About the Coast

Georgia’s Coast includes more than 100 miles of coastline, 14 barrier islands, 300 square miles of open Atlantic Ocean, nine major estuaries, 3,400 miles of tidal shoreline, expansive areas of freshwater tidal forests, maritime forests and long-leaf pine forests.

The Coastal Entertainment Alliance represents businesses, educational institutions, and local governments along the coast that support Georgia’s growing creative economy. Our mission is to support workforce development programs and career opportunities while promoting the resources available for film, music and other entertainment initiatives in the region.

Matt Campbell is the President and Executive Director of the Coastal Entertainment Alliance. As a connection specialist who enjoys helping others develop a positive influence while enhancing their impact, he has over thirteen years of working with business owners and elected officials throughout the state on important economic initiatives. He was appointed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to the Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism (Georgia SERVES), now serving as Board Chairman. Matt is the Founder and CEO of Georgia Matters, a government relations firm. He’s the CEO of the non-profit Michael C. Harte Foundation, Board member of the Entertainment Tourism Alliance of Georgia (ETAG), Board member of the Georgia Professional Lobbyists Association, and a member of the National Speakers Association among other roles.

Matt is a native of Coastal Georgia and lifelong fan of the back-to-back college football national champions– the Georgia Bulldogs. He and his wife Chrissy live just south of Savannah in Richmond Hill, and have three children, daughter Mary Kathryn, son Tristan, and their sweet Michael in Heaven.

Reach out to Matt via email or contact us here.

Advisory Board

Charles “Bo” Bowen

Charles “Bo” Bowen

Upon graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1995, Bo Bowen moved to Savannah and established what quickly become one of Georgia’s most respected corporate and entertainment law practices. Dissatisfied with the inefficiencies and lack of personal connection that often plague large law firms, Bo set out to completely change the way law is practiced. The result was Bowen Schmidt: a firm where intellect trumps size and every client’s needs are personally serviced by skilled attorneys.

Bo has developed a reputation as one the country’s finest entertainment lawyers and for good reason. His growing list of entertainment clients include projects produced for Disney, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and the Hallmark Channel just to name a few. In addition to his legal contributions to the film and television industry, Bo also founded the Savannah Film Alliance in 2015 to foster collaboration and cooperation within the local entertainment industry. He also founded Southern Gateway Production Services, an IATSE term signatory company, to provide access to all IATSE National Term Agreements to film and television productions throughout the United States. Southern Gateway also helps productions maximize their access to all state and location production incentives.

Bo understands that the prospect of contacting an attorney can be nerve-racking and stressful. Thus, Bo’s true talent lies in his ability to call upon his background and skills to immediately put each client at ease and make them feel welcome, safe, and protected. He relates to business owners and members of the entertainment industry, not just because he is one himself, but because his background makes him uniquely qualified to understand and appreciate the challenges these individuals face. Whether meeting with Hollywood producers or helping young local entrepreneurs get a new business off the ground in Savannah, Bo makes it his personal mission help each one of his clients achieve and exceed their goals.

Awards & Recognitions

Named “Business Advocate of the Year” by the Savannah Morning News

Winner of the “Helen V. Head Business Leader of the Year Award” presented by the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce

Selected by the members of the State Bar of Georgia as one of Georgia Trend’s Legal Elite for both Business Law and Corporate Law

Georgia Secretary of State Outstanding Georgia Citizen

Education: Georgetown University Law Center, JD (1995); Mercer University, BS (1990), summa cum laude

Bar admissions: Georgia (state and federal); Alabama (state and federal)

bo@bowenschmidt.com

Kara Noel Harrington

Kara Noel Harrington

Kara Noel Harrington has been teaching voice and piano in metro Atlanta for nearly twenty years. Many of her clients gained acceptance into prestigious Musical Theatre programs, such as, Florida State University, Berklee College of Music, Ball State, Rider, Otterbein, and the University of Alabama. Others have been cast in leading roles for their high school musical productions. She enjoys working with local professional actors, dancers, and adults who are singing “just for fun!”

She received her Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance with a Minor in Piano from Shorter College and is an accredited member of International Voice Teachers of Mix Singing (ivtom.org). Kara is passionate about giving her clients the ability to bring out their ‘true voice, while maintaining a confident, powerful, and healthy sound! IG: @karasings

Kara continues auditioning for film, commercial, & tv roles; as well as, work with local professional theatre companies. Some of her favorite roles include Olive Ostrovsky in 25th Annual Putnam Co. Spelling Bee, April in Company, Marian Paroo in The Music Man, Meg March in Little Women, and the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods. Kara and her husband Beau spend a lot of time on the Georgia coast with family and friends. Her current favorite role is being a new mom to her baby daughter, Jo.

Representative Steven Sainz

State Representative Steven Sainz represents House District 180, which includes the majority of Camden county and portions of Charlton and Ware counties.

Steven is a proud product of Camden’s public school system, graduating from Camden County High School. He attended a night satellite program of Valdosta State University while living and working in Camden County, graduating Cum Laude from VSU with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration. He completed his Master of Business Administration from Georgia Tech in December of 2021.

Steven is the CEO of Camden Connection, a community development corporation where he has led in the securing of more than $18 million in project funds for community infrastructure, health and education projects. Steven has also served as a deputy sheriff for the Camden County Sheriff’s Office until his start of office in the Georgia Legislature, where he had the pleasure of teaching the drug and crime prevention C.H.A.M.P.S. curriculum to elementary and middle school students.

Steven enjoys staying civically active and has served as the planning commission chairman for the City of Woodbine, board member for the Camden County Chamber of Commerce and on the executive committee of the Woodbine Lions Club as the club secretary. He also serves as a member of the community advisory board of the Salvation Army of Saint Marys.

Ryan Schmidt

Ryan Schmidt is a Partner at Bowen Schmidt Entertainment Attorneys. A lawyer passionate about protecting the rights of creatives and business owners, Ryan’s entertainment law and corporate practice focuses on music law, online influencers, copyright, generative AI, and contract disputes.

Ryan, who toured extensively as a singer/songwriter prior to law school has been featured on the NBC’s “The Voice” and Apple iTunes’ “New Music Page” and was named “Critics’ Choice” at the Starbucks Music Makers Competition. As a professional musician, he experienced firsthand the cutthroat nature of the business and the restrictive contracts creatives are too often asked to sign. Answering the call to be a fighter for his fellow artists, Ryan knew he needed to pursue a career in law. And so, Ryan attended Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, where he graduated at the top of his class, summa cum laude, after serving as Executive Officer for both Belmont’s Law Review and Federalist Society.

Before joining the Georgia Bar, Ryan clerked for a Nashville-based law firm representing clients in the music industry, fine arts, and digital media. Since then, he has represented countless clients in various business and entertainment matters including complex copyright litigation involving a certified Multi-Platinum global hit and an unprecedented catalog sale for a Country Music Hall of Fame inductee.

For Ryan, being an advocate for entertainment professionals is not only his duty but also his privilege. To him, becoming the first entertainment law firm to receive the National ELITE Firm of the Year at the Game Changer’s Summit, is “a milestone that reflects our relentless pursuit of justice for our creative clients.”

John Seckinger

John Seckinger is a native of Coastal Georgia and a valuable member of the region. He began his career with Dozier Crane in 1997 and has propelled to the top of the heavy equipment business, helping elevate Pooler Georgia’s Dozier Crane to worldwide status in 2008.

John is a family man and the kind of person that everyone needs on their team. John enjoys boating, fishing, and helping others.

John and wife Julie have two beautiful children, Jack and Sophia. The Seckinger family runs the non-profit organization, Salt Cured, which assists local charities and groups raise funds toward their service efforts.

Christy Sherman, TMP

Christy Sherman, TMP
Executive Director

www.visitrichmondhill.com

PO Box 280 | 10750 Ford Avenue

Richmond Hill, GA 31324

(912) 756-2676

David Sutherland II

David Sutherland is Founder and Managing Director, USA, of Launch Institute, a Technology Scouting firm. He based the founding of Launch Institute on his 25 years of corporate experience focused on technology innovation projects and consulting. His work has taken him across the globe, including the USA, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

David lectures on entrepreneurship and business innovation for Terry. He is faculty advisor to the MBA Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation Club. David also lectures at Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, CEDIM Design Institute in Monterrey, Mexico and GISMA Business School in Hamburg, Germany. David received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

David has been an entrepreneur (partner in three successful startup companies, two sold), a corporate executive (formerly Senior Vice President, Computer Sciences Corporation) and a trusted advisor to a set of companies that have achieved significant business growth success. These companies include BMW AG, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Eaton Corporation and Bank of America. David is an LP in the Athens Angel Fund, on the board of FourAthens technology incubator, a mentor with Atlanta Tech Village and FourAthens, as well as an active participant in several startup ecosystems, including Austin, Texas, Boulder, Colorado, as well as Palo Alto, California.

Representative Al Williams

State Representative Al Williams serves the citizens of House District 168. In 2002, he was elected to the Georgia General Assembly after a life of civic and political involvement, and he was sworn in among 52 freshmen state representatives on January 13, 2003. Rep. Williams can be described as a devoted family man, dedicated church leader, military veteran, businessman and a friend of hard working people in Georgia.

In the Georgia House of Representatives, Rep. Williams serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee for Public Safety and the House Rules, Economic Development and Tourism, Creative Arts and Entertainment, Transportation and Game Fish and Parks committees. He also serves on the Georgia Joint Military Defense Commission. He is past chairman of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, which is the largest Black caucus in America. Rep. Williams has received numerous local, state and national awards, including the nationally recognized Trumpet Award in 2008.

Rep. Williams’ political involvement started at 13 years old when he was a door knocker for John F. Kennedy in 1960. He then received his first NAACP card and became the first NAACP Youth Council president for the Liberty County Branch. He later served as State Youth Council vice president for Georgia, the first African American national committeeman for the Young Democrats of Georgia, as well as the first African American state representative from Liberty County since Reconstruction. He also served as a political advisor and session aide to Zell Miller and to the late Senator Glenn Bryant.

In 1963, Rep. Williams marched at the first “March on Washington,” and he marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. He was jailed 17 times during the Civil Rights Movement. He has served as a delegate to six Democratic National Conventions (DNC) and was on the Rules Committee for the DNC in Philadelphia.

Rep. Williams is also the vice chairman of Fair Fight Action and serves as a founding board member with Stacey Abrams. He is a NAACP Silver Life Member and also serves as a member of the Liberty County Democratic Committee, Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, National Association of State Legislators, National Black Caucus of State Legislators and the Georgia Legislation Black Caucus. He is the vice chairman of Liberty County’s development and tourism authorities.

Exemplifying the best qualities of leadership and public service, Al is deeply rooted in the community which he represents. Rep. Williams was born and raised in Liberty County to the late Alexander and Carrie Williams. Al, along with his twin sister and two other siblings, was reared in a family with strong church and community ties. Al’s father was employed as a laborer while his mother taught in the Liberty County School System. His grandfather, The late Rev. W. C. Shipman, was the first Black registered voter and first member of the NAACP in Liberty County.

Rep. Williams is a Vietnam War veteran, and he attended Saint Leo University and John Marshall School of Law. He was bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Trinity Bible College. Rep. Williams is the chairman deacon at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond Hill.

One of his most cherished memories includes visiting the Holy Land in 2000 with his wife of Olivia. He and his wife have been married for more than 40 years and have five sons.

Scott Votaw

Scott Votaw, Georgia Film Academy’s New Executive Director, is an entertainment arts and academic industries global expert.

With over 25 years of experience working for production companies including Saban, Fox, Lucasfilm Ltd. and others, Scott has a deep knowledgebase of film production, 2D/3D animation, special FX, motion capture, post-production. Through 10 years of education experience, he also holds expertise in current and trending production needs, training and educational circular creation and workforce development.

Most recently, as an international consultant with CSV-Consulting, Scott worked for studio infrastructure providers, workforce development and emerging technology companies within the film and entertainment production sectors in the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to this, Scott supported efforts to grow the film and TV production industry in Georgia through maintaining a highly trained and industry standard workforce by creating/advising some of the most successful educational programs globally.

Votaw also served as vice president of production and development for Classic Entertainment for seven years and president of KidzVid Entertainment for six years, overseeing creation of programing for the U.S. and global markets.