Presentation to Students 07292013

Ron Davis
Executive Director
Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute
July 29, 2013
How to Get Involved
Presentation to Students
Gina Simpson
Director, The EDGE
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Gina Simpson is a native of Alabama, resident of Tuscaloosa, and is a graduate of The University of
Alabama. She holds a B.S. in Management with a concentration in Small Company Management and
Entrepreneurship and a M.S. in Marketing. Mrs. Simpson has spent her career as a serial entrepreneur
founding, managing and growing several companies. Currently, she is the President and Owner of VeloCity Pro Cycle, a
full service bicycle shop in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She founded the company with her husband in 2006 and has grown it to
be the largest bicycle shop in the area. Using VeloCity as the catalyst, Mrs. Simpson was able to found, grow, and aid in
the recruitment of several sporting events in the area including the Tour de Tuscaloosa, multiple National USA
Triathlons, and the Spooktacular Cyclo-Cross race. Mrs. Simpson is also the President of Regina Holdings, LLC, a private
investment firm she founded in 2010. Mrs. Simpson is using her entrepreneurial experience to grow and Commerce in
the role of Director for The EDGE, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Her duties include acting as a partner
with The University of Alabama and the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute to grow and develop entrepreneurial
opportunities, recruit potential entrepreneurs, and develop community relationships to aid in the center’s growth. In
addition to business owner and consultant, Mrs. Simpson is an Adjunct Professor at The University of Alabama in the
areas of Entrepreneurship and Leadership. Previously, Mrs. Simpson co-founded and co-owned Gilco Contracting, Inc.
which was sold for profit in 2007. In 2009, she was awarded the Rising Star Entrepreneurship Award by the West
Alabama Chamber of Commerce. In 2011, she was presented with the Roots and Wings Award by the Women in
Business Council. She is very active in the community serving on several boards. Mrs. Simpson is a current member and
past chairman of the Tuscaloosa Tourism Sports Commission (TTSC). She was the Chairman of the TTSC CEO Search
Committee and currently serves on the TTSC Partnership Committee. She also serves as Vice President of the Board of
Directors for the Alabama Cycling Association. Mrs. Simpson now serves on the River Market Development
Committee, the Future PAC Board of Directors, and the Tuscaloosa Downtown Entertainment District Committee. She
is a member of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, the Academy of Management, the Southern Management
Association, and the Druid City Bicycle Club. Mrs. Simpson has been married for 14 years and has one four year old
Ron Davis P.E.
Executive Director
Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute
University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL
Ron Davis began his career in the automotive industry at the age of 17 as a high school co-op student
with the Delco Remy Division of General Motors. After high school Davis graduated with honors from
Purdue University with a degree in mechanical engineering while continuing as a college co-op student with General
Motors. During his career at General Motors Davis held many positions to include:
1. Engineer in advanced product development
2. Program Manager for Hydraulic Transmission controls product and process development
3. Assistant Staff Engineer for Motion Controls product and process development
4. Assistant Staff Engineer for Powder Metal Forge products
In 1994 Davis became a part of Delco Remy America and was named Vice President and General Manager of the
Powder Metal Forge Division in Meridian Mississippi. After this Division was sold, Davis returned to General Motors in
1997 to lead the lean manufacturing efforts for the Saginaw Steering Division of General Motors in Athens Alabama.
In 2000 Davis joined Federal Mogul as Plant Manager of the heavy duty piston business in Orangeburg, SC. 2002 - 2012
Davis returned to Alabama and joined ZF Lemforder to manage the Axle assembly plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Davis’
key accomplishments in the Automotive Industry and Community can be summarized as follows:
1. Four product design patents for General Motors
2. Managed development of the first Ford/GM joint patent
3. Lean transformation improvements and new product startups in General Motors, Delco Remy America, Delphi,
Federal Mogul and ZF Lemforder.
4. Led the ZF Lemforder plant to win the 2008 Shingo Prize for Lean Manufacturing Excellence
5. Board member of AAMA, Chairman of AMINA, and Chairman of the Tuscaloosa Manufacturing Council, West
Alabama Chamber Board Member, Member Tuscaloosa Morning Rotary Club, Fayette City Beautification
Committee Chairman.
6. President AAMA (Alabama Automotive Manufacturing Association) 2008-2010, 2012-2014
7. Contributor to West Alabama Economic Development: Board Member of C-3, Board Member of Fayette
Economic Development Advisory Board
8. Alabama E3 Sustainability award 2012
In October 2012 Ron joined The University of Alabama as Executive Director of Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute
The mission of the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute (AEI) is to
promote entrepreneurship and economic development in the region
and create wealth and jobs. AEI does this by uniting University of
Alabama resources and students with entrepreneurs and industry, and
by providing unique student learning opportunities. Through
partnerships with entrepreneurs, established industry, and non-profit
organizations, AEI accelerates the growth of Alabama companies,
increases new venture start-ups in the Southeast, and attracts firms to
the area.
AEI is located at The EDGE, 800 22nd Avenue, Tuscaloosa, AL. The
EDGE is a business incubator managed in partnership with the West
Alabama Chamber of Commerce.
Start at least two new student knowledge-based businesses per year
Start at least two new community-based businesses per year
Commercialize UA technology through AIME and OTT
Develop student entrepreneurship support
Partner with industry, state and local government, industry associations and
universities to maximize results and faculty and student engagement
• Institute apprentice programs, internships and co-op opportunities
• Develop a virtual automotive accelerator in partnership with Southern Automotive
Conference (SAC) and Center for Automotive Research (CAR)
• Establish The EDGE as the center of entrepreneurship in Alabama
Student Engagement/Industry Connection Sub-Committee Direction
 Identify Co-Op and internships
• AEI Advisory Board
• Industry
• Entrepreneurs
 Culverhouse Seals (Strategic Entrepreneurship & Applied Leadership)
• Keener
• Southern Carbide
 Visit industry to identify opportunities
 Industry Day
 Women’s Initiative
 Expand Technology Business Model Competition
 Triage – Expansion
• Technical
• Law
• Business
 Unique Experiences
• Cassimus Adventure
Women’s Initiative
On March 6, 2013 Lauren Goodson, a
SAWF member with Cornerstone
Recruitment Group, Diane Johnson,
Professor and Chair of Management and
Marketing in the UA’s College of
Commerce and Business Administration,
and Nancy Boyd, Alabama
Entrepreneurship Institute at The EDGE
organized a “Meet & Greet” to give
female faculty, staff and students an
opportunity to learn about the SAWF.
SAWF is a non-profit, professional
organization dedicated to promoting
education and scholarships in addition to
personal and professional advancement
of women in the automotive industry
who are located in the Southern Region
of the United States.
Diane Johnson, Chair, Management & Marketing
Dept. in the Culverhouse College of Commerce
starts discussion of what a UA/SAWF initiative
could bring to the UA Engineering and Research
students and staff
Gina Simpson, Director at The EDGE, sits with
students as they learn about SAWF
Women’s Initiative continued
SAWF’s vision is to collaborate with
companies and organizations by leveraging the
knowledge and talents of women role models
to foster a dynamic regional automotive
community within the Southern states. SAWF
provides scholarships, educational programs
and mentoring to attract and retain women to
this industry.
Forty-four women along with some male
faculty mingled and made connections with
potential mentors and representatives from
automotive manufacturers and suppliers. Many
students whose field of study included MBAs,
OMs, and various Engineering degrees left with
a handful of business cards from faculty
members and outside industry including
Mercedes Benz.
Mary Patterson, AERN Director, chats with UA
Engineering student.
Women’s Initiative continued
This networking event provided relevant
advice on career paths in the automotive
Ron Davis
Executive Director
Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute
The University of Alabama
800 22nd Avenue
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401
Phone: 205-657-5101
Gina Simpson
800 22nd Avenue
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401

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