Mitch Jacobson, Executive Director
Mitch is the executive director of The 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 and the ED of the SW I-Corps Node at UT. As the past director of the Clean Energy Incubator at ATI, Mitch helped build the $2.5B cleantech ecosystem in Central Texas over the past eight years. He has over 20 years in the tech world in executive sales positions at Dell and Tech Data. He is the founder of the Eyes of Texas Partners Angel Group. 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. He and his wife Janna have three children and two grandchildren.
Schedule a mentorship meeting with Mitch here.
Nina Ho, Director
In addition to being the director of The LaunchPad at The University of Texas at Austin, Nina Ho is also an entrepreneur, creative director, and educator. She is the founder of collective blue—a lifestyle brand that celebrates diverse creators through digital storytelling and event production as well as missfits productions—an annual festival and event series for self-identifying Asian American women in entrepreneurship and the arts. Nina has been recognized in publications such as Business Insider, Austin Monthly, and Austin Woman for her work. Nina has a B.S. in advertising, B.A. in French, Portuguese minor, and a Bridging Disciplines certificate in “Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship” from The University of Texas at Austin.
Schedule a mentorship meeting with Nina here.
Shannon Lundquist, Program Coordinator
Nicknamed “Mom” of The LaunchPad, Shannon works as the Program Coordinator where she manages operations, supervises students, assists with events and special projects. She joined the entrepreneur community through the Austin Technology Incubator, the university’s business and technology incubator, where she was the office manager for twelve years managing grants, equity contracts and operations. Shannon was awarded the University of Texas Outstanding Staff Award in 2011, and is a proud veteran of the United States Navy where she was a hospital corpsman specializing in physical therapy. During her military service she continued her education on a B.S. in Healthcare Management degree, was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal twice for meritorious service, and was a Color Guard for the Naval Medical Center San Diego before she was honorably discharged. Shannon and her husband currently live in Northwest Austin with their two sons.
Bart Bohn, Director of SEAL & Special Projects
He/Him/His | LinkedIn
Bart is a serial entrepreneur in building entrepreneurship programs (and his own occasional startups). In that journey, Bart founded 3 Day Startup to provide learning-by-doing entrepreneurship education programs to college students; ATI Water to reduce embedded water in agriculture, energy production, and manufacturing; WaterRIOT to get internet-of-things technologists to focus on our water infrastructure; SEAL (Student Entrepreneur Acceleration and Launch) to transition the most promising university-sourced startups to the mainstream startup ecosystem; and Build Sec Foundry to help veterans launch cybersecurity startups. His own startups were members of Techstars, Capital Factory, and Austin Technology Incubator. In all, startups he supported have gone onto raise over $1B in capital and already realized $800m in exits.
Schedule a mentorship meeting with Bart here.
Barrett Ann Ward, Marketing Manager
Barrett is The LaunchPad’s Marketing Manager and a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. She has six years of experience in content creation, art direction, and project management, as well as ten years of experience in leadership development within higher education. Barrett owns Trajectory, a leadership + career development consulting firm for young professionals. She also runs social media for The Austinot, a hyperlocal Austin lifestyle blog. Barrett has been asked to speak at multiple national conferences on topics such as career growth, effective management, and next-gen marketing. Barrett believes in an experience-first approach to career development. When she was sixteen, she completed a 400-hour internship with Obama For America for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. She lives in Austin with her fiance and her dog, Rory.
Schedule a mentorship meeting with Barrett here.
Starting in fall 2019, we launched our Student Innovation Fellows program in which we hired undergraduate students from all backgrounds to treat the LaunchPad as a startup and help us tackle our business challenges. While our staff set the priorities for our daily operations, students lead the initiatives. From proposing a content marketing strategy to expand our reach to more students, producing events from the ground up, to developing a data system to track student founders along their journey, our Innovation Fellows are empowered to build an entrepreneurial experience that aligns with their personal interests and goals.
If you’re interested in becoming a LaunchPad Innovation Fellow, please email our Director, Nina Ho, for more information.
Corey Li (He/Him/His)
Josie Salinas (She/Her/Hers)
Josie is a second-year Radio-Television-Film major and plans to add public relations as her second major. She has been the publicity officer for the Mexican American Culture Committee for two semesters and volunteers in several organizations including Texas Student Television and the San Antonio Humane Society. Josie is originally from the city of Monterrey in Mexico but moved to the US during middle school. She has a passion for filmmaking, especially cinematography, and using different types of media to tell stories. Josie is very excited to join the LaunchPad team and expand her skills while creating a variety of graphics for social media.
Nathan Hughes (He/Him/His)
Sirah Diallo (She/Her/Hers)