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

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.

Clarity Capital Advisors, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, provides strategic advice to small and medium size businesses. We specialize in M&A and general corporate finance advice. Our corporate finance professionals have transaction and industry experience to help businesses evaluate, navigate, and successfully execute a full range of strategic alternatives. Our clients can range from an early stage business with break-even operations to $5 million plus of EBITDA with typical enterprise values ranging from $10 to $150 million.

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, Dixon Hughes Goodman ranks among the nation’s top 20 public accounting firms. Offering comprehensive assurance, tax and advisory services, DHG 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.

Billy Parker

Billy Parker leads DHG’s Technology industry practice. He brings to DHG more than 30 years of experience with a Big Four firm focused in software (SaaS and Cloud), financial technology (“FinTech”), healthcare IT (“HealthTech”), technology manufacturing and services.

Billy serves as lead audit partner, client executive partner, and/or industry partner for public and private technology companies ranging from the Fortune 1000 to start-ups. As part of his commitment to excellent client service, Billy provides deep technical and business guidance, which includes extensive experience with revenue recognition accounting and business models, controls and process, SEC filings, stock compensation, financing and mergers and acquisitions.

Additionally, Billy works with private equity and venture capital (VC) growth companies assisting them through their development and establishment of policies and practices in areas such as initial public offerings (IPO), business combinations and revenue recognition.

Matt Whitmire

Matt Whitmire serves as a partner with the Dixon Hughes Goodman Atlanta region. His experience is concentrated in the areas of closely held, high growth and publicly traded companies within the manufacturing, technology, construction and financial services industries. In the delivery of audit services to technology and software companies, Matt has developed extensive experience in accounting revenue recognition, development costs, goodwill and stock compensation. Matt has also served in the Risk Services Practice, assisting non-audit clients in fulfillment of their responsibilities pertaining to evaluation of the design and operating effectiveness of internal controls as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

Matt has participated in numerous SEC reporting engagements, including the preparation and review of 10-K filings, 10-Q filings, earnings releases and secondary public offerings. He consults on various accounting and reporting issues including assistance with completeness, accuracy and timeliness of SEC filings. Matt assumes full responsibility for directing and managing client engagements, including identifying key business and audit risks and providing recommendations for process improvements and strategy for implementing such recommendations.

Chip Chambley

Chip Chambley began his career in 2007 and serves a Tax Partner in DHG’s Atlanta office. His background includes reviewing income tax compliance and consulting projects for publicly-traded and privately-held corporations in a variety of industries including manufacturing, technology and logistics. He also has experience with various consulting engagements including international, merger and acquisition, due diligence, and federal and state income tax planning. His experience also includes inbound and outbound international tax as well as ASC 740 for publicly-traded and privately-held corporations. His background includes tax provision outsourcing, assisting clients with internally-prepared provisions, and preparation of tax provisions for clients with complex organizational structures including tiered consolidations with US and Foreign taxable and flow-through entities.

DHR International is a privately held executive search solutions provider with 50 wholly-owned offices around the world—including North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. DHR’s renowned consultants specialize in all industries and functions in order to provide unparalleled senior-level executive search, management assessment and succession planning services. Our global reach, coupled with the smallest off-limits list of any major executive search firm, gives us greater access to a larger pool of candidates. DHR International’s executive talent spans 19 different industrial and functional areas, including Advanced Technology, Financial Services, Private Equity, Human Resources, Industrial, Retail, and Sports. DHR International’s expansive global reach and extended intellectual assets are the keystones to our position as a preferred global supplier and value-add service provider.

James Gates

James practices in DHR’s Advanced Technology, Healthcare and Private Equity groups and is based out of the Atlanta office.

James brings a strong operational background to his search work with an emphasis on venture-backed and private equity businesses – areas in which he has deep expertise for advising clients on market conditions and talent. Known for being an agile consultant, James is adept at recruiting C-Suite, Vice President and Director level candidates in the technology, healthcare and franchised concepts spaces. 

James joined DHR in June of 2020, after being in search with a regional boutique firm for five years. Prior to his executive search career, James helped launch Silicon Valley-based tech startup, FotoIN, the leading SaaS mobile endpoint for business photo documentation and reporting. Serving as Chief Operating Officer, he took the company from beta to revenue in 18 months by driving target market adoption and establishing channel partnerships with some of the best-known cloud storage businesses. Prior to that, James spent several years in corporate healthcare.

James is an Advisory Board member at Shepherd Center Hospital and formerly served on the Board of Directors for Ecrebo, a SaaS retailer-to-customer communication channel technology company headquartered in London and backed by Octopus Ventures, one of Europe’s largest venture capital teams. He is an active member of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal currently serving on both its church’s vestry and its school’s board. 

James attended the J.B. Fuqua School in Farmville, Virginia, and has served as its commencement speaker. He earned his graduate and undergraduate degrees from University of Georgia, where he played on the lacrosse team. James was also selected to University of Georgia Alumni Association’s “40 Under 40” recognizing distinguished young alumni.

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.

Trey Haydon

As team leader, Trey has final responsibility for investment strategies, planning strategies and client care. He understands the tremendous value that services such as financial planning and tax strategies have and the significant role they play in the financial future of their clients.

Previously in his career, Trey was a financial advisor and vice president at Morgan Keegan when the firm was acquired by Raymond James in 2012. Earlier, he was a financial advisor at A.G. Edwards, and also held positions at Scientific Atlanta and Arris Technologies. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Washington and Lee University.

Trey grew up in Clearwater, Florida, and attended St Paul’s Episcopal and Shorecrest Prep.
His wife, Chandler, is a Georgia native and well-known lobbyist. They have two children, Carter and Sara Elizabeth. Trey is a member of Northside Church and Cherokee Town and Country Club.

In his free time, Trey enjoys attempting to lower his golf score. He also enjoys duck hunting twice per year in South Carolina and Arkansas, and saltwater fishing for snook, tarpon and redfish, preferably in the skinny waters around Florida.

We help our clients minimize the challenges and time involved in making great hires. We also ensure they understand and get the most out of their hiring investments.

For our Consultants and Candidates, simply put, we help you make great career decisions.

Since 1986, Insperity’s mission has been to help businesses succeed so communities prosper. Offering the most comprehensive suite of scalable HR solutions available in the marketplace, Insperity is defined by an unrivaled breadth and depth of services and level of care. Through an optimal blend of premium HR service and technology, Insperity delivers the administrative relief, reduced liabilities and better benefit solutions that businesses need for sustained growth. With 2020 revenues of $4.3 billion and more than 80 offices throughout the U.S., Insperity is currently making a difference in thousands of businesses and communities nationwide.

Gregg Ficery

Gregg Ficery is President of Integgra Advisory Services, which he founded in 2011. He has over 15 years of business valuation consulting experience and has valued hundreds of private companies. He also has over 10 years of industry experience in the technology, telecommunications, and financial services sectors in finance, accounting, and corporate development roles.

Prior to founding Integgra, Gregg held a Director position at SVB Analytics, a subsidiary of Silicon Valley Bank, where he led over 150 valuation engagements advising early stage private technology companies for the purpose of determining stock option pricing for IRC 409A and SFAS 123R compliance. In this role, Gregg managed a global team of analysts and interfaced with C-level executives, Boards of Directors, attorneys and auditors throughout all phases of the valuation process. In addition, Gregg developed business with top audit and law firms, leading to sales of valuation and financial software services.

Prior to joining SVB Analytics, Gregg held a Senior Director position at Taylor Consulting Group, a boutique valuation consulting firm in Atlanta, where he was responsible for valuation analysis, financial and transaction advisory services covering public and closely held companies. In this role he developed and led engagements requiring valuation of companies for purposes including mergers and acquisitions, strategic planning, financial reporting, tax compliance, and litigation support, including providing expert testimony. He served clients in a wide variety of industries, including technology, telecommunications, renewable energy, healthcare, food and beverage, financial services, retail, and manufacturing.

Gregg also led business development in the southeast region for DoveBid Valuation Services, as well as for Access Integrated Networks (now Birch Communications), a provider of small business telecommunications. Before Access, he served as Director of Business Development for Consumer Financial Network (CFN), a subsidiary of iXL, developing and executing strategic initiatives for a financial services e-commerce platform, Prior to CFN, he held senior financial analyst positions managing the companies’ largest accounts at MCI and Freddie Mac. While at Freddie Mac, he also served as a Trading Assistant in the Securities Sales & Trading Group.

Gregg is an active speaker on business valuation topics. His recent speaking engagements include a presentation on Valuation Trends to the Morris, Manning & Martin law firm in Atlanta, and an education seminar for the Atlanta Technology Angels group on the Valuation of Early Stage Companies. He also presented at a joint workshop for Georgia Society of CPA’s and the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) on Valuation of Companies with Complex Capital Structures. Gregg also served as a guest speaker on a webinar for the Business Development Academy on Valuation Considerations When Raising Venture Capital, and he served multiple times as a guest lecturer at Emory University on business ethics and corporate fraud. He also spoke at the Fraud and Forensic Accounting Education Conference in Atlanta, and moderated a panel of prominent valuation and intellectual property experts at a conference for the Technology Association of Georgia’s Tax and Finance Society.

Integgra is an active sponsor of the Atlanta Technology Angels (ATA), TiE Atlanta, Atlanta Tech Village (ATV), the Atlanta Technology Development Center (ATDC), the Atlanta CEO Council, the MIT Enterprise Forum, Launchpad2X and the Southeast FinTech Venture Conference. Mr. Ficery’s speaking engagements include multiple events at ATA, TiE Atlanta, ATV, Packard Place in Charlotte, NC and others on the Valuation of Early Stage Companies. He currently serves on the board of the Atlanta Chapter of the Exit Planning Exchange (XPX) and has served on the boards of the Tax & Finance Society and Corporate Development Society of the Technology Association of Georgia. He has also presented on a Business Development Academy webinar on venture capital financing in and on multiple occasions as a guest lecturer at Emory University on business ethics.

Mr. Ficery holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Georgetown University and a master’s in Business Administration from Marymount University. For Georgetown University, he has continued his involvement by serving as President and board member of the Georgetown Club of Atlanta, President of the Hoya Netters tennis alumni organization, board member of Hoyas Unlimited, and an interviewer for the Georgetown Alumni Admissions Program.

Tom Singh

Senior Vice President, Senior Resident Director

Tom Singh has been Wealth Management Advisor with Merrill Lynch since 2001. He specializes in working with Entrepreneurs in all aspects of holistic planning, banking and investment management. He graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Business and a Minor in Health Science Education. In 2008, Tom was tapped to become a Resident Director of the Duluth, GA office and was promoted to Senior Resident Director now serving a dual capacity in leading the Alpharetta office of Merrill Lynch, a $65mm Revenue office while continuing to lead his wealth management practice.

Tom was recently featured in Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” list for 2019.

Tom recently served the community as Chief Governance Officer for Hemophilia of GA –a $108mm not-for-profit pharmacy whose proceeds go to help those with bleeding disorders.
In his spare time, he enjoys travel with his wife, fitness, coaching his kids sports teams, watching his daughter in competitive gymnastics and cooking.

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.

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.

Kevin Raxter

Kevin Raxter is a 20 year veteran of the Staffing Industry here in Atlanta. In 2018, he founded his second staffing agency, Talent 360. Today, Talent 360 provides both permanent and staff augmentation services to both companies local to Atlanta and across the country. Talent 360 has a strong focus in IT and Accounting/Finance recruiting, with many clients asking them to help in additional areas of need.
Kevin is published author of, Staffing! Recruiting with New Tricks and Old Techniques and he focuses his attention on small to medium size companies, where the power of hiring the right person is truly magnified. He works closely with his clients to understand exactly what are seeking, both from a skill standpoint and personality/culture fit.

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.

The Atlanta CEO Council has been an important part of the Atlanta business community fabric for almost 2 decades. It remains our great honor to partner with the Council as it uniquely serves the needs of top executives in some of the region’s best companies & non-profits. There’s not another organization quite like it in our rapidly growing city and region.

Peter Baron, Founder, Principal Carabiner Communications


Atlanta CEO Council membership is by invitation only.


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