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Helping Innovators Grow Roots

February 14, 2024

Innovate Alabama adds strategic talent, enhancing capacity to drive innovation 


1320 1st Ave N.
Birmingham, AL 35233



BIRMINGHAM, AL (February 14, 2024) – Innovate Alabama announced the addition of three full-time staff members who have joined the organization to help innovators grow roots in the state. These strategic roles will help progress Innovate Alabama’s priorities and initiatives for 2024 and beyond. The addition of the new team members marks a significant milestone for Innovate Alabama since CEO Cynthia Crutchfield was appointed in December 2022.

The new team members are:

  • Shannon Allen – Program Director, HBCU Engagement
  • T.C. McLemore – Executive Director of Outdoor Recreation Programs
  • Kelly McNair – Executive Assistant

“I’m thrilled to welcome these team members to Innovate Alabama,” said Crutchfield. “I’m grateful to each of them for their commitment to our vision and look forward to strengthening our support of our key priorities in talent development and outdoor recreation.”

As the program director for HBCU engagement, Allen will lead all talent attraction and retention efforts for Innovate Alabama, including HBCU initiatives and more. In addition to overseeing the HBCU Innovation Experience, a partnership with The Alabama Collective to provide opportunities to “Expose, Educate, Engage and Empower” HBCU students and faculty, she will also oversee external program partnerships, including a K-12 engagement through QuantHub, a program that trains high school juniors and seniors in technology and AI programs to set them up for future success; the Emerging Scholars program, which puts focus on entrepreneurship, allowing students to pitch their business plans and gain scholarships and access to resources through The University of Alabama; and FuelAL, a partnership with the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), which works with communities around the state to create innovative experiences for summer interns, showcasing why Alabama is a great place to live, work and play.

Allen joins Innovate Alabama after serving as the director of special projects and strategic initiatives at the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA), where she led both internal and external initiatives aimed at strengthening the organization and bolstering the BBA’s business attraction efforts.

“After graduating from The University of Alabama, making Alabama my home was an easy decision,” said Allen. “I have been here for almost two decades, and I believe in our state as a place for innovators and entrepreneurs to thrive. I am honored to join a team that is passionate about moving innovation forward in Alabama.”

McLemore is a seasoned public affairs veteran. The former executive director of Red Mountain Park in Birmingham, McLemore most recently worked at Peritus PR as public affairs manager supporting clients including Innovate Alabama. While at Red Mountain Park, McLemore helped launch the Jefferson County Greenways Commission — the first county-level organization dedicated to greenspace operations in the county’s 200-year history. He also recruited first-of-its-kind concessionaire Ride BHM to Red Mountain Park to activate otherwise dormant land, incubate a local outdoor recreation business and generate revenue to support Red Mountain Park, making him a natural choice to oversee Innovate Alabama’s outdoor recreation programs.

In his role as the executive director for outdoor recreation programs, McLemore is charged with equipping communities around the state with the resources they need to grow their outdoor recreation assets as a talent attraction tool, while also creating new avenues for outdoor recreation businesses and entrepreneurs to operate within Alabama.

“I’m honored to work with such a talented and passionate team of folks realizing Innovate Alabama’s mission of helping innovators grow roots,” shared McLemore. “One of Alabama’s key differentiators in our competition for attracting and retaining the best and brightest talent is our great outdoors. I’m excited to put my experiences to work for communities and outdoor recreation entrepreneurs across the state.”

An Alabama native, McNair joins Innovate Alabama as executive assistant to the CEO, after a career spanning e-commerce, technology and sales. Her main priority will be organizational maturity, establishing operational benchmarks and assisting the CEO.

For more information about Innovate Alabama, please visit


About Innovate Alabama

Innovate Alabama is Alabama’s first statewide public-private partnership focused on entrepreneurship, technology and innovation with a mission to help innovators grow roots here in Alabama. Innovate Alabama was established to implement the initiatives and recommendations set forth in the Alabama Innovation Commission’s report, including smart policy solutions that will create a more resilient, inclusive and robust economy to remain competitive in a 21st-century world. With founding CEO Cynthia Crutchfield leading the charge, Innovate Alabama is also made up of a board of 11 innovation leaders appointed by Gov. Ivey, collaborating across sectors to advance industries, drive technology and facilitate an environment where innovation and entrepreneurship thrive. Learn more about Innovate Alabama at

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