Deon Gordon is passionate about Birmingham and its growth. He’s spent the last two years as Director of Business Development at REV and now he’s transitioning to TechBirmingham as the executive director. If you haven’t already heard of REV Birmingham, they are an economic development agency dedicated to revitalization and small business development in our city. With REV, he helped launch the Reveal Kitchen in the Pizitz Food Hall- an incubator for Birmingham chefs who are starting new restaurants.
Yesterday, Deon emphasized that we have to start telling Birmingham’s story in a better light. He said “we don’t often talk about Birmingham’s story through the lens of victory.” We have built a great foundation in Birmingham with an emerging tech scene and we all have high expectations for the future. Let’s tell those stories that inspire others to join us in building a better Birmingham.
“One of my biggest takeaways was that Birmingham is working hard to get on the cutting edge of the tech scene, especially when it comes to working with small businesses. The city has a lot of momentum right now and that is being fueled by multiple small business who have participated in Co.Starters, The Big Pitch, and other local programs that promote entrepreneurship.”
Russell Hooks, Forge Member
With several Costarters and The Big Pitch finalists in the crowd, Deon spoke about the mission of those organizations. “We’re not responsible for the success of those who come through our pipeline. But we give them the platform to be successful.” At REV, they do whatever they can to support The Big Pitch finalists and the Birmingham community certainly supports them as well.
Deon says Birmingham still has a long way to go. We’re still at pre-recession job numbers. And unfortunately we aren’t seeing the same growth in the suburbs and traditionally marginalized neighborhoods as we are in downtown Birmingham.
So what is missing that could help Birmingham really turn the corner?
Deon says the education system could definitely use improvement. We’re beginning to implement more computer science and coding in the classroom and this is immensely valuable to our students’ futures. As technology continues to grow in the marketplace of Birmingham, our city will continue to rise to the level of other major cities.
“Deon’s excitement for Birmingham is always evident and always contagious. Noting the many key organizations and talented people that are working towards the future of the Magic City, Deon brought it back to the boots on the ground: the entrepreneurs who put heart and talent into creating their vision, and we all benefit.”
Russell Douglas, Forge Member
Deon believes the opening of Railroad Park in 2010 spurred the change that downtown Birmingham really needed. It began the transformation of our city and the creation of the park was tangible evidence for the much needed change in Birmingham. Deon says we’re at a rare point where our city is seeing a series of wins. Let’s encourage one another to continue this growth!