Startup Weekend Sumter

    Friday, February 26 - 28, 2016

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Sumter

Friday, February 26 - 28, 2016

Friday, February 26 - 28, 2016
Event starts at 6:00 pm

Advanced Manufacturing Technology Training Center (Central Carolina Technical College)

Sumter, SC

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Friday February 26th

6:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:00 pm
Welcoming Remarks and Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:00 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:30 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday February 27th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:00 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday February 28th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

2:00 pm
Polish Your Pitch!

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

5:30 pm
Final Ceremony Starts

6:15 pm
Dinner & Deliberation

7:00 pm
Award Ceremony

8:00 pm
After Party!!!


Heather Dughaish


Event Judges

Jack Beasley

Jack D. Beasley directs strategic planning and management of programs for the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator. Known as the guy who gets thing done, he relies on a combined eleven years of entrepreneurial and university experience to focus the Incubator on best practices, transparency, and accountability. Jack holds a Bachelor’s degree in Media Arts from the University of South Carolina, and a Master’s degree in Music Business and Entertainment Industries from the University of Miami’s prestigious Frost School of Music.

Jamesetta James
Promote IT Director

Jamesetta is the K12 Promote – IT Director  at IT-oLogy where the primary focus is exposing, developing, and reinforcing students technology skillsets  throughout the State of South Carolina.  She also has over 12 years of experience in the IT field where she has been employed in numerous support roles while volunteering and developing STEM hands-on workshops for students locally and nationally. Jamesetta also serve on various non-profit IT advisory and planning committees such as PMECS - Partners for Minority in Engineering and Computer Science at USC, Lexington Richland District 5 IT Camp Advisory Council, and BDPA - Black Data Processing Associates planning committee for local camps and national youth technology Conferences.   Jamesetta earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Information Technology - Cum Laude from Columbia Southern University. She also received an Associate Degree in Applied Technology in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology for Dekalb Technical College in Decatur, GA.   A native of South Carolina, she lives in Irmo with her husband, Anthony James. They have 2 daughters, Brittany, a Molecular Biology graduate from Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University - FAMU and Monique, a Criminology and Criminal Justice graduate from the University of South Carolina and currently enrolled in USC Law School. They have one son, Michael who  attends the University of South Carolina majoring in Electrical Engineering.

Dr. Tim Hardee
CCTC President

Dr. Tim Hardee serves as President of Central Carolina Technical College which serves Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee and Sumter counties. Dr. Hardee has over 30 years of experience in education throughout the State of South Carolina.  Prior to entering higher education administration 15 years ago, he served as a teacher, coach, counselor, principal and administrator on the K-12 level.   Dr. Hardee graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from Coastal Carolina University, a M. Ed. in Counselor Education and an Ed.D. in Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina   Dr. Hardee currently serves on the South Carolina Technical College System Presidents Council; a member of the Santee-Lynches Workforce Investment Act Board; the Sumter Rotary Club; and the local Chambers of Commerce in the four county service area.  He is a graduate of Leadership South Carolina and the South Carolina Economic Developers Program.   Dr. Hardee was presented the Coastal Carolina University Outstanding Alumni award and the Sumter Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Achievement Award.    

Michael Mikota
Director, Santee Lynches Council of Governments

Coaches and Mentors

Heather Dughaish


Robert Sexton
Community Relations Manager, SHAW AFB

Robert Sexton is the community relations manager for Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina's second-largest employer (8,000+) which generates a regional economic impact of more than $900 million per year. As such, he manages contact with the public including civic leaders from the national level on down to local. He has lived, worked and written in seven countries. Besides 30 years of public affairs and communication, his experience includes 17 years in management. During a break in service he started and ran a small travel business which approached $1 million in sales in its third year. To boost his business, he created the first-ever business leads network in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, which the local chamber of commerce joined. He has had more than 600 articles published, and Air Combat Command has recognized his energy and innovation in integrated communication and issues management. He is a graduate of Leadership Sumter, the Air Force Officer Training School, Chrysler Corporation's Sales Training Program and California Polytechnic State University with a BS in Journalism. He and his wife, Beatriz, have lived in Sumter since 2009.

Jake Smith
Business Owner

Jake Smith is President and Owner of Jared's Ace Hardware in Bishopville, SC, which he has taken from a two-person "mom and pop" operation in 1981 to a 16,000-square-foot hardware, home and garden center with 18 employees. As CEO, Mr. Smith is tasked with planning for growth and identifying the strategies to make the desired growth. Last year he also transformed the old downtown storefront of 7,300 square feet into Crossroads Outdoors, an outdoor sports and clothing store.

Mr. Smith's top skills are in retail, merchandising, inventory management, and customer service. He is a member of the North American Retail Hardware Association board of directors, the Santee Lynches Regional Education Center Advisory Board, and numerous other organizations. He is a graduate of Clemson University.

Paul Hilton
Human Resources Consultant

A native of Savannah, Paul Hilton graduated from the University of North Georgia and went on to serve as a commissioned officer in the US Army from 1972 through 1977. Upon completion of military service, he joined a family contracting firm, supervising construction projects in Savannah until 1981, when he began a successful 35-year career in human resources administration.

Paul is certified by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) as a Professional in Human Resources (SHRM-CP) as well as the Human Resources Certification Institute (PHR). Serving in the positions of assistant director, director, systemwide director and vice president of human resources in organizations which average over 1,000 employees, Mr. Hilton developed and administered human resources programs in policies and procedures, benefits, compensation, legal compliance, training, employee morale and recognition, unemployment compensation and handbook development.

In 2003 he brought this expertise to his own firm, Paul Hilton Human Resources Consulting LLC, which helps organizations with their HR issues and program development.

Paul and his wife Janice reside in Sumter. Their daughter lives and works near Nashville; their son is a history professor at Scott Community College in Davenport, Iowa.

Mike Heishman
Operations Manager

Michael Heishman is the operations manager for the SC Works Division of the Santee Lynches Regional Council of Governments. The COG is a non--profit organization dedicated to the identification of opportunities, courses of action, and resources essential to enable local government to enhance the quality of life of the citizens of Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee, and Sumter counties. Michael joined the Santee Lynches organization in 2015 after retiring from the private sector.

Michael's work in the private sector, specifically in warehousing, transportation and logistics stretches back to the early '90s and includes working in various leadership roles for several Fortune 500 companies including Newell/Rubbermaid, US Foods, and Deutsch Post. He also has experience in manufacturing, after leading a new start-up food manufacturing operation here in Sumter as the plant manager for 3 years before joining Santee Lynches.

His work experience enabled him the opportunity to work with various WMS/LMS and HR systems to include S2K, Red Prairie, Manhattan, AS-400, Voxware, Rapistan, QSSI, Pyramid, Kronos, and TimeQPlus. In addition, Michael is trained in Six Sigma and LEAN methodologies, has project management experience and has leadership experience in both union and non-union operations.

Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Sumter is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Jenna
  • Brenda
  • Lewan
  • Rick


Michael Norton

Michael vagabonds around North America exploring entrepreneurial communities and facilitating Startup Weekend events. He works as a freelance business development and crowdfunding consultant, technical project manager, and social media guru. Michael is also a photographer, audio engineer, and writer.

Event Staff

Kyle Kelly

Shelley Kile

Jim Giffin
SBDC Director

SBDC director emeritus

Ken Privette
Incoming SBDC Director

Event Blog

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