By Brian Brus
Courtesy of the Journal Record
OKLAHOMA CITY – Former state Treasurer Scott Meacham has been named president and chief executive of i2E Inc., the state’s nonprofit technology startup support corporation.
Meacham, who is succeeding Tom Walker, will take the position at the first of the year. He will continue to hold an advisory director position with the Crowe & Dunlevy law firm, he said.
Meacham will be i2E’s fourth CEO in its 14 years. Walker resigned about six months ago to accept a similar tech startup position in Columbus, Ohio. Meacham has served on the i2E board of directors since 2010.
He said that although he doesn’t foresee major changes in the way i2E is operated, one of his primary tasks will be to improve the organization’s public profile.
“I think i2E is too much of a secret,” he said. “I want to increase its visibility and its reach across Oklahoma. It’s probably too early to talk about too much detail at this point. I need to get in there and get familiar with how everything works. One of the things I’ll try to do is diversify funding sources, just like you would for any business. You want as many different funding sources as you can and try to grow those.”
i2E, which stands for Innovation To Enterprise, was created as a response to an Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology initiative. The organization provides advisement services for venture capital-level business plans as well as access to more than $25 million in capital and entrepreneurial development through a fellows program and the annual Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup competition. Most of i2E’s funding is state-appropriated through OCAST. The organization has helped get about 550 companies off the ground, which, in turn, has attracted an estimated $770 million in additional funds to the economy.
“We’ve already started a move to broaden our perspective, and I think there’s a lot of potential for good companies and innovation across the state,” Meacham said. “We need a network in place that provides a place for entrepreneurs to get the support they need.”
The board of directors unanimously chose Meacham for the job after a national search, chairman-elect Howard Barnett Jr. said.
“It soon became apparent that Scott Meacham possessed all the qualities we sought in a person to lead this organization into the future,” Barnett said in a prepared statement. “He brings financial expertise to the role from deep experience as a former banker and state treasurer, as well as legal and business savvy from his current position as a practicing attorney with one of the state’s largest law firms.”