Meet the Organizers

Here’s a sometimes light-hearted look at your WordCamp Asheville organizers…

Lydia Roberts

Lydia once considered a career in professional puppetry before deciding that website development was the way to go. While attending WordCamp Atlanta in 2013, she was inspired by meeting web geeks from all walks life, and the culture of learning created by WordCamp. Along with her fellow organizers and the Asheville WordPress meetup group, it was decided to try and bring that same tech conference goodness to Asheville. When she’s not busy customizing a WordPress theme or developing enewsletters, you can usually find Lydia adding on to her garden or obsessing over the latest Game of Thrones episode.

Lisa McAlpine

Lisa majored in Philosophy but listened to her father’s advice and doubled up with Accounting as a means to survive the harsh realities of the world (and follow in her Dad’s footsteps.) Her mother’s response to her chosen career was “Lisa, you damn fool, you grew up with an accountant – you should know better!” After almost 40 years of April stress and boredom with numbers, the realization slowly dawned that she should have listened to her Mother. So now she’s learning WordPress, attending WordPress MeetUps, joining with others to organize the 1st WordCamp in Asheville, creating WP websites, and occasionally wondering how she’s going to pay the bills if she never returns to accounting.

Alicia Murray

As an ex-corporate junkie, Alicia recently moved to Asheville to live a simpler life. Not knowing anyone in town she decided to go to a local WordPress meetup where she realized — “these are my type of people!” Several months later, she’s helping put together Asheville’s very first WordCamp. She’s the founder and editor of where she writes about work-life balance issues facing modern parents, and occasionally showcases her mad baking skills on the blog. Find her on FacebookPinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.

Corey Bullman

Corey quit college after two years, opting for the “safe” choice of going to music school and then playing music on the road for several years. So obviously, now he’s in web design and development. Makes perfect sense!

Jennifer Cloke

Jennifer Miyakawa Cloke began her illustrious career in part-time webmastery when, for her twelfth birthday, her good, Japanese father taught her how to write html. Now she splits her time between acting as Communication Coordinator for the Organic Growers School, an Asheville-based non-profit, and managing her three-acre smallholding at the foot of Cold Mountain with her husband and two dogs.

John Dorner

John started working as a Ag Extension Agent with a degree in Animal Science. He even owned and operated a hog farm for a few years. He learned techology to do his job teaching agriculture and then moved to teaching the educators how to use computers to make their jobs easier. He learned programming to handle class registrations and then built a online Boy Scout Troop Record Keeping application to help the troop where he was the Scoutmaster. Now, he’s the IT coordinator for USDA SARE and does some programming on the side.

In 2012 he started the Asheville Area WordPress Meetup group because he wanted to learn more about WordPress and find people that could help answer his questions. The first meeting had just him and Rich Ownings. Now, there are almost 200 members of the Meetup group.

Julien Melissas

Julien is a 21-year old web developer with mad front-end development skillz. He has a love affair with quick page load times, sexy indentation, CSS preprocessors, and JavaScript. He is the code ninja yin to a designer’s yang. He has been working with WordPress for almost 4 years now and has grown quite fond of it. When Julien is not in front of the screen working on websites or that next big startup/webapp, you can find him making music, cooking, or out in the yard gardening with his girlfriend, Hana, and their dog, Dina. He also has a 31-foot Airstream trailer he’s slowly turning into a mobile office.

Rich Owings

Rich’s ADD has led him to wildly varied positions, including being an agricultural extension agent, public garden executive director, author, professional tech blogger and SEO consultant. His avocations have included wilderness adventure, homesteading, music fandom and tech lust.

Steven Slack

Steven Slack is owner of Asheville based S2 Web and has been developing custom WordPress themes and plugins for clients since 2008. Working with designers and agencies S2 Web is all about collaboration. Steven’s work in WordPress has lead him to examine further the purpose and goals of clients while developing themes for them. “A great looking theme is awesome, but does it communicate your goals?” Besides hanging out on the interwebs, Steven enjoys hiking, traveling, and riding bicycles in beautiful Western North Carolina.

Boomer Sassmann

A graduate from Appalachian State University, with a degree in Industrial Design, Boomer is in his 7th year of running Big Boom Design.
For over a decade, Boomer has been building innovative, straightforward, and visually appealing websites to combine the ideal mix of form and function. As an Internet history buff, Boomer excels at educating his clients and building comprehensive websites that stand the test of time.
After many sleepless nights and far too much coffee, Boomer now has a team of coders, developers, project managers, and graphic designers that work closely together to create visually appealing and highly functional sites on WordPress and Joomla.
On the weekends, you can find Boomer tinkering on some type of automotive project or working in the garden at his home in Asheville, NC. He loves to talk about the internet and always welcomes the chance to brainstorm over a local Asheville brew or tasty cup of coffee.