Who We Are

Local Civic Innovators and Creative Problem-Solvers

We are civic-minded residents committed to working with the City of Savannah, Chatham County and other municipalities in the greater Savannah area – as well as other nonprofit organizations – to make our region stronger. We’re here to help and eager to learn from professional public servants. And while we’re advocates for open government (we can’t build apps without open data!), we’re non-partisan and public-minded.

We're a group of civic-minded programmers, coders, designers, and extraordinary citizens. We work in partnership with government, non-profit, and technical partners to deploy technology to improve quality of life for all residents and increase citizen engagement with civic issues.

Ultimately, our goal is to make life better for residents by improving personal and collective outcomes through helping build local government services that are better, faster, and cheaper and have the greatest impact for the greatest amount of people who have the greatest need for assistance and efficient public services.

Open Savannah Leadership Structure

Open Savannah has three general tiers of leadership: Project Leadership, an Advisory Board, and the Executive Leadership Team. Project Leadership takes place on a fluid basis as new projects come about. Executive Leadership is elected by the outgoing Executive Leadership slate after two-years of service. The Executive Leadership appoints Advisory Board members as positions become vacant.

Executive Leadership

Open Savannah is led by an Executive Leadership Team that organizes events, manages strategic partnerships, and ensures fluid communication among cross-functional project teams. The Executive Team oversees volunteer management, organizational sustainability, day-to-day operations, and the engagement of the Advisory Board.

Carl V. Lewis

Founder/Director, Brigade Captain

Carl has worked nearly six years in data and interactive journalism, holding a B.A. in Journalism and Media Studies from Mercer University and a M.S. in Data Visualization and Digital Media from Columbia University in the City of New York. His first job out of graduate school was at Savannah Morning News, where he worked as the paper's Digital Editor, overseeing a three-fold increase in social media reach and developing a workflow for interactive data-driven news graphics. He later held similar posts at Vocativ in New York City and St. Louis Post-Dispatch in St. Louis. He moved back to Savannah in Nov. 2016 to start his own data visualization and business intelligence consulting agency. He founded the popular website dataviz.tools.

Rob Lingle

Brigade Captain

Rob runs a consultancy that builds web applications called oak.works. Open Savannah gives him the opportunity to stay in touch with local developers, and to give back to his community. He believes citizens should have apps to oversee and utilize the services of *their* government that are just as good as apps for managing your household budget.

Caila Brown

Storyteller/Marketing Lead

Caila is a community manager, graphic designer and digital editor with a passion for biking and a dedication to Savannah. A graduate of the Savannah College of Art & Design (B.F.A. Graphic Design, 2011), she has served in a variety of capacities at both non-profit and for profit institutions, including Likeable Media and Telfair Museums. Currently she is the Community Manager at ThincSavannah, in addition to working for MusicFile Productions, the Savannah Children’s Choir, Georgia Bikes! and Coastal Empire News.

Gary Skoglind

Delivery Lead

Gary grew up in Savannah and graduated from Armstrong State University. He worked globally for a bank and recently relocated back to Savannah. He looks forward to working on Open Savannah projects that will help the people who live in Savannah.

Brian Young

Technology Lead

Brian love solutions, or at least attempted solutions over problems. Figuring out puzzles and how to solve them is what makes him tick. Open Savannah is an opportunity for us, as citizens, to help provide solutions to the community we live in and to help solve problems with technology based on our skill sets. I help with project management, solution architecture and technical communication with our partners. In my professional life I've worked in technical project based consulting for both the public and private sectors.

Teresa Thornton-Davis

Community Engagement Coordinator

Teresa Thornton Davis (also known as "Terri") is an organizer and advocate whose actions and efforts concentrate around eradicating poverty and creating educational and economic opportunities in under-resourced communities in Savannah. Terri believes in Open Savannah's goal of promoting civic engagement through technology. Allowing the people increased access to their local government enables citizens to influence public policy and builds political and financial capital in ALL our neighborhoods.

Patrick Bentley

Econonic and Workforce Development Lead

Patrick is the Project Manger of Emerging Industries for the Savannah Economic Development Authority where he manages the Business Attraction program for Creative Design and Technology Companies. Patrick is also a full-stack developer. His main role is helping strategize and implement marketing that attracts creative companies to the Savannah area. Patrick sees Open Savannah is a great way to bridge technology with useful ways to help local community members and local government.

Aaron Pompei

Community Lead

Aaron is a designer and UX architect who is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Interactive Design from Savannah College of Art and Design. Open Savannah is important to him as an opportunity to collaborate with area residents and municipal staff to improve our city.

Advisory Board

A volunteer advisory board of civic leaders help provide strategic and technical advice to Open Savannah members when needed, reporting directly to the Senior Leadership Team on a quarterly basis. While possessing no direct say on organizational direction or affairs, Open Savannah's advisory board is challenged to help provide guidance on vision and scope of our emerging organization, strategic initiatives, funding models, and the continuation of the advisory board for 2018.

Saja Aures

Public Information and Open Data Administrator, City of Savannah

Saja has served as a dedicated public servant and communications professional for the City of Savannah for 12 years, acting as the original force behind early movements for open data policy in Savannah in 2013. Prior to her time in civil service, she served as an editor at CNET for four years, as well as started her own business.

Kevin Lawver

CTO, Planted. Community Organizer,

Kevin Lawver is the Chief Technical Officer at Planted, where he helps connect people with jobs at startups using code. He’s the co-founder of TechSAV, Open organizer of the local RailsBridge chapter, runs Refresh Savannah, helps out where he can, advises startups on all kinds of stuff, and likes to bake. He believes citizens should have apps to oversee and utilize the services of *their* government that are just as good as apps for managing your household budget.

Sean Geng

CEO, SmokeCartel

Sean Geng is the co-founder and CEO of SmokeCartel, a Savannah-based ecommerce startup that has grown from an idea to a widely-acclaimed publicly-traded venture in less than two years' time. His company, Smoke Cartel, is a popular online retailer and distributor of glassware and smokeware products. He is passionate about emerging technologies and developing industries, and how they can be used to improve society and reduce societal injustices.

Coco Papy

Community Director, The Creative Coast

Coco Papy is a community organizer and native Savannahian. As the Community Director of The Creative Coast and Bull St. Labs, she works to grow the creative and living wage economy in Savannah through the intersection of tech, innovation, small business and entrepreneurship. She is involved in numerous groups in Savannah and the state of Georgia, including serving on the Savannah Cultural Affairs Commission, a member of the Planned Parenthood advisory committee, President of the Twickenham Neighborhood Association. She is a Step-Up Savannah Neighborhood Leadership Academy graduate, a PEN America Prison Writing Fellow and a Highlander Education Center Greensboro Justice Fellow. Most recently, she is a graduate of the Georgia Win List Leadership Academy, a political action committee dedicated to changing the face of power in Georgia by recruiting, training, supporting, and electing women who will serve as advocates in Georgia.