May 27, 2024
Tarkiyah Melton of FilmHubATL

Moderator: Tarkiyah Melton
Title: Virtual Reality Presentation Specialist
Company: FilmHubATL

Bio: Kia is a highly creative and adaptive programmer with a passion for using Virtual and Augmented Reality to build futuristic presentations that wow consumers.

Using her broad vision and technical expertise, she identifies Virtual Reality hardward and software requirements that companies can use to brand and improve customer experience. She also designs and builds Virtual Reality applications and prototypes.

In the past, Kia has worked with big data from different platforms and industries. She specializes in transforming data, regression testing and data visualization.

She is result oriented, self driven, highly motivated, smart and eager to learn new technologies, methodologies, strategies and processes.

Chris LeDoux of Crafty Apes

Panelist: Chris LeDoux
Title: Visual Effects Supervisor at Crafty Apes LLC
Company: Crafty Apes

Bio: Chris LeDoux is a 15-year veteran of production and VFX. Hailing from Alaska where he was an award winning commercial director, he parlayed that into a visual effects career by moving to California in 2004. He became a successful compositor, and then soon after a supervisor for companies such as CafeFX, R!OT, and Scanline VFX. At that time his credits
included Sin City, Pan's Labyrinth, Spiderman 3, X-Men, Wolverine, 2012, and Super 8 among others.

In 2011 he launched Crafty Apes VFX with Tim LeDoux and Jason Sanford with a home base in Culver City, California. Crafty Apes has been successful as the sole FX house to films such as Hidden Figures and Award Winning Dominator- LaLa Land, among contributions to many others as well as television shows and commercials. Using his skills in VFX
supervision and compositing, Chris helped grow the company and led an expansion into Atlanta in 2014 where he now resides and is the head of Crafty Apes Atlanta. Most recently,
Crafty Apes has spread its wings in NYC as of summer of 2017.

Known for his tireless work ethic and clever solutions to riddles on set, Chris has supervised,and FX produced entire films as well as individual sequences. With over 100 credits, Chris has an extensive knowledge of VFX and production pipelines. This background and successin production gives him a thorough understanding of the process and the vision thatdirectors are attempting to achieve. He believes story is king and is always searching for waysto collaborate with every department to save on budget and make the directors and
producers smile.

Chris is from an island in Alaska, loves nachos and the Seattle Seahawks.

Scott Burkey of NBA Digital

Panelist: Scott Burkey
Title: Virtual Reality, Fantasy Gaming and Emerging Products – NBA Digital
Company: NBA Digital

Bio: For over 20 years Scott has provided technology solutions for brands across the country. Currently Scott delivers VR solutions for the NBA in Atlanta, Georgia collaborating with partners such as NextVR, Intel and Magic Leap.

Scott is also an advocate for hiring military veterans – Read his article here:

Carl Hanna, Ph.D. of PwC

Panelist: Carl Hanna, Ph.D.
Title: Health Industries Strategic Transformation Consultant| Blockchain, Augmented/Virtual Reality Enthusiast
Company: PwC

Bio: Carl has over 10 years of management consulting experience, with extensive experience in performance improvement, cost management and business transformation within the healthcare industry. He is highly skilled at developing innovative solutions to address client issues and advising on technology use to support decision making and achievement of business goals.

Carl brings to his work sound project management experience as well as a strong analytical background, excellent client management and interpersonal skills, and a demonstrated ability to effectively deliver multi-million dollar projects covering the full lifecycle of assessment, design, and implementation.

Carl has a Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech. He’s fluent in English, French and proficient in Spanish with work experience in the US, Uruguay and Ghana.

Carl has a strong interest in emerging technologies (e.g. Blockchain, Virtual & Augmented Reality, AI, etc.) and their applications in the Healthcare Industry.

Dana Xavier Dojnik of Foundry 45

Panelist: Dana Xavier Dojnik
Title: Strategy Lead at Foundry 45| Advisor to PolyPort | Invest Atlanta Creative Industries Board | Speaker | AR/VR Evangelist
Company: Foundry 45

Click here to support Dana’s efforts to support the beautiful Batwa people (formerly known as pygmies) of South West Uganda:

Bio: Dana Xavier Dojnik is an idea-generator and energy creator. Much of her career success has been leading teams through a creative evolution, primarily focused on innovation and immersive technology. She’s experienced across multiple industries and has worked with some of the world’s most beloved brands: REI, American Cancer Society, IHG, Georgia Pacific, AT&T, Liz Claiborne, Porsche, Southern Company, Ford Motor Company, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin and Starwood.

Dana understands that the 3D world is complex and integration with other frontier technologies like AI, Machine Learning, Robotics and Blockchain are imminent in order to be successful in the current digital transformation. Her personal goal is to bridge the gap between leading edge tech and non-profits who are ready to adapt and discover the multitude of solutions in the AR/VR ecosphere. In May, she traveled to Uganda to film her first VR/360 film about the Batwa people which will debut this Fall.

Dana is an accomplished speaker and moderator. Her featured talks have occurred at SXSW 2018, PRSA, Social Fresh, General Assembly, as well as various corporate other client events. She has 20+ years of experience in the digital domain, from her early New York advertising days to her growing success in the thriving Atlanta immersive tech scene. Today she is Lead Strategist at Foundry 45. Locally, Dana sits on the Invest Atlanta Creative Industries Advisory Board and is on the Board for the Outreach Advisory Committee for Grant Park. Nationally, she is a member of the AR/VR Association and is 6x century cyclist through Team-in-Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

James Ashley of VIMaec

Panelist: James Ashley
Title: Mixed Reality & AI Architect
Company: VIMaec

Bio: James Ashley specializes in designing and developing Magic Leap, HoloLens, ARKit, HTC Vive, Oculus and gestural experiences. ( He combines a background in academic philosophy, digital marketing agencies and enterprise software architecture to create innovative experiences for his clients.

He is a Microsoft Windows Development MVP. Before that, he was a Microsoft MVP in Emerging Experiences, in Kinect for Windows, and even before that in WPF and Silverlight. He also helps run the XR Atlanta Meetup.

James co-authored the LinkedIn Learning video course HoloLens App Development to provide inspiration and a kickstart for mixed reality (spatial computing) developers. He also wrote the Apress title Beginning Kinect Programming with the Microsoft Kinect SDK. This book gave thousands of developers their first taste of gestural programming and inspired a new generation of creative technologists working in the Microsoft stack.

He has a background in computer vision and machine learning. He is currently deeply involved in using the power of Artificial Intelligence to build better user interfaces in Mixed Reality.

James has never been referred to as the David Foster Wallace of bleeding edge technology.

In a previous life, he pursued a PhD in Philosophy at Emory University.

Joshua A Fisher of Fisher Digital Media

Panelist: Joshua A Fisher
Title: Ph.D. Candidate / AR / MR / VR / XR Design Researcher for Community Storytelling and Social Change / Consultant
Company: Fisher Digital Media

Bio: Joshua A. Fisher researches how to design community storytelling platforms that utilize emerging media affordances to facilitate social change. He collaborates with community leaders, artists, writers, and students on stories of communal significance. Working with the Office of the Arts at Georgia Tech, he developed a world scale AR storytelling platform to this end. In academia, part of his teaching philosophy is facilitating opportunities for students to connect theory to practice within communities outside of the classroom. This has led to wonderful partnerships with the Peachtree & Pine Homeless Shelter, the Arthur M. Blank Foundation, and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. He has produced a number of 360-VR shorts for these organizations. Over the years, he has become an established public speaker and storyteller with performances, lectures, and talks on digital publishing, interactive narratives, and augmented reality. He has had the pleasure of teaching courses on visual narrative, storytelling, communication and culture, and mobile development.

Cathy Hackl of You Are Here Labs

Panelist: Cathy Hackl
Title: Futurist @ You Are Here | AR | VR | MR | XR | Spatial Computing |Speaker| Oculus Launch Pad 17 | Former HTC VIVE VR Evangelist
Company: You Are Here Labs

Bio: Cathy Hackl is an Emmy-nominated communicator turned virtual reality & augmented reality global speaker, producer, and futurist. She’s a Partner at Mixed Reality Ventures and works as Lead Futurist at You Are Here Immersive Labs, one of the Southeast’s most prominent XR labs. Prior to that, Hackl worked as an HTC VIVE VR Evangelist during the launch of their latest headset, the VIVE Pro, and during the company’s partnership with Warner Brothers’ blockbuster, Ready Player One. She’s the author of Marketing New Realities: An Introduction to VR & AR Marketing, Branding & Communications. Hackl was named by IZEA and Onalytica as a leading augmented reality and virtual reality influencer and also by NBC News as one of the top women working in virtual reality. Hackl served as chief communications & content officer for Future Lighthouse, one of the world’s top VR studios focused on branded VR narrative, where she collaborated on projects with brands like Sony Pictures Entertainment, Oculus, Beefeater, and William Morris Endeavor. Hackl was also selected as a 2017 Oculus Launch Pad Fellow, a program designed to support promising diverse VR content creators and help them bring their unique ideas to market. She’s the founder of Latinos in VR/AR and has spoken about VR and social media in more than 10 countries. Hackl has been featured in media outlets like Mic, CNN, Silicon Beat, Entrepreneur,, Forbes, VentureBeat and Mashable. She is a global advisor for VR AR Association and a leading voice in the VR AR marketing space. Before working in AR, VR and social media, Hackl worked as a journalist for CNN, Discovery Communications, and ABC News. She’s also the creator of the holographic press release. She loves all things mixed reality, holograms, tech, AI and blockchain.

For speaking please email me at

Marie Graham of Mount Vernon School

Panelist: Marie Graham
Title: Director of Virtual and Augmented Reality Center at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School
Company: Mount Vernon School

Bio: Marie Graham is a maverick teacher who leads and learns with an amazing group of students at Mount Vernon School in Atlanta, Georgia. Partnering with Alienware, her school has created a VR/AR lab where students are seeking to create non-gaming content that positively impacts the community. She has taught everything from middle school history and English through graduate nursing school at Emory University. Her passions are connecting the newest technology to the upcoming generation in a way that creates the most good. In her former life, she was a certified nurse-midwife and family nurse practitioner.

Domenico Valles of Sol 5 Studios

Name: Domenico Valles
Title: Unity Graphics/Gameplay Programmer
Company: Sol 5 Studios

Bio: Domenico Valles is the founder of Sol 5 Studios, a game company specializing in virtual reality experiences. Sol 5 Studios is currently using Unity3D to realize their first title, The Silkworm, with Dom as lead developer and designer. A graduate of Georgia Tech’s Computational Media program, Dom has consulted in VR for companies such as Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Adult Swim (Turner Broadcasting), and Schell Games. Being a world creation enthusiast, Dom takes an interest in anything that can help him create and bring to life more vibrant worlds. This has led him to specialize in crossover disciplines, such as graphics engineering and machine learning.