Over the past few months we’ve made an effort to help you all identify our fabulous mentors & advisors! Since not everyone peruses the website on a regular basis, we thought we’d highlight them here for you. These accomplished individuals are involved in helping develop and execute on Tech Ranch® strategy, mentor students in the Venture Forth® program and serve as advisors, board members and entrepreneurs-in-residence for companies in our Venture Builder program.
Please join us in thanking these individuals for their time and effort!
David has been a 10X serial entrepreneur developing companies in various different fields from software to biotech. He co-founded the BitAngels in 2013 (the world’s largest angel group) and now serves as the Managing Director for the Decentralized Application Venture Fund. As the Managing Director, David evaluates projects in the Decentralized Applications & Protocols space that are based on open source software, and use a distributed blockchain for token ownership and access to the application. He also serves as a Board Member at the Factom Foundation, which encourages the development of applications on top of the Bitcoin Blockchain. David got into the Bitcoin space in 2012 and has been excited to see the disruptive potential of the technology in finance and beyond. David and his wife currently reside in Austin, TX.
Trusted Advisor to CEOs and Boards. Acknowledged expert in sales, strategic planning, marketing and global partner development. Thirty years international experience with an established track record of team building, acceleration of revenues, and extraordinary international growth. Operational experience includes six years as CEO, building operations in the US, Europe, India and Japan, and running five worldwide sales operations, three of which were built from scratch. Veteran of multiple startups. In-depth application and industry knowledge in cloud computing, security, enterprise software, consulting services, energy, financial services, healthcare, IT outsourcing and mobile. Global, executive contact base of CIOs, Outsourcers, SIs, VCs.
Chelsea supports initiatives that leverage technology to make a positive social and civic impact. In her role as Executive Director of Texans for Economic Progress, she facilitates dialog between the statewide technology community and elected officials, advocating for greater access to tech education, entrepreneurship and infrastructure. She is also a Founding Partner of Impact Hub Austin, a local effort within a global network to provide co-working and incubation for social ventures. She is active in several organizations that encourage economic solutions to global challenges including the World Economic Forum Global Shapers, UnltdUSA (social entrepreneur accelerator), LeadershipAustin, The Seton 50, EGBI, ImpactTexas (conference on impact investing) and serves on the City of Austin Tech & Telecomm Commission. She was founding Director for RISE (an annual entrepreneurs conference), Marketing Director at MPOWER Labs (financial services for the underserved) and served in the Governor’s Office in Economic Development. She received the Austin Under 50 Award in Science & Technology (2015), BPE Ascendant Award (2013), was an ABJ Profiles in Power Finalist (2013). She is a Leadership Austin graduate (2010). Her “side project” involves launching a modular furniture start-up, Mable, which will provide affordable, beautiful furniture made for moving that is produced from sustainable materials and manufactured in the USA. Chelsea has masters and bachelor degrees in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin.
Graham is a practicing entrepreneur, knee deep in his fifth start-up. He has successfully built, funded and exited multiple companies ranging from $10K in sales to over $10M in sales. He has also experienced a few failures as part of his journey. Graham joined the Cinegif team in early 2012. He was the Founder and CEO of ExpressDigital and PhotoReflect software, a web service company focused on enhancing photography workflows. The company was sold in 2011. Under his leadership, ExpressDigital garnered over 30,000 customers worldwide and powered the portrait solutions for Wal-Mart, Sears, Carnival Cruise Lines and Canon. As a digital imaging pioneer, Graham became a well-known spokesperson for this segment of the photographic industry, and in 2007 he was named by Dealerscope Magazine as a member of its “40 Under 40” list of top executives.
Graham’s companies have been recognized as some of Deloitte’s 50 fastest growing technology companies and members of the Inc. 5000. He was also an Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist in Colorado. He has successfully raised over $12M of start-up financing for his companies including from friends and family, angel, venture, and debt. You can read about one of Graham’s early start-up experiences in Entrepreneur Magazine. Graham received his Bachelors degree in Accounting from Texas A&M University in 1990 and is a CPA. He is an educator and mentor at the entrepreneurial incubator Tech Ranch® and a guest lecturer on start-up related topics at St. Edwards University and Texas A&M University’s Startup Aggieland.
Assistant Professor of Research, Jackson School of Geosciences.
Suzanne Pierce is a computational Earth Scientist. She is uses a scholar-practitioner approach to integrate scientific information with technology systems. Leading applications include decision support systems for conflict resolution applied to groundwater and energy case studies. She has developed innovative teaching techniques that incorporate interactive games with 3D printed tangibles and content that aligns with next generation science standards.
International Economic Development Manager for the City of Austin
Ben Ramirez is responsible for the City of Austin’s governmental initiatives for projects involving international economic development and foreign direct investment. His duties include creating, coordinating and managing the City of Austin’s global economic development strategic plan with division staff and partner organizations.
Drawing from professional experience earned in the public and private sectors, Ben has assisted international business expansion efforts around the globe. Ben has a BA in Philosophy and Political Science from the University of Michigan, and a JD from the University of Toledo. He is an associate member of the Texas Camino Real District Export Council; a board member of CleanTX and the Austin Latino Music Association; Secretary of the Board for Central Texas Foreign Trade Zone #183; external advisory board member of the University of Texas Center for European Studies; and Vice President of the World Affairs Council of Austin.
Ms. Ramirez is a seasoned management consultant with over 14 years’ experience in business strategy, revenue growth, and new business design and launch. She’s worked with Fortune 100 and 500 clients to implement and execute the operational, financial, and management structures necessary to achieve revenue growth objectives. She currently advises and assists startup companies on strategy, business model design and operations.
Glori received her BA in Economics from Cornell University. She grew up in New York and now lives in Austin, TX.
Rudolph Rosen is a Research Professor at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Texas State University. He is a former Director of Fisheries, Wildlife and Coastal Resources for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and was Executive Director of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Dr. Rosen has been executive director and regional director of three of the nation’s largest nonprofit science-driven conservation organizations. At one of these, Ducks Unlimited, he was responsible for managing over 500 water development projects and wetlands inventories annually, constituting $130 million in total activity and involving over 2,000 business partnerships with federal, state, and private funders. This included developing advanced technology and models for evaluating and responding to sea level rise along the Pacific Coast. He has had P&L responsibility for organizations of $100+ million, 1,400+ staff and 100+ facilities. Most recently he has been responsible for managing H2O, a water education program focusing on integrating new mobile and interactive technologies into youth education curricula about water. Dr. Rosen has been appointed to over 130 water and natural resource-related boards, commissions, and committees and has written over 500 articles, presentations, and blogs on water and natural resource-related policy, science, and organization management. He recently wrote “Texas Aquatic Science” a peer-reviewed science textbook on water for high school and university students, available from Texas A&M University Press.
Michele Skelding is the Senior Vice President of Global Technology and Innovation for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce where she leads the development and execution of the organization’s vision for Central Texas as a top global region for technology innovation, company formation and expansion, in addition to increasing top access to private equity and venture capital. In this role, Michele cultivates emerging and strategic technology growth that identifies next generation technology and innovation trends, as well as facilitating the vital interconnection of Austin’s burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem for company inception and growth acceleration. Michele is an integral member of Austin’s entrepreneurial community, previously serving in leadership positions with the Central Texas Angel Network, one of the top angel networks in the nation, and as a mentor with Incubation Station, a business accelerator that brings together Austin’s notable entrepreneurs, investors and advisors. Prior to the Austin Chamber, Michele served as Senior Director of Global Business Development, Marketing & Communications for Appconomy, a mobile app software company dually headquartered in Shanghai and Austin. Michele has also held senior positions with Lifeproof Cases, First Mobile Technologies, G-51 Capital, Augmentix Corporation, Dell and AT&T’s executive leadership development program.