Board of Directors and Officers
Chairman and CEO
Mike Forster is a retired executive with more than 50 years of sales, marketing, and general management experience in the information technology industry. Most recently he served as the CEO and Chairman of CommerceQuest, Inc., a SaaS (software as a service) company located in Tampa, FL. He was, from 2017 to 2019, Chairman of the Innovate Mississippi board of directors.
Board of Directors
Joe Donovan runs the Entrepreneur Center @ MDA, a bureau within the agency’s Minority & Small Business Division. For entrepreneurs seeking resources to start a new venture or for a seasoned business owner wishing to expand, The Entrepreneur Center is the “one-stop shop” for the Mississippi entrepreneur.
Board of Directors/Director of Development and Outreach
Ben is a native Mississippian who brings over 15 years of experience in the technology industry and international startup community to the Mississippi Coding Academies. Ben co-founded a software start-up in an incubator in Jackson, Mississippi, which he helped grow into an international firm with offices and personnel in four countries (Japan, United States, Singapore, Philippines) generating millions of dollars a year in revenue. Prior to this, he served as a software developer and solution architect for the U.S. Air Force at Eglin Air Force Base.
Secretary and Treasurer
Tony Jeff serves as the president and CEO for Innovate Mississippi and is a technology evangelist who speaks regularly on emerging trends and strategies in technology and innovation commercialization.
Tony has overseen the coaching of more than 1,200 entrepreneurial ventures and consulted with companies that have successfully raised more than $170 million in private equity financing.
Dr. Sarah Lee
Board of Directors/Director of Golden Triangle Region
Sarah Lee is assistant department head and an associate clinical professor in the department of Computer and Information Science in the Bagley College of Engineering at Missisisppi State University. She is Co-Director and Co-Founder of Bulldog Bytes, a K-12 teacher education and student outreach program for CS and cybersecurity learning. She is Director of the MSU Affiliate Golden Triangle campus of the Mississippi Coding Academy.
Richard A Sun
Board of Directors/Director of Jackson
Richard Sun has focused on start-up and high-growth companies, as a private equity investor, adviser, board member and executive. He has played a key role in nine startup companies, has invested $230 million in four early stage companies for institutional private equity investors and personally invested in thirteen others. He was the first Entrepreneur in Residence at Innovate Mississippi in 2017 to 2018.