Ignite Alabama - Sparking Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Alabama

Ignite Alabama spotlights Alabama start-ups and entrepreneurs who are building a 21st century economy in Alabama. The show also covers the latest research and technology that paves the way for innovation in business. The mission of Ignite Alabama is to spark innovation, creativity, and new ideas that empower and equip Alabama residents to start businesses and grow Alabama's economy. Ignite Alabama is a Shinecast® show by Sheree Martin.
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Ignite Alabama - Sparking Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Alabama




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Now displaying: July, 2015
Jul 28, 2015

In this episode of the Ignite Alabama podcast we take a big-picture look at 3D printing technology from the perspective of Dr. Kenneth Sloan, UAB professor of computer science and director of the 3D Print Lab at UAB.


This episode of Ignite Alabama is the introductory episode to 3D printing technology, also known as additive manufacturing. Dr. Sloan’s area of expertise is in computer science for 3D modeling.


The 3D Print lab at UAB is mainly used for teaching and research but contract 3D printing can be performed on a limited scale for anyone who has the CAD model program written for a project.


In terms of materials, the UAB 3D Print Lab can print in both ABS and PLA thermoplastics. ABS is a very sturdy plastic, while PLA is a non-toxic biodegradable plastic that’s suitable for medical type implants. Dr. Sloan gets into the difference briefly in his comments.

I first learned about 3D printing or additive manufacturing when I was a contributing writer for Fabricating Equipment News way back at the dawn of the 21st century. I was writing on rapid prototyping and innovations in fabrication and machining and was constantly interviewing researchers and engineers who were working on the cutting edge of that technology in the time between 1999 and 2002 so it’s exciting to see how the technology is advancing along with our growth computer processing capacity and understanding of materials science.

In this interview, Dr. Sloan talks about how the rapid advancement of computing capacity has made 3D printing possible. He provides some insights into the viability of 3D printing for custom manufacturing and the challenges of 3D printing for traditional mass production of inexpensive items.

Dr. Sloan provides several examples of how dentists are using 3D printed implants and other items in today's dental practice.

We also get into the subject of how students can prepare for careers that will involve 3D modeling and new approaches to machining, fabrication in manufacturing.

One of my goals for Ignite Alabama, as a podcast and a movement, is to help raise awareness of the many new technologies that are now available to entrepreneurs and to help everyone from business advisers to policymakers to investors to educators generate ideas to move our economy forward.


I’m working now to line up interviewers with other researchers, scientists and engineers who look at 3D printing from other angles such as biotech applications for burn treatment and materials research for industrial applications of 3D printing, such as in development by Rolls Royce using titanium to print a component for one of its jet engines. That part is already being tested. If you have an interest in being featured on the show, please reach out to me. The easiest place to find me online is LinkedIn.


Complete show notes are available at




Jul 21, 2015

In episode 6 of Ignite Alabama we met Jake Wright and Cole Kinchler, two of the co-founders of SimplyProse, an online writing platform, that is making some noise in the start-up world.

Jake and Cole are senior business majors at Auburn University. In this interview, Jake and Cole explain how they came up with the idea as part of the Tiger Cage business pitch competition in the Fall of 2014. The recognition they received from the Tiger Cage competition led to mentoring by Kyle Sandler of The Round House. SimplyProse recently moved forward in the Alabama Launchpad startup pitch competition.

In the SimplyProse platform writers find a space to create, critique and market their work for profit or personal enjoyment. Writers decide who is able to view and contribute to their work, which suggestions are most beneficial, and which publisher best fits their budget and objectives for their project. For publishers and literary professionals, finding engaging new content and sifting through submissions has never been more seamless. SimplyProse is dedicated to developing a writing community centered on collaboration and focused on furthering the creativity of the individual writer.

Visit for complete shownotes and more on innovation and entrepreneurship in Alabama.


Jul 14, 2015

The Ark Labs in Florence, Alabama is a start-up that is developing technology to combine artificial intelligence with smart devices and the internet of things to monitor and control residential and commercial water usage.

The technology will help to boost water efficiency, reduce insurance claims due to water damage, and reduce demands on local water supply and wastewater treatment facilities.

In episode 5 of Ignite Alabama I talk to Robbie Hillis, the force behind this Florence, Alabama-based startup.

The Ark Labs is one of the startups chosen to participate in this summer's GIG Tank Accelerator program in Chattanooga.

After we cover the problem that The Ark Labs technology will solve, we get into a bigger discussion about entrepreneurship in Alabama, the fear of failure and desire for the illusion of security that seems to hold back so many people who might otherwise start a business (small or large), and the plethora of innovative ideas that are all around us.

Visit for complete show notes and other resources.

Jul 13, 2015

MotionMobs is a mobile-first app development company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.

In episode 4 of Ignite Alabama, Taylor Wyatt, co-founder and president of MotionMobs, talks about the history and business growth of MotionMobs but the focus of our conversation is on the process of planning a startup from idea to launch and the benefits and challenges of growing a tech startup in Alabama.

We talk about angel investors and other methods of funding a startup and the importance of comprehensive and careful planning whether you are starting a new business or seeking to develop an app for your company.

We also talk about education with the focus on tech education and the role of traditional 4-year college degrees for tech careers.

This conversation is the same interview available as episode 4 of Birmingham Shines podcast, with different intro and outro comments from the host, Sheree Martin.

You can find more detailed show notes and other resources at

Jul 7, 2015

In this episode of Ignite Alabama I talk with Jennifer Skjellum, executive director of Tech Birmingham and the Central Alabama chapter of Angel Investor Management Group.

Jennifer moved to Alabama from Starville, Mississippi when her husband became chair of the Computer Science department at UAB. 

She's a successful tech entrepreneur with several successful business ventures under her belt and she's now involved in helping other entrepreneurs and start-up visionaries grow and launch their businesses through her work with the AIM Group, Tech Birmingham and a new 501c3, Tech Alabama.

In this episode, we cover everything from the recent Kaufmann Foundation report which ranked Alabama 49th in startups to a new coding program for teen girls.

For more information and full show notes, visit


Jul 6, 2015

Soluble Therapeutics, Inc. was formed in 2008 to commercialize technogy developed by UAB researchers. This HSC™ Technology helps to deal with a bottleneck in pharmaceutical R&D--the identification of appropriate biologic solutions to deliver protein-based drugs.

In 2010 Dr. Joseph M. Garner came on board as CEO of Soluble Therapeutics, Inc. to lead the commercialization efforts and continue to validate the technology.

Director of Business Development, John McCarter, is the guest of this episode of Ignite Alabama. He began working with Soluble Therapeutics, Inc. in 2010 as an intern and moved through the ranks in business development.

John explains the company's transition from a primary focus on technology validation to the commercialization of the technology and expansion.

He also describes some of the capitalization sources, which have included significant infusion from venture capital funds and a $1 million NIH grant.

Soluble Therapeutics, Inc. has a global customer base and John explains how he uses webinars, LinkedIn and other internet-based communications technology to complement his marketing efforts at international conferences. 

We also talk about the attributes of a 21st century economy and whether Alabama and Birmingham is moving in the right direction.

For more information and business resources, visit

PDF transcripts of each episode of Ignite Alabama will soon be available for purchase at a nominal price.

Ignite Alabama is a Shinecast® podcast developed, produced and hosted by Sheree Martin.


Jul 2, 2015

Kyle Sandler began his career as a teen radio DJ and ended up in Menlo Park, California, where he became friends with employees of Google in the very early days.

Kyle ended up taking a job in marketing with Google as employee #240 and the rest, as they say, is history.

After cashing out of Google, Kyle founded The Droid Guy and eventually sold that website for 7-figures. Kyle's next big start-up was Nibletz, which he eventually sold, as well. 

Kyle ended up in Opelika, Alabama. He explains how and why in this episode. After some time as entrepreneur-in-residence at Auburn University, Kyle founded The Round House, a start-up accelerator and coworking space in historic downtown Opelika. 

Kyle is now mentoring aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs and startups.

You can find out more about this show and the Shinecast® resources at

A specific website for Ignite Alabama is in the works.

Jul 2, 2015

Sheree Martin is the host and producer of Ignite Alabama, a Shinecast® show.

In this preview episode of Ignite Alabama, Sheree gives some background on her early professional career as a business lawyer and how that career, combined with relentless curiosity and desire to stay current with technology, evolved into strategic communication and a desire to empower and equip others to take ownership of their lives through an integrated approach modeled on Benjamin Frankin.