ACCELERATING TEXAS INNOVATION, COMPETITIVENESS, AND JOBS GROWTH
The Texas Foundation for Innovative Communities (TFIC) is an independent, non-partisan organization focused on identifying, advancing, and deploying the world’s best practices and policies for strategic economic growth, focused on high-performance innovation ecosystems.
Economic growth is the most powerful tool for reducing poverty, reducing income inequality, and ensuring a future of shared prosperity.
Innovation is the primary currency of economic growth, and while the contributions of heroic entrepreneurs and pioneering companies are important, economically relevant innovation — on a regional scale — is mostly the product of robust and efficient innovation ecosystems.
Such ecosystems allow individuals and firms to multiply their productivity enormously due to the rich array of assets and relationships, supported by resources for facilitated navigation. Among industrialized nations, the ability of each region to swiftly create new ideas and transform those ideas into high growth companies is the key determinant of regional wealth creation.
TFIC identifies leading research into this phenomenon, contributes original research and methodologies, and produces demonstration projects to enhance the effectiveness of designed innovation ecosystems.
Pike Powers – Chairman
Pike Powers is the Chairman of the Board of the Texas Foundation for Innovative Communities and the chairman of the Texas Technology Initiative – a culmination of activities beginning with his role in bringing both MCC and Sematech to Texas in the 1980’s. As the former partner-in-charge of Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.’s Austin office, Pike has provided unique civic, political, and technical leadership to several statewide projects, institutions and entrepreneurial firms. It was during his tenure as executive assistant to Governor Mark White in 1983 that Pike began the planning and organizational tactics for attracting two of the nations’s most ambitious projects around global competitiveness in electronics. Pike has chaired or served on the board of numerous civic and economic development initiatives in Austin and the State including as Vice Chairman of the Governor’s Science and Biotechnology Council in 2002. He is widely viewed as one of the senior voices on technology development and as the designer of important legislative and public policy solutions resulting in new enterprise and corporate models for attracting and retaining technology-based activities.
Mitch Jacobson – Board of Directors
Mitch Jacobson is the Executive Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Austin with responsibilities for leading the Austin Technology Incubator, the Blackstone LaunchPad and the SW I-Corps Node. He helped build a $2.5B clean tech sector and ecosystem in Central Texas while leading the energy incubator at ATI for 7 years. He has 20 years of experience in the technology industry, including running Dell Direct Sales in the US and the expansion of Dell throughout Europe and Rest of the World. He was responsible for a $7 billion P&L for Tech Data Corporation as VP of Sales & Operations. He was also the Founder & Limited Partner of Eyes of Texas Partners Angel Investment Group and has been in the startup resource business for 20 years. Mitch serves on the Board of Directors at Pecan Street Inc and the Texas Foundation of Innovative Communities and the Advisory Boards of the Nature Conservancy, EcoRise, the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Austin Forum, the Austin Community College Foundation and the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce. He has a BSBA in Business and Marketing from University of Florida and MBA studies from the University of South Florida.
Tracy LaQuey Parker – Board of Directors
Tracy LaQuey Parker is the Senior Vice President of Business Development for Parker Solutions Group. She is a member of several boards including the Texas Tribune, the University of Texas College of Natural Sciences Advisory Council, the Texas Foundation for Innovative Communities and Commissioner on the Austin Community Technology and Telecommunications Commission. She serves on the development committee for the Austin Film Society and is the alumni liaison for the Texas Lyceum, a statewide non-profit, non-partisan leadership organization. Prior to her current position she was Director of The UTeach Institute at The University of Texas at Austin, which she founded in 2006 to replicate the nationally recognized UTeach math and science teacher preparation program that began at UT in 1997. In eight years, the Institute has replicated UTeach at 40 universities in the U.S.
Prior to her successful tenure with the UTeach Institute, Tracy worked in the Chief Technology Office of Cisco Systems where she founded Cisco’s Worldwide Education focus and Cisco’s Advanced Internet Initiatives team in the early 1990’s. She also founded a research and development imprint of the Chief Technology Office, partnering with Addison-Wesley. Additionally, she managed Cisco’s participation in worldwide K–12 educational Internet programs including the Global Schoolhouse Project, and she initiated Cisco’s extensive participation in various Internet Society activities internationally. During this time she participated in the Federation of American Research Networks (FARNET), serving as Treasurer, and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), serving as chair of several working groups. In addition to conference papers, journal and magazine articles, Ms. LaQuey Parker is the author of two best-selling books, The User’s Directory of Computer Networks (Digital Press) and The Internet Companion: A Beginner’s Guide to Global Networking (Addison-Wesley). The Internet Companion was the first trade book on the Internet, published in 1992, and featured a foreword by Vice President Al Gore.
Dr. Harry D. Fair – Board of Directors
Dr. Harry D. Fair is founding Director of the Institute for Strategic and Innovative Technologies (2010), a 501.C.3 not-for-profit research institute. Dr. Fair spent much of his early research career with the U.S. Army and then with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO). In 1990, he founded and was the Director of the Institute for Advanced Technology (IAT), the U. S. Army’s first University Affiliated Research Center (UARC), at The University of Texas at Austin until 2010. The IAT focused on research in hypervelocity physics and electrodynamics and became one of the world leaders in these technologies.
An experienced laboratory director, program manager, and physicist. Dr. Fair creates, directs, and manages complex multi-disciplinary technical efforts of national importance. Among these are the Joint DARPA/Army/Marine Corps Program on Armor/Anti-Armor, the National Program on Electromagnetic Propulsion, the Advanced Kinetic Energy Technology Program for the Strategic Defense Initiative, the Army Propulsion Program, and the Army Program on Solid-State Physics and Chemistry of Explosives and Reactive Materials. Dr. Fair holds a Ph.D. in solid-state physics and an M.S. in chemical physics from the University of Delaware; he received a B.S. in physics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He was a visiting professor at the University of Paris, at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and at The University of Texas at Austin. He has co-authored over 200 technical publications, including two books on Energetic Materials and is the senior editor of the Seventeen IEEE Proceedings of the International Symposium on Electromagnetic Launch Technology.
Jose Becerio – Board of Directors
Jose Beceiro serves as the Senior Director of Global Energy 2.0 for the Greater Houston Partnership. Jose joined the Partnership on April 1, 2020 with 15 years of experience in business and project development, with a majority of his work centered in the energy and cleantech sectors.
Jose most recently served as the Director of Corporate Relations for Energy and Technology at the University of Texas at Austin, where he managed a portfolio of external industry partners representing the leading corporations in the energy, cleantech, automotive, and high-tech sectors. During his time at UT Austin, Jose worked with development teams and researchers across campus to engage companies in major interdisciplinary research initiatives. He also served as liaison for regional stakeholders, including cities, utilities, chambers of commerce, economic development corporations, nonprofits and other entities located in Central Texas.
Jose spent seven years of his career at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce as the Director of Clean Energy in the Economic Development Department. During this time, Austin’s cleantech industry grew from 30 companies and 3,000 employees to over 250 companies and 20,000 employees.
Jose holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Energy and Earth Resources from the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin. He has served as the Founding Board President of the Center for Austin’s Future and the ATXelerator, as well as Board Chair for CleanTX. Jose is also a Founding Board Member of Pecan Street, Inc., which is the nation’s most advanced smart grid research consortium initiative. He is a recent winner of the Austin Under 40 Award for Energy, Cleantech, and Environmental Services.
Dr. Nolan Perez – Board of Directors, Ex Officio
Nolan Perez, M.D., Harlingen, Texas, was appointed to two-year term on The University of Texas System Board of Regents to end on February 1, 2021 by Governor Greg Abbott in March 2019 and was confirmed by the Texas Senate on April 10, 2019.
Dr. Perez served in the U.S. Navy as a Medical Corps Officer and received the Navy Commendation and Navy Achievement Medals.
Dr. Perez is a member of The University of Texas System Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee; The University of Texas at Austin Development Board; The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Development Board Executive Committee; Rio Grande Valley Angel Network; Medical Director for Platinum Surgery Center; and an Expert Panelist and Chart Monitor for the Texas Medical Board. He also serves as Director at Lone Star National Bank and is a Trustee for the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District and is the current President of the board.
Dr. Perez has formerly served on many other local and statewide councils, foundations, and boards including The University of Texas Foundation, Inc. Board; The University of Texas College of Education Foundation Advisory Council; Educate Texas Committee; The Texas Lyceum, FIRST in Texas Foundation; Humanities Texas Board; Texas Foundation for Innovative Communities Board; The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Football Feasibility Committee; and Harlingen School of Health Professions Advisory Committee. He is also former Chairman for the Texas Woman’s University Board of Regents, and a former member of the clinical faculty at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s School of Medicine.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Texas at Austin and a Medical Doctorate from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He is board certified in Gastroenterology and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and American College of Gastroenterology.
Larry Peterson – Executive Director
Larry Peterson is an investor and serial entrepreneur with two successful exits, and has founded, co-founded or chaired numerous innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives in and around Texas.
He is co-founder, MassChallenge Texas, the world’s largest tech accelerator, and Innovation Policy advisor and member, Texas 2050 state economic umbrella group. He is current Chair, UTeach, the leading national model STEM teacher preparation program active at 44 universities in 22 states. He is also former Chair, Texas Lyceum state leadership association, and current co-Chair of the Texas Lyceum Advisory and Development Council.
He was a founding member of the original New Mexico Technology Research Corridor (TRC) organization, encompassing $6 billion in annual research expenditures; co-chair of the Texas Software and Wireless Technology Cluster initiative, and an original member of the Texas Technology Working Initiatives Group (TWIG) chaired by Dr. George Kozmetsky, and chaired the El Paso Mayor’s Economic Advisory Council for eight years, launching the regional venture competition, tech accelerator, angel investment group, software association, and entrepreneur’s council, along with numerous other initiatives and organizations.
Under Mr. Peterson’s leadership, the Texas Foundation for Innovative Communities has developed a framework for high-performance regional economic growth, based on work with Dr. George Kozmetsky (often credited as the principal architect of the Austin “technopolis” model) and Chairman Pike Powers. During this time, the Foundation has achieved creation of an innovation ecosystem reference model; demonstration of a low-cost model to greatly extend Texas research funding; development of methodology to identify Texas’ differentiated research strengths; management of the most active region (Central Texas, accounting for more than half of all statewide metrics) of the Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) for the Office of the Governor; creation and management of the Texas Association of Research Parks and Incubators (TARPI); and recruitment and co-founding of MassChallenge Texas, the world’s largest tech accelerator. TFIC also provides advisory support to numerous organizations in Texas and around the world regarding development of innovation ecosystems, research parks and innovation districts. Mr. Peterson is a frequent speaker on topics of innovation, entrepreneurship, venture capital, and the design of innovation districts and research parks.