At the recent IEEE International Engineering Management Conference (IEMC 2007) held near Austin, Pike Powers of Fulbright Jaworski, Ben Streetman of The University of Texas, Laura Kilcrease of Triton Ventures and Jerry Wagner of the University of Nebraska at Omaha were recognized for their individual contributions impacting business development, venture funding and job creation in Central Texas.
In the late 60s and early 70s Austin and Central Texas began a march toward becoming a widely recognized center for high technology creation and entrepreneurial activity. The confluence of four major influences moving in parallel – government, academia, venture capital, and entrepreneurship – resulted in the creation of one of the nation’s leading centers of creativity and technology. Each of the honorees played an important role in the four areas of influence which served to develop Central Texas’ reputation as a Technology Center.
General Information about the conference can be found at IEMC07.org.
Pike Powers was described in a recent article in the Austin American-Statesman as “perhaps the leading rainmaker for Central Texas, a catalytic force in helping build the region’s high tech foundation.” Since opening Fulbright & Jaworski’s Austin office in 1978 and his subsequent service to Texas governors, Powers advanced the region’s high tech, information and entrepreneurial economy by mobilizing a rapidly growing high tech community to create a business, civic and philanthropic network. Mr. Powers led recruiting efforts that dramatically increased the pool of technical talent in the area, including helping bring two important high tech consortia – MCC, the Microelectronics & Computer Technology Corp., and SEMATECH – to Austin in the 1980s. He was instrumental in recruiting major high tech employers: 3M in 1984, Applied Materials in 1991, and Samsung Electronics’ second chip factory that recently opened in Northeast Austin. He also was a key strategist and crucial backer of Governor Perry’s Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. He is currently a top strategist for the Texas Alliance for Nanoelectronics, a group of colleges, research institutions, and high tech companies that have pledged to collaborate on advanced research efforts in a cutting edge field.
Ben Streetman is Dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. His leadership has contributed a steady flow of intellectual talent to the Central Texas high tech community while leading the Cockrell School of Engineering to international prominence. Dr. Streetman holds the Dula D. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering, is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and was the founding Director of the Microelectronics Research Center. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and has received numerous awards for teaching, including the Frederick Emmons Terman Medal of the American Society for Engineering Education and the Education Medal of the IEEE. He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering, was chosen as one of the 12 first Fellows of the Electrochemical Society, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the Board of Directors for National Instruments and is a former director of Global Marine and Zix Corp. He is the author of the book SOLID STATE ELECTRONIC DEVICES (Prentice Hall), which is widely used and has been translated into Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Polish. He has published more than 290 articles in the technical literature.
Laura Kilcrease co-developed and launched the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), one of the country’s first technology business incubators designed to identify and build innovative new business models by commercializing technology developed in university research, start-ups, and spinouts from Fortune 500 companies. Under her leadership, the ATI selected and established over 70 technology-based companies that created nearly 1,500 jobs and secured approximately $170 million in funding. She served as executive director of The University of Texas IC2 Institute’s Center for Commercialization and Enterprise (C2E), which developed commercialization strategies for universities, government laboratories and research consortia, and also launched The Capital Network, one of the largest “business angel” investor networks in the United States with over $150 million in completed transactions. She co-founded and launched the Austin Technology Council, a premier networking organization that cultivated the growth of the Austin economy. An active member of the community, she has served on numerous non-profit boards, including the Women’s Leadership Advisory Board of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Ms. Kilcrease is the founder and managing director of Triton Ventures, LLC, a venture capital fund she began in 1999 that invests in spinout and early-stage technology companies.
Jerry Wagner was a pioneering software entrepreneur in Austin. He arrived in Austin in 1969 to join the Operations Research Group in UT’s College of Engineering. The “roots” for Execucom Systems Corporation began through Jerry’s work with graduate students, primarily Mike McCants who became a brilliant lead developer. Their breakthrough idea was to make financial modeling easy for decision makers who were not familiar with computers. In 1978, Jerry left UT to serve as Execucom’s CEO, and the company’s product quickly became the world leader in financial planning software. He spearheaded establishment of the field that became known as Decision Support Systems (DSS), and started the first international conference for Decision Support Systems. Execucom Systems grew successfully and was later acquired by GTE. Dr. Wagner left Austin in 2001 to join the faculty at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. There he started a worldwide consortium of DSS leaders called the International Academy for Advanced Decision Support Systems (IAADS), spearheaded OneIP, a group that trains and mentors entrepreneurial student interns who are interested in the design and development of advanced software, and created GRW Studios, Inc., a company focused on designing and developing visual planning software. He is widely recognized as a visionary in data visualization. As a Senior Scientist for the Gallup Organization, Wagner leads an initiative on visual storytelling and data visualization.
The IEEE Engineering Management Society (EMS) directs its efforts toward advancing the practice of engineering and technology management as a professional discipline, encouraging theory development for managing organizations with a high engineering or technical content, and promoting management transitioning and high professional standards among its members. The IEEE Engineering Management Society offers many outstanding opportunities.