About two months ago I saw a site called “Stanford Nerd” on Product Hunt. Stanford Nerd works by sending a text message from the website to a Stanford student and a Stanford student replies back to your questions. The site tag line reads “Nerd gives you access to brilliant Stanford students. Get whatever help you need. Send us a message and we’ll have great minds working to answer you.

I thought this was a great but simple idea and also thought, heck I could build this. I also thought it would be great if someone could text anyone anonymously and ask questions or for feedback. I also was reading about the highly valued YC startup Magic that recently raised $12 million from Sequoia Capital at a $40 million valuation. Magic works by texting a phone number to get whatever you want on demand with no hassle. I too was like… I could build that.

This past Friday I was having lunch at Reddit with my friend Heath Black. Heath is a product manager at Reddit and we were talking Reddit’s update on harassing behavior. I mentioned to Heath my idea about building an anonymous ask me anything platform. He thought it was a good idea as he shared a recent experience where he was hesitate to ask someone a question about their race. I also had been talking about the idea multiple times with my girlfriend Melinda Epler.

Being this was a holiday weekend and I’ve been heads down planning BUILDUP events, technical workshops and scheduling fund raising meetings I wanted to do something fun and build something. As a geek,nerd, UI/UX guy, developer and as an entrepreneur when you have an inch to solve a problem or the idea to launch something, you do it. Therefore late Friday night I started reading how to build Anonymously Ask A Black Person ( http://askablackperson.com).

Here’s the articles and the development stack.

Build Your Own Agent SMS Chat Using Twilio Toll-free Numbers
Making an AJAX Web Chat (Part 1) – PHP and MySQL
How To: Send an SMS Text Message via the Twilio REST API with PHP
GitHub Repository intel-tel-input for entering and validating international telephone numbers
HOW TO USE THE TWILIO API TO SEND AN SMS MESSAGE
Zapier for sending incoming SMS to
Twilio for toll free number and sending SMS

Dev. Stack
Twilio
Php
Ajax
Javascript
Twilio API
HTML5
Twitter Bootstrap Theme
zapier
Google Spreadsheets
Twitter Widgets
JQuery plugins
MySql
Webhost: BlueHost
Submlime Text

Total cost = $106.00
Twilio starter credit and phone number $20.00
Napier basic plan $15.00
Twitter Bootstrap theme $18.00
Askablackperson.com domain name with private registration $12.17
Coding Time: TBD :)

Finished Product
Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.04.25 PM

How it worked?
Simple. A user would go to the website and input their mobile number in which they would receive a SMS auto responder reading “Ask me anything. How may I help you?” When a user replies their message would then show up in the ajax chat room that I built from the Build Your Own Agent SMS Chat Using Twilio Toll-free Numbers article. I would then respond back using the “@“ sign and their phone number. Oh yeah first I had to buy the Twilio toll-free number. A user could also just text a question to the number on the site.

Backend Screenshot
admin

Through Zapier the “zaps” web hooks would send any incoming sms to google spreedsheet and another zap would auto tweet any incoming sms to the @aablackperson twitter account I created.
Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 11.09.12 AM

I spent most of Saturday coding, reading how to links and watching the Warrios game. By late Saturday night (actually Sunday AM everything was working and I posting on Facebook at 1:03am “Interesting: Anonymously Ask A Black Person http://askablackperson.com”. A couple of text message started to come in and I replied to each and was feeling good.

Interesting: Anonymously Ask A Black Person http://askablackperson.com/

Posted by Wayne Sutton on Sunday, May 24, 2015

I woke up Sunday morning with more text and was testing out bugs and a way to make the backend ajax chat stop clearing the sms messages. Either way, I posted one tweet saying the same thing I posted on Facebook. I also sent the link to Product Hunt. Ryan sent me a tweet saying it was going on product hunt Monday morning.

Sunday was a chill day, Melinda and I went to the movies to see “Tomorrowland” and dine out. I’m sure she could tell that my mind was on “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” as people were sending real questions. Everything to “Am I racist if I think X”, to is it ok to say this to a black person, to thoughts on Ferguson and Baltimore. My Sunday night was filled with researching and answering SMS messages.

Come Monday morning, Melinda and I had planned to go hiking and when I checked “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” website stats it already had over 2,000 page views by 9am. I was like whoa, is all that from Product Hunt. It turns out, it was part Product Hunt and mostly Reddit. I checked with Heath from Reddit and it wasn’t him. Anonymously Ask A Black Person was on the “internet is beautiful” Reddit section staying at number 2 position on Monday.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.17.42 PM

As for Product Hunt, Ryan had to remove “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” from the homepage of Product Hunt due to “extremely offensive to any one person or group of people”. Either way, I was like, great and secretly wishing it could make 10k page views in one day. But more importantly tons of SMS questions were coming in and Melinda and I was going hiking. This is where Magic and even Nerd wins. Magic says “we have trained operators standing by 24/7 to answer every one of your requests”. “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” is a weekend hack and just me.

I started thinking I could get some help managing the backend and answering questions “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” but that would require a lot of time and trust and I had a certain vision for the site. Plus there were some real rascal questions and text coming in that I expected and since I’ve been doing this whole “internet diversity in tech thing” I’m used to but everyone is not.

Regardless Melinda and I went hiking and I was checking page views and by Monday night it had peaked around 9,500 page views in one day. I answered over 100sms and send a mother tweet that it almost made it to 10,000 page views.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.19.13 PM

What I learned from building ”Anonymously Ask A Black Person”?
While building the site, I was thinking it would be fun and people would look at it part satire and part real. On the fun note people started asking two questions. One is the person behind the site really black or was I a bot. One person send an SMS saying if I’m black what does “GL” mean? I responded “good luck” the next text was no, it means “good look”. I guess I wasn’t “black enough to know that.. :).

An interesting tweet that was posted that said “ where no one knows black people so they have to text them to ensure they’re not being racist” .. I found that interesting to say the least.

In all honestly though it wasn’t about the page views, it was about building, learning and solving a real problem, a people problem. Something Heath reminded me is that regardless of how much technology we have today at the end of the day we’re dealing with people. People have feelings, questions and real bias towards one another. I learned that everyone does’t understand how culture, music, trends and markets affect people’s lives and decision making. I was reminded of my own bias and stereotypes. I became more self aware of how people think and view black people and my desire to educate people on empathy in their everyday life.

Now, I’m shutting down the service and back to focusing on BUILDUP which mentors, educates and connects underrepresented entrepreneurs in technology. One piece of advice I’ll keep telling entrepreneurs is if you have an idea or see a problem, don’t wait for someone else to build it, but your head down, learn the skills and build it yourself.

It was an interesting weekend… #keepmovingforward.

UPDATE: A lot of people wondered what kind of messages I received. I stripped out the phone numbers from the google spreadsheet below.

About two months ago I saw a site called “Stanford Nerd” on Product Hunt. Stanford Nerd works by sending a text message from the website to a Stanford student and a Stanford student replies back to your questions. The site tag line reads “Nerd gives you access to brilliant Stanford students. Get whatever help you need. Send us a message and we’ll have great minds working to answer you.

I thought this was a great but simple idea and also thought, heck I could build this. I also thought it would be great if someone could text anyone anonymously and ask questions or for feedback. I also was reading about the highly valued YC startup Magic that recently raised $12 million from Sequoia Capital at a $40 million valuation. Magic works by texting a phone number to get whatever you want on demand with no hassle. I too was like… I could build that.

This past Friday I was having lunch at Reddit with my friend Heath Black. Heath is a product manager at Reddit and we were talking Reddit’s update on harassing behavior. I mentioned to Heath my idea about building an anonymous ask me anything platform. He thought it was a good idea as he shared a recent experience where he was hesitate to ask someone a question about their race. I also had been talking about the idea multiple times with my girlfriend Melinda Epler.

Being this was a holiday weekend and I’ve been heads down planning BUILDUP events, technical workshops and scheduling fund raising meetings I wanted to do something fun and build something. As a geek,nerd, UI/UX guy, developer and as an entrepreneur when you have an inch to solve a problem or the idea to launch something, you do it. Therefore late Friday night I started reading how to build Anonymously Ask A Black Person ( http://askablackperson.com).

Here’s the articles and the development stack.

Build Your Own Agent SMS Chat Using Twilio Toll-free Numbers
Making an AJAX Web Chat (Part 1) – PHP and MySQL
How To: Send an SMS Text Message via the Twilio REST API with PHP
GitHub Repository intel-tel-input for entering and validating international telephone numbers
HOW TO USE THE TWILIO API TO SEND AN SMS MESSAGE
Zapier for sending incoming SMS to
Twilio for toll free number and sending SMS

Dev. Stack
Twilio
Php
Ajax
Javascript
Twilio API
HTML5
Twitter Bootstrap Theme
zapier
Google Spreadsheets
Twitter Widgets
JQuery plugins
MySql
Webhost: BlueHost
Submlime Text

Total cost = $106.00
Twilio starter credit and phone number $20.00
Napier basic plan $15.00
Twitter Bootstrap theme $18.00
Askablackperson.com domain name with private registration $12.17
Coding Time: TBD :)

Finished Product
Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.04.25 PM

How it worked?
Simple. A user would go to the website and input their mobile number in which they would receive a SMS auto responder reading “Ask me anything. How may I help you?” When a user replies their message would then show up in the ajax chat room that I built from the Build Your Own Agent SMS Chat Using Twilio Toll-free Numbers article. I would then respond back using the “@“ sign and their phone number. Oh yeah first I had to buy the Twilio toll-free number. A user could also just text a question to the number on the site.

Backend Screenshot
admin

Through Zapier the “zaps” web hooks would send any incoming sms to google spreedsheet and another zap would auto tweet any incoming sms to the @aablackperson twitter account I created.
Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 11.09.12 AM

I spent most of Saturday coding, reading how to links and watching the Warrios game. By late Saturday night (actually Sunday AM everything was working and I posting on Facebook at 1:03am “Interesting: Anonymously Ask A Black Person http://askablackperson.com”. A couple of text message started to come in and I replied to each and was feeling good.

Interesting: Anonymously Ask A Black Person http://askablackperson.com/

Posted by Wayne Sutton on Sunday, May 24, 2015

I woke up Sunday morning with more text and was testing out bugs and a way to make the backend ajax chat stop clearing the sms messages. Either way, I posted one tweet saying the same thing I posted on Facebook. I also sent the link to Product Hunt. Ryan sent me a tweet saying it was going on product hunt Monday morning.

Sunday was a chill day, Melinda and I went to the movies to see “Tomorrowland” and dine out. I’m sure she could tell that my mind was on “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” as people were sending real questions. Everything to “Am I racist if I think X”, to is it ok to say this to a black person, to thoughts on Ferguson and Baltimore. My Sunday night was filled with researching and answering SMS messages.

Come Monday morning, Melinda and I had planned to go hiking and when I checked “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” website stats it already had over 2,000 page views by 9am. I was like whoa, is all that from Product Hunt. It turns out, it was part Product Hunt and mostly Reddit. I checked with Heath from Reddit and it wasn’t him. Anonymously Ask A Black Person was on the “internet is beautiful” Reddit section staying at number 2 position on Monday.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.17.42 PM

As for Product Hunt, Ryan had to remove “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” from the homepage of Product Hunt due to “extremely offensive to any one person or group of people”. Either way, I was like, great and secretly wishing it could make 10k page views in one day. But more importantly tons of SMS questions were coming in and Melinda and I was going hiking. This is where Magic and even Nerd wins. Magic says “we have trained operators standing by 24/7 to answer every one of your requests”. “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” is a weekend hack and just me.

I started thinking I could get some help managing the backend and answering questions “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” but that would require a lot of time and trust and I had a certain vision for the site. Plus there were some real rascal questions and text coming in that I expected and since I’ve been doing this whole “internet diversity in tech thing” I’m used to but everyone is not.

Regardless Melinda and I went hiking and I was checking page views and by Monday night it had peaked around 9,500 page views in one day. I answered over 100sms and send a mother tweet that it almost made it to 10,000 page views.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.19.13 PM

What I learned from building ”Anonymously Ask A Black Person”?
While building the site, I was thinking it would be fun and people would look at it part satire and part real. On the fun note people started asking two questions. One is the person behind the site really black or was I a bot. One person send an SMS saying if I’m black what does “GL” mean? I responded “good luck” the next text was no, it means “good look”. I guess I wasn’t “black enough to know that.. :).

An interesting tweet that was posted that said “ where no one knows black people so they have to text them to ensure they’re not being racist” .. I found that interesting to say the least.

In all honestly though it wasn’t about the page views, it was about building, learning and solving a real problem, a people problem. Something Heath reminded me is that regardless of how much technology we have today at the end of the day we’re dealing with people. People have feelings, questions and real bias towards one another. I learned that everyone does’t understand how culture, music, trends and markets affect people’s lives and decision making. I was reminded of my own bias and stereotypes. I became more self aware of how people think and view black people and my desire to educate people on empathy in their everyday life.

Now, I’m shutting down the service and back to focusing on BUILDUP which mentors, educates and connects underrepresented entrepreneurs in technology. One piece of advice I’ll keep telling entrepreneurs is if you have an idea or see a problem, don’t wait for someone else to build it, but your head down, learn the skills and build it yourself.

It was an interesting weekend… #keepmovingforward.

UPDATE: A lot of people wondered what kind of messages I received. I stripped out the phone numbers from the google spreadsheet below.

buildup-logo-500px

Offical press release on PRWeb:BUILDUP Partners with Leading Tech Companies to Help Solve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

BUILDUP, a U.S. based 501(c)(3) non-profit teams with Twitter, TechCrunch, Uber, Google and Galvanize to produce a six-part technical workshop series to prepare individuals from underrepresented groups for careers in technology

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 20, 2015 – BUILDUP a U.S. based 501(c)(3) non-profit designed to connect, mentor and educate technology entrepreneurs, today announced it is working with several leading edge tech companies to deliver a six-part technical workshop series. The BUILDUP Technical Workshop Series will feature leaders from Google, TechCrunch, Uber, Twitter and Galvanize coaching attendees on pitching a startup, cyber security, building a minimum viable product (MVP), application program interfaces (APIs) and more.

Designed to educate and prepare individuals from underrepresented groups for career paths in technology, the BUILDUP Technical Workshop Series will take place over five weeks beginning May 26th.

The current workforce for Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area tech companies reflects staggeringly low representation of employees across gender and racial categories in contrast to the diverse population of the world. Recent statistics show the average tech workforce demographics from top Silicon Valley tech companies include 2% Blacks, 1% Latino and 20% women.

“Lack of access to technical coaching and education have prevented individuals from diverse backgrounds from pursuing opportunities in technology,” said Wayne Sutton, general partner of BUILDUP. “With tech leaders working with programs like BUILDUP and the workshop series, we’re delivering entry level technical training and entrepreneurship programs that target these groups.”

The workshop series co-led by Google, TechCrunch, Uber, Twitter and Galvanize is targeted at individuals considering new careers in tech, launching a startup or building a product, or interested in attending a code school. The series is also geared toward junior engineers, developers and designers, college students, or entrepreneurs looking to sharpen their current tech skill set. The workshop series will be promoted through BUILDUP’s connect network ( http://buildup.vc/connect/ ).

The series kicks off a partnership between BUILDUP and Galvanize, a San Francisco-based educational company and startup hub, which will host BUILDUP’s pre-accelerator program beginning this fall at the firm’s new headquarters.

Workshops are $30 for each class and will take place at Galvanize, 44 Tehama Street in San Francisco.

Schedule of workshops includes:

Schedule of workshops includes:
May 26 – Google: How to build your minimum viable product – Stanton Jones & Kyle Wanamaker, Software Engineers
June 3 – Google: Design Thinking, Nancy Douyon, User Experience Research Program Manager
June 10 – TechCrunch: How to Pitch Your Startup – Samantha O’Keefe, Startup Battlefield Editor
June 16 – UBER: Intro To UBER API – Kyle Bailey, Senior Software Engineer
June 17 – Twitter: Abuse and Diversity Online – Leslie Miley, Engineering Leader Specializing in Mobile and Web Development
June 24th – Cyber Security – Charles Nwatu, Information Security Manager – Security Monitoring and Incident

To register for individual workshops or the entire series, please visit buildupuniversity.com. Pre-registration is required to attend the workshop series.

BUILDUP was founded in 2014 by Wayne Sutton, Kristina Omari and Christian Anderson, who together have more than 30 years experience in technology and investing. Sutton is a three-time startup founder and co-founder of the first minority lead startup accelerator/incubator in Silicon Valley, while both Omari and Anderson bring a wealth of knowledge from their backgrounds in technology, strategy, investments and business development. Together, they formed BUILDUP as they noted the extreme lack of minority technology role models, such as founders or investors who are women, African-American, or Hispanic for upcoming entrepreneurs to approach as mentors or advisors.

The firm is dedicated to increasing innovation globally by bringing innovators together from an array of backgrounds and experience – from the technology, education, health, design, environmental, social and political sectors. BUILDUP hosts educational events featuring successful founders, designers, investors and thought leaders to assist in providing valuable information to first time and experienced entrepreneurs.


About BUILDUP

BUILDUP Fund, Inc. is a U.S. based 501(c)(3) non-profit designed to support an inclusive ecosystem of entrepreneurs focused on building new technologies to solve the world’s most critical challenges. BUILDUP connects, mentors and educates underrepresented entrepreneurs in technology from across the world. For more information, visit buildup.vc.

Over the past year BUILDUP has held several events focused on entrepreneurship, tech culture and venture capital but as Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area tech companies reflects staggeringly low representation of employees and tech founders across gender and racial categories in contrast to the diverse population of the world, we wanted to do more.

Today BUILDUP is excited to announce a five week, six series technical workshop series with Google, Twitter, UBER, Galvanize and TechCrunch starting May 26th. The BUILDUP Workshop Series is designed to educate and prepare individuals from underrepresented groups for career paths in technology. The workshop series co-led by Google, TechCrunch, Uber, Twitter and Galvanize is targeted at individuals considering new careers in tech, launching a startup or building a product, or interested in attending a code school. The series is also geared toward junior engineers, developers and designers, college students, or entrepreneurs looking to sharpen their current tech skill set.

Click To Tweet

The workshops will cover:
How to build your minimum viable product
Design Thinking
How to Pitch Your Startup
Intro To UBER API
Abuse and Diversity Online
Cyber Security

The workshop series will be hosted at Galvanize and begins May 26th through June 24th. Individuals can register for the workshops on BUILDUP’s educational site http://buildupuniversity.com.

Schedule of workshops includes:
May 26 – Google: How to build your minimum viable product – Stanton Jones & Kyle Wanamaker, Software Engineers
June 3 – Google: Design Thinking, Nancy Douyon, User Experience Research Program Manager
June 10 – TechCrunch: How to Pitch Your Startup – Samantha O’Keefe, Startup Battlefield Editor
June 16 – UBER: Intro To UBER API – Kyle Bailey, Senior Software Engineer
June 17 – Twitter: Abuse and Diversity Online – Leslie Miley, Engineering Leader Specializing in Mobile and Web Development
June 24th – Cyber Security – Charles Nwatu, Information Security Manager – Security Monitoring and Incident

Workshops are $30 for each class and will take place at Galvanize, 44 Tehama Street in San Francisco.


Workshop Partners

awg twitter galvanize
uber     techcrunch


Instructors

stanton
Stanton Jones
Software Engineer
Google

nancy
Nancy Douyon
User Experience Research
Program Manager
Google

sam
Samantha O’Keefe
Startup Battlefield Editor
TechCrunch

kyle
Kyle Bailey
Senior Software Engineer
UBER

leslie
Leslie Miley
Engineering Leader Specializing in
Mobile and Web Development
Twitter

chalres
Charles Nwatu
Information Security Manager –
Security Monitoring and Incident


Location

galvanize
Galvanize, 44 Tehama Street, San Francisco, CA 94105


One of the key visions behind the Tech Inclusion conference is to create an event that allows tech companies/startups, individuals, consultants, diverse communites/organizations and thought leaders to share their solutions, lesson learned and case studies around tech diversity and inclusion. We originally set an ambitious date of June 12-13th. We opened call for speakers and reached out to key speakers and sponsors who we knew that were already doing amazing work. Since our original call for speakers, we have received over 90 call for speaker applications and continue to receive positive response from the tech community about the need for the Tech Inclusion conference. The initial feedback was great but we realized we were competing with a lot of conferences and other events around Apple’s WWDC the week of June 12-13.

Therefore we have moved the date of the Tech Inclusion Conference to September 11-12, 2015. The Tech Inclusion conference will still take place at Galvanize in San Francisco.

We also tested various pricing models for the conference, as we understand that everyone may not be able to attend due to financial reasons. We now have two pricing levels, one at $100 for Bootstrapped Entrepreneurs, Students, Non-profits and one at $300 for Series A+, Corporate Registration. For college students or if anyone would like to apply for a scholarship we have a limited amount of scholarship tickets. If interested, you can apply via the Tech Inclusion Scholarship Application form. As it takes a lot of resources to host a two data multi-track conference, we’re hopeful to make more scholarships available with sponsors support.

In the upcoming weeks we will announce more speakers to join the list from participating companies such as Google For Entrepreneurs, 500 Startups, Pinterest, Yelp and Twitter. We’re truly excited to go from just talking about diversity and inclusion in tech to show what solutions are being created and what’s working!

We would like to thank our early sponsors, Change Catalyst, Yelp, Kapor Center for Social Impact, Galvanize, Softlayer and all of our media sponsors.

TECH INCLUSION Conference, September 11-12th
Exploring innovative solutions to tech diversity and inclusion

Conference Organizers: Melinda Epler and Wayne Sutton

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 9.20.28 AM

#BlackMenInTech is a membership community and brainchild of with by Brian Martinez and myself. Our goal is to provide a private membership community to connect African-American men who are founders, investors, engineers, designers, developers, or working for a startup inspiring each other become successful. We started off with brunches in San Francisco and now has transformed to an online community to help grow and connect the echo-system. At the core #BlackMenInTech is committed to diversity and inclusion. We’re passionate about uplifting African-American men and other underrepresented groups by providing access, educational opportunities. – See more at: http://blackmenintech.com/#sthash.ejMdZkjw.dpuf

Today at 12pm PST / 3pm EST the #BlackMenInTech communit will host it’s frist AMA with Social Network Pioneer Omar Wasow.
About Omar
omar-wasow
Previously Omar co-founded BlackPlanet.com in 1999 and sold it in April 2008 for $38MM by Radio One.

Currently Omar is is the Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton with a PhD in African American Studies, an MA in Government and an MA in Statistics from Harvard University.

In 1995, Wasow was proclaimed by Newsweek as one of the “fifty most influential people to watch in cyberspace.” Around 1999 or 2000, Wasow introduced Oprah Winfrey to electronic mail in a series of 12 appearances on her television show.

In 2003, Wasow appeared in an Apple, Inc advertisement discussing their latest operating system at the time Mac OS X Panther.

In 2010 Wasow appeared as a guest on Stephen Colbert’s show as a guest to explain cyberwar.

You can read more about Omar here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Wasow

If you’re interested in joining the #BlackMenInTech Community you can apply at BlackMenInTech.com



conference-logo-header

I’m pleased to announced on June 12th-13th I’m co-organizing the first Tech Inclusion conference and workshops in San Francisco.

As technology continues to affect every sector of business and innovation, there’s a growing concern for the lack inclusion across the tech ecosystem: from the pipeline to the boardroom to Capitol Hill. Entrepreneurs, corporations, education facilities, policy makers and investment firms are all ready to do something about it. The Tech Inclusion workshops and conference will provide a safe, informative environment to explore comprehensive answers.

As diversity and inclusion is about bringing diverse minds and solutions to the table we are looking for thought leaders to explore innovative solutions in the categories of education, workplace, innovation and policy detailed in the chart below.

acs

If you’re interested in participating as a speaker, panelist, moderator or workshop instructor fill out the “Call for Speakers” form here: Apply To Speak At Tech Inclusion Conference

You can learn more about the Tech Inclusion Conference and Workshops at TechInclusion.co

Thank You!

Conference Organizers: Melinda Epler and Wayne Sutton