Tom is Executive Director of RIoT, supporting Internet of Things and disruptive technology industry growth. By day he runs RIoT Labs at HQ Raleigh. In his spare time, Tom co-instructs Product Innovation Lab, a Forbes award winning multi-disciplinary 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 in NC.
He’s passionate about creating and fostering collaborations across disciplines, markets and cultures. He enjoys the outdoors, woodworking, boardgames, big crowds, craft beer and ideas that are just crazy enough to work.
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 Meleney joined the RIoT team to launch and direct the RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP). Rachael drives curriculum development, builds relationships in the region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, and supports RAP’s growing community of IoT startups.
Previously, Rachael launched a first-of-its-kind startup incubator at Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight under Dan Ariely. The CAH’s Startup Lab supported health and finance startups in leveraging behavioral science, rigorous experimentation, and close partnerships with behavioral researchers. Rachael got hooked on supporting startup processes and entrepreneurship education through her involvement with Reese News Lab, an experimental media ventures organization at the UNC School of Media and Journalism, and The Startup Factory, a downtown Durham tech accelerator.
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.
Director of Partnership
In her role as Director of Partnership at RIoT, Amber focuses on supporting sponsors, serving as 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.
Katherine is the Marketing Specialist for RIoT, where she 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 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.
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 of North Carolina and VP of Product Development for Consert. Larry was also heavily involved and admired in the 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.