Local Entrepreneurs

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Jim Flannery

Co-founder Four Athens
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Hometown: Bridgewater, NJ
University: Princeton University

Who I am?

Co-founder of Four Athens, an organization designed to connect the startup community to the money, mentors, and talent they need to succeed.

Why I chose Athens-Clarke or Oconee County for business?

Athens chose me. I moved here in 2009 with no intention of starting a company, but feel in love with the town and since I didn't have a job, I started a company with some great partners. Athens is uniquely positioned to be home to a great tech startup community due to its low cost of living, highly educated and creative young, population.

Community Insight?

Athens is a fantastic place for companies looking for a young, educated workforce focused on creating positive change. The University of Georgia offers an amazing resource to the business community.

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"Jinx" Patel

Research Director and President, Athens Research and Technology
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Hometown: Beckley, WV
University: Randolph-Macon Woman’s College
Washington University

Who I am?

“Jinx” Patel (Virginia Broaddus Patel), Research Director and President, Athens Research and Technology, Inc. and General Partner, ARTBIO, LLC. I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (now, Randolph College) in Lynchburg, Virginia; my Ph.D. degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. I was born in Hinton, West Virginia, but mainly grew up in Beckley, West Virginia. I also spent much time as a child and still do at present on the Rappahannock River in the tidewater region of Virginia..

Why I chose Athens-Clarke or Oconee County for business?

In 1967 I moved to Athens with my husband, Gordhan L. Patel, when he accepted a faculty position at the University of Georgia. I worked as a post-doctoral fellow/Research Associate at the University while rearing two daughters. Then, in the 1982, the federal government, interested in moving technology developed by Universities to the market place, created the Small Business Innovative Research Grant program under the Small Business Innovation Development Act. Partly in response to this, Athens Research and Technology, Inc. (ART) was formed in 1986 by a group of pathologists and a professor in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Georgia. I was hired as the first employee of the newly formed company to head up the laboratory. Lynn Bryant, an MBA graduate, was the second employee and is at present, the CEO of ART. The two of us – Lynn and I – have directed the business of ART for the past twenty-eight years. Our special expertise is protein purification. Specifically, we purify proteins from human plasma and other human tissue as well as from animal sources. These purified proteins are sold as biomedical research reagents to the international research community – universities, national institutes, medical schools, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies. We also perform custom contract work for all of these types of institutions, but at present, mainly for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. We help in the development of biotherapeutics, provide protein components for diagnostic kits, screenings, cell culture media, as well as for calibration and control standards.

Community Insight?

My most favorite aspect of doing business here in Athens is the opportunity of working with ART’s wonderful employees. Of course, the fact – Athens-Clarke is a university town – is very important to our type of business since we use the libraries and service facilities and have access to faculty and students at the University of Georgia. Having lived in Athens-Clarke for over forty years, I must emphasize the important benefits of having the wonderful variety of music from the UGA Performing Arts Center and the Athens Classic Center to the Georgia theater and also the variety of art from the Georgia Museum of Art to the individual artists using different media from oil to clay.

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Matt Walker

Plant Manager, Carrier Transicold
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Hometown: Shelby Township, MI
University: Oakland University in

Who I am?

Plant Manager for Carrier Transicold (a division of United Technologies Company) in Athens I was raised in Shelby Township, Michigan (NE of Detroit) and attended Oakland University in Auburn Hills, MI ( with a major in Mechanical Engineering) .

Why I chose Athens-Clarke or Oconee County for business?

My family and I relocated, when presented the opportunity to run the operation with has been in the Athens community for over 25 years. The Carrier Transicold facility manufactures Truck/Trailer/Rail refrigeration and generator units for the transportation industry. Our products are used to keep cargo safe in regards to temperature control.

Community Insight?

The local community provides the balance of a small town feel with some of the benefits of a large metropolitan city in regards to transportation access, amenities and infrastructure.

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