Atlanta CEO

Since its inception, the Atlanta CEO Council has been supported by limited exclusive sponsors, leaders in their industry who recognize the importance of cultivating exceptional business leaders and prioritize giving back to their community. Click each image below to get to know the people behind the logo.

Exclusive Partners

John Hutchins

John Hutchins is a veteran trial and technology lawyer with broad experience encompassing complex commercial litigation and trial work, privacy and data security matters, and compliance and strategic counseling on technology matters and transactions. While his quarter-century of litigation experience runs the gamut in subject matter — from software and eminent domain, to vintage race cars and death penalty habeas corpus — he has particular experience in matters involving privacy and data security, technology, intellectual property, government procurement, restrictive covenants and breach of fiduciary duty. He has tried numerous cases to jury verdict in state and federal courts, as well as bench trials, arbitrations, administrative and other evidentiary proceedings.

John’s privacy and data security practice, in addition to litigation, also includes advising clients on compliance with state, federal, and international privacy and data security laws and guidance. He founded the privacy and data security practices at two previous law firms, dating back to 2005. Meanwhile, his transactional practice consists of a mix of complex technology transactions, including sourcing deals, hosted services arrangements, cloud computing, technology licensing, systems procurement and project implementation.

John is a frequent speaker and is published widely on privacy, data security and technology law topics. He has been quoted by news outlets such as National Public Radio, the Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionForbesComputerWorld and Law360.

Bennett Thrasher is the eighth-largest Atlanta-based full-service certified public accounting and consulting firm. What differentiates Bennett Thrasher from other accounting firms is the respect and regard we have for our clients and for each other. The firm creates significant value and a unique positive experience through collaboration- with and between clients, partners, associates and the  community. Founded in 1980 by Rick Bennett and Ken Thrasher, today Bennett Thrasher boasts a dedicated, experienced team of 31 partners and more than 210 associates serving our clients in tax, financial reporting & assurance, valuation, litigation, client accounting services, international, personal financial services, state & local tax, dispute resolution & forensics, transfer pricing and wealth management.

Lindsey B. Sykes

Lindsey Sykes is a Partner and the service line leader for our Financial Reporting and Assurance department. Lindsey has over twenty fi ve years of business experience, having spent twelve years in public accounting with Arthur Andersen and six years as Chief Financial Offi cer of a publicly traded company prior to joining Bennett Thrasher in February of 2007. Lindsey has signifi cant experience in serving companies from the start-up/ development stage through large multi-national public companies. He has been involved with companies in the technology, manufacturing, distribution, real estate and service industries.

Vince Eget

Vince Eget is a Partner within Bennett Thrasher’s Tax practice. He has signifi cant experience working with companies in technology, healthcare and service businesses, and in the areas of taxation of passthrough entities and mergers and acquisitions. Vince provides a broad array of tax consulting for entities ranging from formation and structural issues to succession and liquidity events as well as critical business and tax planning throughout their life cycle. He has considerable experience with advising clients through the acquisition and sale of their businesses. These have included asset sales, stock sales, IRC §338(h)(10) elections, ESOP transactions, management buy outs, recapitalizations, redemptions, and mergers.

Founded in 2004, Carabiner Communications is an Atlanta-based agency specializing in marketing, PR and sales lead generation. We custom-build a nimble team of B2B experts to partner with clients for as much or as little as they need. We’re strategic, cost-effective, and very, very human. If you’re helping to steer a start-up, a fast-growth company or an organization headed in a new direction and need branding, marketing, public relations, content development, social media or lead-gen assistance to get to the next level, then let’s talk.

Peter Baron

Peter Baron serves as a senior-level consultant, offering advice to clients on product positioning, lead generation and nurturing, and digital marketing. Through more than two decades of technology marketing and PR experience, Peter has the skills to recognize new trends and opportunities, helping companies plan strategies accordingly. His client experience spans telecommunications, networking, healthcare technology, mobile computing and myriad software solutions. Peter received a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and PR from the University of Utah.

Crowe Horwath is a public accounting, consulting, and technology firm with offices across the globe. Connecting deep industry and specialized knowledge with innovative technology, our dedicated professionals create value for our clients with integrity and objectivity. We accomplish this by listening to our clients – about their businesses, trends in their industries, and the challenges they face. We forge each relationship with the intention of delivering exceptional client service while upholding our core values and our industry’s strong professional standards. Crowe invests in tomorrow because we know smart decisions build lasting value for our clients, people, and profession.

James Parker

Mr. Parker has over 25 years of public accounting experience in providing tax consulting services to a broad range of clients in the manufacturing, distribution, technology and other industries. Professional and Industry Experience Mr. Parker works in many areas of taxation including; merger and acquisitions, S-corporation taxation, C-corporation taxation, partnership taxation, multi-state taxation, and individual tax. He has extensive experience in the following activities:

  • General Corporate Tax Planning
  • Personal Income Tax Planning
  • Buying and Selling of Businesses
  • Merger and Acquisitions
  • Multi-state Income Tax Compliance and Consulting
  • Internal Revenue Service Examinations

Professional Affiliations

  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Georgia, Florida, Ohio CPA Societies

Education & Certifications

  • Bachelor of Science, Accountancy
  • Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)| Georgia, Florida, Ohio

With more than 2,000 people in 12 states, Dixon Hughes Goodman ranks among the nation’s top 20 public accounting firms. Offering comprehensive assurance, tax and advisory services, the firm focuses on major industry lines and serves clients in all 50 states as well as internationally. Visit for additional information.

Alpa Patel

Alpa serves as a tax partner with DHG, based in the firm’s Atlanta office. Alpa joined the Atlanta office with DHG’s predecessor firm, Crisp Hughes Evans, in 1997 after working in the corporate tax department of a local restaurant group. Throughout her career with the firm, Alpa has developed experience in several areas, including tax planning, business consultation, and transaction guidance, as well as tax research and compliance for corporations, partnerships, limited-liability entities, and individuals with high net worth. Her vast industry knowledge includes manufacturing and distribution, construction, agribusiness, service providers and insurance underwriters, and she serves clients ranging in size from private start-ups to large public companies.

Alpa strives to serve as a valued consultant to her clients, having successfully negotiated numerous client positions before the Internal Revenue Service, as well as various state and local jurisdictions. She has completed postgraduate work at New York University, and is a recognized guest lecturer for continuing professional education courses. Alpa is committed to the success of key programs within DHG, including the firm’s Women Forward program, the Emerging Leaders Academy, and personnel recruitment and retention.

Paul Lundy

Paul Lundy is the Assurance Market Leader for DHG’s Atlanta practice. Paul’s experience spans over 25 years and includes both financial and operational management roles and extensive public accounting experience.

As a former Chief Financial Officer, Paul has managed a number of significant projects, including the implementation of an enterprise resource planning system, due diligence efforts for acquisitions and divestitures and the preparation of private placement memorandums and business plans. Additionally, his public accounting experience includes various audit and advisory services, financial statement audits of public and private companies, due diligence assistance and public offerings of stock and debt.

Keith Anderson

Helping Atlanta’s leading SaaS and e-Commerce companies to build high-performance Engineering, Product Management, and Customer Success teams. I work closely with the leading Venture-Backed startup, high growth SaaS, e-Commerce and B2B, B2C software product companies in the Metro Atlanta Area. I understand the unique demands of building a product and the pedigree of professionals required to build high-performance teams.

Phone: (404) 895-7320

Randy Koporc

Randy Koporc serves as president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank (Georgia). In this role, he is responsible for the growth and strategic alignment of our Commercial, Wealth & Asset Management and Consumer businesses to deliver distinctive value to our customers and community impact in the region.

Previously, Randy served as executive vice president and head of the Payments and Commerce Solutions Division, responsible for Credit Card, Debit Card, HSA, Treasury Management, Sales & Product Development, Currency Processing Solutions, Payment Innovation and Strategic Partnerships for the enterprise.

Prior to joining Fifth Third in 2010, Randy spent more than two decades in financial services, having worked in various roles with First Union National Bank, Wachovia and Wells Fargo, including president of the Greater Virginia region for Wells Fargo. In addition to consumer banking, wealth management and commercial banking, he delivered corporate banking and capital markets results throughout Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania. Randy began his career as a commercial banker, in his hometown of Orlando, Florida.

Anindya Datta

Anindya Datta is regarded as a leading technologist and innovator, with core contributions in best-in-class large-scale data management solutions and internet technologies. As Founder, CEO and Chairman of Mobilewalla, Anindya has pioneered audience measurement in mobile apps by applying groundbreaking data science techniques on the industry’s largest volumetric database of mobile app data. Prior to Mobilewalla, Anindya founded and ran Chutney Technologies, acquired by Cisco Systems in 2005. He has also been on the faculties of major research universities and institutes in the United States and abroad, including Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Arizona, National University of Singapore, and Bell Laboratories. Anindya obtained his undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, and his MS and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park, he resides in Atlanta.

Morris, Manning & Martin is a full-service law firm with national and international reach. We dedicate ourselves to the constant pursuit of our clients’ success. In order to provide our clients with optimal value, we combine market-leading legal services with a total understanding of their needs to maximize effectiveness, efficiency and opportunity.

Our Firm and lawyers possess a keen understanding of our clients’ businesses and the sectors in which they operate. Legal solutions are delivered by industry-focused, diverse, involved lawyers who are dedicated to their clients’ success, whether in a transaction, in court or in the everyday course of business.

David M. Calhoun

David M. Calhoun is a partner in the firm’s Corporate Securities, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Financial Technologies practices. Mr. Calhoun practices in the areas of corporate finance, securities, and mergers and acquisitions. He has significant experience in public and private securities and corporate finance, including representation of issuers, underwriters, and investors. Representative transactions include debt and equity offerings (public and private), going private transactions, venture capital financings, IPOs, secondary offerings of common and preferred securities, PIPEs (private investments in public equity), and tender offers. Mr. Calhoun has been active in mergers and acquisitions for public and private companies, including acting as counsel in transactions ranging in size from less than $100,000 to over $1 billion. Representative M&A transactions include representation of both buyers and sellers in mergers, asset sales, stock sales, international and cross-border transactions, and leveraged buy-outs. He has represented companies in numerous industries, including technology, financial technology, green tech, logistics/freight forwarding, medical devices, business process outsourcing, manufacturing, and financial institutions. Mr. Calhoun’s practice also includes general corporate counseling, corporate governance, audit and special committee representation, and securities law compliance matters.

Navidar is an investment banking firm, providing companies and investors in dynamic industries with strategic M&A advice, capital raising solutions, vital insights and breakthrough opportunities. Clients can expect to receive completely independent advice and creative solutions – experiencing the difference between uncertainty and success.

Stephen Day

During his 20 year investment banking career, Stephen has executed over 80 M&A and financing transactions with deal volume totaling nearly $22 billion. He has provided M&A advisory services to leading companies such as Cognos, CSC, EMC, FreeMarkets, Geac, IBM, Internet Security Systems, and Logica. He has also underwritten many equity and debt offerings for leading companies such as Accenture, Aspect Communications, Cognizant, CoStar Group, CSC, Infosys, Oracle, Patni, Sapient, SRA International, and VistaPrint.

Gregory J. Kirsch

Gregory J. Kirsch is a Partner and the Head of the Intellectual Property Practice of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.

Mr. Kirsch serves as patent counsel to clients ranging from large multinational corporations to small start-ups, as well as universities. His practice encompasses the entire range of patent law, including patent procurement, strategic patent portfolio development, patent opinions (infringement, validity and patentability), post grant proceedings, licensing, as well as patent litigation. He has served as a patent expert in a patent litigation matter, and has participated in patent opposition hearings at the European Patent Office. He has prepared and obtained many hundreds of patents during his career for a diverse clientele, for inventions spanning the full range of technologies, including software, business methods, computer technology, electronics, communications technology, analog and digital circuitry, medical technology, mechanics, electromechanics, plus many others. In addition to his US patent practice, Mr. Kirsch has extensive experience overseeing and pursuing on behalf of his clients patent protection in patent offices throughout the world, utilizing patent treaties (Paris Convention and the Patent Cooperation Treaty), in coordination with foreign patent counsel.

In addition to his full-time legal practice, Mr. Kirsch has served as an Adjunct Professor of patent law at Emory University School of Law since 1997, and as an Adjunct Professor of intellectual property law at Washington University School of Law (St. Louis) since 2011. He is a frequent speaker at national and regional conferences on various intellectual property topics, and has contributed chapters on patent law to two books.

Mr. Kirsch serves on the Board and on the Executive Committee of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce-Southeast, and is a past Chair of the State Bar of Georgia’s Intellectual Property Law Section. He’s also been active in the Intellectual Property Section of the American Bar Association, and is a past Chair of that section’s Patent Policy Committee.

Mr. Kirsch received his B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Iowa in 1987. He received his J.D. from Washington University School of Law in 1990, where he was Notes & Comments Editor of the Washington University Law Quarterly. Mr. Kirsch is admitted to practice in Washington, D.C., Georgia, Virginia and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Brett Lockwood

Brett Lockwood is a Partner in the Corporate Practice of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP and chairs the Firm’s Technology Law Practice Group.

Mr. Lockwood devotes a substantial portion of his practice to serving as principal outside counsel with his clients, advising on corporate, cybersecurity and technology issues as well as significant business transactions. His practice areas include mergers and acquisitions, cybersecurity and data privacy, technology transactions, licensing, strategic alliances and corporate finance matters.

He has published extensively on business and legal topics in many publications and has spoken widely about technology legal matters. Mr. Lockwood is AV Rated (top rating) from Martindale-Hubbell and has been recognized as a Georgia Super Lawyer.

His current professional affiliations include serving as Co-Chair of the Atlanta Chapter of the Licensing Executives Society and as a member of the ACG’s Capital Connection Planning Committee, the International Association of Privacy Professionals, and the Technology Association of Georgia. He has previously served as a Board member and officer of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals, the Executive Committee of the State Bar of Georgia’s Technology Law Section (former Chair), the Business & Technology Alliance, the Atlanta Electronic Commerce Forum, the Georgia Technology Forum, Literacy Volunteers of America (Metro Atlanta), and as the Editor-in-Chief of the Georgia Bar Journal.

Mr. Lockwood received his B.A. degree, cum laude, from the University of North Florida, performed graduate studies at Columbia University’s School of International Affairs and received his J.D. degree, with distinction, from Emory University School of Law. During law school he served as Executive Managing Editor of the Emory Law Journal and received the Laughlin Award for excellence in legal research and writing.

Patrick Braswell

CEO at Transcend: Love where you work.

Phone: (404) 312-2053

In-kind Partners

Stone Soup Tech is a company offering a diverse suite of complementary technology, management, and marketing services.

Bradley Kirkland

Bradley Kirkland is the co-founder of Stone Soup Tech Solutions (SSTS), a company which has offices in the US, Romania, and Germany. SSTS focuses on custom complex software development, including AI, native mobile apps, and complex web systems. He has also founded or co-founded several companies in the software space, as a co-working space and accelerator.

Bradley is a managing partner of Stone Soup Holdings, LLC which focuses on early stage AI related companies. As an active angel for 6 years, he’s invested in 12 software companies. Among his volunteer efforts, Bradley is active as a mentor for Startup Weekend, Founder Institute, Georgia Tech, VentureLab, ATDC, and the National Black MBA Association, as well as a shark for startup competitions in many cities world-wide.

Community Partners

The Atlanta CEO Council is pleased to collaborate with local organizations in support of entrepreneurial excellence. Please click our Partner logos to learn more about their initiatives.


Atlanta CEO Council membership is by invitation only.


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