The bid team for Wikimania 2008 in Atlanta consists of seven people, four men and three women. Five of the seven members live in Metro Atlanta and two do not, however they can travel as needed for preparations.
Here is a bit of background on the strengths and qualifications each team member brings to the bid.
Andrea Forte is currently a PhD candidate at Georgia Tech who studies social computing. Her dissertation examines learning through participatory media. She holds degrees in foreign language and literature as well as information science.
Andrea served on the program committee for Wikimania 2006 and played a variety of roles in the event ranging from speaking on a panel herself to introducing speakers, formatting press releases and responding to OTRS requests. Andrea brings years of service experience with academic conferences as well as valuable connections to Georgia Tech's College of Computing.
See complete CV at: Andrea Forte
Andrew Guyton is an undergraduate Computer Science student at Georgia Tech, and an employee of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). He is also a skilled writer and copy editor for The Technique, Georgia Tech's student newspaper. He has lived in Atlanta since August 2004, and brings his contacts from his WikiProject, Georgia Tech, and GTRI.
Andrew is a 2004 graduate of the International Baccalaureate program at Pensacola High School, receiving "highest honors." In high school, he was particularly involved in Mu Alpha Theta, and attended numerous competitions.
Andrew is most active on the English Wikipedia, where he has made about 20,000 edits since February 2006. He is the founder of WikiProject Georgia Tech, which has produced a strong community of Georgia Tech Wikimedians and featured content such as Tech Tower. Andrew also has accounts on commons and meta.
Craig Spurrier brings a technical background as well as media experience to the Wikimania bid.
He is a Wikinews bureaucrat, a Wikibooks and Meta admin and a steward. Spurrier attended Wikimania 2006 and 2007. As a Wikinewsie he covered both Wikimanias. He spoke at Wikimania 2007, served on the Wikimania awards jury, as well as assisting with press coordination.
Spurrier works as a computer consultant specializing in web application and embedded system development. He is lead developer for several open source programs. He has system administration experience with a wide variety of Unix and Windows servers.
He is in his fourth year at the University of South Carolina Aiken, pursuing a degree in sociology. He lives a few hours away in South Carolina, but can travel as needed to Atlanta for preparations.
Hillary Lipko brings an attention to detail, a strong background in project management and nearly 10 years of print and online publishing experience to the Wikimania bid. She hopes to provide a polished and professional face to the bid's content and appearance and would devote the same care to the conference's production should Atlanta be selected. Lipko is a fifth-year Public Policy undergraduate at Georgia Tech and is also pursuing dual minors in Computer Science and Law, Science & Technology.
An experienced researcher, writer and editor, Lipko has interned with the Office of Policy Analysis and Research (OPAR) at the Georgia Tech Research Institute and with the Georgia General Assembly as a technology policy analyst. She has also worked for the Technique in a number of positions over the past five years, at times managing a staff of 25 or more writers. Prior to this, Lipko worked as a freelance journalist and web designer, having designed her first website at age 12 and submitted her first article for print at age 15.
Lipko's experience with planning events includes the Technique's annual homecoming alumni event, attended by approximately 20 individuals each year, and OPAR's inaugural Legislative Roundtable event, held in November 2006 and attended by over 100 researchers, students, faculty, businesspeople and legislators. The latter event resulted in the proposal of specific legislation pertaining to Georgia's non-participation in certain provisions of the REAL ID Act in the Georgia General Assembly's 2007 regular session.
Lipko has resided in Midtown Atlanta since 2003 and has lived in the Atlanta area since 1993. Prior to that, she lived in a variety of other places as a result of her father's work with the United States Air Force and United States Navy. Her travels in this regard as well as her other travels have given her an astute awareness of the kinds of information and assistance that are necessary for first-time visitors to any locale. She also speaks and reads French at an intermediate level and can provide basic assistance to non-English speakers in that language.
Lipko is most active on the English Wikipedia where she has actively edited as a registered user since February 2006 and as an occasional anonymous contributor since early 2004. She also has accounts on Meta and Commons.
Jessica Gibson has just graduated from Georgia Tech with a B.S. in International Affairs. She is currently enjoying her first time off from work in several years by doing applications for grad school, working on Georgia Tech's production of Macbeth, assisting in running a Model UN conference for Georgia Tech, and doing research on analyzing various approaches to doing mass-casualty emergency planning.
Jessica has spent the last several years planning and running Georgia Tech's annual high school Model UN Conference (GTMUN). GTMUN brings around 800 high school students from all over the Southeast to the Georgia Tech campus for two days of debate and discussion. In her various roles she has focused largely on logistical planning, event management, scheduling, and was responsible for a wide variety of leadership and project management tasks. She has significant experience in stage management for various theatrical productions. On Wikipedia, she does disambiguation when she has free time.
To Atlanta's bid for Wikimania 2008, she brings her enthusiasm and experience in event planning and management, her connections around Georgia Tech, and her ability to organize people and events.
Matt Britt is currently an undergraduate at Georgia Tech finishing a B.S. in electrical engineering. He hopes to be an electrical engineering graduate student at Georgia Tech by the time Wikimania 2008 is held. Matt currently works as a research assistant in the compound semiconductor group helping design and fabricate RF and high-power electronics and optoelectronics, which somewhat explains the fancy suit. Further information on his research focus can be found on his PI's website. (Résumé here)
Matt is an administrator on English Wikipedia and had edited there since sometime in mid-2004, though he is currently mostly retired for personal and ideological reasons. Having lived in metro Atlanta most of his life, Matt brings local experience and numerous contacts in Georgia Tech's OIT (computer support group), ECE (electrical/computer engineering), and MiRC (microelectronics fabrication facilities) departments to the table. He has years of public speaking experience due to his religious affiliations, as well as teaching experience with Georgia Tech's Computer Science department. Despite typical perceptions surrounding his major field of study, Matt fancies himself capable of producing intelligible prose and enjoys Pope and Johnson as much as photolithography and junction theory.
Mike Halterman, originally from Pensacola, Florida, brings ingenuity, dedication and persistence to the Wikimania bid, particularly in the field of public relations. He became interested in knowledge at a young age, being most interested in travel guides, maps, and other geography-related books. In 1999 he was a national finalist at the National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C., representing the European and Asian branches of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools. For this achievement, he earned recognition from the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service and the Pacific Stars and Stripes newspaper.
A 2004 graduate of the International Baccalaureate program at Pensacola High School, Halterman received "highest honors" at the commencement ceremony for his high grade point average, and was actively involved in the National Forensic League and the Quill and Scroll Journalism Honor Society; he holds lifetime memberships in both organizations. He is in his fourth year at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida, pursuing a degree in print journalism.
Halterman is most active on the English Wikipedia, where he has edited since June 2004, and has been an administrator since September 2004. He is also registered on the Simple English Wikipedia, the French Wikipedia, the Japanese Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, English Wikinews, and Meta-Wikimedia. Since June 2007 he has been an intern at the Wikimedia Foundation offices in St. Petersburg, Florida, holding the volunteer title of Communications Coordinator. In that capacity, Halterman organizes and coordinates press contacts who wish to correspond with the Wikimedia Foundation.
Halterman has had experience with planning events, including the June 2007 St. Petersburg Wikipedia meetup, which approximately 20 to 25 people attended, including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. He has had previous job experience with ChoicePoint, the Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center at the University of South Florida, The Oracle, and with the University's Residence Life department. He has also been offered an internship at Soap Opera Digest, which he had to refuse due to financial constraints.
Since first arriving in Atlanta on a vacation in April 2005, Halterman has returned no less than seven times, and is familiar with the city and its businesses.