The Business View – May 2015 / 1702

1702 Brings Silicon Valley’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem to Mobile


Inspired by the Mobile Area Chamber’s Leaders Exchange to St. Louis in 2014, Mobile’s first-ever peer network of chief executive officers and business leaders, known as 1702, was created to foster a thriving entrepreneurial community similar to Silicon Valley.


1702 is a combined vision of Michael Chambers with Swift Biotechnology and immediate past Chamber board chairman, and entrepreneur Dean Parker. A local board will serve as class mentors.


“Launching 1702 is all about forming an entrepreneurial ecosystem that will transcend our city as one of the best cities for innovative, world-changing companies,” said Parker, 1702 board chair. “We have a ripe opportunity to build critical mass among the top companies in our region and bring the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial DNA to Mobile.”


Class presenters will share their success stories and lessons learned on topics critical to launching, scaling and exiting a company, such as corporate formation structures, legal and risk, raising venture capital, driving revenue, building a board, recruiting and retaining top talent and successful exit strategies.


“Right now we are in a growth phase,” said class participant Marcus Neto, owner of Blue Fish Design Studio. “I’m hoping to learn from other business owners in the services sector how they have grown their businesses.


“1702 is where business innovation happens, and the impact of that will be exponential,” said Bill Sisson, president and CEO of the Mobile Area Chamber.


Twenty-four chief executives from the region’s most promising companies spanning the technology, aerospace, manufacturing and consumer sectors were selected to join the inaugural class and year-long program. Graduates will play a significant role in future programs, according to Parker.


Members of the Inaugural Class of 1702 are:

Jeffrey Adams, Advanced Integrated Security

Bart Briggs, Safety Plus Inc.

Ty Bullard, Joe Bullard Automotive Cos.

Andrew Byrd, University of South

Alabama entrepreneur

Austin Cadden, University of South Alabama

Drew Delaney, Beard Equipment Co.

Will Fusaiotti, Foosackly’s

Andrew Grinstead, Leavell Investments Management Inc.

Monique Henley, H&S Management Co.

Richard Inge, Inge & Associates Inc.

Silas Leavesley, SpectraCycle

Janice Malone, Business Resource Center Design & Print

Nik Martin, Open Frame LLC

Marcus Neto, Blue Fish Design Studio

Harris Oppenheimer, Entrepreneur

David Padgett, Davison Fuels & Oil

Lyman Ramsay, Gulf Equipment Corp.

Paul Shorrosh, AccuReg

Travis Short, Horizon Shipbuilding Inc.

Michael Smith, ASF Intermodal LLC

JC Smith, Skilled Jobs Direct

James Wink, WEI

Martin Yost, Warion Industries LLC

Scott Zimmerman, Televox


Board Members for 1702 are:

Michael Chambers, Swift Biotechnology LLC

Terry Harbin, BancorpSouth

John Jefferies, Wilkins Miller LLC

Kim Littlefield, University of South Alabama

Frank Lott, Heritage Homes

Keith Manwaring, ManwaringSolutions

Sandy Myers, ASF Logistics Inc.

Andy Newton, Southern Light

Dean Parker, Vita Capital

Bill Sisson, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce

Billy Stimpson, Bienville Capital Management LLC

Rich Sullivan, Red Square Agency

Jay Watkins, Maynard Cooper & Gale PC

Brian Willman, Regions Bank


Click here to read The Business View – May 2015