The University of Alabama, the City of Fairhope and the Baldwin Community and Economic Development Foundation have partnered to create Hatch, a business resource hub for technology-based entrepreneurs in Baldwin County. Hatch provides Baldwin County’s new and existing startups with a place to learn and grow. This partnership is fostering local entrepreneurial culture, developing an entrepreneurial resource ecosystem, and linking the resources of The University of Alabama to emerging tech companies in Baldwin County. Hatch is funded by the City of Fairhope, Coastal Alabama Community College, and the Baldwin Community and Economic Development Foundation and will be housed in Downtown Fairhope in space provided by BBVA Compass.
Hatch is based on a pilot program conducted in South Carolina by Clemson University. Technology Village programs in Bluffton and Rock Hill, South Carolina, created an estimated 12 to 14 companies and 70 new jobs in the first 18 months of operations, resulting in an estimated payroll of $2.8 million.
Rick Miller has over 30 years experience working in both public and private companies in financial, operational, and administrative roles. He has served as CFO for companies in a wide variety of sectors including medical practices, manufacturing and distribution, real estate, advertising, and recreation. He has also served as COO for a fast-food operation in Oregon and Washington. As CEO of a venture-capital backed fitness technology company, he secured private placement financing and a national distribution agreement with a specialty retailer.
In addition to coaching, Rick has extensive experience in team building at the corporate and/or divisional level, strategic planning and budgeting, private equity negotiations and transition planning, line-staff conflict resolution, and entrepreneurial networking. Rick is the facilitator for the Mobile Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Leader executive leadership program. Rick’s personal mission is to joyfully help individuals develop their God-given talent and abilities, and his passion is coaching/advising people to positively impact their colleagues, community, and companies in meaningful and lasting ways.
Rick holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Alabama, where he was named outstanding undergraduate in the College of Business Administration. He holds an MBA from Harvard University and a middle school teaching certificate from Regis University in Colorado. He is married to Laura Miller, has one son and one grandson, both of which join him in golfing and pulling for the Crimson Tide. Laura pulls for Auburn!
Lee Lawson currently serves as the president and CEO for the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance. The Alliance leads all economic development efforts for Baldwin County, Alabama, one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. Those efforts include marketing the county to corporate decision makers, aligning the county’s workforce development efforts, and working with existing business and industry to help catalyze growth. Before accepting the position at the Alliance in 2012, Lawson worked as an economic development representative for PowerSouth Energy Cooperative in Andalusia, Alabama, from 2008-2012. During his time at PowerSouth, Lawson managed PowerSouth’s domestic and foreign economic development efforts for its 39-county Alabama service territory. Lawson has also held positions with the Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority in Birmingham, as well as the Madison Chamber of Commerce in Madison, Alabama.
Lawson has held numerous leadership roles on boards and committees across the state of Alabama, including: Business Council of Alabama Board of Directors, past Mobile/Baldwin district chair; Economic Development Association of Alabama, past chairman; South Alabama Workforce Development Council, chairman; Baldwin County Career Tech Education Council, chairman; Baldwin Judicial Selection Committee; Troy University Center for International Business and Economic Development Advisory Board; Baldwin Judicial Selection Committee; and University of South Alabama Center for Real Estate and Economic Development. Lawson was also a member of Leadership Alabama’s Class of 2016 and recognized as one of Mobile Bay Magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2016.
A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Lawson received a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and public relations from Troy University in 2003, where he also lettered in men’s basketball. Lawson currently resides in Fairhope with his wife, Regan, and their four children.
Baldwin County has ranked #1 IN THE STATE OF ALABAMA for Incoming Business Investment for three straight years. SmartAsset
Baldwin County is home to 4 of the TOP 5 FASTEST GROWING cities in Alabama, with Fairhope at #1. U.S. Census Bureau
Baldwin County is home to 4 companies (2 technology companies) on the Inc. 5000 list, which recognizes revenue growth among private companies:
Baldwin County ranked in the TOP 50 MSAs in the United States for new job growth. Bureau of Labor Statistics