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Andrews Accelerator Teams Meet their Executives in Residence

Photo of Entrepreneur in Residence Jeff Williams meets with members of the Rythcor Andrews Launch Accelerator team and Lewis Sheats, NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic director.
Entrepreneur in Residence Jeff Williams meets with members of the Rhythcor Andrews Launch Accelerator team and Lewis Sheats, NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic director.

In the last week of June, four teams of NC State student entrepreneurs met – via phone, Skype and in person – with their executives in residence as part of their participation in the 2017 NC State Andrews Launch Accelerator program. The student startup teams were introduced to their executives in residence during individual sessions at the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, located on the top floor of HQ Raleigh. Following are brief profiles about this summer’s EIRs, including their reason for participating and a few tips for effective mentor-mentee relationships.

Assureware Executive in Residence: Tom Collopy (by phone)

Photo of Assureware Exec in Residence Tom Collopy at the eClinic in HQ Raliegh
Assureware Exec in Residence Tom Collopy had an early morning phone meeting with his Accelerator startup team, then returned to the eClinic for another meeting that afternoon.

Q. Why did you decide to participate in this mentorship program?

I enjoy working with students with an interest in entrepreneurship and I wanted to support the work NC State and the Andrews Accelerator was doing. Lewis Sheats and Chip Andrews are making a difference with local startups and I wanted to help in that effort.

Q. What attracted you to the startup Assureware?

I’ve been mentoring the CEO, David Tillack, for some time now. In addition, I have experience in the company’s target market of personal safety and security. I thought my experience at Securus could help them.

Tips for making a mentorship experience work, for both mentee and mentor.

For the mentor, I think it comes from a motivation to give back and pass along your experience to the next generation. For mentees, I think it comes from learning to trust someone that is not motivated by personal gain but rather a basic desire to help. In general, you know you have a good mentee/mentor relationship when the mentee feels comfortable talking freely about the real issues they are facing in their business. That’s also when the mentor can be the most help.

Your Background:

  • Groundworker-in-residence: NC Idea Groundwork Labs, Durham, N.C., June 2016-present
  • Soar Core Advisor: NC Idea SoarTriangle, June 2017-present
  • Embedded advisor to startups: Protopia, Malartu, Cultivate Inc., Acumentica, among others, 2016-present
  • Adams Apprenticeship Coach and Advisor: UNC Kenan Flagler Business School, October 2016-present
  • Mentor: NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, 2015-present
  • Principal Advisor: Acumentica, 2011 to present
  • Various roles: including acting chief technology officer, chief executive olfficer, board member and fiduciary for Securus Inc., ranging from 2012 to present
  • Advisor: Freeus, LLC, 2015-2016
  • Vice president of engineering and Processor Design Center co-founder: Qualcomm, 2003-2011
  • Co-founder: Xcella, 2002-03
  • Program director: Embedded PowerPC: IBM, 1998-2002
  • Software manager: Ford Motor Company, 1997-1998
  • Engineering and management positions: IBM: 1983-1997
  • Education: bachelor of science, electrical engineering, University of Michigan; master’s, electrical engineering, Syracuse University

Personal Mission: To help startups avoid mistakes of inexperience and to make better decisions through mentoring, advising, embedded advising and ‘acting CTO’ services.

Your Passion: Advising startups on all the decisions they face and helping the CEOs of startups grow businesses that lead to job creation in the Triangle.

Kast Clothing Executive in Residence: Jason Mueller (via skype)

Photo of Jason Mueller meeting his startup team Kast Clothing via Skype
Jason Mueller met his startup team, Kast Clothing, via Skype

Q. Why did you decide to participate in this mentorship program?

I’ve been continually impressed with the quality of the students coming out of the NC State entrepreneurial programs. I’ve been fortunate enough to host the Silicon Valley tour here in San Francisco the past several years and love seeing it grow. Ultimately, I enjoy being a resource to increase access to the West Coast with respect to capital, talent, partnerships, and potential customers.

What attracted you to the startup, Kast Clothing?

The team. As with most early stage companies, you’re pivoting every day. It takes a strong team to endure the always-on roller coaster of uncertainty. The Kast Team has a great mix of technical and business talent that will enable them to effectively prioritize towards their north star.

Tips for making a mentorship experience work, for both mentee and mentor.

For the mentor, the engagement should be a balance of providing the tools, process, and lessons learned to allow the team to focus on finding product-market fit. To be effective, the mentees should schedule meetings on a regular cadence, notes should be taken and shared, and action items should follow.

Your Background:

  • San Francisco-based Product Leader with over 10 years experience building products people love.
  • Studied computer and electrical engineering and business management at NC State University before taking a leave of absence to co-found MyFit, an education analytics company that was funded by New Enterprise Associates, and later acquired by Naviance, Inc.
  • With a growing interest in launching features at scale, I joined the Consumer Product Team at Yelp, coordinating with various groups to push new features to millions of users, leading up to Yelp’s successful IPO in 2012. Shortly thereafter, I joined ClearSlide, an enterprise SaaS company, as their first product hire where I helped drive the product roadmap, implemented agile processes, and developed the product team.
  • In April 2014, I joined Eatsa–a mission-driven company focused on making nutritious, delicious food accessible to all through a fully automated brick and mortar experience–as their first employee and Head of Product. I currently lead the product vision and roadmap for the mobile and in-store ordering experiences, the dynamic in-store environment, and the supporting back-of-house operational applications. Today, Eatsa employs hundreds of humans and operates locations throughout San Francisco, DC and New York, and I continue to work hard alongside the executive team to bring Eatsa to the rest of the world.
  • In my free time, I enjoy screenwriting, attempting gourmet culinary arts implementing only Costco bulk ingredients, and spending time with my Formosan Mountain Dog, Mochi.

Personal Mission: To make great products more accessible.

Your Passion: To make humans laugh

Rhythcor Executive in Residence: Jeff Williams

Photo of Accelerator Exec in Residence Jason Miller meeting with his team at the Entrepreneurship Clinic in HQ Raleigh
Andrews Accelerator Executive in Residence Jeff Williams met with his team at the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic in HQ Raleigh

Q. Why did you decide to participate in this mentorship program?

I have started and run several companies and felt I could give back some of what I have learned over the years.

What attracted you to the startup Rhythcor?

The team is creating their own space; it is not a knock off or a me-too type of product.

Tips for making a mentorship experience work, for both mentee and mentor.

  1. Employ open two-way communication.
  2. Have flexibility of thought; don’t get dug in on initial thinking.
  3. Don’t expect to know all the answers.

Your Background:

  • CEO and founder: Clinipace, 2003-present. Clinipace is a digital clinical research organization that provides technology-driven clinical services for phase I-IV clinical trials and registries.
  • Director and member of the board, Cathedral Corporation, 1998-present
  • Director and member of the board, Campbell Alliance, 2007-2011
  • President and co-founder, MediaSpan, 2001-2003
  • CEO, NextAudio, 1999-2001
  • Vice president, marketing and sales and co-founder, Healthmatics, 1995-1999. The company was bought by A4 Healthsystems, a current market leader, 1995-1999
  • Sales, marketing and business development, Ciba (Novartis) and GlaxoSmithKline, 1983-1995
  • Education: Bachelor of science, chemistry and business, University of Tampa

Personal Mission: To stay as healthy and fit for as long as possible

Your Passion: My family, cars, biking, competitive shooting

Simplify Cosmetics Executive in Residence: Barbara Mulkey

Photo of Simplify Cosmetics Executive in Residence: Barbara Mulkey, P.E. meeting with Simplify Cosmetics' founder Cortney Cox at the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic in Raleigh
Simplify Cosmetics Executive in Residence: Barbara Mulkey, P.E. met with Simplify Cosmetics’ founder Cortney Cox at the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic in Raleigh

Q. Why did you decide to participate in this mentorship program?

Before I started my own business in 1993, I had no idea that I would find that the role of entrepreneurship fit me like a glove! It was such a personal revelation to me to discover how energized I was when I was creating a new business. I don’t want students to have to wait to discover this about themselves until they are midway through their careers; I want to be a part of encouraging them give it a try, because they, too, may find that entrepreneurship inspires passion in them the way it has for me. I am also a firm believer that America’s successful economic future hinges in no small part on its ability to develop and support entrepreneurs and small business.

Q. What attracted you to the startup, Simplify Cosmetics?

Cortney shows so many attributes of an entrepreneurial leader, and I knew I would enjoy working with a bright, creative young woman. Additionally, I like the idea of developing new products that shorten and simplify the morning routine.

Tips for making a mentorship experience work, for both mentee and mentor.

First of all, there needs to be an understanding of mutual expectations. Secondly, both parties must make the mentorship experience a priority, coming to meetings prepared. Most importantly, a mentor is most valuable to a mentee when she not only shares her own wisdom and experiences but also shares her network and her circle of influence.

Your Background:

  • Director, General H. Hugh Shelton Leadership Center, July 2016 to present
  • Founder, Mulkey Engineers & Consultants, Cary, N.C., 1993-2006 as president and 2006-2015 as chairman of the board. She grew the business from a one-person home office to a Top 500 engineering company nationally. Mulkey Engineers now employs 135 people and operates offices in Cary and Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta and Columbus, Ga.
  • Chairperson, Triangle Universities Center for Academic Studies (TUCASI).
  • Member, Research Triangle Foundation board.
  • Former member, University of North Carolina Board of Trustees, 2007 to 2015, serving as chair 2011-2013; boards of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science; the NC State Engineering Foundation; and the NC State Board of Visitors.
  • Professional associations: President and national director, American Council of Engineering Companies of N.C.; fellow, American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • Received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the NC State College of Engineering.
  • Inductee, North Carolina Transportation Hall of Fame and the Leadership Raleigh Hall of Fame.
  • Member, Hope Community Church.

Personal Mission: To serve as a catalyst for motivated individuals and communities to take a positive step forward through education, job matching and economic improvement.

Your Passion: Education and improving the quality of life throughout North Carolina.