Our Leadership Team

"People should be leadership's highest priority in all organizations!  People matter most."

-John Anthony Smith


image

John Anthony Smith

Chief Listening Officer & President 

Chief Listening Officer, John A. Smith, founded Conversant Group in July of 2009 as an outgrowth of his passion to cultivate people-focused business. 

Engaged on numerous projects and consultations with companies both large and small throughout his 22-year career, John understands the unique challenges of conducting business on a human-centric level — its strategy, quality, and process. 

John started his IT career in 1994, at the age of 14, at Thompson Machinery Commerce Corporation of Lavergne, TN. While working with Thompson Machinery, John was involved with the initial rollout of multiple industry-leading technologies including: Citrix Winframe, IBM NetStation, Window NT 3.51, Windows NT 4.0, Windows NT Terminal Services Edition, remote access via Shiva, ISDN Internet, and WebSense.

After his time at Thompson Machinery, John founded his first company, Computech, in 1996. In 2002, he founded his second company, NetAlliant Technologies, LLC, which he sold in 2008.  

In 2009, he founded Conversant Group, LLC, a technology conglomerate based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, serving clients across North America.

John studied Computer Science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and holds a degree in Organizational Management from Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, Georgia.



image

David Barker

Vice President of Finance, Human Resources, & Risk

David joined our team in mid-2017 as VP of Finance, HR, & Risk. 

After serving six years as a radar technician in the United States Air Force, he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in accounting from the University of Georgia. After graduating, David worked in public accounting for a mid-sized firm in Atlanta, Georgia, where he performed audit and tax services for German subsidiaries operating in the United States. 

After receiving his CPA license, David joined the Internal Audit department of Arby’s Restaurant Group. While at Arby’s, he audited controls over financial reporting for a 4 billion dollar-company, in addition to auditing corporate and franchised restaurants.  

In February of 2015, David parted ways with Arby’s to help run his father’s Ace Hardware enterprise in Austin, Texas, as CFO.  The network of three stores produced $12 million in revenue in 2016 and is poised to open a fourth store in December 2017.  

Back in the southeast with Conversant Group as VP of Finance, David brings extensive experience in accounting, taxes, costing, and pro-growth financial leadership to our team. 


image

Elaina Smith

Vice President of Compliance 

A founding member of Conversant Group, Elaina serves in the role of VP of Compliance.  

Having served in both accounting and human resources capacities for over 15 years, Elaina’s interdepartmental administrative leadership is the engine that powers Conversant Group’s internal growth strategy and organization.

Elaina is a graduate of Covenant College with a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management.

 



image

Jim Thames

Vice President of Sales

Joining Conversant back in mid-2016, Jim is Conversant’s VP of Sales.

Jim brings over 20 years of technology industry business development experience to our team. After leaving an initial career in law enforcement, Jim stepped into the Internet Service Provider bubble of the 1990’s. Throughout the 2000's, Jim worked in multiple technology industries including security, virtualization, and end-user computing for corporations like Citrix, RSA, AppSense and Unidesk. 

His diverse sales and development experience showcase his rare ability to create, communicate, and close deals that bring all parties involved to a place of mutual satisfaction.

Possessing a unique knowledge of channel, manufacturer, and customer ecosystems, Jim prides himself on his "client-first" approach to identifying and solving customer challenges. 


image

Brandon Williams

Vice President of Technical Services 

As VP of Technical Services, Brandon is centrally responsible for insuring the delivery of all consulting and managed services on-time, in-budget, and to the satisfaction of the customer.

Brandon started his professional career in 2003, after receiving a Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Computer Information Systems. Upon graduation, Brandon accepted a network administration post at a Japanese automotive parts manufacturer in the Nashville area. 

Shortly after meeting John Anthony Smith in 2006, Brandon signed on with NetAlliant Technologies, LLC, as a Network Engineer with a focus on network infrastructure design and implementation. In this role, Brandon performed an array of storage, networking, remote access, Exchange, and data center projects. 

After starting with NetAlliant, Brandon began delivering industry-leading consultation to companies large and small using Terminal Services, Citrix XenServer, Citrix Provisioning Services, Citrix XenApp (Metaframe/Presentation Server), and other core infrastructure products.

In 2012, Brandon joined Willis, a Nashville-based company, as a Citrix Administrator for the IT Infrastructure Platforms team. In this role, Brandon supported IT infrastructures across the globe — one of which included a global Citrix XenApp farm for approximately 13,000 users virtualized with VMware on Cisco UCS blade servers.

His Citrix support role led to Brandon and John crossing paths once again in early 2015 at a Citrix conference in Orlando, FL. Later that year, Brandon joined Conversant Group. He has led technical services for us ever since. 


image

Michael Williams

Marketing Director

Michael joined our team in May of 2016, after graduating with a Bachelor's Degree of Communication from Shorter University with a focus in Marketing, Public Relations, and Advertising. Through his studies, Michael assists with the study of the sociodynamics between the end user and the ever changing world of technology.  

Bringing dynamic energy and out-of-the-box approaches to marketing and public relations, Michael is integral part of Conversant Group’s client relations and business development. 

Before joining Conversant Group, Michael played lacrosse for Shorter University. He continues to display his passion for leadership and competition as coaching a travel lacrosse team on the weekends.