Innovation PortAL is an innovation and entrepreneurial hub accelerating startup growth in southwest Alabama and the central Gulf Coast through targeted programming, funding opportunities, networking and community events. Innovation Portal provides entrepreneurs access to expertise, resources, and funding, allowing them to rapidly scale their ventures to regional, national, and international markets.

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    Hayley Van Antwerp

    Executive Director

    Executive Director

    Hayley Van Antwerp

    Hayley is the Founder and Executive Director of Innovation PortAL. While startups are her current passion, Hayley began her career on the corporate side in the financial services industry in New York City. She cut her teeth in equity research before transitioning into management consulting for a number of well-known banks and broker/dealers. Many frequent flier miles later, she went “in house” and spent ten years at Merrill Lynch/Bank of America working in a myriad of strategy and management positions. Hayley moved from New York to Mobile six years ago and has never looked back.

    Hayley is passionate about entrepreneurship and economic development, especially in Alabama. She volunteered for over a year to create Innovation PortAL. Furthermore, Hayley has served as an instructor for startup programs including the National Science Foundation’s iCorps program as well as the Minority Business Accelerator and is actively working with a small steering committee to pilot a mentoring program for our region. She is an advisory board member for the University of South Alabama’s Melton Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and also serves as an advisory board member for the School of Business at the University of Mobile.

    Hayley is a cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University. She and her husband, Bragg, are the proud parents of four high-energy kiddos and one exceptional canine.

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    Corey James

    Director of Operations

    Director of Operations

    Corey James

    Corey James is a New Orleans native who currently serves as Director of Operations of Innovation PortAL. Corey’s role within the organization includes overseeing program development, startup consulting, community development initiatives, marketing, and communication. He manages Innovation PortAL’s network of mentors and subject matter experts as well as assists with investment reviews and fund execution for the PortAL Fund.

    Within the community, Corey volunteers with the facilitator and organizer networks for Techstars’ Startup Weekend and also serves as an instructor for the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program. He is also an active member of the steering committee for the Gulf Coast Tech Council.

    Corey graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (concentration in Society & Law)  and Theological Studies from the honors college of Saint Louis University. While there, Corey co-launched with Belizean cacao farmers a chocolate social enterprise entitled Magis Chocolate. Beyond work, Corey’s areas of interest and research include social ethics in business movements, philosophical economics, emerging technologies, and rock climbing.

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    Mike Stashak

    Entrepreneur in Residence

    Entrepreneur in Residence

    Mike Stashak

    Mike is an experienced general manager with a track record of success in growing businesses – both start-ups and established companies. He has deep expertise in both consumer products and B2B marketing and sales.

    At Wahoo, Mike took a company from one employee with a single beta product to 130 employees with over 20 products, an established brand, and a global distribution network, including the Apple Store, REI, Best Buy and Amazon. He leads a team responsible for all aspects of growth – strategy, sales, and marketing – plus part of the team managing the business and a capital raise. Wahoo Fitness is a leader in wearable and smartphone connected consumer devices focused on the bike, running and gym markets.

    Before Wahoo, Mike spent 15 years focused in strategy, sales and marketing. Highlights include:

    • Top strategy consulting: At McKinsey, he focused on marketing strategy and go-to-market topics (sales excellence, channel programs, etc.) for both B2B and consumer products companies.
    • Strategy and Innovation: He led growth and innovation initiatives for Equifax, a $2B public company focused on financial services and consumer products.
    • Business development: He led the corporate development function for a $100M publicly held technology company with deep expertise in business development, M&A, and partnerships/alliances.

    Mike is a graduate of Darden School of Business (MBA 2001) and Duke University (BA 1995).

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Board of Directors

  • Frank Lott

    Chairman

    Innovation PortAL

    Owner & President

    Heritage Homes

  • Hayley Van Antwerp

    Executive Director

    Innovation PortAL

  • Bill Sisson

    President & CEO

    Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce

  • Mike Stashak

    Entrepreneur in Residence

    Innovation PortAL

    Head of Business Development & Strategy

    Wahoo Sports

  • Elizabeth Stevens

    President & Chief Executive Officer

    Downtown Mobile Alliance

  • David Trent

    Site Director

    Airbus Americas Engineering

  • Lynne Chronister

    Vice President for Research and Economic Development

    University of South Alabama

  • Michael Chambers

    Associate Vice President for Research Innovation

    University of South Alabama

  • Michael Berson

    Attorney

    Adams & Reese

  • Stephen Potts

    Editor

    PMT Publishing, inc.

  • Dean Parker

    Chairman

    Vita Capital

  • Jeremiah Newell

    Founder and Superintendent

    MAEF Public Charter Schools

  • Todd Greer

    Dean of the School of Business

    University of Mobile

  • Raymond Bell

    Attorney

    Maynard Cooper & Gale PC

  • Matt Zarzour

    Chief Executive Officer

    Zarzour Company

  • Nick Sellers

    Vice President, Mobile Division

    Alabama Power

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