Alabama Opportunity Zone Forum
May 1, 2019

Opportunity Zones have the potential to reshape and improve many distressed areas of Alabama. Established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage private investment in rural and low-income areas, Opportunity Zones provide investors with federal tax incentives and communities with private-sector financing to improve communities through targeted economic development.

Join other leaders at Alabama’s first Opportunity Zone Forum on May 1st at Auburn University to learn how they work and how the state is moving forward.

Event Details
  • Date: May 1, 2019 from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M.
  • Location: Hotel Conference Center at Auburn University
  • Price: $75 Early Bird Registration before April 19th. $95 after April 19th
Who Should Attend:
  • Developers
  • Investors
  • Economic Developers
  • Community Leaders
  • City Council Members
  • County Commissioners
Preliminary Agenda
8:00 – 9:00 A.M. Registration — Networking: Continental Breakfast (Grand Ballroom)
9:05 – 9:45 A.M. Welcome
Dr. Jim Barth, Lowder Eminent Scholar in Finance
Dr. Royrickers Cook, Associate Provost and Vice President for University Outreach
Steve Pelham, Chief of Staff
9:45 – 10:30 A.M. Opportunity Zone Nuts and Bolts (Auditorium)
Moderator: Angela Coker, Birmingham Business Journal
Panel: Alex Flachsbart, Opportunity Alabama & Richard Shamos, Sadis & Goldberg
10:30 – 10:50 A.M. Break (Grand Ballroom)
10:50 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. Investing in Alabama (Auditorium)
Moderator: Alex Helm, Acumen Capital
Panel: Frank McGrew, McNally Capital; George Buchanan III, Regions Bank; Brandon Seagriff, Gabelli & Partners; Giev Askari, HSBC
12:00 – 1:00 P.M. Lunch: Grand Ballroom
Keynote Speaker: Dr. C. Gene Steuerle, Institute Fellow and Richard B. Fisher Chair, The Urban Institute
1:15 – 2:30 P.M. Positioning Your Community for Opportunity Zone Development (Auditorium)
Moderator: Alex Flachsbart, Opportunity Alabama
Panel: Rejane Frederick, Center for American Progress; Erin Gillespie, Madison Street; Don Hopper, Anniston/Calhoun County; Fred Rendfrey, Downtown Mobile Alliance
2:30 – 2:45 P.M. Break (Grand Ballroom)
2:45 – 3:45 P.M. Latest Developments, Question & Answer Session, and Where Do We go from here? (Auditorium)
Moderator: Paul Marino, Sadis & Goldberg
Panel: Ken Chan, Attorney and Real Estate Developer; Jeff Drinkwater, NES Financial; Craig Mason, RSM; Richard Shamos, Sadis & Goldberg;
3:45 – 4:00 P.M. Wrap-up and Call-to-Action (Auditorium)
Call to Action - Outline paths for engagement for communities, project sponsors, investors and third parties

Thanks to Our Sponsors:
  • HSBC
  • Regions Bank
  • Sadis & Goldberg
Giev Justin Askari
Giev Justin Askari, Panelist
Senior Wealth Planner, HSBC
James Barth
Dr. James Barth, Organizer & Moderator
Lowder Eminent Scholar in Finance, Auburn University
George Buchanan
George Buchanan, Panelist
Executive Vice President & Chief Risk Officer, Consumer & Wealth Management, Regions Bank
Kenneth Chan
Kenneth Chan, Panelist
Real Estate Owner, Developer & Attorney
Angel Coker
Angel Coker, Moderator
Reporter, Birmingham Business Journal
Royrickers Cook
Dr. Royrickers Cook, Organizer
Vice President for University Outreach and Associate Provost, Auburn University
Jeff Drinkwater
Jeff Drinkwater, Panelist
Vice President of Business Development, NES Financial
Alex Flachsbart
Alex Flachsbart, Organizer & Moderator
Founder and CEO, Opportunity Alabama
Ralph Foster
Ralph Foster, Organizer
Assistant Vice President for University Outreach and Public Service, Auburn University
Rejane Frederick
Rejane Frederick, Panelist
Associate Director, Place-based Policy and Strategy, Poverty to Prosperity Program
Erin Gillespie
Erin Gillespie, Panelist
Founder, Madison Street Strategies
Alex Helm
Alex Helm, Organizer & Moderator
Chairman & CEO, Acumen Capital Group, & Principal, Helm Family Office
Don Hopper
Don Hopper, Panelist
Executive Director, Calhoun County Economic Development Council
Paul Marino
Paul Marino, Organizer & Panelist
Partner, Sadis & Goldberg
Craig Mason
Craig Mason, Panelist
Tax Partner, RSM
Frank McGrew
Frank McGrew, Panelist
Managing Partner, McNally Capital
David Mixson
David Mixson, Organizer
Associate Director, Government & Economic Development Institute, Auburn University
Frederick Rendfrey
Frederick Rendfrey, Panelist
Director of Downtown Economic Development, Downtown Mobile Alliance
Brandon Seagriff
Brandon Seagriff, Panelist
Assistant Vice President, Alternative Investments, Gabelli & Partners
Richard Shamos
Richard Shamos, Organizer & Panelist
General Counsel, Sadis & Goldberg
Eugene Steuerle
C. Eugene Steuerle, Keynote Speaker
Institute Fellow & Richard B. Fisher Chair, The Urban Institute

We wish to gratefully acknowledge the support of these organizations:

Platinum Sponsors

HSBC Private Banking

Regions Bank


Lunch Sponsor


Program Partners


Opportunity Alabama

Registration Fee

The early registration fee for the Opportunity Zone Forum is $75 if paid before April 19, 2019.

The regular fee for the Opportunity Zone Forum is $95 if paid after April 19, 2019.

Online Registration

Last Updated: April 16, 2019