About Plasma Games

Brief History

Plasma Games is a North Carolina-based education technology company founded in 2013 to tackle the U.S. technical workforce gap by building tools designed to efficiently train the next generation of workers. In 2015, Plasma Games (then operating as Athena's Compass, LLC) won a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for its innovative learning platform and approach to pedagogy. Since then, the team has expanded significantly, built and successfully tested a prototype, and made great progress on the learning platform.

Plasma Games will be launching its first commercial product soon. Sign up for Beta Play Testing here!

Vision

Close the technical workforce gap of the U.S. economy by reigniting science classroom engagement and inspiring a generation to pursue STEM careers.

Mission Statement

Empower science teachers with electrifying game-based teaching tools that infuse classrooms with wonder and imagination, spark student engagement and discussion, enrich lessons with real-world context and purpose, and create moments of connection that reshape lives.

  

Values

We level-up teachers’ ability to connect with students

  • We save teachers’ time so they can focus on their students
  • We cultivate fun and personal moments to help teachers and students bond over shared interests

We transform the classroom experience

  • We inject excitement and awe into classrooms by leveraging students’ love of games
  • We model professional values and teamwork skills to curb conduct issues

 

We craft revolutionary tools powered by game technology

  • We let students learn through play to reignite natural curiosity
  • We connect curriculum to students’ lives to give lessons meaning and purpose

  

  

 

 

Guide students on the quest for a rewarding career and an epic life

  • We showcase diverse, realistic and compelling role models from in-demand fields
  • We identify career opportunities that leverage students’ passions and will ensure a prosperous and impactful future

 

 

Defeat access barriers to STEM fields

  • We expand teachers’ and students’ perspective of STEM beyond the classroom
  • We encourage everyone -- regardless of zip code and background -- to find their STEM career

 

Augment the Workforce of Tomorrow

  • We train the next generation of scientists and engineers for 21st century jobs
  • We equip students with the skills to tackle humanity’s biggest challenges and invent the coolest new things

 

 

Team

Hunter Moore
Hunter Moore
CEO
Hunter is the founder and CEO of Plasma Games (formerly Athena's Compass). He has had a passion for science and education since he was a child, and got a taste for educational instruction in the STEM field in college while TAing engineering courses. Hunter had the initial idea for Plasma Games while working as an IBM consultant for clients like Boeing and Pratt & Whitney, where a shortage of eligible, trained technical staff was apparent across the US economy. He has a BSME and MSME from Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Annie Moore, CPA
Annie Moore, CPA
VP Accounting, Finance and HR
Annie’s strong public accounting and financial reporting background makes her a tremendous asset to Athena’s Compass. She keeps the company running smoothly by overseeing human resources, payroll, financial reporting, tax, and procurement. Annie has a BS and MS in accounting from Samford University.
Christophe Renaud
Christophe Renaud
CMO, CLO
Christophe is the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Legal Officer of Plasma Games. He has a deep passion for STEM education that dates back to his early education, and mentored US FIRST Robotics teams for many years. He has experience working for innovative startups and industry leaders in many capacities across dozens of technologies. He has a BSEE from Tufts University, a JD from the University of Connecticut, and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also dropped out of a PhD program at UNC to return to Plasma Games to have a more immediate effect on students' lives.
Randy Greenback
Randy Greenback
Executive Director
Randy has over 22 years of professional experience in video game development across PC, consoles, mobile and handhelds. He’s a hands-on designer and creative leader who has contributed to major franchises including Command & Conquer, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, Lord of the Rings, Ghost Recon, America’s Army, Ratchet & Clank, Breach & Clear & Friday the 13th. He has worked for many notable game studios and publishers including Westwood Studios, Red Storm Entertainment, Relevant Games, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Gun Media and Insomniac Games. He’s a retro game collector, mentor, and staunch proponent of games for change.
Andrew Hansen
Andrew Hansen
VP Engineering
Andrew is a highly talented software engineer with a passion for game development. He has experience with developing serious games and purely entertainment games across multiple platforms, engines, genres, and styles. Andrew is excited to design and code the future of educational games. He has a BS in Computer Science and a BS in Mathematics from Carson-Newman as well as a masters in computer science from North Carolina State University.
Michelle Gabele
Michelle Gabele
Principal Game Engineer
Michelle has over 20-years of game development experience in the serious game industry. She started making games for marketing applications and later moved on to making educational and training games in the pharmaceutical industry and to improve cyber security knowledge and skills. She has a BA in Design & Technology from North Carolina State University.
Cody Hagman
Cody Hagman
Lead UI/UX Designer
Cody is an artist and illustrator with a diverse background in print and digital media. After spending several years as a 3D animator, Cody went back to basics and earned an MFA in Illustration from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He has since worked with Disney to create animated comic book apps, Fisher Price to create animated short films, illustrated a children’s storybook, painted several book covers and illustrated a comic book or two. In his spare time, Cody creates oil paintings of dragons and designs collectible card games.
Melissa Wessel
Melissa Wessel
Environment Artist
Melissa is a 2D and 3D artist who studied video game design at the Art Institute of Raleigh/Durham. She spent years building up her talent as an artist and has worked with a multitude of mediums ranging from charcoal drawings to digital illustration and character modeling. Melissa joins Athena's Compass as an Environmental Artist to build levels and assets for the team and create a diverse world for the player to explore.
Ryan Benedetto
Ryan Benedetto
Animator
Ryan is a talented animator with an eye for detail and a strong desire to constantly improve. He graduated from Living Arts College as Valedictorian with a Bachelor of Arts in Animation and Game Design. Ryan is extremely passionate about video games and has developed many of his own going all the way back to summer camps he attended while in elementary school. When he’s not at work making video games, he’s at home playing them.

Advisors

DR. ANTHONY HYLICK
DR. ANTHONY HYLICK
IBM - Technical Research Assistant to the VP of Systems Research
Anthony was a part of the famed Watson Super Computer project at IBM and is an expert in big data analytics. His current capacities at IBM include system and software architecture design for big, distributed graph databases. Previous projects have included incorporating novel tagging and classification schemes into parallel, distributed file systems; and designing hybrid storage architectures for maximum performance and energy savings. His technical interests include Infrastructure Engineering to support Data Science over Big Data, Graph Databases, Graph Analytics Processing, Distributed Graph Processing System Design, Storage Energy Consumption, Big Data File System Design, Power-Aware Systems, Server Energy Consumption, Storage and Systems Architecture/Configuration Design, and Embedded Systems design. He received his BS in Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology and his PhD at the University of Cambridge.
PHAEDRA BONODIRIS
PHAEDRA BONODIRIS
IBM - Serious Games Global Program Manager
Phaedra is recognized by the IGDA as one of the top 100 women in the gaming industry for her work founding WomenGamers.com. Currently, she serves as Serious Games Global Program Manager for IBM, where she led a team of experts in the development Innov8 and City One game platforms. She is also the author of Serious Games for Business: Using Gamificaiton to Fully Engage Customers, Employees, and Partners. Bonodiris has been publish in Forbes Magazine, “Let’s Play! Turning Serious Business Issues Into Games” and has as well as holds multiple patients. She holds a BS and an MS from the University of North Carolina where developed her first serious games and spearhead the initiative to offer scholar ships for women who want to start their own careers. Bonodiris also speaks 5 languages and is a co-host for a gaming and all things tech pod cast.
DR. CHRIS HAZARD
DR. CHRIS HAZARD
Hazardous Software - CEO, Hazardous Software
Chris is an artificial intelligence engine expert and his research interests lie in multi-agent systems: robot coordination, simulated time travel and reverse computing, artificial intelligence, and Serious Games. Some examples of topics covered in Chris's presentations include designing math computer games, evaluation of reputations systems, and allocation of multi-vehicle systems. He holds a patient for methods, systems, and programs for simulating a scenario by updating events over a time window including the past, present, and future. Chris has been a reviewer for IEEE publications and has experience in quantum computing. As President and Founder of Hazardous Software, Inc., Hazard coordinates business and advanced game developments. At Kiva Systems, he developed algorithms for simulation implementation for combinational routing and packing problems for a warehouse robotics solution. Chris has a BS with honors from Valpraiso in Computer Science with minors in Computer Engineering, Physics, and Math and a PhD from NC State University.
FORMER SENATOR HOWARD N. LEE
FORMER SENATOR HOWARD N. LEE
The Howard N. Lee Institute - Founder
Former Senator Howard N. Lee, Co-PI, President of Howard N Lee Institute, has written many articles on a variety of subjects with heavy emphasis on education, has contributed chapters to several scholarly books. He recently published his autobiography: The Courage to Lead, which details the challenges he faced in the segregated South of the early 20th century, his graduation from college, his Army service, and his eventual rise in politics. He is a graduate of Fort Valley State College in Georgia and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. In 1966, he was a key member of the staff of the Education Improvement Program at Duke University funded by the Ford Foundation. His primary responsibility was to create and direct a project in selected Durham North Carolina City Schools focused on enhancing the prospects of middle school students graduating from high school prepared for college. He has a long history of influencing education policy and enhancing student success in various roles as Mayor of Chapel Hill (1969-1975), a North Carolina Senator (1990-2004), and as Executive Director of the North Carolina Governor’s Education Cabinet. After leaving the Senate, he started the Howard N Lee Institute for Equity and Opportunity in Education. The Howard N Lee Institute has several programs, most of which recognize and support economically disadvantaged students who aspire to academic success in STEM courses.
DR. JASON VAN HEUKELUM
DR. JASON VAN HEUKELUM
Winchester Public Schools - Superintendent
Born in Michigan, raised in Rochester, New York, Dr. Jason Van Heukelum has worked in the field of education for 20 years, including three years as the Headmaster of an International School in La Paz, Bolivia. His experience includes serving as a math teacher, coach, high school assistant principal, middle school principal, and deputy superintendent - all in North Carolina. Dr. Van Heukelum believes that great schools use a combination of high expectations and high community engagement to maximize student potential in a nurturing and caring environment. Dr. Van Heukelum led his first school to be a most improved school in the state of North Carolina and was named the Middle School Principal of the Year for the Iredell-Statesville Schools. Additionally, the teacher effectiveness rating for the Cabarrus County School district was #1 in the Charlotte region and top 15 in the state of North Carolina for three straight years under his leadership as the Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction. Over the last seven years, Dr. Van Heukelum has secured over $10 million in grants for innovative ideas that meet the emerging needs of our future society. This includes education programs like the International Baccalaureate program, Spanish and Mandarin immersion programs, STEM programs and high school academies. Currently, Dr. Van Heukelum is dedicated to the implementation of the Winchester Public Schools’ Strategic Plan. Combining his experience from the classroom, school and division level, Dr. Van Heukelum is actively leading Winchester Public Schools to embrace the pride and tradition of Winchester along with innovative thinking for the future. Dr. Van Heukelum earned a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Cedarville University in Ohio, a Master of School Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Doctor of Education from Vanderbilt University.
SCOTT ALBERT
SCOTT ALBERT
Aurora Fund - Managing Partner
Scott is a co-founding Venture Partner of Aurora Funds and leads the IT investment team. Prior to forming The Aurora Funds, Scott was the Chief Investment Officer of the North Carolina Technological Development Authority, Inc. ("NCTDA"), a state funded corporation that supports technology based entrepreneurial companies in North Carolina. While there, he led the new venture investment efforts and performed portfolio company monitoring for the NCTDA's extensive statewide portfolio. Prior to serving at the NCTDA, he was at Criterion Venture Partners in Houston, Texas, as a General Partner for a $30 million pool of capital and with Golder, Thoma and Cressey, in Chicago. In addition, he has served as President of a venture-backed start-up company. During his venture capital career, Scott has helped close more than 40 investment deals including a broad range of Information Technology and Life Sciences companies. Scott currently serves on the board of StrikeIron, Inc. and has oversight on several other Aurora portfolio companies. Scott was previously on the boards of Solution Technology (acquired by Rodel), DataFlux (acquired by SAS), Porivo (acquired by Gomez/Compuware), Unitrends (acquired by Insight Ventures) and led the Aurora investments in Blackboard (NASDAQ: BBBB/acquired by Providence Equity Partners) and Accipiter, Inc. (acquired by CMG). Scott has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Duke University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
JOHN MCCONNELL
JOHN MCCONNELL
McConnell Golf - CEO, McConnell Golf
Mr. John McConnell is an investor and member of Athena’s Compass’ board. His experience includes co-founding and leading Medic Computer Systems through its initial public offering (IPO) in 1992 and eventual sale to Misys Plc for $932 million in 1997. As CEO and Chairman of A4 Health Systems he grew and sold Allscripts (Nasdaq MDRX) for $304 million in 2006. He was recognized as a top CEO in the United States for stock price appreciation in 1995 and 1997, and was inducted into North Carolina’s Entrepreneur Hall of Fame 2017.