About RIoT

RIoT is a 501(c)(3) brought to you by the Wireless Research Center and our sponsors.

RIoT has grown significantly since starting as a Meetup group in 2014, and while RIoT continues to serve as a convener for the IoT community, RIoT also offers a startup accelerator, R&D lab, educational programs, and more.

Meet the RIoT SQUAD

Keeping a RIoT under control ain’t easy.

Tom Snyder

Executive Director

Tom is Executive Director of RIoT, supporting Internet of Things and disruptive technology industry growth.  Under Tom’s leadership, RIoT has launched the RIoT Accelerator Program, RIoT Studios, which includes the RIoT Underground Podcast, and RIoT’s ED series.  He has grown RIoT from a Research Triangle focused organization to one with international reach.

In his spare time, Tom co-instructs Product Innovation Lab, a Forbes award winning multidisciplinary course in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at NC State.  Prior to joining RIoT, Tom held an executive leadership role at the ASSIST Center, a National Science Foundation sponsored effort to create wearable electronics for healthcare monitoring.  Previously, he spent two decades in product development and technology incubation for multinational technology companies.

He’s passionate about creating and fostering collaborations across disciplines, markets and cultures.  He enjoys the outdoors, woodworking, board games, big crowds, craft beer and ideas that are just crazy enough to work.

Caroline Griffin

Event and Operations Manager

Caroline works at the heart of everything RIoT. As Event & Operations Manager, she keeps the organization running smoothly and manages all the details of our world-class workshops and RIoTs. She manages corporate communications and is the primary architect of the popular Lunch and Learn series.

Prior to RIoT, Caroline held several positions with event planning and sponsorship raising responsibilities. Caroline is a Raleigh native and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University.

While Caroline is not at work, she enjoys traveling and exploring the outdoors with her partner, Eddie, and their dog, Angus.

Rachael Newberry

Program Director

Rachael supports IoT innovation through helping small businesses, startups, and corporates explore new business opportunities on the bleeding edge of technology. In 2018, she launched RIoT’s premiere innovation program, the RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP), for early stage startups.

Previously, Rachael built and ran a behavioral science-focused startup program with Dan Ariely’s research lab at Duke University, where her work was featured at Google and in Forbes and Inc. Magazine. As a Triangle-native who’s supported startups across local universities, private equity, and nonprofit programs, Rachael is excited to be part of the continued growth of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

When she’s not exploring the intersection of entrepreneurship and different disciplines, Rachael’s creative outlets of choice are dance, writing, and interior design. Rachael is a Durham native and graduate of UNC Chapel Hill.

Amber Cobb

Director of Partnership East

Amber focuses on supporting sponsors, serving as co-architect of RIoT’s and partner events, expanding the RIoT community, and supporting RIoT’s mission of capturing and growing the IoT market sector.

Prior to joining RIoT, Amber spent fifteen years in regulatory compliance where she helped both Fortune 100 companies and startups navigate the complex landscape of getting products into the global marketplace.

Amber is a firm believer in technology being the great equalizer and is passionate about supporting women in all technology fields. When she is not supporting RIoT’s sponsors and community, she is chasing around her two children and geeking out with her husband. Whenever Amber has a moment to spare, you can find her honing her culinary skills, reading, and playing board games with her family.

Chris Meyer

Director of Partnership West

Chris is an entrepreneur who has been deeply embedded into the world of connected devices since 2010 when he built an internet connected coffee canister. He has a talent for bringing communities together to drive innovation and enjoys solving complex problems.

A University of Colorado graduate in Mathematics and Computer Science and a Y Combinator alumni, Chris previously held roles running the R+D Lab at Sphero which he later spun out as a Founding Team member into Misty Robotics. Chris’s work has been featured in publications such as The Wall St. Journal, Fast Company, Forbes, CNET, Venture Beat, and the IEEE Spectrum.

Chris is passionate about the 4th Industrial Revolution and helping entrepreneurs grow within the industry. When he’s not tinkering with hardware, you can find him hiking with his two young offspring or trying to keep pace running with his wife.

Katherine Dupree

Marketing Specialist

Katherine helps craft and distribute the stories of RIoT, RIoT’s community partners, and accelerator startups. When not engaged in storytelling at RIoT, she shows her passion for storytelling by working as Producer for The Monti, a live story-telling event series based in the triangle.

After moving from Utah in 2018, Katherine found her home in Durham, NC. Prior to her role at RIoT, Katherine was engaged in a corporate marketing role. Katherine has a passion for community and has worked in a number of community-centered organizations. She started her career in the nonprofit sector and then went on to manage multi-state nonprofit partnerships for a buy-one-give-one startup. She earned both her BS in Psychology and MBA with an emphasis in entrepreneurial development from Utah State University.

In her spare time, Katherine volunteers for Make-A-Wish Foundation and Big Brother, Big Sister. She enjoys travel, the outdoors, a good book, music and all things Durham.

Maddie Hornsby

Administrative Specialist

Maddie joined RIoT in February 2020. She is an integral part of the team helping to coordinate all meetings for each team member.

Prior to RIoT, Maddie worked in the service and hospitality industry. She currently attends NC State where she is studying Business with a focus in Entrepreneurship. She is active in a number of clubs, including a social impact fellowship where she is learning skills to help her be successful in launching her own consulting company in the near future.

When Maddie is not working, she enjoys reading a good book and going to the beach with her partner and their dog, Oden.

Larry Steffann

RIoT Co-Founder | 1952 – 2018

Larry Steffann was one of the founders of RIoT, and much of RIoT’s success can be attributed to his hard work, vision, and dedication to the startup community.

Larry’s accomplishments included a number of startups, from advisor to angel investor to executive/founder. He served in executive roles at two publicly traded companies. More recently, he was GM of the Wireless Research Center and VP of Product Development for Consert. Larry was also heavily involved and admired in the Raleigh Founded (formerly HQ Raleigh) community, a major hub of entrepreneurship in Raleigh and across the state.

One of his proudest professional accolades was co-founding RIoT; RIoT has been a groundbreaking conduit in what Larry commonly referred to as ‘the 4th Industrial Revolution.’

For more about Larry’s legacy, please visit this article from WRAL TechWire, Upon rocks such as Larry Steffann today’s tech Triangle was built.

RIoT has set up a memorial campaign and scholarship fund in Larry’s honor; please consider joining us in honoring Larry and his family by donating to the Larry Steffann Memorial Fund, which funds efforts to grow the very startup community that Larry supported.