Keynote Speaker- Kevin Snyder


Kevin Snyder is a recovering motivational speaker who has traveled the world presenting leadership training programs and inspirational keynotes to over 1,150 organizations in numerous countries and all 50 states. He’s also the author of several books, his best-seller titled “Think Differently to Achieve Success.”

Prior to launching his speaking and writing career, Kevin earned his Doctorate in Leadership and worked in Student Affairs at universities across the country, most recently serving as Dean of Students for High Point University.


Rick Laney

How to Promote Your Event Through Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations

Rick Laney is a nationally recognized marketing expert and communications pro known for consistently increasing market share and profitability. With nearly two decades of senior-level marketing management experience, he has successfully launched new companies, managed dynamic national marketing campaigns during significant mergers and acquisitions, and engineered a marketing and investor relations strategy for a successful initial public offering on NASDAQ.

Laney served as director and vice president of two Chicago-based holding companies and a national “Top 100” public relations and marketing firm (according to PR Week Magazine). He has managed all aspects of marketing and marketing communications for privately held and publicly traded companies ranging in size from $80 million to $550 million in annual sales.

Specialties: marketing management, branding and identity, corporate communications, strategic positioning

Caitlin Gouge

Creating Story & Emotion Through Subliminal Marketing

After graduating from The University of Tennessee with a degree in Marketing and Supply Chain Management, Caitlin went on to work for a national public relations agency, where she honed her communications skills for clients across the country in an array of industries. Caitlin specializes in creating loyal communities online through authentic and relatable content, humanizing brands at every customer touchpoint. Having earned national media coverage for clients in publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Success and Southern Living, she is dedicated to telling stories that break through the white noise of content brands compete with on a day-to-day basis.
Currently, Caitlin serves as the Social Media & Communications Director for a diverse management company and works with brands such as The Island in Pigeon Forge and all of the Paula Deen restaurant concepts throughout the South.

Lt. Sammy Shaffer

Safety First- Having Your Plan in Order

Lt. Sammy Shaffer has been with the Knoxville Police Department since 2001 and was with the Knoxville Fire Department for six years prior to that. He is currently the Knoxville Police Department’s Homeland Security and Special Event’s Coordinator. These duties include serving as liaison with other agencies and organizations, planning for special events, and emergency preparedness planning for unplanned incidents. He also oversees the department’s Marine Unit, Community Bicycle Patrols, and is a bomb technician on the department’s bomb squad and previous members of the swat team.

Mark Wilbanks

Safety & Homeland Security

Assistant Chief Mark Wilbanks has an extensive history in EMS and Fire Service delivery including operations and management.  A 20-year veteran of the City of Knoxville Fire Department, Mark served as a Captain in the EMS Division in multiple capacities from EMS training officer, Quality Control and Improvement, and Acting Division Head.  His prior experience includes 10 years with the United States Coast Guard as a Rescue Medic.  In his current role, Mark is an EMT Instructor Coordinator through the State of Tennessee as well as Faculty for multiple educational courses. Mark is the Safety Officer and Homeland Security Liaison for the City of Knoxville Fire dept. Mark is proudly married with a family of three beautiful children.


Rebecca Hill

Creating Award-Winning Events

Rebecca Hill is the Assistant Director at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, Georgia. Rebecca has worked for the City of Conyers for 15 years in event management, event sales, marketing and management.  Rebecca is a graduate from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and obtained an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts from Young Harris College.


Dino Cartwright

Social Media 101

Dino Cartwright has spent nearly 30 years in television advertising, public relations, marketing and promotions, 26 of those with WVLT, Knoxville, TN’s CBS affiliate. His tireless enthusiasm has helped raise brand awareness and create heightened visibility and reach for hundreds of corporations, small businesses and nonprofits across the East Tennessee region. He is also a master event planner and renowned emcee, bringing his passion and energy to countless worthy causes across the community. That’s because the word ‘no’ has never been a part of Dino’s vocabulary as his philanthropic spirit is always at the ready to share his talent and energy in giving back to make a real difference in the lives of others.


Currently, Dino leads marketing, social media and promotion efforts for the White family conglomerate of business ventures that include, Lexus of Knoxville, Toyota Knoxville, Ted Russell Ford, Secret City Jeep, Bridgewater Place and Regas Square downtown development.


Growing up in a Navy family, Dino was born in Athens, Greece (born Constantino) and spent his youth living across Europe. His family moved to Kingston, Jamaica, where he graduated from high school before moving to the United States in 1989 to attend Carson Newman College.


In his downtime, Dino serves on numerous nonprofit committees, including United Way of Great Knoxville, Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Literacy, Dogwood Arts, Knoxville Advertising Federation, The Chairman’s Club, L5 Foundation & Knoxville American Marketing Association to name a few.


You can also find Dino enjoying the arts and culture of the vibrant city he calls home, often with his rescue dog, Oliver, tagging along.


Butch Helton

City of Pigeon Forge Special Events

A hometown born and raised resident, Butch Helton takes great pride in being native of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and can tell stories and histories on how this once small community became a popular destination for families.  As an 18 year veteran in the tourism and special events industry, Butch has firsthand witnessed the evolution not only of tourism but of special events.   As the special events manager for the City of Pigeon Forge’s Office of Special Events, he oversees four event coordinators and is the driving force behind some of Pigeon Forge’s most tenured and popular events such as A Mountain Quiltfest, Wilderness Wildlife Week, Patriot Festival and the city’s annual Chuck Wagon Cookoff.  Both Butch and his wife Mary Anne enjoy visiting other events, traveling overseas (and on the high seas), as well as supporting their beloved University of Tennessee Volunteers.

Brian Riggins

Gaining Sponsorships & Creative Fundraising

Magnolia Golf Group started in 1999 as a golf tournament consulting company assisting non-profit groups and corporations with all aspects of their tournament planning. Magnolia Golf Group now works with more than 300 clients on an annual basis providing golf tournament management, electronic leaderboards, a full service signage program and player amenities. Their clients range from national non-profits such as American Heart Association and American Cancer Society to local non- profits including the Atlanta Falcons Foundation and Piedmont Hospital. Their vision has remained the same since the beginning: provide an exceptional tournament experience for the players while maximizing tournament profits for their clients.

Brian is the founder & managing partner of Magnolia Golf Group based in Roswell, Georgia. Immediately following college Brian entered the golf business as a caddie for the Golf Club of Georgia in 1993. After learning the value of customer service on the links Brian joined American Golf Corporation, the world’s leading golf course management company with over 300 properties worldwide as a Tournament Director. Brian managed tournaments for three golf properties in the metro Atlanta area.

Brian became General Manager in 1995 and managed three golf properties in the Atlanta area with course budgets in excess of 2 million dollars. This is where Magnolia Golf Group was born. Many of the tournaments visiting his properties were poorly organized and not meeting their full potential as a fundraising event. After researching the tournament market in Atlanta, Brian discovered a need for golf tournament services to non-profit organizations and corporate groups.

In 1999, Brian founded Magnolia Golf Group by launching The company started with two clients the first year and has grown to over 300 annual tournaments in nineteen years of business. In June of 2007 Magnolia Golf Group moved into their 4,000 sq ft tournament headquarters in Roswell, GA, just north of Atlanta. Magnolia Golf Group expanded their headquarters to 8,000 sq ft to add more warehouse and office space in May of 2011.

Brian was awarded the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year in September of 2010 and nominated to the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 under 40 business leaders in 2011. Through his years of experience in golf and business Brian has developed a keynote address titled: Corporate Golf – Building Business Relationships through the Game of Golf. Brian travels the country addressing various industries on how to better use the game of golf in their business.

Magnolia Golf Group attributes its success to following its mission statement: To honor God in all we do. Offer the best products and to inspire our clients to maximize fundraising profits while creating unforgettable event experiences.