Chip Reaves, President
Bigger Brains Founder and President Chip Reaves is a serial entrepreneur who has started five successful IT companies. An Atlanta native, Chip began fixing computers for small businesses in the 1980’s while studying Computer Science at Georgia Tech. After 10 years building a successful IT Service Practice in Atlanta, Chip founded the Computer Troubleshooters USA franchise system alongside Wilson & Suzanne McOrist, which became the world’s largest computer service franchise and received multiple awards from Entrepreneur Magazine, Franchise Business Review, and AllBusiness.com.
Chip has been interviewed on TV and other major media on topics related to small business technology and entrepreneurship, including ABC News, BusinessWeek TV, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, and is a member of Jim Blasingame’s “Brain Trust” on SmallBusinessAdvocate.com. In 2010 Chip was listed among the Top 150 most influential people in small business IT by SMB PC magazine.
Chip lives with his wife Maren and step-daughter Meg in Anderson, South Carolina where they also co-own a local Managed Service Provider. In his spare time Chip is very active with his church and local charities, and consults with two aid organizations serving Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa.
Bigger Brains co-Founder Maren Reaves has the perfect background for her position as Director of Curriculum: 15+ years in professional education, experience as a curriculum writer for CNN Student News as well as training in acting, comedy, and music.
When not busy with Bigger Brains Maren directs the strings program at the Montessori School of Anderson as well as several church & community groups, and is a member of the Anderson Symphony Orchestra. She serves on the board of directors of the Anderson School of Theology for Laypersons, and collects degrees:
- B.A. in Physics, Wake Forest University
- Master of Theological Studies, Emory University
- M.A. in Religion and Social Ethics, University of Southern California
- M.S.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Southern California
Maren is married to Chip and mother to Meg and lives with them in Anderson, South Carolina.
Christina Tankersley, Teacher Coordinator
Christina Tankersley has been developing instructional materials and delivering them for over 18 years. She started training by default when she was in sales at IKON Business Solutions, then recruited by IKON Education Services to instruct Microsoft software nationally.
Christina continued her training and budding project management career at AIS, Inc. then Canal Insurance Company. In 2006, she started a training/consulting company, Agent Technologies, Inc. and gained Furman University, Buck Mickel Center of Greenville Technical College, Carolina Computer Training, C3i (Pharmaceutical software sales force training) as clients. Christina has developed a lasting relationship with those organizations and has joined forces with Bigger-Brains.com to initiate online software training in 5-8 minute bites that is both learner centric and topic based.
Her strengths include her ability to relate to individuals from all walks of life and the aptitude for creating examples that help students take classroom material and apply it into workable solutions back in their environment. Primary focus for training includes:
• Project Management
• Microsoft Software
• Hermann Brain Dominance Index for Individuals and Teams
• Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools
• Business Analysis
• Train the Trainer
• Information Technology Infrastructure Library
She has a Bachelors of Science degree in Business from the College of Charleston and her certifications include Project Management Professional (PMP), Comptia A+, Comptia Certified Technical Trainer +, Microsoft Certified Trainer and ITIL Foundations.
When not working, Christina enjoys having adventures with her husband and three children. She also likes to run half marathons with her friends, cook, and travel.
Rayanne Buchianico, Teacher & Accounting Guru
Rayanne Buchianico, EA is the owner of ABC Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm in Clearwater, Florida providing complete accounting, business, and tax consulting services to IT Professionals in the United States, particularly to those using Autotask and looking to integrate with their accounting systems. She is a Certified QuickBooks Professional Advisor and offers courses and blogs tips on QuickBooks regularly. She is featured regularly in Odd Tuesdays podcasts. Rayanne was named to the SMB150 list by SMB Nation and SMBTN for the past three years and honored with the 2012 Jim Locke Memorial Community Award. She holds a degree in Accounting and is qualified to practice before the Internal Revenue Service.
Dr Chris Craft, Teacher & Google Apps Guru
Dr. Christopher Craft is an award-winning educator and speaker based in South Carolina. As a classroom teacher, he has been recognized both locally and nationally for innovative teaching with technology. Most recently he was named to the National School Board Association’s “20 to Watch” list for 2013. He has a B.A. in Spanish, a M.Ed in Educational Technology, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Research from the University of South Carolina. Chris is a Google Certified Teacher, and a Google Certified Trainer, and was recently accepted to be an Apple Distinguished Educator. Find out more about Dr. Craft at www.christophercraft.com or follow him on Twitter @crafty184.
Barbara Evers, Teacher & Writer
Barbara Evers has over twenty years experience in training with an emphasis in Work Force and Personal Career Development. Her industry experience spans the corporate, non-profit, and government arenas, and she excels in instructional design, professional development, and training management and facilitation. From intensive Sales Force Automation/Customer Relationship Management (SFA/CRM) training to Communication and Leadership skills, Barbara focuses on the needs for each level of your organization. Her classroom management techniques ensure an enjoyable, friendly atmosphere for all participants.
Barbara’s educational and career pursuits have provided a diverse background for her to use in instructional design and in the classroom. She draws from this experience to customize her materials so that they provide a valuable, interactive experience for everyone.
- Achieve Global
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
- Situational Leadership
- Zig Ziglar
Rich Harshaw, Teacher & Marketing Guru
Rich Harshaw is the CEO and author of Monopolize Your Marketplace?, and one of the nation’s leading marketing minds and business leaders. At the age of 19, he learned to speak Mandarin Chinese. Two years later he started an import-export business in Taiwan and China. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in business and entrepreneurship. In 1994 he founded Marketing Strategies, and over the next several years developed the Monopolize Your Marketplace system. In 2000 he started Y2Marketing, which made the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing privately held companies for three consecutive years (2002, 2003 and 2004).
In his professional career, Rich has become one of the nations most sought after marketing consultants and speakers because of his deep understanding of what motivates people to buy. He has written Marketing and Sales materials for over 1,500 companies in virtually every industry. His articles about marketing, sales and advertising have appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers worldwide. Because the Monopolize Your Marketplace system exposes the inadequacies and questionable business practices of big ad agencies, it has earned Rich the title of the “Most Hated Man in Marketing.” Rich lives near Dallas, TX with his wife Tonia and their six children. He is an active member of his church and serves as a leader and mentor in the Youth program. Rich says, “My passion is teaching young people how to be successful in school, their families, financially, spiritually and in life.”
Courtney Herda, Teacher & Social Media Guru
While obtaining her BA in International Political Economy from Vanderbilt University and a masters in French and literary theory, Courtney’s academic research background fostered a fascination with how search engines work, how people use search and access information, and how people connect with brands and internet messaging.
She founded Smarter Searches after more than seven years in the internet marketing industry, seeking to create an agency that focused on combining creative marketing strategy with a passion for digital products in an environment that provides total transparency and accountability to its clients.
She began her career on the internet marketing team of financial talk-radio host Dave Ramsey, where she created search engine marketing campaigns, wrote web site and email content, and collaborated on social media and viral marketing projects. She then spent the next five years working for E.W. Scripps, building and managing search engine marketing campaigns for all of the Scripps newspaper holdings and more than 350 other accounts through the Scripps SEM agency.
Marisa Pensa, Teacher & Sales Guru
Marisa Pensa is the president and owner of Methods in Motion. Marisa launched Methods in Motion in 2004 as part of the franchise system of the DEI Management Group which was founded in 1979. She brings more than eight years of sales training experience and sixteen years of personal sales experience to the training she conducts. Her expertise and enthusiasm have resulted in hundreds of satisfied clients across a wide range of industries. Marisa is an Atlanta native, an avid cyclist and runner, and a volunteer with Georgia Homeless Pets and Kennesaw State’s Center for Professional Selling. Marisa thrives on growing her own business while growing the business of her clients each and every day!
Doug Smith, Teacher & Tech Guru
Doug Smith has over 25 years experience in the IT industry, including holding the position as the US Operations director of the world’s largest Computer Service franchise-Computer Troubleshooters. Currently Doug owns and operates a Computer Troubleshooters franchise, located on the Covington Square, which covers a territory of Newton, Rockdale, and Dekalb Counties in Georgia.
Doug has been featured in technology stories on Fox News, Business Solutions Magazine, and the Rockdale News.
When not attending to the needs of his IT clients and running his business, Doug is spending leisure time with his wife Andrea and their two daughters. He is a member of Eastridge Community Church and participates frequently in many community events. Doug is a native of Georgia who graduated from Heritage High School in 1985 and began his training at Clayton State College where he was awarded an degree in Electronics.
Kelly Vandever, Teacher & Presentation Guru
In an attention-deficient, entertain-me-now, wait-while-I-post-that-on-my-Facebook-page kind of world, the typical business presentation is lame. Professional speaker, trainer, coach, tweeter and blogger Kelly Vandever is on a mission to eliminate boring business presentations from the face of the earth. An award winning speaker herself, Kelly helps organizations crank up their content to connect and interact with their audiences using old school and hi-tech techniques all while annihilating bullet points and making this world a better place for business audiences everywhere.
In addition to his work as a Bigger Brains Learner, Harrison is the Executive Producer and Artistic Director of Alchemy Comedy Theater in Greenville, South Carolina. Harrison started improv with Clemson University’s comedy improv group, Mock Turtle Soup, in 2004. For the next four years, he performed improv in Clemson, along with Atlanta, Nashville, Orlando and Chicago. He has attended the Black Box, Implosion, Charleston, Richmond, Del Close, Spontaneous Combustion and North Carolina Comedy Arts Festivals, training under a variety of instructors from The Annoyance, iO, Comedy Sportz, SAK and Second City theaters. In 2008, he moved to North Carolina and performed, coached and taught weekly as a resident instructor at the DSI Comedy Theater. Harrison has recently moved back to the Greenville with his wife to continue teaching high school social studies.
In addition to his work as a Bigger Brains Learner (and co-Teacher on our Secrets Of The Web course), Ben is the Assistant Artistic Director and Resident Instructor of Alchemy Comedy Theater in Greenville, South Carolina. Ben joined Clemson’s Mock Turtle Soup his freshman year in 2007, rocking 4 years of short and longform improv, sketch, and stand-up comedy. He also directed Clemson Improv as Vice President and later as President of the organization. He’s performed at the Blackbox Improv Festival and the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival. He has taken workshops with instructors from Annoyance, iO, Second City, Relapse, and JaCKPie theaters. Ben honed his humor writing skills as a member of Clemson’s student run humor publication, The Rapscallion. Now that Ben has graduated, he lives in Greenville working for an industrial safety solutions company as an electrical engineer.
Some people have inner-kids. Andy Offutt Irwin has an outer-kid. With a manic Silly Putty voice, astonishing mouth noises, and hilarious stories, he is equal parts mischievous schoolboy and the Marx Brothers, peppered with a touch of the Southern balladeer. People are drawn to him like magnets to a refrigerator. And inside, it’s all Mountain Dew and Jolt Cola.
A native of Covington, GA, Andy is a storyteller, humorist, singer, songwriter, musician, whistler, walking menagerie of sound effects and dialects, and so much more; some of his talents are hard to categorize.
As a result, many people love Andy. October of 2012 will be his fifth year appearing at the National Storytelling Festival, and he has seven years been a Teller in Residence at International Storytelling Center; he has been a Guest Artist at La Guardia High School of Art, Music, and Performing Arts in New York (The “FAME!” School); and he has been a Keynote Speaker/Performer at the Library of Congress-Virburnum Foundation Conference on Family Literacy. Andy also does occasional theatrical projects for Oxford College of Emory University where he was Artist in Residence, 1991-2007. (He is now an Artist-in-Just-Passing-Through).
Andy proudly holds a BA in Sociology from Georgia College &/or State University. They handed it to him in 1983.