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Birmingham-Southern College names first executive-in-residence in entrepreneurship

Birmingham-Southern College names first executive-in-residence in entrepreneurship

For Immediate Release
Aug. 15, 2016

Jennifer SkjellumBIRMINGHAM, Ala.--Jennifer Skjellum, president of the nonprofit TechBirmingham and co-founder of TechAlabama, has been selected as Birmingham-Southern College’s first McCain Executive-in-Residence in Entrepreneurship.

Skjellum will teach three courses this academic year; foster entrepreneurial thinking among BSC students; and collaborate with the college’s Krulak Institute for Leadership, Experiential Learning, and Civic Engagement to develop, promote, and implement new and innovative student internship opportunities. She’ll be housed in the Department of Business Administration, but will assist BSC students and faculty from all departments who wish to engage in entrepreneurial activities. She will serve for nine months, while continuing in her position at TechBirmingham.

“The executive-in-residence position will greatly enhance BSC students’ real-world knowledge,” said Dr. Sara Helms Robicheaux ’97, vice president for development, B.A. Monaghan Professor of Business, dean of business programs, and director of the Stump Entrepreneurship Program. “In addition to Jennifer’s experience as an entrepreneur, she brings expertise in communication and technology, which will be valuable to BSC as the college looks to expand its offerings to better equip students for today’s marketplace.”

Skjellum has led TechBirmingham, which works for the creation, promotion and growth of technology jobs and companies in the Birmingham region, since 2012. She recently co-founded and serves as director of the affiliated group TechAlabama, a 501(c)(3) that provides K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, workforce development, and strives to increase the number of STEM jobs and tech businesses in Alabama.

She is also president and co-founder of RunTime Computing Solutions LLC, which provides software and solutions for high performance and embedded computing space. It is located at Innovation Depot, Birmingham’s technology incubator.

Her entrepreneurial experience dates back to 1996, when Skjellum and her husband founded MPI Software Technology Inc., which designed performance software for the high performance computing market. MPI was acquired by San Diego-based Verari Systems Inc. in 2004.

Skjellum, who holds a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., and a master’s degree in communication from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, serves on the boards of the Stump Entrepreneurship Program at Birmingham-Southern and McWane Science Center.

“I am honored to be given the opportunity to work with smart young minds, sharing my knowledge and experience, and helping students discover entrepreneurship,” she said. “My goal is to help foster innovation and entrepreneurship at BSC by exposing students to the startup scene in our region, connecting them with local businesses and leaders, and providing students the tools to get started on their own path.”

The McCain Executive-in-Residence in Entrepreneurship position was made possible by a $500,000 contribution from David O. “Dave” McCain III and his sister, Susan C. McCain, in honor of their parents and Dave's late wife. The McCain family has been connected with BSC since the 1930s.