Steve Guengerich has taken charge at the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Dallas, bringing with him a background in corporate innovation at an Austin startup accelerator and incubator.
As executive director at the institute, Guengerich replaces Jeremy Vickers who left the school earlier this year to become dean of the College of Professional Studies at Dallas Baptist University.
GUENGERICH GETTING TO KNOW DFW ENTREPRENEURIAL LANDSCAPE
The UTD institute’s mission is to use education, training, mentorship, and resources to support students, faculty, and staff in the launch of new businesses and support their growth.
Guengerich, 57, previously was director of corporate innovation for Capital Factory, a startup accelerator and incubator in Austin and he was adviser to Power Group, a new ventures shop in Austin.
According to an interview in The Dallas Morning News, Guengerich has been visiting with Dallas entrepreneurial advocates, attending events, and scouting out a place to locate a Kasita, a small, high-tech house built by an Austin startup.
“We want to enable the next generation of new ventures.”
Here are a few takeaways from his interview with Morning News writer Melissa Repko.
Geungerich said besides venture capital, looking at the diversity of an area’s higher education and the vibrancy of its arts community can help gauge the health of a startup ecosystem.
“Not just the well-patroned art — because that matters and that is important — but also the really avant-garde, edgy, new art across all different dimensions, sculpture, dance, music, visual arts,” he said.
When asked why he was interested in the position at UT Dallas, Geungerich said that when he turned 50, he started thinking about what he hadn’t done yet and decided that teaching at a university would be interesting. He found an opportunity as an adjunct professor at St. Edward’s University, a private school in Austin, where he taught a class in new ventures.
“The first year was a little bit like, ‘Hmm, this is a lot of work.” he told Repko. “The second time was a little easier. I understood. I felt more confident. By the third time I taught, I thought, ‘I could see myself doing this for the long term.”
He then looked for a place that would allow him to also work with mentoring, acceleration environment, but also teach. His search led him to the open position at UT Dallas.
“And, then when I came to the campus, I thought, ‘Wow. This place is amazing,” Guengerich said.
He told Repko that his goals at UT Dallas are simple.
“We want to enable the next generation of new ventures,” he said.