My Birmingham: Kathleen Hamrick

kathleen-hamrick-oneAn Alabama native, Kathleen Hamrick is director of marketing and education at Innovation Depot and a member of the organizing committee of TEDxBirmingham. A woman of diverse interests, she is also a runner and adventurer who has run through the Amazon rainforest and occasionally flies single-engine prop planes at the Birmingham Flight Center.

This is Hamrick’s Birmingham.

Best power lunch: As director of marketing for Innovation Depot, you’re at the core of Birmingham’s entrepreneurial and innovation-minded community. What are your favorite power-lunch spots in Birmingham?

Power is making your guests feel welcome and comfortable. I’m usually working through lunch, but have some favorite dinner spots! I love Bettola for Italian. The food is tasty, drinks are fantastic, the service is wonderful, and you can hear your guests speak. They take reservations and there’s usually not an absurdly long wait for a table on weekends. OvenBird is another of my favorites. It’s the ideal spot for small plates. The flavors are incredible, and the service is super. The renowned owner, Chris Hastings, can often be found engaged in conversation with guests, making them feel welcome. El Barrio is great for Mexican if you’re open to a very long wait—and they have the best spicy margaritas in town.

 Great running trails: You also have one of the most impressive lists of extracurricular activities we’ve seen on any resume—including being a sponsored expedition athlete. Birmingham might not be able to compete with a run through the Amazon, but can you name your favorite running spot here at home?

I love runs at Red Mountain Park. Gorgeous trails, and the park is close to home.

Where adventure lies: What else constitutes a cool adventure for you in Birmingham?

If I’m not working or running, my favorite thing to do in Birmingham is fly single-engine prop planes at the Birmingham Flight Center. With only about 15 hours in the plane and 20 in the books, I’m a beginner—but that’s enough to take off and land. There have been a few times I’ve shown up to the flight center and flown a Cessna 152 in a dress and stiletto pumps.

Your Birmingham sales pitch: If they asked, what would be at the core of your pitch to young people like yourselves considering locating Birmingham to launch a business?

It’s not location that builds a great company. Great people build great companies. Birmingham has devoted a ton of resources into growing the tech ecosystem. Efforts like Innovate Birmingham are helping to build a strong tech workforce in the region. Software developers are in high demand in lots of places around the nation, and in the years to come, Birmingham will have an abundant talent supply. For those who seek the highly coveted seed funding to grow a startup, Innovation Depot’s Velocity Accelerator is a source for those funds and for incredible mentorship needed to build and grow a business.

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