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Innovate Alabama board chooses founding CEO

Montgomery native Cynthia Crutchfield will be the first CEO of Innovate Alabama.

Innovate Alabama Innovate Alabama

Montgomery native Cynthia Crutchfield will be the first CEO of Innovate Alabama following a board vote Monday.

Crutchfield brings 40 years of experience to the role where she will help innovators grow roots across the state by spearheading Innovate Alabama’s programs, statewide engagement and mission of building a robust, inclusive economy through entrepreneurship and innovation.

“When it comes to innovation, Alabama offers something that other states do not – a home where the culture of entrepreneurship is not transient, where movers and shakers put down roots. Alabama is a great place to grow a business. More than that, entrepreneurs and innovators are building their lives here,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “Thanks to the work of Innovate Alabama, a concerted effort is being made to support current and future local startups by giving them better access to resources, capital and talent. With the induction of Cynthia Crutchfield as the founding CEO, I am confident Innovate Alabama will continue to reach new heights to cultivate our state’s economy of the future.”

Crutchfield received an undergraduate degree in computer science from Alabama A&M University, one of the state’s 14 HBCUs. She then spent the next 18 years as a civil servant supporting the Departments of the Air Force and Navy followed by multiple information technology-focused leadership roles before founding her own IT services and consulting company in 2021, Crutchfield Management Consulting.

“Throughout my career, I have witnessed startups with incredible potential struggle to find success, not because their idea was not strong enough, but because they did not have access to the capital and resources necessary to build a business. Innovate Alabama’s mission is to solve this exact problem,” Crutchfield said. “With a passion for entrepreneurship, supporting underrepresented communities and bettering our state, I am honored to lead the organization as we work to foster an innovation ecosystem to compete in the 21st century economy.”

Cynthia Crutchfield

Crutchfield’s passion for creating opportunities for fellow entrepreneurs is seen through her recent role as chief operating officer of The Crutchfield Company, a Huntsville-based real estate investment business that provides affordable housing to underprivileged families, veterans and college students.

“Since 2020, we have seen Innovate Alabama evolve to meet the needs of the statewide innovation ecosystem – from developing state policy recommendations as the commission to creating the infrastructure to execute these recommendations through new legislation,” said Bill Poole, Innovate Alabama chair. “Now, we are excited to enter another chapter of our growth. The board is thrilled to welcome Cynthia, an Alabama entrepreneur with technical expertise and a thorough understanding of our state’s innovation ecosystem, into this leadership position.”

Crutchfield is charged with overall strategy and operations for Innovate Alabama and will collaborate with the board of directors to drive forward the organization’s mission, execute programs, advocate for policy solutions and engage with innovation ecosystem stakeholders in every corner of the state. 

“Over the past four months, the CEO search working group has led efforts to select a CEO to lead Innovate Alabama into our next chapter,” said Rich Bielen, Innovate Alabama board member and CEO search working group member. “After learning about Cynthia’s breadth of knowledge and passion for our state’s entrepreneurial and innovation landscape, we believe she is a stellar fit for this role.”

Crutchfield will officially start the position on Thursday, December 1.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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