By Cameron Balentine
By now you might have heard about Birmingham innovator Deon Gordon. He is the dynamic, former head of business incubator REV Birmingham. After a nation-wide search TechBirmingham chose Gordon as their next president.
TechBirmingham is a collaborative, one-stop hub for technology-related events in the Birmingham area. Their mission “is to strengthen and promote the technology ecosystem by promoting tech companies in the region, helping to recruit and retain tech talent and entrepreneurs.”
We wanted to get to know Deon Gordon, the Birmingham mover and shaker, as a person. In essence we want to know what makes the man behind the mission tick. Last week Deon chatted with Bham Now about things he is passionate about, his favorite jams, and where he goes to get away from it all.
A reoccurring theme was his love of all things Birmingham. Deon grew up here, attended Ramsay High School, then left for a bit to attend Auburn University. He always figured he would be back. Deon gets excited as he describes spending time now in neighborhoods like Avondale and Southside. He remembers when those places weren’t safe to walk in at night. Now they are bustling with activity, and new jobs!
One thing Deon mentioned again and again, is the old architecture, the older homes, and even the old business signs that give Birmingham such character. After only a few minutes of chatting, it is obvious that Deon still has a huge interest in architecture, the subject he once studied at Auburn.
Deon Gordon is a busy man. He’s tenacious and surely ambitious. A political junkie, he follows local and national news voraciously. When he shared that his hobbies are reading about emerging tech and researching. I wondered what he did for fun.
No worries, Deon Gordon has many interests!
Deon is serious, introspective and focused on TechBirmingham, but he is also funny, and laughs often in conversation. Clearly he is enjoying this time in his life.
He mentioned that his favorite Netflix show is Stranger Things. He can’t wait for the twisty sci-fi drama to start up again on Halloween. Deon is a huge Outkast fan, and enjoys hip hop and jazz.
Where is a cool little dive, or under the radar place Deon likes to visit? He was excited to share the story of Gip’s Place in Bessemer. It’s one of the last remaining juke joints in the country.
“Have you heard of Gip’s Place in Bessemer?! It is the craziest place, they play lots of jazz and there’s people of all different cultures just having a good time, in this old guy’s backyard!”
Some say you can judge a person by the books they read. Deon suggested three books that have inspired him. Good to Great by Jim Collins, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nahisi Coates and New Lights in the Valley by Tenant McWilliams. Check those out, next time you are browsing at your local bookstore.
War Damn Eagle or Blaze On?
“Both. Went to Auburn and UAB’s our home team. Bringing the program back was singlehandedly one of the best decisions the university made toward student enrollment growth and name recognition. As goes UAB, so goes Birmingham.”
He talked about Birmingham’s heartbreaks, challenges, and victories. Every day he celebrates and promotes progress and innovation here in his hometown. Certainly through efforts of people like Deon Gordon, Birmingham will continue to be magic!