by blake | Feb 28, 2019
Drew is the CEO of Innovation Depot, a role he began after years of working as an entrepreneur in Birmingham. Prior to his role as CEO, Drew was the co-founder of two startups located in Innovation Depot, Planet Fundraiser, and most recently, Funnelfly. He also co-founded Noble Eagle Services, a full-service Industrial, Mechanical, and Commercial insulation contractor.
A native of Birmingham, Drew has a deep knowledge of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and years of experience in the local startup market. As CEO, Drew is excited to work alongside the incredible entrepreneurs of our region and to help them incubate and accelerate their businesses from concept to scale.
Innovation Depot is the largest startup incubator in the Southeast and has more than 100 early-stage technology, biotech, life sciences, and engineering companies. Innovation Depot has had a $2.65 billion impact over the past five years.
Drew has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Alabama and is the proud father of three daughters.
Virginia is the Community Manager at Innovation Depot and is responsible for working with tenants to facilitate programming that enhances each company’s experience at Innovation Depot. Before Innovation Depot, Virginia worked for the Birmingham Business Alliance as a Market Analyst in Innovation and Technology and has experience in development for nonprofits.
Virginia received her bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA.
Patrick J. Murphy is a full professor with tenure in the Collat School of Business at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and the inaugural holder of the Goodrich Endowed Chair of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Prior to UAB, he was a full professor in the Driehaus College of Business at DePaul University. (See LinkedIn bio). He is an entrepreneur in the thoroughbred racing industry, has led a number of professional and non-profit organizations, was a member of an angel investor group, and has trained many successful entrepreneurs in multiple countries. His published entrepreneurship research has shaped entrepreneurship education in the US and abroad. See his most recent publication on The Heptalogical Model of Entrepreneurship.
The Professor in Residence brings the presence of a nationally-known entrepreneurship scholar to the Innovation Depot community in a formal way. The position is functionally equivalent to the “Executive in Residence” positions that exist in many business schools; instead of bringing an experienced practitioner into an academic environment, it brings a professional academic into a community of practice.
Molly LaBorde is currently the Chief Operating Officer for the Innovation Depot in Birmingham, AL, but began as the Director of Client Services in September 2013. Prior to joining Innovation Depot in September 2013, Molly managed the data analytics, operational reporting, and annual budget for HealthSpring of Alabama. In 2006, Molly launched her career in healthcare technology when she began working for CareFusion MedMined Services, a technology company performing electronic surveillance of hospital-acquired infections.
In the Birmingham community, she serves on the Birmingham Southern College Entrepreneurship Program’s Advisory Board and is a PARCA Roundtable member. She completed the Leadership UAB program in 2015 and won Birmingham Business Journal’s Top 40 under 40 in 2016.
Molly has a Masters Degree in Business Administration from The University of Alabama at Birmingham and Bachelors Degree in Mathematics from The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.
Sarah McFarland joined the Innovation Depot as Director of Programs and Culture in August 2017. Prior to Innovation Depot, Sarah began her career in the Management Training Program of BBVA Compass Bank. After completion of the program, she worked in Operational Risk Management at BBVA Compass, where she assisted in the implementation, enhancement, and training of the Operational Risk policies and procedures for all of BBVA’s US entities. In fall of 2016, Sarah decided to pursue her passion for start-ups and went to work for Innovation Depot member company Icebox Coffee as the Brand Manager, where she managed customer and distributor relationships and supervised social media and marketing strategies.
Sarah holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Finance and Accounting from Auburn University. She is an active member of Redeemer Community Church, where she is invested in an outreach ministry for those learning English as a Second Language. She lives in the Crestwood neighborhood of Birmingham with her family.
Desireé Page is the financial controller at the Innovation Depot. She comes to Innovation Depot with a strong background in managerial accounting for small businesses. Desireé has managed all aspects of accounting on both computerized and manual systems for manufacturing as well as service oriented small businesses. She has more than twenty-five years accounting experience. She decided to be an accountant in the ninth grade because she enjoyed working with numbers and has ever since.
Desireé has been the telecom project accountant on several large projects, including Anniston City Schools E-rate, Birmingham City Schools E-rate, Birmingham International Airport Expansion, Lawson State Community College technology center, and the U.S. Naval Base in Italy (through Rosser International).
Desireé attended The University of Alabama where she received her undergraduate degree in Accounting and Marketing. There she worked for the Fiscal Coordinator in the office of student financial aid for over four years. She received her Master’s Degree in public and private management (MPPM) from Birmingham Southern College where she, as coursework, assisted small companies with business plans and projections.
Desireé is the ninth of twelve children. She resides in Birmingham and is a very active mother of six children (two in college).
Kevin Herren is the Director of IT Services at the Innovation Depot. He joined the organization in September of 2002, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge in data management and information technology. Prior to joining Innovation Depot, Kevin owned and operated a website and internet application development company. He also served as the network administrator for several companies in the Birmingham metropolitan area. Currently, Kevin assists the Client companies at Innovation Depot with all of their technical issues relating to information technology.
Blake Cooley serves as the Director of Facility Operations at the Innovation Depot. Blake oversees the facility, manages the shared laboratory equipment, and assists the client companies with facilities issues as needed.
Randy works part time at the Innovation Depot, assisting the facility director with building maintenance and issuing building access through keys and parking passes.
Shaun joined the Innovation Depot in August of 2005. Shaun greets and announces all visitors, directs calls, and assists with daytime security.
Tayun is a part time receptionist. She greets and announces all visitors, directs calls, and assists with daytime security.
Beth McKeon is a serial entrepreneur and educator. She will be serving as Managing Entrepreneur-in-Residence with Velocity in 2018. Prior to joining Velocity, she served as Managing Director of NMotion, an early-stage startup accelerator in Lincoln, Nebraska. She also founded Kids Calendar, a startup serving local families in five cities across the US, which she sold in 2017. Through her experiences as a founder and accelerator director, Beth has developed a keen understanding of how to coach and support early-stage startup founders through their product and business design process, focusing on design thinking, Lean startup methodology, and agile. Beth received her Master’s degree from Columbia University in 2005.
T. Devon Laney is the President & Chief Executive Officer of Innovation Depot, Inc., the technology business incubation organization located in downtown Birmingham and recipient of the 2011 Technology Incubator of the Year Award from the International Business Innovation Association. Before being named CEO, Devon served in a number of roles within Innovation Depot after joining the organization in 2005. Prior to joining Innovation Depot, he worked as an analyst with Accenture LLP on a broad range of marketing, I/T and strategic organizational projects with various Fortune 500 companies. In addition, Devon is an entrepreneur with experience in the technology space.
In the Birmingham community, Devon serves on the Board and Executive Committee of the Birmingham Business Alliance, the Advisory Board of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business, as well as the Board of Governors for Brookwood Baptist Health System. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Birmingham Venture Club, where he is the youngest member to ever serve and also a consecutive back-to-back President. Additionally, Devon serves on the Executive Committees of TechBirmingham and BioAlabama. Devon is a member of the 2008 inaugural class of Leadership UAB and the 2010 Class of Leadership Birmingham, and is also a member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham.
In 2009 Devon was selected as one of The Birmingham Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40”. An accomplished speaker, Devon has lectured at conferences in both the U.S. and internationally on entrepreneurial development, business incubation and innovation, and currently serves on the Board and Executive Committee of the International Business Innovation Association.
Mr. Laney has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business, both from The University of Alabama. Devon also completed studies at the International Business School in Groningen, the Netherlands. He currently lives in the Crestwood neighborhood of Birmingham with his wife Meg and their two dogs. Devon also enjoys playing racquetball, coaching tee-ball, and playing music every chance he gets.