Meet Samuel Zamarripa CEO & Author

Voyage ATL - July 2017

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sam Zamarripa.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Sam. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My first professional job out of graduate school was with the State of Georgia working as a planner for the Department of Human Resources. I was well paid with managers that I remain friends with to this very day. The environment however was slow and cumbersome and I wanted to create and run. I left this job with a small severance and started my long journey, through many roles and jobs, to become an entrepreneur.

Along the way, I worked for great political leaders including Manuel Maloof, Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young. Each of these remarkable people influence how I thought, worked and eventually how I communicated.

In 1989, Andrew Young ran and lost a race for Governor. As one of his key aides, I met many people who influenced my entrepreneurial path including the former President & CIO of Aflac Insurance Company, Salvador Diaz Verson, Jr. Sal and I worked together over many years, founding a variety companies, including United Americas Bank which was quite successful for more than a decade.

There were many other companies in this period including a dot-com failure but also a very successful investment in the financial services world. It was also a period when I worked as the Senior Vice President of the Metro Chamber of Commerce with its capable President & CEO Sam Williams.

These experiences with great business and political leaders culminated in my decision to run for the State Senate in 2000 and represent the City of Atlanta. I won, loved it, stayed for two terms and left to return to being an entrepreneur.

Today, decades later, and many companies too, I am the President of a successful technology company, started with just an idea. This company is Intent Solutions. The thread that runs through my life as a civic person and entrepreneur is great mentors.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
If an entrepreneur tells you a smooth story, you are not getting the real story. There is no smooth in the creation and world of business. It’s all hard and failure is more common than success. Too, it all takes twice as long to do anything well.

Intent Solutions, Inc. – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Intent Solutions is a technology enabled services company—we have designed and filed patents on technology to improve medication adherence in clinical research, chronic pain management and specialty pharmacy settings. You could say we are in the business of making people healthier and reducing medical cost; that is true. In the big picture however, we are in the business of changing the very definition of what it means to be adherence. In other words, what it means to take your medications as prescribed. I am proud of my partners and investors for making this happen.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
It is always reassuring when hard work creates great outcomes. It is not a given, there are times that I have failed even though I worked hard. When things go well however, I always savor the moment. Some of those moments;

1. Founding United Americas Bank.
2. Winning an open race for the State Senate.
3. Seeing my children graduate from high school, college and graduate school.
4. Raising the seed capital for Intent Solutions followed by the A-round.
5. After more than 5 years of work publishing my first Novel, the Spectacle of Let – The Oliet and Obit in 2017. see Samuel Zamarripa on Amazon Books.


A Lenten Muse - Psalms 36: 5 - 11 - For St. Mark's Lenten Devotional


In 1966, famed singer Jackie Wilson gifted the world with an extraordinary performance of the song, Higher and Higher. A song full of unforgettable adoration and confession, “Your love has lifted me higher, than I’ve ever been lifted before”, astonishing aspiration and promise, “so keep it up, quench my desire, and I'll be at your side forevermore”, all orchestrated, into a cherished melody.

Less pop, more poetry, Psalms 36: 5 – 11 strikes the same timeless, emotive cords, a familiar celestial adulation, “Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens your faithfulness to the skies,” while admitting to our human imperfection, “May the foot of the proud not come against me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.”

In the days of Lent, a time we revisit scripture, poised to deepen our faith, we may be elated or lost, intrigued yet reluctant. Sometimes, for me, I do admit, it’s just hard to get into the rhythm and pulse of the ancient bible, to relate, when its creators—writers, poets, and singers—are figments of biblical lore, faceless, some nameless. But, oh isn’t it astonishing, the stuff of shaky knees, when old words find a new voice and power in the music of a skinny soul singer. A giant little artist who ‘lifted us up’ with his psalm like message and danced his way into our hearts.

On September 29, 1975, Jackie Wilson collapsed from a massive heart attack and remained semi-comatose for nine years until his death in 1984, at the age of 49. Wilson was inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and later ranked in the list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.   

Could it be, that Wilson was a Lenten angel, a fleeting image, a timeless courier of God’s own poetry, delivering an eternal message, and giving us one more way to feel and fathom God’s boundless love and lifting us higher and higher, “than ‘we’ve’ ever been lifted before.”

Opinion: A fix that could up chances of winning Amazon HQ: The Atlanta Journal Constitution by Samuel Zamarripa

Amazon set the economic development world on fire in September when it announced its intent to build a second headquarters in North America. Cities hoping to win Amazon’s bid, including Atlanta, recently sent their proposals to the company. Promising as many as 50,000 six-figure jobs and as much as $5 billion in investment, applicants are coming up with a lot of creative ideas to attract Amazon’s attention.

Tucson, Arizona, for example, sent Amazon a 21-foot-tall cactus, reportedly to let Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos know that “We have room for you to grow here.” Birmingham, Alabama, is placing giant Amazon delivery boxes around the city encouraging residents to post a photo of themselves with the boxes using the hashtag #bringAtoB. Georgia isn’t above the fray with the innovative PR stunts. Metro Atlanta’s own city of Stonecrest has offered to carve out 345 acres of its boundaries to create the City of Amazon if the retailer picks Georgia.

Amazon’s relocation is a serious business decision and publicity stunts and PR campaigns are not going to sway the company’s decision — political and economic realities will. As the number-one state for business and with a willingness to create lucrative economic incentive packages, experts expect Atlanta’s application to be competitive for Amazon’s new headquarters, but there is a key metric where we fall short.

Buried inside the request for proposal released by Amazon is a site selection requirement that “The Project requires a compatible cultural and community environment for its long-term success. This includes the presence and support of a diverse population … .” For technology companies like Amazon, this means being supportive of immigration and welcoming to their diverse workforce.

Over the past several legislative sessions, Georgia hasn’t proven itself to meet this “compatible cultural and community environment.” Fights over issues like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, bilingual ballots, non-citizen driver’s licenses and the prospect of a battle over Confederate monuments undermine the positive economic development attributes Georgia has to offer.

Some may dismiss this as hyperbole, but in the competition for billions in economic investment the concern is real and it is acute. Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver are actively advertising Canada’s progressive immigration system and inclusive environment in their pitches to Amazon. A spokeswoman for Toronto’s bid recently told CNN, “Our open immigration policies make it easier for companies to gain access to global talent, and our inclusive and tolerant society makes Canada and the Toronto region a top choice for international students.”

Atlanta still has a lot going for it and it should still be considered a potential finalist for Amazon’s investment; but, we need to be proactive. Toronto can’t shorten its brutal winters to improve quality of life, but Georgia can be a more compatible, cultural and community fit by welcoming diverse populations, particularly immigrants.

Georgia also has outsized influence on the immigration debate before Congress. Three members of the Georgia Congressional delegation, Representatives Doug Collins, R-Gainesville; Karen Handel, R-Roswell; and Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, sit on the powerful House Judiciary Committee that has jurisdiction over immigration reform. Georgia is one of the states best positioned to lead the effort for compassionate and comprehensive immigration reform.

Georgia’s House Judiciary Committee members can make an immediate impression on Amazon by brokering a compromise on the DREAM Act. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has signed two letters to Congress supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and has met directly with President Trump to discuss immigration reform proposals. What Bezos and other tech company’s CEOs know is that, if Congress does not act to protect DACA recipients by March 5, 2018, some 24,200 Georgians and 800,000 people nationwide will begin losing their deportation protections and will be forced out of the American workforce.

Courting Amazon by leading the charge on DACA has very little political downside. Some 86 percent of all Americans and 80 percent of all Republicans support giving Dreamers the chance to stay in the United States permanently. The ancillary benefit of improving Georgia’s competitiveness for large economic investment makes it even more compelling.

Early next year, Amazon will make a decision on where to invest $5 billion. When that decision comes down, we don’t want to second-guess whether we could have done more to win. Georgia’s elected leaders need to address all aspects of Amazon’s RFP, not just the site selection and economic ones. Showcasing a little Southern hospitality by welcoming all people to Georgia could be the difference-maker.