Guest Spotlight: Walter Ulrich – 2008 The Year of Technology

by | Jan 7, 2008 | Community Circle, Guest Spotlights, Tecknowledgy, Week in Geek

This week’s guest spotlight is from Walter Ulrich, President and CEO of the Houston Technology Center. 

Houston, Texas, January 7, 2008 – Mark my words, “2008 will be remembered as the inflection point for transforming the Greater Houston Region from the 20th century leader in oil and gas to a 21st century globally recognized high technology hub.”


How about “Happy New Year” first???  If you are in this region like me, you had better have gotten over celebrating the New Year by January 2nd and on your way to making a difference today and every day in 2008.


What is going on here?  Houston faces a great opportunity and a great challenge!


The challenge is that Houston must generate 600,000 new jobs over the next ten years.  If we do nothing, only 450,000 jobs will be created in Houston: The Oil & Gas equivalent of Detroit!


But a lot is being done.  The Greater Houston Partnership is raising $30 million to $40 million to bring in those incremental 150,000 jobs.


So problem solved?  Not so fast!  We attack the symptoms – job counts and wage rates – but that does not solve the underlying problems.


The Opportunity è the right kinds of jobs.  While we need more oil workers, logistics businesses, retailers, manufacturers and call centers, those kinds of jobs alone will not provide long-term, sustainable economic growth.  High technology employment is the flywheel that builds robust, growing economies.  The entrepreneurial spirit, which Houston has in its very DNA, will favor those who seize the opportunity and meet the challenges head on.


This cannot be accomplished using traditional economic development methods.  And competition, nationally and globally, is fierce, so we must create high technology jobs now.  THIS YEAR!


The stakes are HIGH!  Failure is not an option.  Did I say opportunity???  Under these circumstances, this is NOT an opportunity!  It is an outright OBLIGATION to transform this community and we must do it now.  THIS YEAR!


Houston: one of the richest troves of innovation in the world – thousands of entrepreneurs, tens of thousands of researchers and scientists, great institutions, lots of intellectual property and a regional economic base that rivals some of the largest countries in the world… oil and gas capitol… mega medical centers… $4 billion IT economy…  pioneers in Nanotechnology at Rice University… and NASA’s largest R&D facility.


And yet, “we don’t get no respect.”  If you believe the pundits, Houston is seen as one or two dimensional only with the real innovation elsewhere.


So why is that?  We have not demonstrated long-term sustainable high tech results.   We have the economic capacity; we have built the infrastructure in the last ten years.  We have to deliver the goods.  Now.  THIS YEAR!


The Houston Technology Center is ready to lead.  It is the largest non-profit community-based organization in the region focused exclusively on fostering innovation and driving emerging technology success:  Emerging energy and clean energy technologies, bio/life sciences, IT and web 2.0, 3.0 and beyond, nanotechnology and NASA-related aerospace.


Our full time technology development managers work side-by-side with over 70 emerging technology companies helping them to identify gaps, find customers, raise money, grow and prosper and thrive.  We partner with over a dozen other organizations and work closely with major Universities, economic development organizations, municipalities and the State of Texas.


Our objective is simple: Houston will be a globally recognized technology hub on a par with the most highly lauded technology centers of the last decade.




Go to our website,  Attend the free orientation if you don’t know us.  If you do know us, then join us.  The HTC could not accomplish its mission without the support of the community and we need your help.


If you are a technologist or an entrepreneur, you share with us the challenge, the opportunity and the obligation.  Get engaged, give us your support and actively participate (and financial contributions are always welcome).  Greg, his shiny head and PKF Texas get it è they are actively involved and set a great example.  Make a difference!  Get involved!  RIGHT NOW!



About our guest contributor – Walter Ulrich is President and CEO of the Houston Technology Center, Chairman of the Gulf Coast Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization and active in many community organizations.  Appointed by Governor Perry, he recently completed a two year term as one of the founding members of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund Committee.  He has been CEO of several technology companies, a management consultant to major corporations, an expert witness on technology issues, and was responsible for the first commercially successful email service in the 1970’s.  A former Marine and graduate with a bachelors and master degree from Stevens Institute of Technology, he lives with his wife in Pearland.


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