Palmer's undergraduate education at Georgia State University was in urban design and architecture. He worked in the computer-aided design industry in the 1980s, leading CAD training programs for Lockheed and IBM. From 1993 to 1996 he worked as a program manager in the physical planning for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. In 1997 he joined the board of the Open Geodata Consortium, a non-profit working on ways of sharing geographic data between public and private organizations. In 1998 he became a product management director at WebMD, helping launch the popular medical information website.
In 2000 Palmer joined GreenSpring Ventures, an Atlanta investment company, as a founding associate and analyst. In 2002 he earned an Executive MBA from the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University in Atlanta. He was hired from GreenSpring by TechBirmingham in 2002 from a pool of more than 150 candidates.
As President of TechBirmingham, Palmer helped the group lead the charge for development of technology-related businesses in the Birmingham area. He was named "Small Business Advocate of the Year" by the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2007.
Palmer announced his resignation from the position of President on October 29, 2007, with plans to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities in Birmingham and to remain active on TechBirmingham's Board of Directors. His Genexodus Consulting company provides market advice to technology startups.
Palmer has served on numerous boards, including the Jefferson County Center for Workforce Development, the Biotech Association of Alabama, the Economic Development Committee of the Birmingham City Council, and the advisory board of Virginia College at Birmingham.
- McCauley, Charles R. (October 30, 2007) "Technology group leader stepping down." Birmingham News.
- Musings on Birmingham, Palmer's weblog