3209 Campus Loop Road
Kennesaw, GA 30144
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 professionally touring musician and gained invaluable experience during his 15+ years on national tours and recorded over five albums and multiple singles. 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 four years (2018, 2019, 2020, 2022).
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, both on and off stage though 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 - Associate 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, MEBUS Advisor
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).
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.
While Cammie has a passion for music and storytelling, she is also 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 Member and Artist in Residence
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 Member and Artist in Residence
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.
José Acosta - Film & TV Production Instructor
José has over 30 years’ experience in TV/Film/Commercial Production, including an EMMY win and several nominations. He began his career as a 3D animator and soon was promoted to Director of Computer Animation at the Art Institute of Atlanta. He earned a Southeast EMMY win for his animation work on Salsa, a Spanish-language Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) show for kids. He is best known for writing and directing Edgar Allan Poe’s Mystery Theatre, a 1-hour historical drama originally aired on GPB and now on Amazon. It garnered him a 2015 Southeast EMMY nomination for best writing. His other award-winning indie films include Hey Zeus (2019) dramatizing the immigration crisis on the US-Mexican border.
He founded DoubleRaven Pictures in 2004. As a commercial director/DP, José is trusted by some of the world’s best-known brands including AT&T, Cartoon Network, Chevy, Coca-Cola, Comcast/NBC/Universal, Delta Air Lines, Dunkin’ Donuts, ESPN, Ford, FOX Sports, The Home Depot, Major League Soccer, Turner, Mercedes-Benz, PBS, Showtime, and UPS.
José has also lensed faith-based feature films, a wide range of documentaries, concerts, and entertaining reality shows for a variety of distributors. He has filmed in the US, Australia, Colombia, Cuba, Italy, and Mexico. He recently authored a chapter about Poe’s influence on film in The Enduring Fascination with Edgar Allan Poe (Mercer University press, 2024).
Adam Simon - Film & TV Production Instructor
Adam is a 7-time Emmy Award-winning Film/TV/Video editor and animator with a history of helping agencies and creative teams produce videos that thrill their clients. As a contractor, he has had the pleasure of working with globally respected brands such as Georgia Public Broadcasting, the Science Channel, Cartoon Network, Discovery Education, Georgia Power, and more.
Adam’s unique industry experience makes him the perfect candidate to lead Creative Adaptability students from the pre-production stage to post-production and beyond.
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 Lecturer
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.
Morris Baxter - Radio Personality and Motivational Lecturer
Morris Baxter started his career in radio at WOWI in Norfolk, Virginia and, worked at WMYK as the program director for 10 years. After many positions with WNVA, WPCE, WSVY and as an entertainment reporter for WAVY (CBS affiliate), Morris moved to Atlanta as the promotions manager for Loud/Sony Records.
In this position, he has worked on projects for platinum selling artists, including Wu Tang Clan, Three 6 Mafia, Mobb Deep, Xzibit and Big Pun. He also held the title of Southeast Regional Director of Promotions for Artist Direct/BMG and later served as the national director of promotions, working with artists such as Slum Village and 8Ball.
At present, he is known for uplifting and inspiring MEBUS students and listeners alike with ‘Morris Motivations” as the host of Morning Jazz on Jazz 91.9 WCLK, Atlanta's Jazz Station. Morris also works as a voice actor and has published a book called The Morris Code – 21 Ways Something Good is Going to Happen to You Today.
Tom Haynes - TV News Anchor and Broadcast Lecturer
Tom Haynes is currently the anchor of FOX 5 News and News Edge. Before moving to Atlanta, Tom worked at WSVN, the FOX affiliate in Miami. While at WSVN, he was part of the primary anchor team and reported for the evening newscasts.
Throughout his career, Tom has covered a wide range of stories, including major elections, and served as a field anchor during multiple national crises. He has also traveled to interview television personalities such as Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Judge Judy.
Tom started in the industry in 1994 as a production assistant for CNN's Larry King Live before moving to CNN’s world headquarters in Atlanta, where he worked as a producer, reporter and anchor. Tom has received national recognition for his work, including an Emmy Award, a Beacon Award, and a Prism commendation.
David Sweeten ("DJ Burn One") - Audio Production & Technology Lecturer
Over the last 20 years, Burn One has cemented a reputation as one of the most influential and innovative musicians of the modern South. Known for producing trunk-rattling and deeply funky hip-hop, Burn One began releasing mixtapes as a high school student. This led to the first part of his legend: as the DJ who educated Gucci Mane about the necessity of doing mixtapes, and who de facto executive produced the Zone 6 icon’s seminal, Chicken Talk.
During the blog era, Burn One was the DJ and tastemaker widely credited as helping to break Freddie Gibbs, Yelawolf and Pill. Shifting his focus to production, the Atlanta, Georgia native made the beat for "Houston Old Head," one of the most celebrated songs from A$AP Rocky’s classic, Long.Live.A$AP. Over the years, Burn One’s production resume has included underground kings like Starlito and Young Dro to platinum superstars like Lil Durk, Nicki Minaj, Don Toliver, and Rich the Kid. One of the first to create original samples for other producers, Burn One and his Five Points Bakery have had their names pop up in the credits for everyone from Jidenna to Young M.A. In addition to his compositional work, Burn One engineers for David Banner and mixes and masters for many artists from independent to major. He calls his sound “retro-future.” Something old, something new -- always knocking.
Along with production and mixing, Burn One has a keen ear for talent, discovering and developing a young student from SAE, Pi'erre Bourne, into one of the most influential hip hop producers of the past 5 years. Other notable achievements include providing sound design for the Academy Award-winning 1917 and Justice League movie trailers respectively.
Mel Core-Caballo - Artist Branding Lecturer
As legendary music producer Tony Brown would call her, "The Velvet Glove", a strong punch delivered softly.
Melissa Core Caballo is anything but ordinary. Her passion is branding, but she has an extremely broad knowledge of every niche of the industry. Melissa is a female entrepreneur who doesn’t take "no" for an answer. As a CEO and former model for large brands herself (Harley Davidson, Victoria's Secret, Toyota, Speedy Wheels, Ujena Swimwear), Melissa’s unique skill set ensures client success, strong sales delivery, and unforgettable branding.
Melissa's passion for entrepreneurship mixed with her branding expertise led her to launch Dead Horse Branding in 2013. In under 5 years, she took a startup company making $0 to a multi-million dollar company. Through Dead Horse Branding, Melissa is responsible for managing all of the brand’s requirements, from the initial strategic plan, through to all of the project's needs and implemented services. Dead Horse Branding developed a simple yet flawless branding formula guide called "The DH7" that is at the heart of all of their brand’s success. It could be developing an artist, building a fashion brand, launching celebrity licensed products, or working with a startup company. This formula has proved powerful in all industries.
The DH7 brand building and promotional technique is now being launched around the world into the education sector, creating a strong pathway and directly connecting students to their industry.
Her excellence in selling and building brands makes Melissa one of the industry’s top branding experts. Her methods ensure your success with top publicity coverage. In 2020, Dead Horse Branding made the TOP 10 best Marketing and Publicity firms in Nashville, TN, adding another addition to their strong coat of armor.
Melissa has been interviewed by leading publications around the world. She was recently featured in Authority Magazine's, CEOs & Business Leaders: How To Take Your Business From Good To Great. Melissa has worked with brands such as HGTV, TEDx, Warner Music, UMG, BMLG, Duck Dynasty, Hallmark, Songwriting University, Gigi Butler, Founder of Gigi's Cupcakes, NEW YORKER, TODAY, Lionsgate, Eight Mood, The Band Perry, Eric Church, Pitbull, Ne-Yo, and many more. Melissa has a roster of stellar clients, including legendary music producer Tony Brown (George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McIntire, Steve Earle, Elvis Presley, Lionel Richie), Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Music, "Who Let The Dogs Out"-Baha Men, GRAMMY award winning O’Connor Band, and Steven Tyler’s band "Loving Mary".
Rick Caballo - Artist Branding Lecturer
Equally at home on stage before thousands, or working up designs for cutting-edge brands, Rick Caballo is nothing if not creative. Now based in Nashville, TN, Rick was born and raised in Wollongong, near Sydney, Australia. This accomplished singer-songwriter, artist, photographer, and designer has a rare combination of charisma and ingenuity that means he is constantly in demand.
As a musician, Rick has performed for audiences across Australia, the USA, and Europe. He is adept at a broad range of genres, and has been influenced by artists ranging from the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen and U2. Rick’s first full-length album, Love Retaliation, was recorded in Nashville and has received regular airplay on Australian and European radio.
As a prolific writer, Rick has been recognized with numerous nominations and songwriting awards. His musical talent has also drawn endorsements from Cole Clark Guitars and Caterpillar Luggage, which supported his American and European tours. Some of Rick’s most memorable performances include the CMA Festival (Nashville) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge (Washington, DC), where he shared the stage with Chris Brown and David Archuletta. As a visual artist, music also provides a rich source of inspiration for Rick. As skilled with a brush as he is with a guitar, Rick is best known for his rock star portraits of such icons as Keith Richards, Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger, and Bono. He’s signed with the Celebrities Gallery in Maui, alongside other artists, including Ronnie Wood, Steven Tyler, and Mick Fleetwood.
For Rick, his art is all about people who have an interesting story, and in recent years, his instinct for capturing the essence of his subjects has extended into photography. From fashion and concert shoots to celebrity portraits, Rick has a unique eye for striking, honest, and intriguing images. And while most people would kill to have such a wealth of musical and artistic talent, Rick has even more strings to his bow, underlined by a passion for design in all its forms – most notably graphic design, fashion, and even hand-crafted furniture.
Working with partner Melissa Core, Rick has established numerous successful enterprises. After launching their flagship company, rock-fashion label CORELLO, in 2012, the pair quickly attracted interest from several quarters. Rick’s CORELLO designs have been donned by Steven Tyler, Don Was, Miranda Lambert, Train, Hayden Panettiere, and Ryan Roxie / Alice Cooper, among others. The line is also featured in the hit TV series Nashville and Duck Dynasty, plus LA Fashion Magazine, Country Weekly, People Magazine and InStyle. This meteoric rise, and the impact of CORELLO
on country music fashion, was acknowledged in 2014 with Rick and Mel being inducted into the Tennessee State Museum Textiles Institute, for changing the face of country fashion.
Caballo and Core are also the creative forces behind the Calvary Fashion line, which they developed for Duck Dynasty star Jep Robertson. In 2015, the pair launched Dead Horse Branding. This 360-degree creative management company provides creative art and brand management services, combining Rick’s across-the-board art and design direction with Melissa’s visionary approach to marketing and management. One of Dead Horse’s major projects is a coffee table book for legendary music producer (and keys player for Elvis) Tony Brown, Elvis: Strait to Jesus. This award-winning book is entirely art-directed by Rick, from graphic design to co-photographing the 40+ featured celebrity portraits, and working with Brown to document the history of modern country music. Rick’s adaptability and creativity mean he’s always working on multiple new concepts and challenging traditional boundaries between music, art, fashion, and design.