Mission: Innovation Summit

Virtual Conference
April 21, 2021

Mission: Innovation Summit

The Mission: Innovation Summit is presented in partnership by The UT Dallas Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, The UT Dallas Military and Veteran Center, Capital Factory, and Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars. This event will provide support and guidance to military-affiliated entrepreneurs who are just starting out, launching a product, or looking for federal grant opportunities. Mission: Innovation will feature military-affiliated entrepreneurs to share their stories, workshops and resources for getting started and growing your business, and sessions about grant submissions and working with the military as a business owner.

Military-affiliation is not required to attend, please join us for some great sessions on entrepreneurship and innovation! This event is free and open to the public.


1:00 PM - Welcome: Lisa Adams, Director, Military and Veteran Center, UT Dallas (Air Force)

1:05 PM - Opening remarks: Major General Rich C. Staats, Commanding General, 75th Innovation Command (Army Reserve)

1:25 PM - Blackstone Veteran Initiatives: Jason Santamaria, Managing Director, Portfolio Operations, Blackstone (Marine Corps)

1:30 PM - Keynote: David Goldfein, Senior Advisor, Blackstone Group; General (retired) 21st Chief of Staff, USAF


Getting Started

2:00-2:50 PM: Veteran Founders’ Stories
* Brandon Friedman, Founder & CEO, Rakkasan Tea (Army)
* Jason Hendricks, Founder, Forgot or Knot (Army)
* Leslie Wegner, Owner, North Texas Voice and Speech (Army)
* Moderator: Helena Krusec, Sr. Corporate Venture Associate, Capital Factory

2:50-3:40 PM: Getting Started presented by Bunker Labs
* Amy Bernard, Senior Program Manager, Veteran Economic Opportunity, George W. Bush Institute & Bunker Labs Community Ambassador (Marine Corps)
* Doug Bauer, CEO and Founder of Serac Technology, LLC (Marine Corps)

Launching Your Business

2:00-2:50 PM: Customer Acquisition
* Dave Cass, Director of Business Development, Techstars (Navy)

2:50-3:40 PM: Raise Capital
* Jorge Manresa, Vice President, Federal & Defense Ventures, Capital Factory (Air Force)

Working with the Government

2:00-2:50 PM: Innovating with the DOD
* Art Trevethan, Director of Corporate Ventures, Army Applications Lab
* Benjamin Van Buskirk, Director, NavalX (Navy)
* Alex Goldberg, Joint Technology Acquisition Innovation Officer, Defense Innovation Unit (Air Force)
* Moderator: Pete Poorman, Director of Corporate Relations, Engineering & Computer Science, UT Dallas

2:50-3:40 PM: Government role in partnerships and scaling companies for public good
* Allison Amrhein, Director of Operations, VHA Innovators Network
* Danielle Krakora, VHA Senior Innovation Fellow and EIR (Army)
* Dr. Dallas Blaney, Executive Director, Challenge America (Navy)
* Moderator: Kevin Patel, Founder & CEO, HERMTAC

3:40-4:00 PM - Closing Keynote: Anita C. Roberts, Managing Partner, Silicon Hills Capital (Army)