January starts the year off fine is the opening line of the hit song Calendar Girl by Neil Sedaka which celebrates its 50th anniversary this New Year. It is a great line to do a Year in Review for the Houston Technology Center and to say a word about the year ahead.
January 2010 started the year off fine, with the annual Tech Connection event that brought together the leading organizations in the community that support entrepreneurship. Co-hosted with the HTC by the Greater Houston Partnership, chaired by Leisa Holland-Nelson and facilitated by High Tech Texan Michael Garfield, plans for 2010 were presented, libations were served and a good time was had by all. The event reprises this year on January 20.
February 2010 was the kickoff of the First World Congress on NanoEngineering for Medicine and Biology co-chaired by Dr. Mauro Ferrari where Deborah Mansfield and I had the privilege to chair the commercialization track on the opening day of the event after which I returned home in time to cheer on the New Orleans Saints to victory in Super Bowl XLIV.
March 2010 doubled the flavor as Bob Prochnow and the HTC hosted the ETF RCIC winter meeting bringing together the leaders of all seven regional centers for the Emerging Technology Fund, and Maryanne Barker Maldonado put together a triumphant Energy Technology Capital Conference, convening the leading energy venture capital firms with in-depth reviews of the most exciting new energy start-ups. This event reprises February 9, 2011.
April 2010 likewise doubled the fun as on succeeding days I had the pleasure of addressing and meeting with graduate students at the UH Bauer School and at the Gill lecture series at Rice University.
May 2010 was a great month to salute innovation as our annual Celebration of Entrepreneurs recognized Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, Corby Robertson, Jim Willerson (these first three all UT athletes), Mauro Ferrari, Doug Erwin and Franklin Chang Diaz and to remember 2009 honoree Dan Duncan who we sadly lost earlier in the year. Paul Frison moderated several Houston Business Journal Celebrate Enterprise events, and Jack Sim won in the non-profit category as best CFO.
June 2010 continued the celebrations as I again announced the Entrepreneur of the Year in the technology category as part of the Ernst & Young annual recognition banquet. Also in June, Maggie Joplin joined the Houston Technology Center as our Director of Marketing and Communications.
July 2010 introduced me to the National Black Chamber of Commerce leadership, a spirited group of pro-business and civic leaders. Later in the month I had the pleasure of joining Maurice Stone and one of the HTC clients on a plenary panel on entrepreneurship at their annual meeting.
August 2010 Deborah Mansfield was honored at the BioHouston breakfast with the first Dai-Shan Wong Memorial award for outstanding community spirit in life science and medical devices, followed that same day by an exciting announcement by HTC friend Fairway Medical and Panasonic Corporation.
On September 1, 2010 Greg Wright joined the HTC as Director, IT Acceleration and began enhancing and growing our IT sector supported by good friends Andrew Clark, Phil Fraher, Bill Sidwell, Doug Strahm and others. September also saw the extraordinary growth of the annual Gulf Coasts Innovation Conference & Showcase which included the inaugural $100,000 Goradia Innovation Prize which was awarded to Rebellion Photonics. The event was the largest gathering of Texas Gulf Coast early technology companies and the community that supports them that has ever been held.
October 2010 was packed full of events associated with the Houston Technology Center: co-host and active participant of the GHP’s Energy Summit, featured guest at the Conoco Phillips Energy Prize awards, judge for the UK Trade annual recognition luncheon, and as host for HTC sponsor appreciation luncheons.
November 2010 I joined Mayor Parker in welcoming Mayor Kumagai of Chiba City, Japan to Houston in the City Hall rotunda and then HTC co-hosted with Charles Miller an evening reception for the Mayor followed the next day by an HTC tour and joint forum. Chiba City is a major life science center near Tokyo.
In December 2010, thanks to great leadership by Maggie Joplin, expert branding guidance by Jonathan Fisher and BrandExtract, and intensive web-design by Ed Schipul and team, the HTC unveiled our new web site (and this blog). At the HTC Annual Board of Directors meeting, Sterling Bank’s Downey Bridgwater was re-elected as HTC Chair, and Shell Wind Energy’s president Dick Williams was elected HTC Vice Chair. In recognition of Maryanne Maldonado’s outstanding leadership of HTC Energy, the Board elected Maryanne as an officer and Vice President of the HTC.
2010 was a very good year for the Houston Technology Center, and as the year came to an end, we are grateful for the help and support of our sponsors and friends and are able to enjoy the spirit of the holiday season.
2011 is shaping up to be an even better year. In 2011 again, January starts the year off fine!
Appointed by Governor Rick Perry, Walter Ulrich served a two year term as one of 17 founding members of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund Committee that was responsible for awarding $200 million to foster the commercialization of innovative emerging technology within the State of Texas. In addition to his leadership of the HTC, he now serves as Chairman of the Gulf Coast Center for Innovation and Commercialization. Prior to joining the Houston Technology Center, he was CEO of several technology companies and an executive with two major global management consulting firms. He serves on several Boards and is active in major community organizations. Early in his career, he was responsible for the development of the first successful email service and he founded a major regional IT leader. He has a master and bachelors degree from Stevens Institute of Technology and served proudly in the US Marine Corps.