HOUSTON TECHNOLOGY CENTER STAFF
LORI VETTERS // PRESIDENT AND CEO
Lori Vetters is President and CEO of the Houston Technology Center. She is a well-known and highly respected Houston business and civic leader with deep experience working with some of Houston’s major non-profit organizations. She has had substantial board experience with the Greater Houston Partnership, Teach for America and the Houston Zoo. Her extensive background in banking brings a wealth of experience in business leadership and strategy to the Houston Technology Center and to the entrepreneurial community.
Prior to joining HTC, Ms. Vetters was Senior Vice President and Regional Commercial Executive at HSBC Bank plc and has amassed more than 25 years of banking experience in Texas. Previously, Ms. Vetters served as President of her family’s Texas-based businesses, as Regional President of Houston Gulf Coast at Wachovia Corporation and as a Texas-based Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Chase and its predecessor firms.
Ms. Vetters holds a B.S. in Geology from Tulane University and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.
PAUL M. FRISON // VICE CHAIR AND FOUNDER
Founder of the Houston Technology Center, Paul Frison served as its President from 1999-2007. He has been President and/or CEO of three public, technology based companies: LifeMark (1975-1984), NYSE; ComputerCraft (1984-1999), NASDAQ; and LifeCell (1986-1999). He has been involved in numerous other start-ups by serving on the Board of Directors. His broad expe- rience includes many mergers and acquisitions. He has raised multiple rounds of venture capital, two IPOs, and more than a dozen follow-on rounds of public financing.
In 2004 he was honored by the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program and by the Kauffman Foundation as a national finalist for his achievements as Supporter of Entrepreneur- ship. In March 2011 Paul was awarded BusinessMaker of the Year by The BusinessMakers Radio Show.
JOHN W. “JACK” SIM // CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Jack serves as CFO and Vice President of the Houston Technology Center. Jack handles the company’s accounting, finance, human resources and contract management functions, while serving as the HTC’s Corporate Secretary. Among Jack’s accomplishments was receipt of the Houston Business Journal’s 2010 “Best CFO of The Year” in the small nonprofit category.
Jack is a serial entrepreneur and has been active as with entrepreneurial start-up companies for over thirty years. Prior to joining HTC, he helped found several environmental and chemical technology companies. Jack was a principal in NECO Technologies, Inc., which patented a novel carbon dioxide removal technology to allow a power facility to operate as a qualified cogeneration plant. He also founded several related entities that developed water treatment and chemical technologies. Earlier in his career, he served as Vice President of Operations for a worldwide chemical distributor. In addition, he has helped found his wife’s successful retail florist operation.
Jack is originally from Chicago, where he received his undergraduate degree in Mathematics from St. Xavier University. He is active in his community and has served on the boards of several community and business associations.
HTC ACCELERATION DIRECTORS
JANE LEA HICKS // DIRECTOR, HTC SOUTH
Jane Lea directs client acceleration activities and community outreach for HTC’s South Campus. She provides guidance to client companies, helping them with strategic planning to accelerate commercial growth. Her expertise is in the transitioning of developing groundbreaking technologies into viable commercial products and successfully introducing new products to the marketplace.
As a business consultant since 1999, Jane Lea has provided strategic guidance to multiple local start-up companies including Chrysalis BioTechnology, Medgraft Microtech and NovoSci. She served as president of Medgraft Microtech, a dermal filler company from 2002 to 2004 and more recently served as President of Digital Media Marketing Group, an internet marketing company and Vice President Business Development for MTM Innovative Solutions a Kentucky-based medical device company. From 1986 to 1999, Jane Lea was Vice President Business Development and Strategic Planning with LifeCell Corporation, an early technology spin-out from the University Of Texas Health Sciences Center, where she pioneered the commercialization of human tissue products. Jane Lea received her BA from University of North Carolina, Greensboro and completed advanced post-graduate studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.
DEBORAH MANSFIELD // DIRECTOR, LIFE SCIENCES ACCELERATION
Deborah Mansfield serves as the Director of Acceleration for the life sciences sector, providing strategic and tactical management, as well as investment-related advice to Houston-area early stage companies developing innovative technologies applied in the life sciences industry. She has an extensive background in business development, management, non-equity funding, entrepreneurship, compliance, and research in the life sciences sector. She has provided operations support to the Governor’s Council on Science and Biotechnology Development and currently acts as associate director for the Gulf Coast Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization, Texas Emerging Technology Fund.
Prior to joining HTC, Ms. Mansfield served in a number of management and research roles at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. She is an active advisory board member for ACCION Texas, Lone Star College-Montgomery Biotechnology Institute, University of Houston Biotechnology Industrial Advisory Committee, Nurtured by Design, Laser Tissue Welding, Inc., Fairway Medical Technologies, Inc. and Rice Alliance for Technology & Entrepreneurship, as well as, in leadership roles for the Bio/Medical Technology Club of Houston and Gulf Coast Medical Device Manufactures.
Ms. Mansfield holds a Masters of Business Administration from Our Lady of the Lake University, MS from Pennsylvania State University, and BS from California State University of Pennsylvania.
RACHELLE ASPAN // DIRECTOR, IT ACCELERATION
Rachelle serves at the Director of Client Acceleration for the Information Technology Sector. She provides tactical business expertise to Houston based startup companies within the HTC Client program. Rachelle is a proficient financial professional with extensive experience in managerial and executive level finance and technology related positions. She has worked with both private and public companies including working with 3rd party proprietary technologies. She has managed teams responsible for the implementation and maintenance of proprietary software as well as assisted companies with various transitions or expansions into the commercial space.
NICK TILLMANN // DIRECTOR, ENERGY ACCELERATION
Nick Tillmann serves as the Director of Client Acceleration for the Energy Sector. Mr. Tillmann is a seasoned energy executive whose experience includes more than 25 years with ConocoPhillips. . He managed the company’s $500 MM global petroleum coke business, led strategy management for European businesses and started from scratch the company’s operations in Poland. Other roles included international crude oil supply operations, lubricants and the commercialization of technology-based products such as flow improvers, advanced separation systems and carbon products.
Nick has lived and worked in Austria, Ireland, Poland, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom and has led business development projects in the US, Europe, South America and the Middle East. He speaks German and Polish, and has a working knowledge of Czech and Spanish. Nick has served as Chairman of the Biofuels Taskforce for the Great Houston Partnership, and is a Director with Silver Fox Advisors. He has been an Energy & IT Advisor for the Houston Technology Center since 2009.
RUBEN DERDERIAN // DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL ACCELERATION
Ruben Derderian is an accomplished corporate leader and entrepreneur with more than 35 years of executive-level business experience. His expertise in strategic planning, competitor analysis, and product development and launch give him a rich skill set with which to assist companies in all phases ranging from concept development, business plan development, funding, and sustainable profitable growth.
At the Houston Technology Center, he serves as Director of International Acceleration working with international companies who wish to establish their technologies in the US Gulf Coast market.
CHARLES WOHL // MANAGING DIRECTOR, HTC NORTH CAMPUS
Mr. Wohl helped launch our North Campus in partnership with HARC (Houston Advanced Research Center). He is responsible for campus incubation and acceleration efforts for client companies and the overall direction of the Innovators in the Woods program. The Innovators are building companies focused on solutions to sustainability, air quality, clean energy, water quality and supply, in collaboration with the HARC mission; building a sustainable future that helps people thrive and nature flourish.
His record of achievement in technology driven industries has allowed Mr. Wohl to leverage his experience in domestic and world markets to identify, negotiate and lead successful product and business development initiatives. As an intrapreneur within major corporations and as a serial entrepreneur, he is skilled in product development, licensing, operations management, and market entry and sales. Mr. Wohl graduated California State University-Long Beach after studies in Journalism and Marketing. He completed further graduate degrees at the University of Southern California in Industrial and Systems Engineering and Management. He is an Eagle Scout, a named inventor on multiple patents and also a member of both the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) and the Institute of Navigation (ION).
MIKE MUELLER // DIRECTOR, HTC WEST
Mike Mueller is working in a business development role with HTC recently creating the new HTC West office in the Energy Corridor. With the January 2017 HTC West opening in Republic Square entrepreneurs and those interested in Houston’s startup ecosystem who live in the greater Katy area and Houston west side will enjoy local incubation services. In addition to the HTC West initiative, Mueller serves as an Energy mentor and received the first Paul Frison Mentor Award.
Prior to his work with HTC Mueller worked at Amoco and BP for 29 years, with asset assignments across most US lower 48 and Gulf of Mexico basins and extensive technology development work with worldwide applications. These included significant experiences in the North Sea, Mediterranean, Caspian, North Africa, Australia and Trinidad. His roles included managerial leadership in worldwide technology development and application. Mueller also worked in the startup world with executive roles at MicroSeismic, Inc, helping triple sales and introducing engineering product lines. Throughout his career Mueller has made extensive professional society contributions in the geophysical and petroleum engineering areas, along with numerous technical and media oriented publications.