Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM) will open the 2020 Chancellor’s Business Breakfast Series season with talks from Kevin Harrington, an original “Shark Tank” panelist and creator of the infomercial, and Steven Reed, Montgomery’s newly elected and first African-American mayor.
An initiative through AUM’s Office of the Chancellor and Office of Collaborative Partnerships and Distance Education, the breakfast series was established to provide a platform for national, state, and local speakers to present on cutting-edge topics relevant to the Montgomery and Prattville area business communities. The series — which has been around for 30 years — also serves as a pathway to bring new educational opportunities to AUM students, as well as area businesses and their employees.
“While we recently renewed the mission of the breakfast series, we remain committed to it being a venue for building meaningful relationships with leaders from local industry, government, academia, and the military community,” said AUM Chancellor Carl A. Stockton. “The new breakfast series will not only provide attendees with educational content but will create valuable networking opportunities and open dialogue on topics relevant to our community through high-profile speakers.”
Kevin Harrington, creator of the infomercial, pioneer of the “As Seen on TV” brand and an original “shark” on the hit TV show “Shark Tank,” will serve as the keynote speaker at the first Chancellor’s Business Breakfast Series event set for Thursday, Jan. 30 at 7:30 a.m. at Montgomery’s Wynlakes Golf and Country Club.
Harrington’s talk, titled "Business Trends That Will Drive Success," will focus on helping others master the art of entrepreneurship. His life story has empowered others to achieve success. Harrington grew up in a blue-collar family in Ohio, where he sold newspapers on the street at the age of 9 and launched his first business at 15 years old. A serial entrepreneur and angel investor, Harrington is best known for being one of the original panelists on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” He is widely credited as the originator of the infomercial and launched “As Seen on TV,” the nameplate for various kitchen, cleaning, health, automotive, beauty and fitness products sold through short TV shows and commercial breaks. Twenty of his companies have each topped $100 million in revenue and he has launched more than 500 products. His business ventures have yielded more than $5 billion in global sales.
Mayor Reed will present his keynote talk March 3 at 7:15 a.m. at the RSA Activity Center in Montgomery. A lifelong Montgomery resident and product of Montgomery’s public school system, Reed grew up in a family with ties to the city’s civil rights movement, a connection that notably shaped his early civic work to improve Montgomery facilities, mental health services and voter laws. As a businessman and entrepreneur early in his career, Reed owned a Roly Poly sandwich shop in Montgomery before shifting his focus to politics. In 2012, he was elected as Montgomery County’s youngest probate judge and in November 2019 he captured 67 percent of the vote in a runoff election to become Montgomery’s 57th and first African-American mayor. His historic win is among his many accomplishments as a public servant and Montgomery leader. Reed is the recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King Leadership Award for Governmental Service and was elected as a New Deal Leader.
Individual tickets and table sponsorships are available for both breakfast series events. For ticket information and sponsorship opportunities, visit the Chancellor’s Business Breakfast Series website.
Previous speakers in the Business Breakfast Series have included community activist Martin L. King III, former NBA All-Star Mark Eaton, former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, and Leigh Anne Tuohy, who was played by Sandra Bullock in the movie “The Blind Side.”