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Meet Our Staff

Mitch Jacobson Mitch Jacobson

Mitch is the Executive Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at The University of Texas at Austin. He also serves as the Director of the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) – the university’s business and technology incubator. As the past director of the Clean Energy Incubator at ATI, Mitch helped build the $2.5B clean tech ecosystem in Central Texas over the past 8 years. He was recently awarded “Volunteer of the Year for Economic Development” by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. In 2016, he was named “Mentor of the Year” in Austin by the Young Men’s Business League and the Young Women’s Alliance as part of Austin Under 40.

His 30-year career includes serving as VP of Sales & Operations for Tech Data Corporation and a number of executive positions at Dell Technologies in the U.S., Europe, and beyond. Mitch founded the Eyes of Texas Partners angel investment group in 1999 in Austin. He serves on the Board of Directors/Advisors at The Nature Conservancy, the UT Environmental Science Institute, Texas Foundation of Innovative Communities, The Austin Forum, and EcoRise. Mitch earned a BSBA in business and marketing from the University of Florida and pursued his MBA at the University of South Florida. He and his wife Janna have three children and two grandchildren.

Jamie Beard Jamie Beard
Assistant Director

Jamie serves as the Assistant Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at The University of Texas at Austin. An energy and environmental attorney by training, Jamie worked as an associate attorney at the international law firm WilmerHale after graduating from Boston University School of Law. She then joined an MIT clean technology spin-off as Vice-President of Strategic Development, where she led legal, marketing, public relations and fundraising efforts. Jamie is a passionate advocate for K-12 STEM education and clean energy initiatives. She has been featured with her team on the White House “Champions of Change” website, and her speaking engagements include symposia at institutions including MIT, Harvard, and the New England Board of Higher Education.

Shannon Lundquist Shannon Lundquist
Program Coordinator

Shannon serves as the Program Coordinator at the Blackstone LaunchPad at The University of Texas at Austin. In her 18 years of working in education, she has worked as a physical education teacher and office manager in the private sector. She most recently served as the Office Manager for the Austin Technology Incubator, the startup incubator of the University of Texas at Austin, where she was responsible for, among other things, membership and equity contracts for their participating startups.

Shannon is near completion of a B.S. degree in healthcare management from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She was awarded the 2011 University of Texas Outstanding Staff Award and is a veteran of the United States Navy where she was a hospital corpsman and later a physical therapy technician. She was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal (with gold star in lieu of second award) for meritorious service during Operation Desert Shield and was a member of the Honor (Color) Guard during military ceremonies and events before being honorably discharged. She worked as a licensed physical therapy assistant after leaving the military before moving “back home” to Texas with her family. Shannon now resides in Austin with her husband and two sons.