August 26, 2011

Jack Hart has a broad view of what a bioscience accelerator will do for Temple.

The goal is to assemble an accelerator that spins out companies, creating jobs and products that benefit the local and global communities, Hart said.

Hart began the process of growing an accelerator Wednesday when he signed an agreement with the Temple Health and Bioscience Economic Development District board to serve as consultant and acting director.

Hart has been consulting with the district several months, but this agreement takes that working relationship to a higher level.

At its monthly meeting, the board and Hart went over a list of items to address.

“I’m very results oriented, I’m an engineer and I love to solve problems,” Hart said. “I don’t believe in stirring up a lot of dust and walking away, so we’re going to achieve some things together.”

A couple of items high on the list of “things to do” include completing a marketing and collaboration agreement with the district’s partners, particularly Scott & White, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, Blackland Research.

A list of priorities will provide the board with expectations of work for the director, said Wendell Williams, president of the bioscience district board of directors. It also supplies a focus for the board.

Completing a business plan for the accelerator is high on that list.

Hart said he wants to visit with people who have developed similar accelerators and determine what they did right and what they would do different.

“We’ve got to take advantage of lessons learned,” he said. “I want this to happen in the near term, not the midterm or long-term.”

One goal is to develop a Temple Bioscience REU – Research Experiences for Undergraduates, a local bioscience conference and newsletter.

REUs would provide summer research opportunities for students and Hart views this as a vehicle to expose outstanding college students to Temple and its varied research opportunities.

Hart said he has been interested in building a viable life science community in Central Texas for some time and sees Temple as a probable location.

“As a smaller city, Temple provides a sense of community without the hassles of a metropolitan area,” he said. “Yet, you are close enough to the Austin area to take advantage of what it has to offer.”

One long-term challenge is to build a local infrastructure that offers multiple opportunities for individuals working in biotech fields.

Before someone takes a leap to move across the country to Temple they have to know if the job doesn’t work out there will be another position available in the area, Hart said.

Hart is currently the director of the Texas Medical Device Alliance, an organization established in 2009 to support medical device entrepreneurs from conception to implementation. From 2003 to 2010, he served as assistant chairman of The University of Texas at Austin Department of Biomedical Engineering. He holds a doctorate in aerospace engineering.

He has ties to Temple, and his grandparents and father lived in Temple for a couple of years in the late 1920s. His grandfather was a salesman for R.P. Kincheloe – a company formed in 1919 that manufactured and distributed a variety of medical imaging equipment and supplies – selling imaging devices to Scott & White.

About Temple:
Temple, Texas is a community with a diverse economic base that includes healthcare, distribution and warehousing, and manufacturing as the foundation. Within 180 miles of a population of 17.8 million, Temple is in a strategic location that is central within the southwest U.S. marketplace.