So this entrepreneur, designer, Rails teacher, and event planner walk into a coworking space…
We're a southern ignition of entrepreneurs, investors, developers, artists, teachers, collaborative spaces, and the events that bring them all together. We believe that quality people are the secret to innovation and inspiration, and that we're at our best when we work together.
We live, work, and play in the wonderful Upstate of South Carolina.
Who We Are
Eric was born and raised in the Upstate (that’s SC for all you Yanks out there), where he spent his early years hiking, mountain biking and dirt bike riding with his Dad. Somehow or other he ended up at Clemson University, and the result was a degree in marketing, some tutoring in calculus, a lot of wakeboarding and a proudly matriculated summa cum laude.
After school Eric took a marketing internship at Brains on Fire, where he worked his way from research assistant to full blown account manager and strategist. He's executed successful projects for Best Buy, Double Day Publishing, Colonial Williamsburg, and Liquid Wrench. Even though he liked his day job, nights and weekends often found Eric scheming up new ideas and companies with developer friends.
Luckily his path crossed with Peter and Matthew's just as the idea for The Iron Yard was born, and he jumped ship to join their crew as a partner and producer. Day to day you'll see him tackle everything from accounting to coding, making sure the team is having fun and projects are getting done.
When he's not knee-deep in startup world, you can probably find him hiking or biking in the woods, building something in his shop, or on a walk with his wife.
Kate was born and raised in Pasadena, CA but traded sunglasses for snowshoes at McGill University in Montreal. It only took her three years to get two degrees (Cultural Studies and Art History), and she even had time to build a small cupcake business.
Post cap-and gown, Kate moved to Toronto to join the social media team at Lululemon Athletica, where she soaked in all she could before heading back to LA and starting her own consulting company. Eventually she went in-house with one of her clients, where she got a crash course in marketing and business operations. Kate felt moved to pursue a year of service, so she bought a truck, drove across the country, and spent a year swinging hammers at Habitat for Humanity. After completing her service, Kate headed to the Upstate to work as a community manager and strategist at Brains on Fire.
Turns out, Kate’s a southern gal at heart. She’s thrilled to combine her passion for community development and knack for marketing and relationship building at The Iron Yard.
Originally from Colorado, Matthew is a world class designer with roots in studio art. His professional career spans design work for clients like The Gates Foundation, U.S. Postal Service, Fox TV, and MIT. Matthew has led creative for top startups, began one of the most respected co-working locations in the country, and launched a conference that attracts top talent from around the world.
The main dish on Matthew's plate is being the Creative Director at Relay Foods, with sides of speaking internationally, photography, and even some invention in the physical product world.
When he's not making waves in the creative world, you can find him at home in Greenville, SC, spending quality time with his wonderful wife and three cuter-than-life kids, or enjoying a fine bourbon by the fire.
Peter went to Vanderbilt University, where he studied computer engineering. After school he did what all engineers do: moved to Manhattan to become an options and securities principal at Duke & Company (and later Morgan Stanley). Minting deals and moving stock was fun, but a few years on Wall Street reminded Pete he was a hacker at heart.
He packed up his computer and family and headed to Indianapolis to develop software for SinglePoint, an enterprise payroll service. With hard work and technical expertise, he worked his way up to CTO and purchased a stake in the business. In 2006, Peter moved his family again, but this time to sunny South Carolina. In Greenville, Peter has taken leadership roles in the development of NEXT, the NEXT Innovation Center, InternGreenville, and the southeast's premier startup accelerator, The Iron Yard.
Peter married his college sweetheart and has 5 incredible kids. In the rare times he's not at work or with his family, you can find him heads down in the latest fantasy or science fiction novel.
In addition to teaching kids, he's worked for small, Southern boutique web shops, startups from San Francisco to Greenville, and everywhere in between. Mason now directs the Iron Yard Academy, which encompasses CoderDojo and the Iron Yard's Intensive School. He also spends his days hacking on the Iron Yard's chatbot, teaching it to surprise the other Iron Yarders with memes and gifs.
A decent mixologist, and no mean hand at Japanese cooking, his preferred past-times are kicking it with friends and family, crafting tasty beverages, gardening, and slow-roasting anything he can get his hands on.
Marco was attracted to art at a very young age. Well before he could color in the lines, he would coerce his older sisters into drawing just so he could study their technique. His interest in computers started when his dad brought home a used Apple IIcx from work. But he didn’t see where those two passions crossed until college where he studied graphic design.
He started his design career working for a marketing agency as a production artist. But his interest in the web compelled him to teach himself how to code. After countless frustrating hours, Marco taught himself enough to become a full-time web designer. And after stints at agencies and freelancing, Marco wound up joining Zaarly as their lead designer.
Marco loves to create. And along with designing brands, websites, and apps, he enjoys other creative outlets like fine art, playing guitar, and crafting the perfect cup of coffee. Marco is married and has two beautiful and very opinionated girls. You’ll probably find them, and their dachshund, going for walks around downtown.
Kevin is a dachshund loving, Santa Clause believing, champagne wielding, all-inclusive designer. He is here to create new ideas, deliver unique solutions, and design deliciously crispy products. After pursuing fine arts with a dash of entrepreneurship and business at Wake Forest University, Kevin launched into the design world at RISD to pursue his Master's of Architecture. He learned the ins and outs of design, and learned how to enjoy the process while churning out each detail. He is also very trained in burning the midnight oil (he's practically an olympic torch).
Kevin was then selected to be a member of the second class of Boston Startup School where he learned all things startup. He left the architecture world for the startup one because he want's to be surrounded by collaboration, not competition. Kevin likes to get his hands dirty in multiple parts of the process, not do just one thing, and wants to be there through the entire process.
In his realm objects loom large, animals speak, good guys win, and everybody loves America. In brief, he is unabashedly, unashamedly, hopelessly in love with design -- crafting too; he knits -- and America’s vernacular traditions (he dances to the drumbeat of a colonial march) and all that is optimistic and enthusiastic.
Dan started his first business at age 12 mowing lawns and turned it into a money-making machine that paid his way through college. While studying theology at seminary, he sold cemetery plots and life insurance. Then he took his unconventional ideas about business to two vastly different companies, helped each achieve massive sales growth and became a CEO at the ripe old age of 25.
Today, Dan is President of Waldschmidt Partners International. As a business strategist, he solves complex problems and delivers big results for organizations all over the world. Dan refuses to accept business as usual – he asks the tough questions that no one else is willing to touch. (Get the daily scoop on his top rated blog, EDGY Conversations.)
Dan lives and loves big. He runs ultra-marathons and recently attempted to break the world record for the most miles run in 24 hours. He and his amazing wife are busy teaching the next generation of Waldschmidts how to be extraordinary. When he’s not with his family or shaking up the business world, you’ll find him running the streets of Greenville, SC.