Our senior staff has more than 100 years of experience managing and operating companies of various sizes and types, solving problems and growing companies.
Clayton White has over 25 years experience working with start-up and early-stage companies. His background includes organizational structure, mergers and acquisitions, financial management and controls, capital structure, and corporate governance. He has taken companies through the venture capital process and is currently involved in company valuations, due diligence, planning, capitalization, and exit strategies.
Mr. White is a member and organizer of the South Coast Angel Fund. The South Coast Angel Fund is a member-managed angel capital fund designed to utilize the capital, resources, and expertise of its members to profit from its investments in entrepreneurial, early-stage companies in Louisiana.
Mr. White has an B.S. in Physics, an MBA, and a Juris Doctor. He is a member of the Louisiana and Alabama Bar. He sits on the boards of several companies, non-profits, and community organizations.
Chastian “Choose” Taurman III landed in Louisiana in 1971, after completing his military service as a captain in the U.S. Army. He received the MBA degree from Tulane’s A.B. Freeman Graduate School of Business and subsequently worked for Bryan Bell, a New Orleans Oil and Gas, Manufacturing, and Real Estate entrepreneur, as a troubleshooter. Three years later, he rejoined the Freeman School as an Assistant Dean. With the birth of his third child, he left academia for DigiCourse of New Orleans, which sold its products nationally and internationally. In 1984, Choose and his wife Liz partnered with Marc Samuels to found SIA, providing factory and plant automation across the South.
Choose and his wife sold their business in the mid-1990s and ventured into real estate and small business consulting. He also joined the Tulane School of Continuing Studies, where he worked as Director of Business Studies for part-time students and manages the Real Estate education department at that school.
The Real Estate Development business started with the purchase of land and then developed into the acquisition of buildings with the purchase of an office building in the CBD of New Orleans. After partnering with Geoffrey Lutz, the partnership developed a condo conversion in the French Quarter and started redeveloping an apartment complex in the Lake Terrace area.
After Katrina, Choose and Clayton White began advising fast-growth companies on raising equity capital. Their efforts revealed a need for a business and lenders forum, aimed at advancing their mutual goals through dialogue. With the encouragement of Mark Lewis of the Louisiana Technology Council, the LTC-SIG “Capital Access” was formed. Choose & Clayton networked with the Irish Angels of Chicago and the PAN Fund in Greensboro, NC, and subsequently formed the South Coast Angel Fund.
Choose consults regionally with businesses in transition.
Choose is married to Liz; they have five grown children.
Uffman brings to Simmons and White more than twenty years of consulting, management, and sales experience in the technology and information industry. His career began with Credit Bureau of Baton Rouge, where he gained experience in business process, application development, and program management capabilities in the financial services industry. Uffman subsequently held a senior role with APPRO Systems where he developed consulting and education products for the IntelliTrust division, focusing on helping clients leverage their investment in APPRO technology and products.
As a facilitator Uffman, leads, motivates and guides clients to their objectives. An alumnus of Miller Heiman, Xerox sales training schools as well as GE’s Voice of the Customer programs, Uffman is a valuable resource for getting sales and operational staff working as a team.
Uffman is a graduate of Louisiana State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s of General Studies Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
Jay graduated with a BBA in international business, and he holds joint degrees in law (JD) and business (MBA). Through his diverse experiences, Jay has proven himself as a thoughtful leader with the ability to navigate teams through complex situations.
During college, Jay worked in the financial services sector at Morgan Stanley in Washington, DC. He has worked with various startups, including a consumer internet company that was acquired by Walt Disney Co. in 2009. Jay has since helped Simmons and White companies to create process-oriented systems that accelerate growth, milestone focus, key metrics, and managerial considerations.
Jay’s key client objectives are capital utilization, market validation, and seed-stage infrastructure. He also advises clients in the areas of corporate planning, strategy, valuations, and deal structure. Jay assists in the evaluation of prospective investments for the South Coast Angel Fund, a member-managed angel capital fund that invests in entrepreneurial, early-stage companies, primarily within Louisiana and the Gulf Coast community. He also participates in the Entrepreneur Organization (EO) Accelerator program. About.me, LinkedIn
Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Mark received his BS degree in Finance from Boston College and an MBA in Marketing from Tulane. He joined IBM in 1981 as an office product Sales Associate and received many awards including Rookie of the Year in the Southern Region and a Golden Circle award in 1988. Mark voluntarily left IBM in February 1994 as a territory manager and helped formed Communiqué; a New Orleans based Internet Service Provider (ISP).
As President of the company, Communiqué quickly became the Gulf South’s largest and most respected and profitable ISP’s in the area building a client based of over 10,000 users focusing on small to medium size businesses. In 1997, Verio, a national ISP, purchased Communiqué.
Mark left a year later and formed EyeOnet, an Internet sales and marketing consulting firm. In April 2000, EyeOnet merged with two other businesses to form a full service network and Internet services company called Orange Twine. As Chairman and Director of Business Development, Mark was primarily involved with its overall corporate direction. In November of 2000, Orange Twine was chosen by the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce as the Rising Tide Small Business of the Year in Technology.
In January 2001, AIR2LAN, a wireless broadband company acquired Orange Twine. Mark became AIR2LAN’s General Manager in New Orleans and was responsible for the implementation of wireless and network support services. In October of 2002, Mark assumed the role of President of the Louisiana Technology Council (LTC) to assist with the technological development of individuals and member organizations and provide events, programs, support and other value added services to its members and the communities in which its serves. In November of 2005, Mark was selected by the Governor’s office as Technology Leader of the Year for the State of Louisiana for his contributions and leadership in the technology industry. Through his leadership over the past several years, the LTC has helped Louisiana become one of the top three states in the country in technology job and wage growth. In 2006, Louisiana was ranked 49th out of 50 states in technology employment. By the end of 2010, Louisiana jumped to 32nd.