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Meet Our Community Mentors

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Richard AmatoRichard Amato
Richard is an advisor to ATI Clean Energy companies, he founded the ATI Clean Energy Incubator in 2001 and currently heads up the IC² Institute global energy initiatives, including the World Bank Climate Innovation Center Program in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Vietnam. Richard is also the Founder, President and CEO of Venti Energy, a renewable development company dedicated to increasing the supply of clean and reliable energy and he has an MBA in entrepreneurship and management from UT Austin and BS in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M.


Mitch JacobsonMitch Jacobson
Mitch is the Director of the Austin Technology Incubator and the Blackstone LaunchPad at The University of Texas at Austin. He has been the lead advisor to all ATI Energy companies since 2009 and he helped build the $2.5B clean tech sector and ecosystem in Central Texas. He has spent 30 years in technology, including running European and Direct sales for Dell and a $7 billion P&L for Tech Data Corporation as VP of Sales. He was the founder of Eyes of Texas Partners angel investment group in 1999 and is a board member of CleanTX and of TFIC. He is active in community service, including advisory board member of the Nature Conservancy, the UT Environmental Science Institute, and EcoRise. He has a BSBA in business and marketing from University of Florida and MBA studies from the University of South Florida.


Dr. Lisa McDonaldDr. Lisa McDonald
Lisa is the lead advisor to all medical technology companies in the ATI Bioscience Portfolio, she is a physician, entrepreneur, and technologist with expertise in the commercialization of medical devices, digital health, telemedicine, and emerging technologies. Lisa is also the founder of a consulting company that connects investors with high impact healthcare tech. She is the innovation advisor for the Houston Technology Center, a judge for the Rice Business Plan Competition, and judge for the US China Innovation Alliance InnoSTARS competition. Lisa has an MD from Yale University School of Medicine, Master of Science in technology commercialization (MSTC) from McCombs, and BS (chemistry, Dean’s Scholars Honors Program) with high honors from UT Austin where she was elected Phi Beta Kappa.


Mark MurdockMark Murdock
Mark Murdock is a technology lawyer with over 30 years of experience at IBM specializing in technology and product development, as well as manufacturing and licensing. Following IBM, Mark was with Thompson & Knight L.L.P. for 5 years, working closely with early stage technology, clean energy and life sciences companies in Austin. Mark is an Entrepreneur In Residence at UT Austin in the Cockrell School of Engineering and a founding mentor at the Innovation Hub at Research Park at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Mark has mentored and coached early stage companies in Austin in connection with Longhorn Startups, SXSW-ECO, Clear Tech Open, the Baylor New Venture Competition, the Rice Business Plan Competition, the ATI-SEAL program, the Texas Tech Innovation Hub, and the St. Edward’s University Business Plan Competition. Mark has been on the board of directors of a publicly-held corporation as well as a member of advisory boards of the Bill Munday School of Business, TeXchange Austin, and of the National Association of Corporate Directors in Austin. He holds a mechanical engineering degree from Texas Tech University and a law degree from UT Austin.


Dr. Gregory PogueDr. Gregory Pogue
Greg is the Interim Executive Director of the IC² Institute of UT Austin. At IC² he has led research, instructional and implementation programs surrounding technology commercialization, early venture creation and entrepreneurship. He has extensive technology commercialization experience through senior positions in venture capital, entrepreneurial ventures, and technology transfer offices and as a scientific innovator. He has held vice-president or above positions in six startup enterprises: one realized a successful public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange; a second was acquired by a Fortune 500 company; three obtained large licensing deals with industry leaders; and the last is in clinical stage development. He has authored over 60 original scientific articles and reviews and is an inventor on over 35 issued and pending U.S. patents.


Dr. Mark SandersDr. Mark Sanders
Mark is the lead advisor to all ATI Transportation + Mobility companies and has spent 20 years working in sustainable infrastructure and cleantech. He is the founder of TurnKey Environmental (acquired in 2003) and T3E (acquired in 2009). Mark is also the founder of the Rosenfeld Society, a nonprofit organization promoting commercialization of cleantech from research institutions. He is active in community service, including Austin City UP, the Texas Energy Poverty Research Institute, Texas Renewable Energy Industry Alliance, and SPEER. He has a PhD in engineering from UT Austin and an MBA in entrepreneurship from Babson.


George SchaeferGeorge Schaefer
George Schaefer has over 25 years of finance experience in the domestic and international electric and renewable energy industries. He specializes in finance, transaction structuring, mergers, acquisitions, disposals and corporate leadership. George is an active member of the Central Texas Angel Network, the Capital Factory, Austin Technology Incubator, and the Clean Technology Open where he mentors and invests in early stage startups in the energy and technology industries. He currently serves on the advisory boards of several startups in the Austin area. George has served on the boards of the Maxwell School for Public Affairs at Syracuse University, the School of Public Affairs at American University and the Center for Environmental Policy in Washington, DC. He has his Masters degree from Syracuse University and his Bachelor’s degree from American University.


Dr. Charles UpshawDr. Charles Upshaw
Charles is the lead Instigator of Water RIOT program and postdoctoral researcher in the Webber Energy Group. He is a co-founder of IdeaSmiths LLC, a consulting firm specializing in early stage energy and water technology vetting and techno-economic analysis. Charles was named a ‘Forbes 30 Under 30’ in Energy for 2017. He was a co-captain and project engineer of UT/TUM’s Solar Decathlon Team (Nexushaus) in 2015. He earned a BS (’10) , MS (’12), and PhD (’16) in mechanical engineering from UT Austin.


Dr. Robert D. VillwockDr. Robert D. Villwock
Robert is the Strategic Researcher Liaison in the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) at UT Austin. In this role, Dr. Villwock engages the research community at UT to connect with OTC more effectively. He facilitates and promotes the transfer of research into intellectual property by providing technical analysis, assessments, and outreach, especially at the early stages of the patent process. Previously at UT, Dr. Villwock was Associate Director of the Center for Electrochemistry from 2009 through 2016, where he developed research funding from government, industry, and private sources, and facilitated researchers in the commercialization process. Prior to that, he was principal in his own consultancy specializing in chemical engineering, process development, and intellectual property management. He has held senior-level research positions in startups Golden Bear Ceramics and Mobius Technologies. Dr. Villwock began his career doing product and process development for several different groups within Dow Chemical, including the research team that successfully launched a recycled plastics business in the 1990s. Dr. Villwock is an inventor on nine U.S. Patents. He holds a B.S. in polymer science and engineering from Case Western Reserve University and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.


Dr. Michael WebberDr. Michael Webber
Michael provides leadership support for ATI Clean Energy companies, he is also the Assistant Director of the UT Energy Institute and Associate Director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy in the Jackson School of Geosciences. Michael is a Fellow of the Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, an Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Webber is the author of more than 75 scientific articles, columns, books, including a compendium of his commentary titled Changing the Way America Thinks About Energy. Michael earned a BA (Plan II liberal arts) and BS (aerospace engineering), both with high honors, from UT Austin, M.S. (mechanical engineering) and Ph.D. (mechanical engineering, minor in electrical engineering) from Stanford University, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow from 1995-1998.


Schedule a meeting with a mentor.