Board of Directors 2017-10-16T10:57:57+00:00

Board of Directors

David BarksdaleBoard Member
David Barksdale is Co-Chairman and former Chief Executive Officer of Spread Networks, LLC, a provider of low-latency networks to financial and enterprise customers. During his five-year tenure as CEO, Spread Networks completed construction of its groundbreaking Chicago to New Jersey low-latency fiber optic network and expansion of lit fiber services throughout the greater Chicago and New York markets.

Mr. Barksdale previously worked as an associate in the New York offices of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP. At Cleary Gottlieb, Mr. Barksdale specialized in private equity, mergers & acquisitions and non-profit law. He received a J.D. degree from New York University School of Law in 2005, where he was a Robert McKay Scholar. He also holds a B.A., magna cum laude, from Tulane University.

Prior to attending law school, Mr. Barksdale served on the legislative staff of former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. Mr. Barksdale is admitted to the New York Bar and is a member of the New York Bar Association. He is also a trustee of Tulane University, the National World War II Museum, the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the New Orleans BioInnovation Center.

Peyton BushBoard Member

Mr. Bush is currently the Chief Investment Officer of Bollinger Enterprises, LLC, a single-family investment office located in New Orleans. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing all investment activities and asset allocation for a portfolio that includes publicly-traded debt and equity securities, hedge funds, and direct investments in both real estate and private equity. Prior to his current role, he was a Vice President at LongueVue Capital, LLC, a New Orleans based private equity firm. At LongueVue, he was primarily engaged in performing financial and operational due diligence, processing and executing transactions, and supporting and monitoring portfolio companies.

Prior to LongueVue, Mr. Bush was employed by Highland Capital Management, a multi-strategy alternative investment firm in Dallas, TX with over $30 billion in assets under management, where he identified, analyzed and structured investments across a variety of asset classes. Prior to Highland, he was an Investment Banking Associate for JP Morgan Securities, focusing on corporate finance and M&A advisory for clients in the Consumer and Retail sectors. Mr. Bush earned a Bachelor of Science from Tulane University, an MBA from Vanderbilt University, and served four years as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Marine Corps.

Dr. James LyonsBoard Member

Dr. James Lyons entered the venture capital business in 2008 after a 30-year technology career at General Electric. Jim currently serves as chief technologist for the venture investment team at Capricorn Investment Group focused on the creation and growth of clean/renewable energy companies.

Formerly, Jim was Chief Engineer for Electrical Technologies at GE Research, serving as technology leader and mentor for a 250-member global team. He was a leading advocate for renewables within GE and corporate champion behind the formation of GE Wind Energy in 2002 – which quickly grew to $8B annual revenues.

In 2000 Dr. Lyons was the technology leader during the creation of GE’s Digital Energy business unit. While at GE, Jim served on the board of directors of Powerex, the Electric Drive Trade Association, and the US Offshore Wind Collaborative, as well as becoming a principal company spokesperson for renewable energy. In 2006, Jim co-chaired the American Wind Energy Conference, initiating the AWEA/DOE 20% wind energy roadmap.

Dr. Lyons has led many additional technology and business initiatives, including waste gasification, electric vehicles, advanced batteries, power electronics, solid-state lighting, solar PV, rural electrification, and nuclear fusion. He currently serves on a variety of technical board assignments including: Curent ERC, Servato, Encell, Sunpreme, Kinestral, Helion, Norwegian Crystals, Navitas Semiconductor, and Rayvio.

Dr. Lyons is a reviewer for the DOE and the National Science Foundation. He holds 40+ patents and a BSEE degree from RPI, an MSEE from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. in EE & CS from Cornell University.

Chris MangumBoard Member, CEO
Chris Mangum is a seasoned leader and entrepreneur with extensive experience in strategy, business development, M&A, innovation and entrepreneurship across a broad range of business models. From 2007 to 2012, Mangum led corporate strategy and business development for CenturyLink where he was part of a leadership team that grew the rural telecom’s market capitalization from $2.5 billion to over $25 billion. While at CenturyLink, he led the development of the company’s growth strategy, championed the firm’s move into the data hosting / cloud space with the $3.2 billion acquisition of Savvis, and incubated highly profitable new revenue streams that represented the future of the business. Prior to CenturyLink, Mangum led an entrepreneurial advisory firm that he co-founded in Atlanta called Venture X Group. At VXG, Mangum helped to launch over 100 entrepreneurial businesses representing investments of over $150 million. Successes include SecureWorks (sold to Dell in 2011 for $650 million), MFG.com (Jeff Bezos portfolio company) and AirBand (nation’s largest B2B wireless broadband provider). Prior to VXG, Mangum led a strategic development team for BellSouth, partnering with such early mobile data pioneers as General Magic, Palm, Compaq and QuickSilver. Prior to BellSouth, Mangum was a military intelligence officer in the US Army. Mangum earned his BA in Psychology from Rhodes College (emphasis in economic behavior and organizational design), and his JD/MBA from Emory University.
Ron Ondechek JrBoard Member
Ron Ondechek Jr is an operations-focused private equity executive with over ten years of experience as a fund manager and entrepreneur. He specializes in supporting early stage to mid-market companies throughout the growth and exit process and has presided over dozens of transactions worth over $300 million in total value. He currently works with family offices to source, vet and manage private equity investments.

Ron began his career as a refinery engineer and project manager for ExxonMobil, and after starting several successful service and technology companies, he became an E&P securities analyst for Howard Weil, Inc. and AG Edwards & Sons, Inc. before joining the Altira Group LLC. Altira is an energy services and technology private equity firm focused on investments in oil and gas, renewables, chemicals and industrials with over $400 million under management.

At the board level, Ron participated as an active director or observer for ten private equity backed companies, most recently Embera Neurotherapeutics, an addiction cessation pharmaceutical company; DHI Services Inc, an oil and gas services company and Enerpulse Technologies (ENPT: OTC), a fuel ignition technology company. He is currently a board member of the Tulane Alumni Association and for the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA).

Ron earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from Penn State University and a MBA from Tulane University.

Board Observers

Rick BabbBoard Observer
Mr. Babb is a Managing Director of Louisiana Funds, two Early Stage Venture Capital Funds since 2005.

Mr. Babb served as CFO for Medical Science Partners three venture capital funds. He was the CFO and Chief Compliance Officer for Apeiron Partners a boutique investment bank in the Life Sciences sector. He established the NASD broker dealer and obtained Series 7, NASD General Securities Representative Examination, Series 24, NASD General Securities Principal Examination, Series 28, NASD Financial Operations Principal Examination, Series 63, NASD Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination.

Mr. Babb has a diverse business and accounting background, having been a Manager with Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurial Services Group handling various venture capital clients and a strong general business acumen having owned and operated his own business for 9 years.

Mr. Babb earned a BS in Business Administration from American International College and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Hunter CazesBoard Observer
Hunter is proud to be affiliated with Servato and recently joined as a board observer. He currently works as a real estate investment analyst, investor, and asset manager for his family’s private equity firm, Bollinger Enterprises LLC.

Before moving to New Orleans in 2007, Hunter began his real estate career in Dallas as a corporate services tenant representative and landlord representative working with the GVA Cawley firm. Building on that knowledge, he found a mentor in commercial investment acquisitions and dove head-first into the world of financial analysis, eventually becoming the Senior Analyst / Local Market Partner Liaison for the Cawley Partners Investment Fund (CPIF). He served as a key member of the team tasked with acquiring over $90M in value-added commercial assets in targeted markets across the United States.

Hunter married Erin Romney-Cazes (owner of Romney Studios on Magazine Street) in 2008, and they are the parents of two children, Arden (6) and Hunter Jr (4). He is a local licensed Realtor, has developed both residential and commercial properties, is President of the Fort Beauregard Marina Estates Property Owner’s Association (a 200-acre waterfront development in Shell Beach, LA) and a member of the local Mardi Gras Krewe of Hermes. Hunter received a Bachelors Degree in Finance from LSU and an MBA (emphasis in real estate finance) from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Robert CrawfordBoard Observer
Robert Crawford is an Associate Partner of Atco Investment Company, LLC, a diversified family office based in Shreveport, Louisiana. Atco has been doing business in Louisiana for over 100 years.

Mr. Crawford began his career at SwissInvest Argentina S.A., a multi-family office based in Switzerland and Argentina that covers Latin America and Europe. He was a financial analyst in the Buenos Aires, Argentina office managing a variety of portfolio instruments including debt, equities, commodities and foreign exchange markets. Mr. Crawford focused largely on fixed income, emerging market bond swaps and risk management. Prior to Atco, Mr. Crawford opened and operated one of the Miami franchises for the O2E Brands group, a ~$500 million franchise group operating in 100+ markets in US, Canada and Australia.

Mr. Crawford earned a B.A. in English Literature with a Music Minor from Baylor University and a Masters in Finance (in Spanish) from Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina.