 400+ creators. Austin also served as an executive producer on Omnia's newly released "Sidemen Show" on YouTube Originals.  

Landon DuMar

Director of Mental Performance, RPM Athlete Performance

Landon DuMar is the Director of Mental Performance for RPM Athlete Performance. He has experience working with professional, collegiate, and youth athletes in over a dozen different sports and performance areas. Within eSports, Landon has worked with Asylum Gaming & eSports (AGE), CLTX Gaming, and the Boston Uprising Collegiate Cup. He has specialized education and training in mindfulness including being a Koru Mindfulness Teacher-in-Training, Trained MSPE Instructor, and Trained mPEAK Coach through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. He writes a monthly “Mental Edge” column for Seaman’s Media in their New England sports journals. He is currently completing his Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Springfield College and has years of experience within youth mental health working in hospital, residential, and therapeutic school settings.

Jack Vandervelde

Co- Founder of Helix Esports

Since his early childhood, Jack has always had a passion for three things, sports, music, and video games. Jack has spent the last 5 years touring internationally as a singer/songwriter. He has opened for the Goo Goo Dolls, Plain White Ts, Spin Doctors, and more. Jack’s original music currently has over a million global streams and 100k monthly listeners. Throughout his travels, Jack recognized that the infrastructure for amateur athletes and musicians were key in developing the larger ecosystem. Identifying a major gap in the esports market, Jack and the rest of Team Helix set out to help shape the "amateur to pro" journey within esports. In 2018 Helix eSports was born, championing the mantra of "Esports for Everyone". Helix owns and operates one of the largest gaming centers in the country and has placed multiple strategic investments in eSports companies focused on empowering the next generation of gaming legends. Helix Esports has a controlling interest in the leading LAN center software company in the world GGCircuit. 

Willy Lee

Providence, RI

President of Brown Esports Team and Co-Founder of Evergreen Esports (League for all 8 Ivy League Schools)

 

Willy Lee is the President of Brown Esports Team and is currently a senior at Brown University preparing for a 5th Year Master’s Degree in Psychology. Originally a recruited varsity athlete on Brown’s Swimming and Diving Team, Willy quit after his second year and founded Brown’s Esports Team. Today, Willy teaches a class on video games and leads research that uncovers mechanisms that drive or inhibit partner selection.

Dan Lee

Events Specialist, New York Excelsior (NYXL)

Dan Lee is the Events Specialist for New York Excelsior (NYXL), the first professional esports team to represent the city of New York. In his role, Dan creates unique and engaging experiences for NYXL’s local fan base. Dan entered esports while he was a student at the University of Connecticut, playing Heroes of the Storm (HotS) at a professional level. During that time, he was invited to attend the summer retreat for Tespa, the collegiate esports organization headquartered in the offices of Blizzard Entertainment, where he was inspired to create and develop a gaming club at UConn. During his senior year, Dan served as Tespa’s East Regional Coordinator in addition to his role as president of UConn’s gaming club. Dan is thrilled to bring his expertise from past esports community engagement efforts to NYXL and the New York gaming community.

 

@danleefor3

Olin Hayes

Student Leader, Emerson Esports

Olin “Zyvon” Hayes, a senior at Emerson College, is the leader of the Emerson Smash Bros team and one of the founders of Shadow Series. He is a tournament organizer, caster, and competitor in Smash Bros and multiple other esports titles, working within Emerson College as well as with events around the Boston and New York areas. As a tournament/event organizer, Hayes has worked with groups such as CSL, TESPA, and the Boston Uprising. As a caster, he has worked at national tournaments such as Shine 2018, and regional events with organizations including House of 3000, Overclocked Gaming, and Big Blue Esports. Additionally, Hayes was an internationally ranked Zelda player in Super Smash Bros for Wii U, and is now one of New England’s best Olimar players in Super Smash Bros Ultimate.

Joe Dorant

Director of Sales Operations for Kraft Sports + Entertainment

Joe Dorant is Director of Sales Operations for Kraft Sports + Entertainment. KS+E owns and operates the Boston Uprising, an inaugural team of the Overwatch League. Joe leads a team of sales support staff that play an integral role in securing sponsorships across all KS+E entities, including football, soccer, and esports. Joe spent the first 12 years of his career in finance and accounting and made the jump to marketing and sales operations in 2017. Since the inception of the Boston Uprising, Joe has been a key player in the business operations of the team by building partnerships with valuable media partners, organizing events, and consulting with other important members of the esports industry to help drive the ideas and goals of the Boston Uprising.

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