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Special Edition: Atlanta Tech Village


Karen Houghton / Atlanta Tech Village Twitter Linkedin

Atlanta Tech Village is building a thriving ecosystem in the tech community. Our mission is to support and inspire entrepreneurs to achieve success through a community that promotes faster connections between talent, ideas and capital. Together, we will fuel Atlanta’s rise to a top five tech startup center in the U.S.

Melanie Crissey / Rigor and Startup Chicks Twitter Linkedin 

Melanie Crissey is a web developer and Client Success Manager at Rigor Web Performance in Atlanta. She helps organize a StartupChicks Circle at Atlanta Tech Village and blogs about things she’s learned at:



Turner Smith with Health IT Leadership Summit and Sanjay Parekh with Startup Riot


Turner Smith / Health IT Leadership Summit

Dr. Smith has extensive experience in the design, implementation, and training necessary to build successful telemedicine programs. Dr. Smith is passionate about innovative application of Health IT to increase patient engagement and education in healthcare, improve outcomes, reduce costs, and bridge the gap between patients and access to quality care.

He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Technology Association of Georgia, Health Society and is Chairman for the annual Health IT Leadership Summit in Atlanta. Additionally, Dr. Smith is a member of the Health IT Subcommittee and Public Policy Task Force of the Bioscience Leadership Council at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. He has presented at the American Telemedicine Association Annual Meeting and also serves on a working group for the Georgia Department of Education which is developing the curriculum for the Health Science Cluster to align with Federal Career Clusters and career pathways.

Dr. Smith received his Psy. D. degree from the American School of Professional Psychology/ Virginia Campus, an MA in Clinical Psychology from the Georgia School of Professional Psychology, and his BA from Hampden-Sydney College. Dr. Smith lives in Sandy Springs, Georgia, and he enjoys shooting sporting clays and playing tennis in his free time.

Sanjay Parekh / Startup Riot Twitter

Sanjay Parekh is the Founder of Startup Riot, an all-day event which highlights 30 startups through three minute, four slide presentations given by the startups. The startups subsequently answer questions from a judging panel for three minutes. The upcoming event will be March 4, 2015 at Terminal West.



Michael Long CIO Georgia Department Of Revenue


Michael Long / Georgia Department of Revenue Linkedin

Michael is currently Chief Information Officer for the Georgia Department of Revenue and was 2013 Georgia CIO of the year. Michael is responsible for enterprise wide information technology; infrastructure, operations, applications development, networking, support, IT governance, security and business development in support of the following revenue divisions:- Alcohol & Tobacco, Compliance, Special Investigation, Local Government Services, Motor Vehicle, Taxpayer Services, Tax Policy, Processing Center, Finance and Human Resources.

Prior to the Department of Revenue, he was Chief Information Officer and Vice President, Information Technology at USTravel, a large corporate and leisure Travel Company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael developed an overall corporate information vision and strategy, introduced a new CRM system and created a competitive business advantage through the use of leading-edge technology.

Prior to that, he was Vice President of Global IT Infrastructure & Operations at Knowledge Learning Corporation. In this role, Michael was responsible for the strategy, planning, direction and coordination of all activities associated with delivering reliable computer infrastructure, applications and networking services throughout the company. This includes voice and data networks, Windows systems, Computing Services, Change management and customer service, including Data Center Operations, Capacity Planning and Disaster Recovery.

Prior to that, he was Interim Vice President of Information Technology Service at WellPoint, a $40 billion healthcare insurance provider. There, he was responsible for the enterprise-wide IT and networking systems, from which he drove a total restructuring of the IT infrastructure and implemented a framework for financial reporting. Prior to WellPoint, he was SVP Information Systems for TCIM Services, there he managed 14 call centers with over 4,500 seats in the US and Canada, established strong relationships with vendors and maintained a 24-hour, 7-day a week call center. Prior to TCIM he was Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Group 4 Securicor, Plc where he designed and implemented a passenger tracking system for Delta and United Airlines and negotiated and implemented a new managed network service offering from a leading network vendor. Michael has also held key IT positions with Galileo International, one of the world’s largest providers of electronic global distribution services, connecting 44,000 travel agencies across the world and Carlson Wagonlit Travel, a $22 billion company with a network of more than 3,000 locations in 150 countries.

Jay Ferro / American Cancer Society

Jay is currently Chief Information Officer for the American Cancer Society (ACS), a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the American Cancer Society has more than 900 local offices nationwide and a presence in more than 5,100 communities. Jay is responsible for the people, strategy and operations of the Global Information Technology organization.

Prior to joining ACS in 2012, Jay served as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for AdCare Health Systems, a rapidly growing and recognized innovator in health care facility management. Jay spent the previous 7 years at AIG (American International Group), most recently as VP and CIO for AIG Aerospace, a leading global aerospace insurer. At AIG, Jay implemented numerous improvements that have delivered substantial value to the organization while managing significant organizational change in a turbulent market environment. In addition to his role as AVP of Information Technology with AIG Personal Lines, Jay was selected as CFO for Operations and Systems in 2006 and led multiple global IT Finance and Governance Standards initiatives that resulted in millions of dollars in savings for the organization.

Jay continues to be a thought leader in the Information Technology arena and is a frequent guest speaker and panelist, both in Atlanta and Nationwide. In recognition of his accomplishments, Jay was selected as Georgia CIO of the Year in 2011, and is currently serving as Chair for the Georgia CIO Leadership Association.

His commitment and dedication to community involvement is evidenced by the time and energy he contributes. In 2007, he founded the non-profit group, Priscilla’s Promise, in honor of his late wife, which raises funds for cervical cancer education and research, and currently serves as its Executive Director. In 2011 he was elected to the Board of Directors for TechBridge, an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization which helps other nonprofits use technology to improve their capability to serve the community, and in 2013 was named Board Chair.

Jay earned both his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and his Masters of Business Administration from The University of Georgia. Jay continues to be involved with his alma mater, both as a mentor for young alumni and as a member of the Alumni Board of Directors for the Terry College of Business.

Jay lives in the Metro Atlanta Area with his 3 sons: Trey, Connor and Alex.