The MEBUS Team
Keith Perissi - Director
Keith Perissi is the Director of the Joel A. Katz Music & Entertainment Business (MEBUS) Program at Kennesaw State University. Keith started his career in Atlanta as a touring musician and gained invaluable experience during his 15+ years on national tours and recorded five albums. Keith has a lifetime of experience in the fields of touring, promotion, talent management, talent booking, marketing, songwriting, audio/video engineering, concert and event production and entertainment business entrepreneurship.
Under Keith’s leadership, the Joel A. Katz MEBUS Program has been featured as one of Billboard Magazine’s Top Music Business Schools for three years in a row (2018, 2019, 2020).
Keith was appointed to Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office Advisory Board for Governor Brian Kemp in 2019.
The Joel A. Katz MEBUS Program is a Grammy Museum Affiliate, and Keith has been a longtime Grammy Voting Member.
Keith has extensive world travel experience that he gained during his years as a touring musician. He has worked professionally and toured throughout the entirety of the United States, Great Britain, Europe, and most parts of the globe. Through these experiences, Keith and his MEBUS team have created a vibrant London Study Abroad and Disney Study Away program for customized student learning and engagement opportunities with global entertainment businesses.
Safety and ethics while travelling are top priorities for Keith and the MEBUS program. His leadership skills and ability to provide quick solutions for any global challenge are a valuable asset in the planning, teaching, and implementation of the London Study Abroad and Disney Study Away trips each year. Through his partnership with MEBUS benefactor, Joel A. Katz, Keith connected with contacts to develop several opportunities for students to gain direct access in London and Disney. Keith has vast knowledge of the music and entertainment business culture and shares his insights and real-world professional experiences with his students. Keith is dedicated to providing students with life changing global business experiences through the Joel A. Katz MEBUS Program.
Keith continues to remain active in Atlanta’s thriving entertainment industry, though has stepped off the stage as a performer choosing the classroom as his preferred venue for teaching and learning. He has found that it is students who inspire him most, and he enjoys sharing his knowledge, experience and industry relationships to encourage the next generation of entertainment industry professionals to meet their career objectives.
Danny Howes - Assistant Director
Danny Howes is a music business veteran with over 30 years of professional experience in the industry. As a musician, producer/engineer, studio owner, and software trainer, he brings real world experience from the road and recording studio into the classroom. He is a former Music Director, Tour Manager, and Guitarist for major label recording acts. Certified in Logic Pro Studio and all Apple Consumer Software, Danny is also an advanced Pro Tools user and a highly motivational teacher, mentor, and communicator.
Cammie Conn - Program Coordinator
Cammie Conn is the Program Coordinator of the Joel A. Katz Music & Entertainment Business (MEBUS) Program at Kennesaw State University. Cammie is a graduate from Kennesaw State and an alumni of the MEBUS Program.
She earned her B.A. in Theatre & Performance Studies and her certificate from the MEBUS Program while simultaneously participating in enriching professional opportunities in various entertainment fields. Cammie spent a little over a year as a participant of the Disney College Program, where she took on multiple roles across the sprawling Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando and gained invaluable experience in the hospitality industry.
Through the MEBUS program, Cammie was also connected with her mentor Christy Crowl (Senior Music Producer, Disney Parks Live Entertainment). Together, Cammie and Christy have collaborated on new lifestyle brands for artists and navigated the world of post-pandemic live entertainment.
As a student, Cammie served as the Guest Experience Lead Assistant at Kennesaw State University’s student-led Event and Venue Management organization, Night Owl. She took a leadership role in facilitating several nationally-televised sporting events, including CONCACAF, ASUN, and PLL.
Cammie continues to write and publish award-winning novels on the social storytelling platform, Wattpad, where she is recognized as one of the most influential creators on the site. Her stories have gained over 750,000 collective reads and she has partnered with brands such as Amazon Prime Studios to create engaging promotional content.
While Cammie has always had a passion for music and storytelling, she is even more excited about helping Kennesaw students find their place in the dynamic global entertainment industry.
Artists and Executives in Residence / Faculty
John Driskell Hopkins - Zac Brown Band
John Driskell Hopkins ("Hop") is a founding member of the Zac Brown Band, as well as a talented vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.
After graduating in 1993 from Florida State University with a degree in General Theatre, John led multiple bands before moving home to Atlanta and forming the group Brighter Shade. When the band's gig schedule slowed down in the early 2000s, he turned his focus to producing and writing in his own studio which was named after Brighter Shade. Incidentally, one of the many different artists that he worked with during that period was named Zac Brown.
After learning that Zac's band was in need of a bass player, John volunteered to sit in until he found a permanent player. Neither of them expected to play together so effortlessly, and after a few weeks, John stayed on permanently.
The beginnings of the Zac Brown Band packed out bars and local venues, and when the song "Chicken Fried" made it to the radio in 2008, the sky opened up. The Zac Brown Band has gone on to win three GRAMMYs and perform for sold-out venues across the country.
Coy Bowles - Zac Brown Band
Coy Bowles is a guitarist, organist, and songwriter for the Zac Brown Band.
Coy started playing guitar at age 11, and by the time he was 13 he had a band called Betty Doom that played punk rock and rock-n-roll music at churches and friend’s birthday parties in his hometown, Thomaston, Georgia. At a young age, he taught himself how to play bass and drums, as well as how to write original songs.
Coy went to college for Biology at West GA College, where he met Zac Brown. Following graduation, he realized that music was his life's passion. Coy took a year off and practiced eight hours a day in order to get into Georgia State University’s Jazz Studies program. He played guitar everyday, all day, for four years while in college, inspired by the music of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and many others. After leaving the program, he started my own band, Coy Bowles and The Fellowship, which opened for Zac Brown Band at the Sky Bar in Auburn, Alabama.
A week or two later, he got a call from Zac saying, “If you want to open for us full-time, the spot is there. Or if you want to leave your keys on stage and play keys with us on the next few shows then come on.” Years later, Coy is still a member of the GRAMMY winning Zac Brown Band.
On top of playing music, Coy also wrote four children’s book called Amy Giggles - Laugh Out Loud, Will Powers - Where There's a Will There's a Way, When You're Feeling Sick, and Behind the Little Red Door.
Bryan Calhoun - Executive in Residence
Bryan Calhoun, Founder of the Music Business Toolbox, has more than 25 years of experience in the entertainment business under his belt, with no signs of slowing.
Bryan's first venture into the industry started with an unheard-of accomplishment for an 18-year-old with no experience – he negotiated to have world-famous hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest play at his university.
Since then, Bryan has amassed an inspiring resume, working with music royalty many times over, and developing household names including Kanye West, Lil Wayne, G-Eazy, Questlove, Nicki Minaj, Drake, and more.
Bryan holds a wealth of knowledge in every single facet of the complex music industry – which thousands have experienced first-hand seeing him speak on panels and teach workshops at all of the key music industry conferences – including SXSW, MIDEM, The New Music Seminar, CMJ, ASCAPs I Create Music Expo, and over 20 more. He was also the head of Artist Marketing and Industry Relations at Pandora.
Currently, Bryan is the Head of Partnerships at Yat Labs and continues to help artists create an impactful digital strategy.
Tanner Smith - Venue Booking & Promotion Instructor
Tanner Smith is the current Director of Talent Buying and Festival Development at Sixthman, with nearly twenty years of high-level experience in the Venue Booking & Promotion industry.
In college, Tanner had a vision of raising money towards a New York City trip where he and some other students could attend a music industry conference. He came up with the idea of holding a concert, and used his own credit card as the budget. Tanner hired five local acts to perform at the Cotton Club, and following the sold-out show he walked away with $2,500, which more than paid for the trip. Since then, he knew that he'd found the career path for him.
Tanner has held several positions in the industry, ranging from nine years as the Director of Programming and Production for ASO Presents to serving as the tour manager for Corey Smith and Drivin N Cryin.
He has shared his expertise with MEBUS students since 2012, and is a huge proponent of imparting real-world insights to students that give them a leg up on their career paths.
Greer Howard - Film & TV Instructor
Greer is currently the host of Atlanta’s Best New Homes on Fox 5. Before that, she was the in-house reporter for the Atlanta Braves for 6 years.
Her TV hosting and reporting experience also includes The Weather Channel, Softball 360 (Fox Sports Net), CNN’s Nascar 24/7 and Trackpass, the Host of NHRA’s Full Throttle TV and a reporter for Atlanta Tonight on UPN.
In addition to hosting, Greer has been featured in more than 100 regional and national commercials. And has been the official spokeswoman for Paramount Auto Group for many years.
Behind the camera, Greer has 3 years of experience as a Production Coordinator at Turner Studios.
Beth Keener - Film & TV Instructor
Beth Keener is a seasoned actress based out of Atlanta.
Her nine years in the industry have included two years in Los Angeles and offer a wealth of knowledge for students seeking to grow as performers in TV/Film as well as in the commercial hosting realm.
Beth has studied with professionals in Atlanta including Shannon Eubanks, Bob Harter and Della Cole; also studying with The Groundings and Crystal Carson in Los Angeles. Presently, she studies privately with Vince Pisani and has begun to work with Whole World Improv Theater since January 2013. Her resume boasts work on Battle: Los Angeles, The Vampire Diaries, Drop Dead Diva, Death Sentence, One Tree Hill, Army Wives, etc.
Commercially, and in hosting she has represented a wealth of varying companies; most notably WellStar, TNT, and Braves Live on Fox Sports South.
Beth’s versatile experience will help offer good insight and practical application for students seeking to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
Dale Goldberg - Film & TV Production Instructor
A storyteller at heart, Dale Goldberg has been working in Atlanta's video and film production industry for over ten years.
He started producing short films when he was in high school but quickly graduated to producing commercials. In addition to his commercial work, he has worked in television and independent film production in various roles including as a Producer and a Director.
A fun and engaging speaker, Dale has taught various aspects of the production and post-production process at Apple to working professionals and beginners alike. Today, he works as an editor and operates a production company, DR. G FILMS, making commercials and narrative film projects.
As an editor and a director Dale possesses not only a high level of technical expertise but also real world experience acquired on location and in studio.
Robin Kranz - Film & TV Production Instructor
Robyn Kranz is a Founding Partner of Brownieland Pictures and co-teaches the MEBUS Creative Adaptability courses.
Robyn got her start by graduating with a degree in Journalism from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. She started working right out of school at the local NBC affiliate as producer in Public Affairs, where her love of giving back through her career began.
She has been in the business for over 25 years, and through Brownieland Pictures she works with nonporfit clients to create captivating video content. Her love of storytelling is an inspiration to MEBUS students whether they are learning about script development, production, or video editing.
Amy Oraefo, Esq. - Business Law & Copyright Instructor
Amy Oraefo is an entertainment lawyer, consultant, and influential speaker. She is dedicated to the outreach and education of entrepreneurs and creatives.
As the owner and founder of Amy Oraefo, P.C., a boutique law firm, Amy serves as counsel for new and established businesses, entertainers, and content creators. She has negotiated millions in client deals in connection with brands such as iHeart Media, Kobalt Music, Revolt, SpringHill Entertainment, and Viacom, to name a few. Ms. Oraefo is dedicated to advocating for her clients both nationally and internationally and she has a passion to assist in the growth and protection of their respective brands.
In addition to devoting time to skillfully manage her law firm and serve as an Adjunct Professor, Amy is also a global consultant and advisor for artists within the United States and in various countries throughout the continent of Africa.
Currently, Amy Oraefo, Esq. is on the Board of Governors for the Atlanta chapter of The Recording Academy and she is also involved in several organizations that promote the growth of entrepreneurship and entertainment.
Jeff Tomei - Audio Production & Technology Instructor
Jeff Tomei has served as the producer, engineer, and mixer of major studio acts for thirty-five years. His music production company, Rockit Productions, is based out of the state-of-the-art recording facility Cock of the Walk in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Throughout his career, Jeff has worked on projects at studios such as Capitol Records, House of Blues, Paramount, and Sound City. Just a few of the major artists he worked with include Smashing Pumpkins, Matchbox Twenty, Jerry Cantrell, Skid Row, and Collective Soul.
Jeff's real-world expertise makes him the perfect candidate to teach MEBUS students about audio technology and recording processes, new and old, that make a difference in propelling an artist's work to the next level.
Steven Morrison - Audio Production & Technology Instructor
Steven Morrison is a GRAMMY nominated engineer with more than a decade of professional experience. Currently, he serves as the Chief Studio Engineer at MadLife Stage & Studios in Woodstock, Georgia.
Through the course of his career, Steven has worked with many prominent musicians crossing many genres, including Pearl Jam, Killswitch Engage, Bruce Springsteen, Usher, and Atlanta Rhythm Section. Most of his major label credits were earned while employed as the chief engineer at Southern Tracks Recording in Atlanta.
Steven relies on his expertise to co-teach some of the MEBUS Audio Production courses, where students gain hands-on experience based upon industry standard techniques.