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Mod II Lunches, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 1:00 to 2:00, Dean’s Conference Room

A.J. Kazimi (Owen 1984)  A. J. has held a variety of positions since graduating from Owen.  He began his career working with Brown-Foreman where he worked his way up the management chain.  He then moved to Therapeutic Antibodies, a biopharmaceutical company, where for eleven years he oversaw operations in three countries and played a key role in the company’s product development strategies, licensing and distribution agreements, and the raising of more than $100 million through equity and debt financings, as well as its initial public offering.  Then in 1999 he founded  Cumberland Pharmaceuticals, and has served as CEO and Chairman of the Board since its founding.

 Cumberland acquires, develops, and commercializes branded prescription products.  One strategy they use to acquire drugs is to take drugs developed by large companies that do not have the potential for profitability in a large company and use Cumberland’s nimbleness to turn the drug into a profitable product with a little additional development.  Since the company is public, you can learn more about them at their website

In addition to running Cumberland Pharmaceuticals, A. J. also worked with Vanderbilt and the State of Tennessee to found Cumberland Emerging Technologies (CET), a biotech incubator located in downtown Nashville.  This facility has wet lab space that researchers can rent at reasonable rates to do research on new products.   Several “graduates” from there have moved to larger quarters in Nashville where they are growing their companies. 


Thursday, November 6, 1:00 to 2:00, Dean’s Conference Room

Avery Fisher (Owen 2011)  Avery Fisher is the President of Remedify, a health care data company in the medical device space. As an Owen student, he started a health care services company and closed a round of venture capital the day he graduated from Owen.

Remedify has taken a paper based system for  telling technicians how to clean medical instruments to an electronic system that constantly updates required cleaning methods in real time.  Technicians are always using the latest  methods for sterilizing surgical instruments.  They do not have to search through thousands of pages of information to find the correct way to clean a particular instrument.  The result is properly sterilized surgical instruments every time all the time.

Before coming to Owen Avery spent a year in rural China teaching English to middle school students.  He also founded Hack Nashville, an organization that gets people together to spend 48 continuous hours to create new hardware, mobile aps, and web tools to solve problems.

Here is the website for Avery’s company:



Wednesday, November 12, 1:00 to 2:00, Dean’s Conference Room

Ian McCollum (Owen 2013)  Huma makes great tasting energy gels for athletes, construction workers, distance swimmers, and any other occupation in which an individual needs long term energy to function at peak performance. 

The idea for Hüma was born in the sands of Iraq. In the summer of 2009 a US Army soldier named 1st Lieutenant McCollum was charged with leading grueling missions throughout Iraq. At the time he was reading a book about the Tarahumara, a tribe of Mexican Indians who regularly compete in epic 100+ mile races as part of their culture. To fuel themselves on these ultramarathons, they use a special chia seed blend. He figured if it worked for them in Mexico, maybe it would work for him in Iraq.

 Ian worked on his business idea while a student here at Owen.  He applied for, and was awarded a Sohr Grant ($25,000) to launch his company.  Jim Sohr, an Owen alum, established the grant program to support Owen students who have promising business ideas.  Immediately upon graduation, Ian and a fellow classmate, Kevin Sherbourne, founded the company, and it has grown rapidly into markets across the US.  Come hear how he got the company started and built it into a successful business.


Wednesday, December 2, 1:00 to 2:00, Dean’s Conference Room

Sarah Bellos  Sarah is a young entrepreneur who is tackling a big problem:  how to create dyes for cloth from plants instead of from man-made chemicals.  Rivers in China and India have been turned into rivers of sludge from the water used to dye cloth for blue jean factories and other colored cloth.  In addition, the chemicals used to make the colors can have a significant health impact on the workers who handle the dyes.  And some of the chemicals are highly flammable;  a Rhode Island dye factory  caught  fire in 2003 and resulted in the spillage of vast quantities of dye chemicals into a nearby river.

Sarah’s company, Stony Creek Colors, has a lab in Joelton where she does research in how to make her dyes.  She has been a leader in research efforts to bring bio-based colorant production to farmers in the Southeastern U.S., including through a Value-Added Producers Grant (VAPG) and a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant.  Sarah is a participant in Tennessee's NextFarm Ag Accelerator and she is a Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program, Wild Gift, and the PERC Enviropreneur Institute.  Sarah lives on a small farm in Whites Creek, Tennessee, and graduated cum laude from the College of Agriculture at Cornell University (NY) in 2004.    

 Web site:


Tuesday, December 9, 1:00 to 2:00, Room 218

Jim Keever, CPA, founded Voyent Partners LLC in 2001, serves as its Principal since 2001, Director since August 2001 and also serves as its Founding Partner.  His background in health care information services, transaction processing, and software has served him well in his investments in the health care industry. Before founding Voyent Partners, he served as the Co-Chief Executive Officer of the Transaction Services Division at WebMD from June 2000 to March 2001. From March 1999 to May 2000, he served as the Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Transaction Services Division at Quintiles Transnational Corp.

 From August 1995 to March 1999, he served as the President and Co-Chief Executive Officer at Envoy LLC (alternative name Envoy Corporation). He has also served as its Secretary, Treasurer and General Counsel at since October 1981 and its Executive Vice President since 1984. He has been Chairman of NextGxDx Inc. since March 5, 2014. He serves as a Director of Nashville Capital Network and edo interactive, Inc. He has been a Director of Tyson Foods, Inc. since 1999 and its Lead Independent Director since February 2008. He has been a Director of Luminex Corporation since December 1996 and 3D Systems Corp. since 1996. Mr. Kever had been a Director of EBS Master since November 2006. He served as a Director of ACI Worldwide, Inc. from November 1996 to July 24, 2007; Envoy Corporation from August 1994 to March 1999 and Emdeon Inc. since September 2008. He served as a Director of Emdeon Business Services LLC and Transaction Systems Architects, Inc. Mr. Kever is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a J.D. from the Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1977 and a B.S. in Business and Administration from the University of Arkansas in 1974.

If you want to learn about private equity investing, this is the lunch you want to attend.