The Neon Guild is an association of technology professionals in Charlottesville/Albemarle and beyond. Established in 1996, we currently have over 450 members.

Our meetings are very casual and friendly. Newcomers are always welcome. It’s a great place to get info, help, ask questions and talk about what you do. Best place in town to get a tech job or hire a techie. Free pizza and beer, too.

With internet technologies changing at a dizzying pace, it’s hard to keep up. Sometimes it’s easier to simply ask someone about something you are trying to accomplish rather than poring through manuals, searching on the web, taking tutorials, etc. That’s what the Neon Guild is all about.

It’s also interesting to learn about what kinds of projects others are working on. The best thing about the Guild is forming relationships with others. If you know the other members and know what their skill sets are, often it’s just easier to sub-contract out a piece of your job to someone else who can do it better or faster than you can. It works the other way around, too. Once other members get to know what you can do, they can forward projects your way.

As a community, we’re also interested in helping others who want to explore this field. Many of our members do pro bono work, mentor high school kids, donate their equipment, teach, etc. If you’re interested in participating, we can put you in contact with people who would love to use your skills.


Monday, May 1, 2017, 6-pm

Network Security | Securing Wordpress

No company wants to experience a data breach, yet they happen all the time. While larger companies can often absorb these incidents, the average small business closes their doors within six months of a cyber-security event. What’s worse is that the vast majority of these breaches were active inside the network for months or, sometimes, for years. Evidence of a security compromise was there all along, had a qualified expert been looking for it. It's shocking to learn, but 60% of cyber attacks occur at small and medium sized businesses.

Lorri Haney, Vice President and Managing Partner at Advanced Network Systems (getadvanced.net) will talk about what they're seeing out in the field and educate us about some tools and resources for securing networks at work and at home.

As the most popular web publishing platform on the internet (by a large margin), WordPress is a popular target for hackers and spammers. WordPress is known for being one of the most user-friendly website platforms available online, but out of the box WordPress is terribly vulnerable to attacks. According to WP White Security, more than 70% of WordPress installations are vulnerable, and it takes a malicious attacker only a couple of minutes to run automated tools that can discover such vulnerabilities and exploit them.

Elizabeth McMartin (ejcommunications.com) hosts a lot of Wordpress sites. She'll tell us what happened when the first one got hacked, how it changed the way she does business, and she'll tell us about the tools she's found that are effective at keeping the bullies away.

About our Speakers:

LORRI HANEY - Vice President, Marketing, Advanced Network Systems, Inc.

Lorri Haney is Vice President of Marketing and a managing partner of Advanced Network Systems, a company specializing in next-generation IT solutions and services. As the company’s head of marketing she has spent the last eighteen years, overseeing the company’s marketing strategy, plans and projects. Under her tenure and leadership, Advanced Network Systems has grown significantly by cultivating opportunities in new and existing customer markets, and focusing on growing demand for the company’s managed services solutions. Her understanding of high-tech marketing and customer experience has helped shape a value proposition that inspires organizations of all sizes to trust Advanced Network Systems with their most critical business systems.

Prior to Advanced Network Systems, Lorri was the Director of Marketing for Technicolor’s Optical Media division. In this position, she directed the company's U.S. marketing efforts to support its optical disc (DVD/CD) manufacturing growth initiatives.  In this role, she led efforts to maintain steady growth in the company’s traditional markets while breaking into new markets such as consumer video, gaming and entertainment software.

Lorri received her B.S. degree with honors in psychology and public administration, and a M.B.A. from James Madison University. She is an active member of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Chamber of Commerce, and lives in Barboursville, Virginia with her husband, Paul and son.

ELIZABETH McMARTIN - Creative Director and Principal, EJ Communications

Elizabeth started EJ Communications in 1990 creating and managing marketing communications for small and medium sized companies. She brings a breadth of experience from working across multiple industries and disciplines. In addition to creative design services for print and web, EJ Communications provides advertising media management and media buying services for print, broadcast and online marketing, including, Google Adwords management, facebook and e-mail marketing programs.

Elizabeth has more than 25 years experience in the catalog industry, providing graphic design for well-known consumer catalogs including Plow & Hearth, Monticello, Gold Violin, Faith Mountain, International AutoSport, and Baseball Direct. She has been developing and building websites for clients for more than 20 years—from the early days of HTML through CSS to the current content management system using the Wordpress platform.

EJ Communications is an award-winning design firm, with several “Excellence in Design Awards” for print and web from the American Marketing Association, Central Virginia Chapter. Elizabeth is member of the National American Marketing Association and she served on the Board of the Central Virginia Chapter for 5 years. She is also a member of the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts).

Most of our topics and speakers come from our group. We are actively seeking ideas for topics for the next several months. If you have a topic you’d like to hear about or one that you’d like to present, email Debra, the Guildmaster.


Center for Open Science
210 Ridge McIntire Rd #500, Charlottesville, VA 22903
The Center for Open Science is in the Business Center downstairs at the Omni Hotel on the downtown mall.

You can park in the garage or find street parking.

 The List

Membership in the Neon Guild is free. No dues, no fees. No by-laws. No committees. Free pizza and beer and soft drinks at every meeting. We offer a fantastic resource for the tech community. We have only one rule.

If you want to get the benefits of our community, you have to give something. That something is YOU. In person. It’s all about connecting with others. To join, you need to physically show up to at least one meeting. That’s how you get on our super-secret private email list where a lot of action happens. We request that you attend in person at least once per quarter to stay on the list.

Just to make things perfectly clear, please don’t write the Guildmaster requesting to be added to the list. She will write back to you and invite you to come to a meeting.