Tech exec to advise entrepreneurs

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 28, 2005

Natchez &8212; One thing sets the true entrepreneur apart from the rest of the crowd &8212; the ability to seize the moment and act, said Chris Reese, CEO of the technology company he founded in Houston.

Reese will be in Natchez Tuesday to share some of his experiences and expertise at a forum from 4 to 5 p.m. in the lecture hall of the new Alcorn State University MBA building at the Natchez campus.

Who should attend? Anyone who owns a business or wants to hear advice on how to act on ideas for starting new enterprises, said Daye Dearing, director of community outreach and special projects for the ASU graduate business programs. And anyone who wants to see the new MBA building should attend the forum and take the opportunity to look around, she said.

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It will be the first public meeting at the building at the campus located off Colonel John Pitchford Parkway.

Reese is a noted speaker and well known for his success in the business world, Dearing said, and &8220;is an entrepreneur at heart. Not only has he built a successful business for himself, he also has served as president and CEO of other corporations.&8221;

Founder, president and CEO of i3 Networks, Reese led his telecommunications company to a $7.5 million first year in business, he said in a telephone interview from his Houston office. &8220;We were just incorporated in September last year,&8221; he said. &8220;We expect to have earnings of $23 million to $25 million our second year.&8221;

Reese saw the opportunity to create a business that would provide a wholesale network and cluster for voice and data network solutions.

&8220;Our clients have the benefit of having their own network facilities but without all the hassles,&8221; he said. &8220;We have a carrier-grade Class 5 switching network that covers almost 80 percent of the U.S.&8221;

Technology provided by i3 Networks is &8220;kind of a time share&8221; for wholesale dial tone. &8220;We operate networks and manage them for the companies smaller than, say, Verizon, for example,&8221; Reese said. &8220;Our clients&8217; customers do not know we exist. We&8217;re transparent.&8221;

The need was there, Reese said. He acted on it and had &8220;just enough of the &8216;geek&8217; in me to figure out what to do.&8221;

Reese will present his 4 p.m. program after spending the day with community college students at the ASU campus for a business competition. &8220;I met Steve Wells (associate dean for graduate business programs at Alcorn) on an airplane and shared my stories with him,&8221; he said. &8220;He asked if I would come to Natchez and share some of my stories.&8221;

He can share both to-do and not-to-do ideas, Reese said. &8220;I&8217;ve been involved in some land mines and some things you definitely don&8217;t want to do,&8221; he said. &8220;But I&8217;ve also done some things that were right.&8221;

One of his biggest frustrations as an entrepreneur is to see the vast number of opportunities and not be able to pursue all of them. Acting on opportunity is what he will advise the Natchez audience.

&8220;You have to go out there and give it a shot,&8221; he said. &8220;You can&8217;t ask yourself all the what-ifs; you don&8217;t want to look back with regrets over what you didn&8217;t do.&8221;

He grew up with advice from his father, an attorney, who told him to learn to take care of himself. &8220;He taught me it&8217;s best to work for yourself, that otherwise you are limited by whoever or whatever controls you.&8221;

The program will also include a representative of Alcorn&8217;s technology incubator in Natchez discussing the potential for growth within the incubator for start-up and established businesses.

For more information, call Dearing at 601-304-4335.