Innovate Texas Tech Mentor Program (iTTU) serves as the cornerstone of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Hub. Mentors are chosen for their experience, investment and technical know-how, authority and resources to aid in the launch of new enterprises, and willingness to support the west Texas entrepreneurial eco-system.
All TTUS mentors are available for office hours. Meet with some of the most innovative, creative and seasoned experts in the venture space. In these one-on-one meetings, angel and venture investors, leaders of manufacturer companies, attorneys, accountants, technology experts, physicians, scientists and serial entrepreneurs share their insight, experience and advice to help you take your startup to launch. We follow the MIT Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) methodology.
- Legal Issues
- Research & Product Development
- Life Sciences/ I.T.
- Intellectual Property
K. Lance Anderson is a Texas attorney and Member of the Austin, Texas office of Dickinson Wright, PLLC, a full-service law firm with over 450 lawyers across eighteen (18) offices. Lance has extensive experience preparing and negotiating technology and intellectual property-focused transactions, as well as technology aspects of mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and other complex commercial transactions. A registered patent attorney, Mr. Anderson also conducts patent prosecution, due diligence for licensing, and acquisitions, technology agreements, strategic planning, patent prosecution, trade secrets, employment mobility, and related operational legal issues.
His experience and background contribute to skill sets applicable to technology transfer and emerging technology, medical devices, health-IT, agricultural biotechnology, pharmaceuticals/life sciences, consumer products, oil & gas, and renewable energy.
In addition to representing clients on intellectual property issues, he has been involved in many aspects of corporate law, operations, financing and litigation ranging from start-up and early stage companies to mature market leaders.
In addition to his JD, Lance holds an MS in Crop Science and BS in Entomology, all from Texas Tech University.
- Time Management/ Time Budgeting
- Employee Engagement
- Communication/Conflict Resolution
- Customer Service
- Workplace Productivity
- Management and Sales
Randy Anderson is an alumni of Texas Tech and the owner of e3 Professional Trainers. Randy has over 20 years of experience helping people become more engaged in their work, better equipped to do it, and to feel more empowered to live a life that will count for something after they are gone. Randy has experience in selling and managing sales operations both large and small. He is an expert at teaching strategies to people in all types of industries, at every level of education, age, and position.
- Accounting & Marketing
- Business Planning/Professional Development
- Higher Education
- Small Business Development/Entrepreneurship
- Compliance & Research
- Employee Relations & Management
Dr. Bennings was appointed as the Regional Director of the Texas Tech University SBDC on September 4, 2015. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Ag Development from Texas A&M, an M.B.A. from Wayland Baptist, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Texas Tech. Her professional portfolio includes experience in employee relations, professional development, higher education, project management, accounting, compliance and research, and small business development. As a former professional track and field athlete, Dr. Bennings maintains a competitive drive to achieve success in her professional endeavors. Her business philosophy embodies the true spirit of a servant leader: “The most invaluable asset to any business, institution, or community is PEOPLE. Therefore, it is vital to nurture the potential within, teaching them by example, and helping them to grow beyond perceived limitations.” Dr. Bennings has a passion for teaching and also serves as in instructor at Texas Tech University.
Jack Bohannon is the VP of Operations for Mandry Technology Solutions (MTS), a globally
ranked IT solutions provider, and COO for Clarative Communications, a nationwide provider
of wholesale telecommunications services.
Jack is distinguished by his ability to translate vision and strategy into execution, and the transformation of ideas into profitable revenue streams. With more than 20 years of experience in executive, entrepreneurial and revitalization ventures, Jack has gained a wealth of experience in connecting ideas, vision and people, and bringing together teams and systems to drive results.
His broad business background includes starting, growing and selling multiple companies in the medical supply industry and managing unit/multi-unit operations for FCI, a national restaurant chain with 40 locations in 15 states. Jack holds a BBA from South University.
- Project Management
- Operational Excellence
- Business Process Management
- Retail Operations
- Process Improvement
- Organizational Effectiveness
David Crews is VP Operations at Barricades Unlimited in Lubbock, Texas. David is involved in the areas of Traffic Control, Safety, Fleet Management, Estimating, Warehouse & Supply Chain, Project Management & Process Improvement. Coming from 9 years at United Supermarkets and over 1 year at Truno Technology Solutions serving in roles in Operations, Strategic Projects and Guest Insights, he is very familiar with the fast pace of corporate leadership and organizational effectiveness. He began his career at Dell Computers and quickly advanced to become a Regional Sales Manager, earning many awards along the way. David holds a BA in Marketing from Texas Tech University, an MBA in Business Administration from St. Edwards University, and maintains a Project Management Professional certification with the Project Management Institute.
- Curriculum Development & Instruction
- Technology Development & Commercialization
- Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS)
- Semiconductor Materials & Devices
Tim Dallas, PhD is an Associate Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas Tech University. As Associate Dean, he oversees internal and external graduate fellowship programs. His research group develops MEMS-based education and research tools. He established Class on a Chip, Inc. to commercialize an array of MEMS devices for education and research. He established a new class, Technology Start-up Lab, which takes engineering students through the initial steps of commercializing their own technologies. He serves on a number of campus commercialization committees. Dr. Dallas received a BA in Physics from the University of Chicago and a MS and PhD in Physics from Texas Tech. He worked as a Technology and Applications Engineer for ISI Lithography and was a post-doc in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas. He is the faculty advisor to a number of campus organizations, deacon and Sunday school teacher at his church, and a youth baseball coach. He is married with four kids.
- Real Estate
With a multifaceted career in real estate stemming over fifteen years, Junior Desinor has had extensive experience as an agent, broker, investor, and developer. These culminating experiences shaped Junior to be a top producing agent, broker, and nationally recognized real estate expert. With a desire to offer his clients better service, the TOOR concept was born. He quickly formed a talented team of designers, engineers, developers, and attorneys to make TOOR one of the most anticipated products of the year. What started out as a thirty day crowdfunding campaign raising over $100k and hundreds of lockboxes sold, has quickly blossomed into recognition by top brokerage firms around the country and an appearance on the Emmy-winning Shark Tank series. With the strong leadership team in place, TOOR is positioned to sell millions of lockboxes and change the way people tour and access properties forever.
- Telecommunications and Payments
John Duffy is the founder and CEO of 3Cinteractive (3C), and an entrepreneur with extensive experience developing start-ups with a strong focus on telecommunications and payments.
For his work in business and our community, he has been honored with numerous awards including Ernst & Young's “Entrepreneur of The Year,” and the Sun Sentinel's “Excalibur Award.” He proudly serves on the board of the Dan Marino Foundation, and supports various programs that facilitate the development of young entrepreneurs. John graduated from Ohio University in 1988 with a BA in Finance, and was a varsity letter winner in wrestling.
He lives in Delray Beach, Florida with his daughters Emily and Annie, and enjoys playing the guitar and restoring old cars and motorcycles.
- Church Planting
- Real Estate
- Event Planning/Logistics
John English grew up in a small farming community near Rochester, Texas. He graduated from Haskell High School in 2009 and attended Lubbock Christian University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management.
Additionally, he played basketball for LCU and was awarded Academic All-Conference. His love for sports led him to work for the Midland RockHounds AA Professional Baseball Organization and Sockers FC from 2013-2014 where he was a top performer in sales. At the same time his small business, Tailgate Express, was beginning to grow rapidly in Lubbock.
He soon moved back to Lubbock in the Fall of 2014 to focus on Tailgate Express. He soon established Tailgate Express, LLC and was named Lubbock Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016 with Tailgate Express being recognized as the Small Business of the Year.
Additionally, he serves as an Owner and brand ambassador of Caprock Winery and is involved with multiple real estate investment properties. John is the Owner/CEO of Tailgate Express, Owner & Ambassador of Caprock Winery and a house church planter.
- Operational Excellence
- Process Improvement
- SAAS, Professional Firms, Produce
Jean Evans is principal of the outsourced CFO/COO firm Evans and Associates, a company that focuses on strengthening businesses for profitability and growth by providing C-Suite executives and entrepreneurs of emerging and midmarket companies with management and operations consultancy, financial operations planning, build-to-sell initiatives, turnaround strategy, transition and exit planning and software analysis/strategic conversions for maximum, effective outcomes.
Jean has executive experience in private industry, public accounting, growing & emerging enterprise including extensive experience in early stage startups, and mid-market $150+M revenue companies. Jean moved to Lubbock from Boca Raton, FL where she was actively involved as a mentor with the Florida Atlantic University's Technology Business Incubator and Accelerator. In addition, she was a founding investor/mentor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy with the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. Jean has acclimated to Lubbock and is becoming very active in the community. She is currently serving as an Ambassador for the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and volunteering at TTU Therapeutic Riding Program. She is blessed to have a 28-year-old son who is a successful entrepreneur in Boca Raton.
- Market Strategy
- Commercialization of Technology
- Marketing for Early-Stage Ventures
Kellilynn M. Frias is an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University. Her research agenda focuses on understanding the factors that impact a firm's decision on "where to participate in the value chain" or "what to sell". Specifically, in the context of high-technology innovations, her research investigates the three principal ways innovators can commercialize their innovations: market intellectual know-how (via licensing and/or proof-of-concept), market intermediate products (sell components/sub-systems), or market end-products (sell complete systems/solutions). She studies these fundamental strategic options – called product-form choice – and the impact of key technology, firm-level and environmental factors on this decision. Her work has been published in Organization Science. Her teaching interests include marketing strategy, business-to-business marketing, marketing of innovations and new product development, and marketing and law.
- Strategic Planning
- Project Development & Management
- Finance & Budgeting
- Policy Research—Federal/State policy & procedure for projects
Smiley Garcia currently serves as the U.S. Small Business Administration's Business and Economic Development Specialist for the West Texas District.
Prior to joining the SBA, Smiley served 12 years as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army in which he was Director of Legislative Affairs for the Adjutant General. He worked directly with Congress to secure budgetary funding for construction projects, training, and military readiness. He also served as an Operations Commander in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009-2010, where he earned the Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, and Iraq Campaign Medal.
On the civilian side, Smiley has extensive experience and distinguished service in the Texas Legislature as a former advisor with the Office of the Governor and Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. He earned his Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics from the University of Houston and Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Texas Tech University.
- Business Plan Preparation
- Valuation, financial documents
- Costing and cost analysis
- Refineries & Petrochemicals
- Utility Industry
- Airline Industry
Priya Gill is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas Tech. She teaches entrepreneurship to chemical engineering students. It includes learning basic business concepts which the students then use in creating and presenting business and execution plans.
She has a B.S in electrical engineering from Osmania University, India and an MBA from Georgia Tech. She has over 16 years of experience in the utilities, oil & gas and airlines industry where she managed several multi-million dollar projects, first as an engineer and then as a business manager. She has interned with a start-up company as the marketing and operations manager and was the CFO of the team that won the 2nd place in the Georgia Tech Business Plan competition.
Her passion is to work with start-up companies to create successful ventures. Outside work, she enjoys time with her 7-year old son and loves to read fiction.
- Organizational Structure
- Business Finance
Practicing attorney and Brigadier General in U.S. Army Reserve. Currently, Commander, 104th Division (Leader Training) and U.S. Army Cadet Command, Deputy Commanding General, Army Reserve Support and Accessions. Command at the Brigade, Battalion, and Company level, as well deployments to Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Graduate of the Defense Strategy Course, the U.S. Army War College, and the Joint Forces College Advanced Joint Professional Military Education program.
Holds a BS in Economics from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, a MS in Business (Finance) from Texas Tech University, a JD from the Texas Tech University School of Law, and a Masters of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
- Sales & Marketing
- Investor in startups
- General Investing
A third generation "Lubbockite," Jim Gilbreath grew up in Lubbock and attended Texas Tech University. After obtaining a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Texas Tech, Gilbreath decided to join his family's agriculture and seed business in Lubbock. A decade later, Gilbreath returned to school and obtained a degree from Harvard University's Graduate School of Business in the PMD Executive Education Program. Since then, Gilbreath has served in various executive management positions and has acquired or started several businesses. Currently, he is the owner of Gilbreath Property Co., L.C., a real estate holding company.
In addition, he has served as a member of the Lubbock City Council, the United Way Board, Reese Redevelopment Authority and the Covenant Hospital System Foundation to name a few. Gilbreath and his wife, Kathy, have two daughters and three grandchildren.
- Company Metrics/Business Models
- Computer Science/Technology
Todd Knowlton is an accomplished entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, and author, and mentor. Todd earned his bachelor's degree in Computer Science in 1991 from Texas Tech University. Soon after, he began his career working in computer education and technical writing. After authoring his first textbook while still in his twenties, Todd founded Knowlton & Associates, an early pioneer in internet distance learning and web development.
Since 2001, he has been president and co-founder of Smooth Fusion, a digital strategy and web development firm serving corporate marketers and marketing agencies. The Smooth Fusion portfolio includes work for well-known brands including Microsoft, Samsung, Intel, Phillips 66, ebay, DuPont, Welch's, and Transamerica Insurance.
Todd is also the author of more than 20 textbooks. While most of his textbooks are on the subject of computers and programming, his most recent publication is a financial literacy textbook for high school students.
Todd speaks at conferences and to student groups, particularly on the topics of technology and entrepreneurship. He is also involved in mentoring, including mentoring college students and young entrepreneurs.
Todd has served on many boards including Texas Tech University's College of Engineering Dean's Council, Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Southwest, Blue Haven Youth Camp, and the Microsoft Academic Advisory Council.
- Small business Operations
Shara started her own business in 1987 in women's apparel sales. She traveled to trade shows and opened a small retail store in Lubbock called Cat Bailou and another store in Ruidoso, NM called Cowboys, Indians, and Outlaws. Shara manufactured a line of western ladies' apparel and sold it in stores, at livestock shows and rodeos, and wholesale. Shara sold all of these stores in 1999.
Shara then opened the 10-20 boutique that featured ladies apparel with most items under $10 and nothing over $20 in the Centre at Overton Park near Texas Tech University. She opened the second 10-20 Boutique in 2003. The name changed to Piper in 2007. Piper carries ladies apparel and accessories. Shara is a member of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and serves as a Chamber Ambassador.
- Investment Management
- Income Tax
- Financial Statement Preparation
- Investment Theory
Tim Mack, CPA/PFS was born and raised in Lubbock. He is blessed to be married to Lisa since 1998. Tim and Lisa raised both of their children in Lubbock as well.
In 1989, Tim began his career in public accounting with KPMG in Ft. Worth. He obtained his CPA certificate in 1991 and has been providing tax and accounting services ever since.
Tim founded an investment advisory firm, Lubbock Financial Services, Inc. in 1998. The firm is a registered investment advisor (RIA) registered with the State Securities Board of Texas. His firm provides fee-only evidence- based investment advisory services to a variety of clients.
Because of his breadth of experience in providing tax, accounting, and investment services, Tim brings a unique and valuable perspective to small companies. He has been involved in the nuts-and-bolts processes of establishing new companies as well as navigating continuing compliance with state and federal filing requirements.
- Human Resources
- Real Estate
- Angel Investing
- Multi-family Housing
Mike McDougal is a CPA by education (BBA Texas Christian University, accounting major) and first career (Auditor, Ernst & Young). He has extensive experience in the real estate industry (24+ years) focused primarily in residential real estate (apartments) but also commercial real estate (office buildings) and development. His firm redeveloped Overton Park in Lubbock in what was described as the largest privately funded urban renewal project in the country.
Mike is a founding board member of the Lubbock Angel Network (2015) and has participated in placing nearly $3 million in startup capital in its first two years of operations.
Mike has been and continues to be very involved in the Lubbock community having served on the board of the Lubbock Economic Development alliance for 7 years, the last 2 as chairman. He currently serves on the Board of Managers of The Lubbock County Hospital District (University Medical Center).
- PR Planning
- Critical Pedagogy
- Presentation Preparation
- Crisis Communication/Management
Michael graduated from Texas Tech University in 2010 with his B.A. in Psychology and is currently pursuing his M.A. in Communication Studies. After teaching courses at Tech in Public Speaking and Business and Professional Communication, Michael worked as a social media/marketing director for a spin-off of a nationally syndicated TV show. He currently works in the financial services industry and enjoys helping clients in many areas of their financial lifecycle.
With his spouse, Alex, Michael volunteers with Lubbock Pop Culture Ventures and he coordinates the discussion panels for Lubbock-Con, a fandom convention. Michael and Alex are also actors who have performed together with Plainview Repertory Theater and Lubbock Community Theater. They were most recently in the stage production of “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.
- Product Development
- Technology Development
- Entrepreneurship/ Business
Jeff McNeill, P.E., earned BSEE and Master of Engineering degrees from Texas Tech, and is a Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas.
During a 17 year career with Texas Instruments, he designed and tested products for Defense Systems, Consumer Products, and Custom Manufacturing divisions.
In 1995, he left TI and founded Accent Engineering Inc., a product development company. Accent Engineering has designed and developed products for industries including medical, agriculture, oilfield, telecom, electronic learning aids, sports science, and hunting aids. Clients included Medtronic, Physio Control, LeapFrog, FlashMaster, and the US Department of Agriculture. In 2008, Jeff and his partners formed Smartfield, Inc., an agriculture information technology company, where he served as CTO until 2011. In 2011, Jeff started MC4 Technology, which continues to design and develop products for agriculture, medical, oilfield, exercise, and museums. Jeff has been married to his wife Karla since 1981, and they have 2 grown children.
- VP of Marketing
- Company & Organizational Structure
David L. Miller currently serves as the CEO for CMT Engineering which is the largest infrastructure construction engineering and testing firm in Texas. David was previously the CEO of Truno Retail Technology Solutions which is a technology services provider with operations in thirty-two states.
Mr. Miller served as a founding member of ALAMOSA which was a telecommunications carrier which sold to Sprint for $4.3B in 2005. Mr. Miller is an investor in FCC licensed wireless spectrum and teaches at the Rawls College of Business. David was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to the role of Presiding Officer of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund which is on track to become a top quartile fund based on metrics from the National Venture Capital Association.
Mr. Miller is a former Vice Chancellor for Research and Commercialization for the Texas Tech University System and earned his Juris Doctor and MBA from Texas Tech University.
- Product Development
- Higher Education
- Competitive Analysis and Competitive Advantage
Mark Murdock is a Technology Lawyer with over 35 years of experience, including over 30 years at IBM specializing in technology and product development, manufacturing and licensing, then over 5 years at Thompson & Knight, L.L.P. working closely with early stage tech, clean energy and life sciences companies in Austin. Mark is an Entrepreneur in Residence at the UT- Austin Cockrell School of Engineering and was a member of both the Central Texas and the Gulf Coast RCIC in connection with the Texas Emerging Growth Fund. Mark has judged numerous Idea 2 Product, MOOT CORP and TexasVentureLabs business plan competitions at UT-Austin, similar competitions at St. Edward's University in Austin, Baylor University in Waco and at Rice University in Houston.
Mark has also mentored and coached early stage companies in Austin in connection with Longhorn Startups, SXSW-ECO, CleanTechOpen, the Baylor New Venture Competition, the Rice Business Plan Competition and the St.Edward's University Business Plan Competition. Mark is a member of the TOBI Board of Directors (bank holding company), is a member of the Advisory Boards of the Bill Munday School of Management and Business at St. Edward's University in Austin, and of Texchange Austin, a non-profit organization devoted to the education and mentoring of the founders and leaders of early stage technology and life sciences companies in Austin. He was a former member of the Advisory Board of the National Association of Corporate Directors-Austin. Mark lives in Austin. He holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from Texas Tech University and a Law Degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
- Technology Property
- Marketing & Retail
- Alternative Energy/Green Power
- Communication/Organizations & Politics
Mark Nair is an inventor and entrepreneur. He has spent more than 20 years in the entertainment industry building digital platforms that handle digital content, rights management, and digital distribution.
He has worked with a variety of startup companies in the technology space and has worked with large companies, including Nokia, Walmart, Philips Electronics, Quanta Computers, and Apple. He has several patents, including patents on intelligent automated computer agents, photoelectric cells, and encryption.
He's been invited to speak for a variety of panels and institutions including: the National Association of Broadcasters, QuickTime Live, the Consumer Electronics Show, Rice University, and the Hong Kong science museum. Mark has his undergraduate and Master's degrees from Texas A&M University and attended law school at the University of Texas School of Law. He also serves as an elected council member for the city of Amarillo.
- Sales (Medical/Real Estate)
- Financial Structuring
- Medical Device
- Real Estate
- P.O.M Financing Deals
Charles Needham, born in Mineral Wells, Texas, grew up in Bartlesville Oklahoma before moving to Dalhart Texas at the age of 14 and graduated from high school. He came to Texas Tech in 1980 earning a degree in Finance. He began working for Stryker orthopedics in 1987 where Needham started his own company, Omni-Tex Medical. Needham was the distributor for Stryker for all of West Texas and New Mexico.
Charlie started Needham Properties in 1992 when he purchased his first rent house. Needham Properties currently manages over 150 rent houses and 50 pieces of commercial property. Charlie is also the legal director at Lone Star State bank and has been involved in banking since 2007, the year Loan Star State Bank started.
Two years ago, Dr. Kevin Crawford, Charlie Needham, and the Deepak Solomon--a PhD from Texas Tech--founded the company Neofluidics. The company currently has developed and distributes a revolutionary type of well plate. Charlie has four children with his wife Wendy Needham named Caitlin, Connor, Olivia and Anna Belle. Charlie also enjoys golfing, skiing, hiking, and mountain bike riding.
- Public Speaking
- Angel Investing/Deal Vetting
- Marketing/Networking/Relationship Building
- K-12 Education
- General Agriculture Industry/Communications
- Program Development
As Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Frenship ISD, Keith is responsible for fostering an entrepreneurial ecosystem across K-12; connecting Frenship with the South Plains region's business, non-profit, and higher education communities; building programs to help students make informed decisions about their future; and providing all students with hands on experiences in their chosen fields of employment or study.
Keith came to Frenship from the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University where he was the Associate Director of Student Development. He is heavily involved in the Lubbock community including in the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, as chair of the City of Lubbock's Appointments Advisory Board, the East Lubbock Resident Owned Business Initiative (El Robi), and multiple non-profit boards and committees. Additionally, Keith serves as the Venture Manager for the Lubbock Angel Network; assisting with deal vetting, logistics, and group administration.
Keith came to Lubbock in 2001 to attend Texas Tech, he earned his bachelor's degree in 2007, and completed a Congressional Internship in Washington, D.C., and his master's in Ag Communications in 2012. Keith's wife Kristin is a 4th grade teacher in LISD, they were married in 2014 and are enjoying building their life together and making Lubbock their home. Keith enjoys hunting deer, upland and wetland birds, fly fishing, long range shooting, and working on his 1976 Ford Bronco.
- Public Speaking
- Personal Finance
- Insurance/Risk Management
- DOT Regulation
Robert graduated from the University of Georgia with his MBA in Entrepreneurship and Finance. His experience includes over 10 years as an executive in small business finance. He currently works in the financial services industry and enjoys helping clients in many areas of their financial lifecycle. Robert and his wife Elinor are active in local community activities. They have six wonderful children who keep them on the go.
- Higher Education
- Product Innovation/Product Management
- Leadership Development
Michael Ryan's research interests include leadership development, team development, product innovation, and project management. His most recent efforts concentrated on leadership challenges for virtual teams. His notion of ambassadorial leadership integrates ideas from social network theory, boundary spanning, and transformational leadership into a unified framework. Mike brings more than 25 years of industry experience to his work as an academic. This experience includes leadership roles in the airfreight and logistics fields. He also founded and subsequently sold his own logistics company and in 1989 started an IT venture that addressed the computing needs of the SMB market.
As a consultant, he has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies including AT&T, Lucent Technologies, and IBM. Prior to joining Texas Tech, Michael was an adjunct faculty member at Stevens Institute of Technology, where he co-founded the Stevens Institute for Technical Leadership, a University-supported initiative to meet the needs of the technically focused corporate community.
- Higher Education
- Website/IT Operations
- Small Business Development
Professor Ryan earned her M.A. from Boston College. With over thirty years of business experience she has been involved in the start-up and operation of several small businesses, serving major corporations in the technology and transportation industries. Recently Sandy has done website consulting for family focused non-profits.
- Product Development
- Start-up, NBIA Management Certification
- Management (CEO)
- Production Planning
John C. Smothers received his B.B.A. in General Business from Texas Tech University. He has forty-five years of management experience, has helped build and sell three companies, and has relevant training and experience with technology startup issues, product development involving intellectual property portfolios, injection molding processes and distribution of products on a national scale. He was West Texas Division Manager and member of Board of Directors for Texas Industrial Services. He was Executive Vice President and partner of Lubbock CORF (Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility) and was responsible for design, Medicare certification and daily operations. He was Senior Vice President and partner of Gary Products Group and was responsible for Product Development and Intellectual Property management, production design and automation and customer service operations. He as the private sector chairman of the Lubbock Regional Bioscience Initiative from its formation in 2001 through 2010.
- Patent Law
- Intellectual Property
- Intellectual Property
Kevin Soules is a registered U.S. Patent Attorney. His practice specialties include patent preparation and prosecution in the mechanical, electrical, electronics, data processing, and electro-mechanical arts. He enjoys helping clients build their intellectual property portfolio and develop their business. Mr. Soules graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law, Cum Laud, receiving clinical honors. He also studied at the University of New Mexico completing concurrent degrees in Physics and Applied Mathematics. He worked as a research assistant at BUAP University in Puebla, Mexico, developing software to model classic and quantum dynamic systems.
- Business Management (CEO)
Mr. Sharbutt is a retired business executive who most recently served as CEO and Chairman of Alamosa Holdings, Inc., a provider of wireless communications services, which was acquired by Sprint Nextel Corporation in February 2006. Mr. Sharbutt had been Alamosa's Chairman and a director since the company was founded in July 1998 and was named CEO in October 1999. Before joining Alamosa, Mr. Sharbutt was President and CEO of Hicks & Ragland Engineering Co., an engineering consulting company (now known as CHR Solutions).
Distinguished Engineer from the Whitacre College of Engineering.
David is a Registered Professional Engineer in 27 states in the U.S., Guam, and the Virgin Islands. He was selected as the Texas Society of Professional Engineer's South Plains Chapter "Young Engineer of the Year" in 1983. He has served as president of the Association of Communications Engineers, chairman of the National Telephone Cooperative Association's Associate Members Advisory Council, chairman of the Texas Tech Electrical Engineering Industrial Advisory Board, and is a member of the local chapter of the National and Texas Society of Professional Engineers. He is also a member of the Electrical Engineering Academy.
- Research innovation in animal reproduction
- Medical device development and evaluation
- Clinical Laboratory Science
- Consultant on Reproductive Issues
Samuel Prien, Ph.D. is Director of Clinical and Research Laboratories and professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). He holds a joint appointment as professor of Animal and Food Sciences at Texas Tech University (TTU). He completed his undergraduate and graduate work at TTU, earning a Ph.D. in Animal Science with an emphasis in reproductive physiology in 1991.
Dr. Prien is a board certified high-complexity clinical laboratory director and is certified in both clinical andrology and embryology. He works directly with the medical team to assist in the treatment of infertility patients as part of the assisted reproductive technology program. In addition to his clinical duties, Dr. Prien maintains a robust teaching schedule on each campus and is an active researcher.
Dr. Prien conducts diverse physiology-based research in both animals and humans. He has received numerous grants, has published over 90 journal articles and has made approximately 300 presentations at regional, national and international meetings. Dr. Prien serves as a peer reviewer for several professional organizations for both grants and publications. Additionally, he currently holds four U.S. Patents, twenty international patents and three copyrights, with others pending.
- Leadership Development
- Software/Hardware Development
- Online Business/Supply Chain
Anthony Presley went from being a Navy brat to living in Lubbock, Texas to go to school at Texas Tech University, enrolled in the EE/CS programs. He studied and worked hard, and launched several businesses while in college, and loved to work in a fast paced “get stuff done” environment.
Passionate about business growth, Anthony helped customers all over the world grow their business through outsourced strategic and tactical roles – with clients ranging from publishing moguls to patent attorneys, from telecom companies to medical devices. He delivered growth and happiness for customers and team members all over the globe and was able to take advantage of a number of opportunities to branch into roles in marketing and sales while running national ad campaigns online and shooting television commercials.
Anthony's enjoys growing and leading entrepreneurial efforts and helping innovators get ideas out the door and a business built around their execution.
- Do's & Don'ts of early stage company formation
- IP/Tech transfer
- SBIR/STTR Funding
- Angel/VC Investing
Ryan Reber is a Major Accounts Sales Executive with ADP for the West Texas region. In this role, he works with mid-size and large business owners to uncover needs and provide both software and people solutions to their organization. These solutions streamline the way companies manage the back office processes, control labor cost, and improve risk and compliance, leading to a maximized workforce for a given business.
Additionally, Reber serves as the Executive Director for the Lubbock Angel Network (LAN), an investment network that looks to invest in early stage technology based ventures across the region and country. Reber helped co-found the group, and in his role screens investment opportunities and manages portfolio investments. He has invested in 7 start-ups ranging from software to fintech to medical devices to drug therapies.
Prior to his roles with ADP and LAN he spent four years at the Texas Tech University Office of Technology Commercialization. Initially working as a Technology Manager, he was responsible for overseeing the patent and commercialization process for over 100 Physical Sciences technologies. He also led the crafting, negotiation, and execution of license agreements for technologies in his portfolio yielding approximately $400,000 return to the university.
Ryan holds a B.B.A. in Entrepreneurship and Venture Management from the University of Oklahoma. He also graduated from the Center for Creation of Economic Wealth (CCEW) internship program.
Tanner Myles Thetford
- CFO of Multimillion Service Company
- Business Startup
- Quick Books
- Organization & Direction
Tanner is the husband to an incredibly gifted wife, Magen, and two handsome boys, Myles (2 years) and Truman (9 months). A local product, Tanner graduated from Coronado High School in 2005 and went on to graduate from the only college he applied to, Texas Tech University. Graduating with two bachelor degrees, in Marketing and Management for the business college in 4 years. Tanner is proudly involved with Redeemer church and Phi Delta Theta.
Tanner is currently the owner of Mission Landscape & Maintenance in Lubbock, and full service lawn company that he helped found last spring. With experience in insurance, automobile financing, business startups, sales and oil and gas, Tanner is excited to help others in a way that he would have enjoyed upon receiving his degrees. Ask anyone who knows Tanner and they will confirm his love and passion for Texas Tech University and the city of Lubbock.
- Strategic Planning
- City Revitalization and Growth
- Corporate Management
- Business Consulting
- Banking/ Finance
Connie Wharton is a seasoned business executive with over 35 years of experience in corporate America. She has served in an executive capacity with Texas Instruments, Cox Communications, and Time Warner Cable. In 2008, she retired from Time Warner Cable as President of their Southwest Division. After her retirement from Time Warner Cable, she stated a business consulting practice, and most recently served as Vice-Chairman with Centennial Bank.
I addition to her business ventures, Connie has been quite active in the Lubbock community. Since 2011, she has served as Co-Chair and Chairperson of Imagine Lubbock Together, the business- led Visioning and Strategic Planning effort for the city of Lubbock. She is also a founding Board Member and current Chairperson of the Lubbock Downtown Development Corporation. The LDDC is a for profit corporation whose purpose is to accelerate the growth and development of Downtown Lubbock. She currently sits on the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is a member of the Rawls College of Business Advisory Council. She is also a Past President of the Texas Cable Association.
In 2011, Connie published a book, "Liberty and Justice for Her?". The book explores the representation of women in corporate America, and offers suggestions on improving the representation of women in the C-Suite.
Connie and her husband Larry have two daughters and three grandchildren.
- Vaccine Development
- Dept. of Defense Funding Opportunities
- CDC Biological Select Agent Management
- Molecular Biology
- Recombinant Protein Production/Analysis
- Transgenic Plant Technology
Dr. Robert Webb is a native of Lubbock, TX where he received both his B.S. in biology and his Ph.D. in molecular biology from Texas Tech University. Dr. Webb assumed a postdoctoral appointment at the USDA Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, WV in 1997 where he conducted research in the overwintering response in fruit trees. In 1998 Dr. Webb took a position at the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick in Fredrick, MD. He is currently the Chief of the Molecular Biology Department in the Molecular and Translational Sciences Division. He is the manager of the botulinum and ricin toxin vaccine and therapeutics programs and serves as the chair of the Institutional Biosafety Committee. Dr. Webb has also been an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins University for 14 years where he teaches courses in the graduate school. Dr. Webb also serves on the scientific advisory boards of 4 local colleges and universities. He currently resides with his wife and 3 sons in Western Maryland.
- SBIR Grant Writing
- Product Commercialization
- Market Analytics
- Vaccine Safety testing
- insecticides- uses, poisoning
- Molecular biology and immunology
Lena has more than 2 decades of experience working initially as a biomedical researcher before moving into biotech project management and marketing. She has expertise in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant writing, market research, product commercialization, and product launches for both products and services, and has most recently worked for companies that specialize in clinical trials, biosafety and toxicology testing, and diagnostics for insecticide overexposure. Her passion is preparing all of the market analysis (product design specifications, costing/pricing, sales forecasting) needed for product development, then helping to move those products or services out of R&D and into the marketplace. Lena is a graduate of Allegheny College (B.S., Biology) and George Washington University (MBA, Technology Management).