Sponsor Spotlight: BadgeOS by Credly

BadgeOs logo

The Vegas team will be the first ever to recognize participation in a WordCamp with digital badges! These credentials are a permanent record of your contribution to the event and may be shared on social networks, posted on websites, blogs and your virtual resume.


BadgeOS by Credly is very proud to sponsor WordCamp Vegas and help to issue and manage your badges. People are learning, contributing, and proving themselves in more places and in more ways than ever before. The team extends credit-earning and issuing out of its traditional realms into any setting where skills, knowledge, or contributions can and should be acknowledged.

BadgeOS, empowers anyone using WordPress to use their site as a platform for community, engagement, and achievement recognition environment. The approach empowers and encourages learners to pick up new real-world skills and knowledge, while also engaging with others in a social give-and-take that builds one’s value to the community and network of connections. Both of these aspects of personal and professional development are rewarded with Badges that learners can take with them for life, demonstrating to the world what they know and how others value their contributions.

The BadgeOS system is an ideal vehicle for building learning experiences around existing materials, subject matter expertise and open educational resources (OER), and for recognizing the informal and social learning that happens both in and out of institutional settings. Today, BadgeOS is used in too many ways to list here – but here is a link to the applications recently cited by Matt Mullenweg as among his favorites: http://badgeos.org/about/sample-sites/.

The BadgeOS plugin and its add-ons are developed in collaboration with WebDevStudios, leading WordPress experts, developers and authors, and contributors to the core WordPress platform.

Speaker Spotlight: Billie Hillier


Billie Hillier is a blogging addict (second to being a domain junkie). With over 15 years in traditional and internet marketing in her back pocket, she loves helping others master marketing techniques to benefit their businesses.

Feeling that there was a need to help women entrepreneurs grow their online presence with a thorough understanding of what it takes to be successful, she recently founded Education Thru Collaboration (previously Mommy Blogger U).

Located in sunny Las Vegas, her goal is to build a local community with a common bond of bloggers, social media junkies and techies.

Billie Hillier
Website: www.BillieHillier.com

WCLV: What do you love most about WordPress?

BH: That WordPress gives anyone the power to control their own site and ease of installing enhancements for functionality without knowing how to code.

WCLV: Who is YOUR WordPress hero and why?

BH: Anyone who takes the step to start their own WordPress site

WCLV: What are your favorite WordPress plugins?

BH: WordPress SEO by Yoast and Gravity Forms

WCLV: Vodka or tequila?

BH: Oh, man! Let’s do a taste test and see!

WCLV: What is the strangest thing you’ve ever done with a piece of bacon?

BH: No fg98

BH (second try): Cat on keyboard. Bacon… not eat it!

Editor’s Note: We suspect Hillier’s “cat on keyboard” comment was actually code for “currently taste testing Vodka and tequila.”

Speaker Spotlight: Mika Ariela Epstein


Mika Ariela Epstein works for DreamHost as a WordPress Support Specialist and Community Manager (aka ‘WordPress Guru’). She solves any WordPress problem that comes up, trains everyone from support to marketing in why WordPress makes your life better, and still finds time to slash unanswered WordPress.org forum threads by night and wrangle plugins by day.

Better known as Ipstenu, the Half-Elf Support Rogue, Epstein likes role playing games. The rumor that she has dice in her purse and tinfoil in her hats is in a constant state of Schrödinger proofs.

Mika Ariela Epstein
Website: http://halfelf.org

WCLV: What do you love most about WordPress?

MAE: The community. They teach, care, and share, making more than JUST software a better place.

WCLV: What are your favorite WordPress plugins?

MAE: Currently it’s Comment Probation, by Nacin. I approve all first-time posts and this lets me keep people on moderation.

WCLV: What do you do for fun that’s off the grid?


WCLV: Favorite TV show and why:

MAE: CSI – Because it got me involved in WordPress!

WCLV: What are your plans for surviving the zombie apocalypse?

MAE: Throwing IE users at the zombies.

Speaker Spotlight: Andy Roberts

andy roberts

The next time you hear someone ignorantly snort that WordPress isn’t flexible enough to allow for customization, hand him $5 to buy a clue. Then introduce him to Andy Roberts and his knowledge base of integrating select business-ready, best-of-breed plugins for “Business Grade WP” right to one’s proverbial, virtual, electronic doorstep. At WordCamp Las Vegas, Roberts is going to share the “8 Essential WordPress Plugins for Business Websites.”

Roberts, who has been programming since the age of 13, is the head of technology at Booktrope.com, a company built using WordPress as an app engine to create a new (and better) way to publish and market books. When he’s not nerd herding or hacking away on WordPress and BuddyPress, you can find Roberts cycling, playing volleyball at Playa Beach or volunteering with SomaLA.org.

Andy Roberts
Website: http://andylroberts.com

WCLV: What do you love most about WordPress?

AR: The programming model and flexibility of the theme engine, but mainly the great people involved.

WCLV: Who is YOUR WordPress hero and why?

AR: John “Vegas Geek” Hawkins, because of the way he decisively runs full speed with his best ideas and never looks back. But all the while he’s never too busy to care about the people around him. This guy should have a “WP Bad A$$ Nice Guy” tattoo somewhere! Actually, he probably already does and I’ve just not found it yet.

WCLV: Are there any fun activities you have planned while you’re in Vegas?

AR: Gotta go to Nikki Lee’s Sports Pub for great pizza and sports. And I always hope make a stop at the Double Down Saloon for live music.

WCLV: Vodka or tequila?

AR: Gin and juice, please. And keep ’em coming.

Sponsor Spotlight: SeverPress


How does WordCamp Las Vegas sponsor ServerPress.com make the life of a WordPress Developer easier? Simply put: Less brain damage. Says Marc Benzakein, ServerPress Operations Manager, “We recognize that no matter how seasoned the developer, time is always a crucial element and all of us have found ourselves up against it, many times despite our best effort. Our whole goal with our products is to make things easy enough for the least experienced designer or developer yet robust enough for the most experienced coder.”

DesktopServer from ServerPress.com makes it simple to create local wordpress sites in just a matter of a few clicks. With DesktopServer you can design, develop and deploy WordPress solutions quickly and easily. It is the ONLY localhost server that integrates WordPress with Adobe® Dreamweaver®, Panic’s Coda and Diet Coda with WYSIWYG features for theme design and web developer professionals, offers multi-site, import and export (deployment) of archive files such as BackupBuddy, Duplicator, BackWPUp, BackUp WordPress, InfiniteWP & ManageWP, create custom blueprints and a lot more.

“Our whole philosophy is focused on saving people time,” explains Benzakein. “We’ve all heard the phrase ‘time is money’ and in our experience, especially in the creative world of web development, it couldn’t be more true. For us, it goes beyond the time/money equation. Everything we do is from a ‘time is LIFE’ approach. By creating tools that are extremely easy to use and help save time, we believe that we’re empowering our customers to have more free time, make more money, and even more importantly, have a life. Our favorite interactions with customers are the ones where they tell us how much time they saved. It means we hit our goal.”

ServerPress clients range anywhere from people who want to simply put up a personal website or blog, companies who have their own in-house website creators, to designers and developers who make their living building websites. Pretty much anyone who wants to build an online presence utilizing a CMS of some sort (but mostly WordPress) can use DesktopServer.

“The growth of WordPress over the past has been phenomenal and it’s not simply because of the software. In fact, I think that the software is actually a pretty small part of what has made it so successful,” Benzakein states. “It’s been said that the Community is what makes it special by so many people that it may almost sound cliché. But that doesn’t make it any less true. And as long as the WordPress Community maintains its philosophies, it’s just going to continue to grow and thrive.” Thankfully, we can count on ServerPress to help us grow with it.

Speaker Spotlight: Natalie MacLees


Customer service is an integral part of your business; and in today’s world, customer service now includes user experience.

Natalie MacLees is a front-end web developer and UI designer and is founder and principal of the interactive agency Purple Pen Productions. At WordCamp Las Vegas, she’ll help you design your website’s user experience to ensure that it’s keeping your customers happy and producing better results for your business.

Natalie MacLees
Website: http://nataliemac.com

WCLV: What do you love most about WordPress?

NM: The community. I think the strength and viability of an open source project depends greatly upon the community behind it, and the WordPress community is like no other.

WCLV: Who is YOUR WordPress hero and why?

NM: Anyone who gives back to the WP community is my hero, whether they contribute to core, write plugins, create themes, organize a meetup, put together a WordCamp or help out in the forums or with writing documentation.

WCLV: What do you love about Las Vegas?

NM: Roulette!

WCLV: Favorite book and why:

NM: Life of Pi by Yann Martel, because it blew me away. I didn’t know what to expect when I started it, but I loved every word. I loved that it was two books in one – this philosophical exploration of religion followed by the grandest of adventures.

WCLV: Vodka or tequila?

NM: Vodka. No contest.

WCLV: Are you smarter than a 4th Grader? Do you think you can dance?

NM: I hope so. On both counts.

Speaker Spotlight: Joseph Karr O’Connor

Joseph Karr O'Connor

Watch out for Joseph Karr O’Connor. He’s currently reading “How to Get People to Do Stuff” by Susan Weinschenk.

But while he might be able to get you to do stuff, you probably won’t mind. This man is on a great mission: improve the accessibility of WordPress. He voluntarily contributes to Make WordPress Accessible and leads Cities, a world-wide effort to build free accessible WordPress themes.

During his session “Making Accessible WordPress Themes,” O’Connor will show you how to increase user experience, usability, and search engine optimization by making accessible WordPress themes and will change the thought process of content creators to be as inclusive as possible.

Joseph Karr O’Connor
Websites: http://accessiblejoe.com, http://blacktelephone.com
Twitter: @AccessibleJoe

WCLV: What do you love most about WordPress?

JKO: I still find it magical that I can change the theme any time I want and the content is untouched.

WCLV: What are some of your favorite WordPress-built websites?

JKO: The WordPress Accessibility Team provided some input in the process of creating Twenty Thirteen. I’m currently using a variation of it, Twenty Thirteen Green by Joen Asmussen, on my own site with a few font tweaks and some accessibility plugins the site is fairly accessible.

WCLV: Who is YOUR WordPress hero and why?

JKO: The WordPress Accessibility Team: Graham Armfield, Sharon Austin, Joe Dolson, Karl Groves, Amy Hendrix, David A. Kennedy, Cyndy Otty, Mel Pedley, Rian Rietveld, Amanda Rush and myself. We are making a difference in core, documentation, and the theme check process.

WCLV: What are your favorite WordPress plugins?

JKO: The WP Accessibility plug-in by Joe Dolson and the WP-Accessible Twitter Feed widget by Rian Rietveld.

WCLV: What do you love about Las Vegas?

JKO: My daughter, a person with severe disabilities, loves Las Vegas. We took her to the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion. Nothing doing. We took her to Las Vegas, opened the drapes in our room, she took one look and she was in heaven. She’s coming with me.

Speaker Spotlight: Ryan Sullivan

ryan sullivan

Ryan Sullivan is more than a speaker at WordCamp Las Vegas. His company WP Site Care is a sponsor.

Before jumping head first into WordPress about four years ago, Sullivan was a system administrator managing electronic personal health information. Basically, he had to make sure that the system never broke and that “bad guys” couldn’t get their hands on some sensitive information. Since then, he founded WP Site Care, a premium WordPress support and maintenance company, which allows him to do something he really enjoys: help people.

Ryan Sullivan
Website: www.wpsitecare.com

WCLV: What do you love most about WordPress?

RS: The flexibility. It’s still relatively young and has the capability to do everything from being a simple blog to a high volume e-commerce platform. And beyond!

WCLV: What are some of your favorite WordPress-built websites?

RS: Mavs.com is amazing. I still can’t believe it runs on WordPress.

WCLV: Who is YOUR WordPress hero and why?

RS: I have a huge list. I have a number of different heroes for different things. Pippin Williamson has built an amazing plugin business and has an awesome work ethic. Rob Neu knows more about WordPress SEO than I’ll ever pretend to know. I respect the way Cory Miller handles himself and his business. The list goes on and on… So many amazing people in the community.

WCLV: What are your favorite WordPress plugins?

RS: It might be cliché, but the ones I find myself using over and over again are WordPress SEO by Yoast, Gravity Forms, and Advanced Custom Fields.

WCLV: What do you love about Las Vegas?

RS: This is going to be a terribly touristy answer, but I love to watch the people on the Strip. Never a dull moment.

WCLV: What is your pet peeve?

RS: That we still don’t have an easy way to find the remote control when it gets lost, which is always.

WCLV: What are your plans for surviving the zombie apocalypse?

RS: Find Brad Pitt, duh.

Sponsor Spotlight: WP Site Care


WordCamp Las Vegas has a lot of people to thank for making this educational event not only happen, but also a smashing success. Among those is sponsor WP Site Care.

What and who is WP Site Care? Founded by Ryan Sullivan in summer 2012, WP Site Care is a premium WordPress support and maintenance company. “I was a solo act trying to earn some extra cash outside of my day job, so I started helping people with various WordPress projects,” Sullivan explains. “The end goal was just to send people on their way with all of their issues resolved. As time went on, I noticed that the same people were coming back and asking for help over and over again, and the idea for WP Site Care was born.”

Today, WP Site Care is a small business of five people that continues to provide quick and helpful support to all of their customers. “Our client base ranges from individuals with very little technical knowledge, to enterprise-level clients who are new to WordPress and don’t have in-house staff of their own yet,” the founder states.

In essence, WP Site Care makes life easier. “It goes beyond just completing tasks for our clients,” says Sullivan, “It’s knowing which tasks are going to save them the most time and money in the long run.” His approach is proactive, not reactive. WP Site Care’s team does its best to foresee any potential pitfalls with future software updates, security, growth, or feature implementations. “By being able to predict potential hangups before they happen, we let people sleep easier. Also, we skip sleep on their behalf,” Sullivan jokes.

So, what motivated WP Site Care to get involved with WordCamp Las Vegas? Answers Sullivan, “We like to sponsor any WordCamps that we can. I love being part of this community, and have personally benefited in huge ways from friendships and learning that have developed at WordCamps. I’ve also never been to a Vegas WordCamp. And anywhere warmer than Utah in December has my stamp of approval!”

Speaker Spotlight: Devin Egan

devin egan

Keeping your website secure is as important as keeping your home secure. If the the locks on your front door were loose or easy to pick, you’d do something about it, right? Well, Devin Egan, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of LaunchKey is going to show you what you can do to secure your password in the age of the botnet and simple countermeasures that you can take to protect your WordPress install.

With more than 15 years of experience in systems architecture, development, administration and security, who better than Egan to teach you how to lock the front door to your website?

Devin Egan
Website: https://launchkey.com/

WCLV: What do you love most about WordPress?

DE: The community!

WCLV: What are some of your favorite WordPress-built websites?

DE: RollingStones.com, http://www.lifeisbeautifulfestival.com/

WCLV: Who is YOUR WordPress hero and why?

DE: Matt. Any questions?

WCLV: What are your favorite WordPress plugins?

DE: LaunchKey, WPScan

WCLV: What do you love about Las Vegas?

DE: The ability to get a drink or bite to eat at any hour of the day and the entertainment is tough to beat.

WCLV: What do you do for fun that’s off the grid?

DE: Skiing. It is refreshing to occasionally throw yourself down a mountain.

WCLV: Favorite book and why:

DE: Currently I can’t get “Ready Player One” out of my head. It can be pretty dorky, but the nostalgia trip and environment within the book are engaging.

WCLV: What is the strangest thing you’ve ever done with a piece of bacon?

DE: No comment.