Authors 2017-09-06T13:21:43+00:00

Authors

Executive Team

Mark Dirks

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Mark Dirks

Before becoming Beacon’s CEO, Mark climbed through the technical ranks, starting as an application developer for RJ Reynolds. He then spent 15 years at AT&T, where he led the creation of one of the world’s first corporate intranets. Co-founding Beacon in 1998, he has driven consistent growth, long-term partnerships and a unique culture for 20 years. Mark was instrumental in forming relationships with Google, Accenture, KPMG Consulting, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Department of Education (when Beacon developed FAFSA on the Web). These relationships during the company’s early years, coupled with Mark’s leadership and business development skills, foreshadowed the growth of Beacon’s Higher Education portfolio over the last 10 years.

Mark holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Wake Forest University and an M.S. in Computer Systems from Kansas State University. He serves on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Technology Association, was named Small Business Person of the Year by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and received the Entrepreneurial Success Award by the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.

John Scaramuzzo

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John Scaramuzzo

John is the Senior VP of Beacon’s IT Services Group, a veteran technology strategist, innovative engineer, and creative entrepreneur with nearly three decades of distinguished service and experience in platform and server technologies, e-commerce, business consulting, and customer service management. Before co-founding Beacon, he worked for 12 years at AT&T, where he was instrumental in building the infrastructure to support AT&T’s global corporate intranet in the mid-90’s while also supporting AT&T’s HR HW/SW/NW. John architected Beacon’s data center, serving hundreds of clients worldwide for web hosting and software to support content management, custom applications and high-end e-commerce for Higher Education institutions and businesses. He also created Beacon’s IT Services division (BITS) which provides managed services for desktops, servers and networks across many states. John also served as an IT consultant on government contracts through subcontracts with Accenture and KPMG, and earned his B.S. in Computer Science/Mathematics from the College of Staten Island.

Tracy Dirks

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Tracy Dirks

Tracy is the Senior VP over Beacon’s Web Development Services division. She brings 30+ years of Information Technology experience to her clients after serving as a Technical Manager for Bell Labs and the Chief Systems Architect for AT&T’s HRIS.She specializes in strategic planning, intranets, systems architecture and project management. She has led major Higher Education projects at Beacon for over 10 years for institutions such as the University of North Georgia, Colorado State University Pueblo, Winston-Salem State University, California State University East Bay, Husson University and more. Tracy is a trusted source of guidance to her clients because she is uniquely skilled in correlating technical solutions to business needs. Tracy earned a B.S. in Computer Science at NW Missouri State, and a M.S. in Computer Systems from Kansas State University. She regularly attends and occasionally presents at the major Higher Education trade shows. Tracy was selected for the Leadership Greensboro Development Program and was recognized by the Triad Business Journal in their Women in Business edition.

Digital Marketing Team

Andrea Cole

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Andrea Cole

With 13+ years of SEO, paid search and Google Analytics experience, Andrea is Beacon’s “chief digital strategist,” working directly with our Higher Education clients and large commercial accounts. Her in-depth review of Husson University’s website led to an overhaul of the keyword and content targets of 100+ pages within their degree and program content, significantly improving search visibility. Andrea earned a B.A. in Communication Studies from UNC Chapel Hill, is certified in Google Analytics and is invited annually to Google’s exclusive GA Summit. She recently served as an adjunct professor in Wake Forest University’s MSBA Program and led a conference seminar for improving site search and SEO in Higher Education. Andrea is also the author of The SEOptimist blog, which provides useful tips and informative articles on SEO, PPC and Web Marketing.

Jordan Burleson

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Jordan Burleson

As a Digital Marketing Strategist, Jordan leads the paid search team at Beacon, helping clients like The Princeton Review and Bassett Furniture achieve positive growth and ROI through their digital marketing programs. In addition to his 10+ years of digital marketing experience in traditional and digital marketing mediums, Jordan holds a certification in Google Analytics. He is also a Google Advertising Certified Professional in search, display, shopping and video campaigns. A graduate of Appalachian State University, Jordan earned a B.S. in Communication with a specialization in Broadcast and Advertising.

Logan Ray

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Logan Ray

Logan is an accomplished marketing professional with nearly a decade of experience. As a Digital Marketing Strategist at Beacon, he heads our SEO team and drives Google Analytics strategy for higher education clients like Colorado State University Pueblo and California State University East Bay. A recognized SEO expert, Logan leads SEO workshop sessions at industry conferences and presents strategy and tactics to graduate students in the Wake Forest University BSBA program. Logan is Google Analytics-certified and holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Olivia Earley

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Olivia Earley

Olivia is a Digital Marketing Analyst and Social Media Manager, managing day-to-day PPC tasks for a number of clients, as well as overseeing all of Beacon’s respective social media channels. Olivia brings over 3 years of social media management experience, most recently as the accounts manager at Social Moxy.

Jordan Lowry

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Jordan Lowry

Jordan is a Digital Marketing Specialist with proven capability in SEO, web analytics and social media. He is a passionate digital marketer who loves finding innovative solutions to everyday marketing issues and empowering business stakeholders to make informed decisions. Jordan graduated from University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

Luke Pajer

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Luke Pajer

Luke Pajer is a Digital Marketing Analyst at Beacon Technologies. He holds a M.A. in Management from Wake Forest University, and a B.S. in Geology from Baylor University. Luke’s passion for data analysis, combined with his published research experience in the realm of geoengineering, brings a unique perspective to the Beacon team.

Mark Bochkis

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Mark Bochkis

Mark joined Beacon in 2018, bolstering the Digital Marketing Services team roster. In previous roles, he’s helped healthcare clients with website redesigns and multi-channel digital campaigns, managing content development, SEO, social media and other digital marketing efforts. A skilled communicator and passionate marketer, Mark takes pride in understanding his clients, identifying differentiating brand attributes and developing content with a consistent and clear brand tone and voice. Mark is a proud alumnus of the University of Maryland, where he earned a B.A. in Communication/Public Relations.

Web Development Team

Keana Lynch

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Keana Lynch

Keana has led and consulted for over 35 Higher Education projects (so far) and is Beacon’s expert in CMS and Accessibility. She specializes in the analysis, design, and implementation of websites, focusing on user experience, accessibility, multi-device interactions, and technical best practices. Joining Beacon in 2010, she’s worked on nearly every major Higher Ed project, including Lees McRae College, Husson University, Del Mar College, Guilford Technical Community College and Jacksonville State University. Keana earned an Associate’s Degree in Web Technologies from Guilford Technical Community College. She’s a regular speaker at Higher Ed conferences, presenting on accessibility and CMS/Cascade development topics, such as academic program page design and ADA compliance testing.

Mike Wood

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Mike Wood

Michael Wood has been with Beacon 9 years. He provides transactional programming expertise mostly in VB.NET and SQL Server. In the past he worked in the corporate worlds of AT&T and IBM.

John Wallwork

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John Wallwork

John Wallwork is a Senior Systems Engineer. He has a BS in Chemistry and has taken graduate courses in chemistry and computer science at NC State University. John has over 16 years of IT experience and has the following software skills: VB, ASP, .NET, C, C++, XML, Delphi, SQL, Crystal Reports, VMS, Unix, MS Access, SQL Server

Zedric Myers

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Zedric Myers

Zedric Myers is a Web Designer for Beacon Technologies. After earning his degree in Advertising and Graphic Design, he spent 11 years with an advertising agency in Greensboro, NC where he was initially hired as a designer and transitioned to being a Web Developer.

James Kite

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James Kite

James has served as the Senior Transactional Developer since July 2012, adding more than 15 years of overall IT experience to the Beacon team. He specializes in .Net and Sql Servers and has a strong knowledge of Cascade Server development, as well as Velocity programming. James holds a B.A. in Computer Information Systems from High Point University.

John Vine

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John Vine

John carefully crafts a great user experience for the many types of visitors to college and university websites, while maintaining focus on best practices. He specializes in custom HTML, CSS and JavaScript, including server side logic for more complex solutions. Over the last 6 years, John has helped to optimize websites for Beacon clients Clark Atlanta University, Husson University, Hawaii Pacific University, CSU Pueblo, Lees McRae College. John holds a bachelor’s degree in Game Development from Full Sail University.

Morris Jeffreys

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Morris Jeffreys

Morris is an UI Developer at Beacon Technologies. He brings with him 19 years of graphic/web design and front-end development experience.

Deb Paylor

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Deb Paylor

Deb’s clients benefit from her wealth of knowledge in website redesign, accumulated throughout a successful, 18+ year career in IT with companies like AT&T, Lucent Technologies, IBM and Graphik Dimensions. Customers find her mix of people skills, positive attitude and business sense dependable and comforting. She has managed website redesigns for Lees McRae College and Del Mar College, as well as projects for Macomb Community College (online new student orientation feature) and Scranton University (News Hub & e-Newsletter). Deb earned a B.S. in Information Science from East Tennessee State University and an M.S. in Computer Science from Kansas State University.

Brandon Canter

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Brandon Canter

Brandon is a UX/UI Developer at Beacon Technologies. Although Brandon has a developer title, his roots are in graphic design. After earning a degree in advertising and graphic design, he spent several years as an in-house graphic designer at an advertising agency in Winston-Salem, NC. He then transitioned to more of a “hybrid” position focusing primarily on web development. Brandon is involved with most all of our Higher Ed clients, who benefit from his unique blend of creative and technical experience. Brandon designed and developed custom templates with very unique functional requirements for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His other clients include Michigan State University, Husson University, University of Hartford and Hawaii Pacific University.

Darin Humbard

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Darin Humbard

Darin Humbard is a Project Manager with Beacon.

AJ Pope

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AJ Pope

As Beacon’s lead graphic designer for Higher Education clients, William “AJ” Pope leverages his extensive experience with design and marketing to create compelling, user-friendly concepts for websites, re-branding projects, and print and video collateral. AJ brings a nice mix of the latest technology and design constructs to create brand-attentive graphics that bridge common gaps between print and digital. He has worked with Lees McRae College, Del Mar College, Husson University, Birmingham Southern College, Hawaii Pacific University and many other Beacon clients. AJ earned a B.A. in Media from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Wayne Garrett

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Wayne Garrett

Wayne Garrett is a UI developer with over 5 years of experience developing, testing, and managing higher-education websites. After graduating with a B.A. in Communication Studies from Lynchburg College in Virginia, Wayne worked as a Web Content Specialist at Miami University of Ohio before joining Beacon in 2016. At Beacon, he specializes in front-end development and web accessibility and has worked with clients such as Husson University, Birmingham-Southern College, University of Miami Business School, and Eastern Connecticut State University.

Christy Dunman

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Christy Dunman

With 16 years of experience as a Business Analyst and Project Manager on large scale projects, Christy brings notable skill to Higher Education website redesigns, applying an unyielding focus on quality through all the stages of a project. Relying on her B.S. in Business Management and Accounting from Ashford College in San Diego and PMP training, Christy specializes in high-performance processes, as well as budget and resource management, to maximize efficiency. Her past and present clients include The Catholic University of America, Guilford Technical Community College, College of Southern Idaho, Michigan State University, Surry Community College and others.

Technical Support Group (TSG)

William Nichols

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William Nichols

Joining the team back in 2005, William oversees the operational side of Beacon’s massive IT infrastructure, supporting shared and dedicated web hosting for companies in nearly every U.S. state. His team manages dedicated servers for colleges and universities, including Albright College, Georgia Tech, University of North Alabama, New Mexico State University and Eastern Connecticut State University. A Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator & Professional, William earned a degree from ECPI University’s Network Security Program and carries many other technical certifications.

Caleb Pruitt

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Caleb Pruitt

Caleb joined the Beacon team in April 2011 as a Desktop Administrator. He graduated from ECPI in February 2011 with an associate degree in Computer Science and Technology and holds a second associate degree from GTCC in Architectural Technology.

Mike Ratcliffe

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Mike Ratcliffe

Mike Ratcliffe is a hard working, self motivated system administrator who adapts quickly to new technology, concepts and environments. With over a decade of experience in information technology and having held numerous titles and responsibilities throughout his career, he currently focuses on system administration of Microsoft Active Directory and related technologies, Microsoft Exchange as well as VMware virtualization.

Jason Canter

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Jason Canter

As an IT support specialist, Jason Cantor comes to Beacon with over a dozen years of experience in retail managing technology sales, personal and in-home IT solutions. He has spent much of that time providing complete IT support for national retail franchises, building and maintaining point of sales systems and remotely managing franchised locations.

Sales & Marketing

Heather Grimsley

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Heather Grimsley

Heather Grimsley is Beacon’s Marketing Manager, overseeing Beacon’s marketing efforts including our websites, email campaigns, and tradeshows. Heather brings over seven years of experience in Higher Education, most recently as the Marketing Communications Manager at Ithaca College.

Rick Boccard

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Rick Boccard

A seasoned Account Executive, Rick joined the Beacon team eight years ago after successful sales stints with Bluewolf and Bronto Software. He enjoys building long-term relationships with his clients, and prides himself on being consultative, fully understanding the impact of technology on business goals, earning trust and being a customer advocate. He has crafted custom Higher Education contracts for the University of the Virgin Islands, University of Hartford, University of Wyoming, Colorado State University Pueblo, Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Boston College and the University of Pennsylvania. Rick earned a B.S. in Economics from Roanoke College and an A.A.S. degree in Web Technologies from Guilford Technical Community College.

Emily Ledbetter

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Emily Ledbetter

Emily Ledbetter joined the Beacon team as an Account Executive after a successful, 10-year stint in the banking industry. She excels in understanding the business and technical requirements of website redesigns and digital marketing projects for our college and university customers. You’re likely to find her exploring these subjects at many of the major Higher Ed conferences. Emily has built lasting relationships with long-term Beacon clients, such as Hawaii Pacific University, Michigan State University, Lees McRae College and Birmingham Southern University among others. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Economics from Greensboro College.

Kevin Lackey

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Kevin Lackey

Kevin joined Beacon as an Account Executive in August 2016. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a B.S. in Business Administration. Kevin has 15 years of sales experience, most recently as a Strategic Education Account Manager at Best Buy for Business.

Kent Dickinson

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Kent Dickinson

Kent is a web design and digital marketing executive with more than 25 years of experience in business development, strategic planning, operations, customer service, and sales management. He has worked in a variety of industries, including educational publishing, digital printing, direct marketing, consulting, financial services, among others. He has worked with many colleges and universities around the country and is a strong proponent of strategic partnership, performance management, and customer service/communication. Kent earned a BS in Business from Wake Forest University and his MBA from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.