Three Collat students, staff awarded Alabama Inno Under 25 recognition

The Inno Under 25 list recognizes top founders, entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders in Birmingham under the age of 25.
Written by: Tehreem Khan
Media contact: Alicia Rohan

Environmental headshot of Karri Green (Program Manager I, Management, Information Systems, and Quantitative Methods), June 2022.Karri Green
Photography: Lexi Coon
Two students and one alumna from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business have been named 2022 Alabama Inno Under 25 award winners by the Birmingham Business Journal. The winners include MBA alumna Karri Green and students Katie Lovelady and Jaival Vikal.

To choose the nominees, Alabama Inno reviewed previous BBJ coverage and sought recommendations from within the region’s startup community. Only six recipients were named to this year’s list.  

“Healthy communities invest heavily in the younger generation in all kinds of ways, and it is the best strategy for long-term social and economic success,” said Patrick J. Murphy, Ph.D., Goodrich chair and professor in the J. Frank Barefield Jr. Entrepreneurship program. “UAB’s entrepreneurship program has become a magnet for entrepreneurial talent from all over, including some of the finest young entrepreneurs I’ve ever encountered. To see them celebrated in this prestigious way as BBJ Inno Under 25 winners shows me that our community is vital and robust.”

Karri Green

Green is a Collat School of Business alumna from both undergraduate and MBA programs, is a former track athlete, and is currently employed at UAB as a program manager of the award-winning J. Frank Barefield Entrepreneurship program. Her entrepreneurial interests started with her family's involvement in the service and real estate industries, fostered by her exposure to entrepreneurs over the years.

“I am an entrepreneur in my heart and soul, and I love serving others,” Green said. “Being named to the Inno Under 25 means a great deal to me. It is a very unexpected accolade, but it indicates that I am representing my family and my university in making an impact in the Birmingham community.”

Green credits her success to her family and the mentorship of Murphy. According to her, her career choices are guided not by job titles, but by the impact she would have on the community.  

Katie Lovelady photo credit Steve WoodKatie Lovelady
Photography: Steve Wood
“UAB allowed me to make an impact, first through my experiences of being a track and field athlete and now as a program manager of a top emerging named program,” Green said. “We make a significant impact, and I am inspired to do this work with a strong ‘think global, act local’ mindset that makes a difference right here in Birmingham. Go, Blazers!”

Katie Lovelady

Lovelady is a student majoring in industrial distribution with a concentration in medical supplies and equipment. Currently, she works as a business development specialist at a biotech startup called CerFlux, where she builds and maintains relationships with industry partners. At 16 years old, she co-founded a women’s clothing boutique called Forever Kate. At UAB, she is also involved in public health projects with the Sparkman Center for Global Health

“Being named an Inno Under 25 has meant the world to me,” Lovelady said. “It validates that, although the recipients are young, the work we are doing is meaningful to our companies and the community. I am thankful for those who nominated me and the Birmingham Business Journal.”

Lovelady credits this success to the networking and mentorship opportunities available to her in the entrepreneurship program.

“UAB has been playing a pivotal role in developing the startup community in Alabama and provided one-of-a-kind experience,” Lovelady said. “They do a great job of connecting students to internships at startups, which provides an immense amount of experience for a student.” 

Jaival Vikal

Jaival Vikal photo credit Jaival VikalJaival Vikal
Photography: Jaival Vikal
Vikal is an international student from Ahmedabad, India, studying computer science and entrepreneurship. His entrepreneurial interests began when he was a teenager, and he is the founder and CEO of two sports-based companies in India. More recently, he pitched the idea to develop a new drink named Genesis Hydration at the National CEO Conference in Chicago. 

“It’s one of the first and fastest milestones I have achieved in only 14 months of being in the U.S.,” Vikal said. “None of this would’ve been possible without UAB Entrepreneurship’s support. With being exposed to world-class education like this, I have been able to learn more skills with getting the perfect exposure to apply it.”

Vikal credits his success to his decision to come to the United States to pursue an education at UAB, his friends and the support he has received across UAB departments that include INTO UAB, UAB Dining and University Recreation

“The biggest support I have gotten is from UAB entrepreneurship and Dr. Murphy, who changed my approach to entrepreneurship in just one class,” Vikal said. “It’s hard to adjust when you are alone, thousands of miles away from your family. UAB has wholeheartedly welcomed me with the support of all these people; UAB feels like my second home.”