Zachary Barker continues making waves in Lafayette’s business scene, mostly recently being named executive director of the Opportunity Machine.
That announcement was made May 9 by LEDA President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux before a packed crowd gathered inside the Cajundome Convention Center for ABiz’s second annual State of the Economy event.
Since arriving in September 2011, Barker, who hails from Nashville, Tenn., has quickly made his mark on the Hub City, becoming board president for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana, and president of the705 Young Leaders for a Better Acadiana. He’s also president/owner of Acadiana Sports Leagues, a unique business that fuses recreational sports with social networking.
Now, as executive director of the OM, Barker will focus on cultivating Lafayette’s technology-based industries.
According to a press release issued by LEDA, Barker’s new role will involve working with technology-focused businesses and entrepreneurs, while also overseeing the application and selection process for a “businesses incubator/accelerator program.”
The release continues:
[Barker] will also guide and manage these businesses through multiple tracks for technology business incubation/accleration and assist with connecting the participants to additional business development, mentor, coaching, and financial resources in Lafayette.
Before his arrival in Lafayette, Barker, who has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Middle Tennessee State University, also made his presence known in the Nashville business scene. He started his own corporate training and marketing management group, BarkLoud Marketing, served as president for the Nashville Area Junior Chamber of Commerce and graduated from Leadership Nashville.
Barker replaces Bob Miller, OM's founding executive director who left the organization in March for a job in product development at Fenstermaker, a position that charges him with bringing the company's innovative technologies to market. "I'm doing what I teach people to do," he says. "It's right in line with what I love doing, commercializing products."
Miller tells ABiz he plans to continue working with OM as a volunteer; he has even retained an official title: entrepreneur in residence. "I'm not going anywhere," he says.
Staying involved with OM was a "requirement" for candidates seeking the executive director's job, maintains Miller, who helped in the search. "When you go to do other things, you have to stay. [We told] them upfront, 'If you plan on cutting and running, we don't want you,'" he says. "My intention is to grow a crowd of us there to help support others."
For more on OM, go here.