January 1997 through December 1998
In early 1997, the city of Houston submitted an application to the U.S. Economic Development Administration for a Federal grant to remodel a building owned by the city for use as a non-profit business incubator. Robert Litke, head of the City of Houston's Planning & Development Department, had developed the idea of a technology incubator in Mid-Town Houston. IC2 Institute of The University of Texas at Austin, Dr. George Kozmetsky, and his management staff assisted the city in the early discussions as the Houston leadership team was being formed to launch the initiative. Early support also came from the Greater Houston Partnership and the Johnson Space Center of NASA.
Public meetings were held in the fall of 1997 to announce the grant's award made possible by the support of U.S. Congresswoman, Sheila Jackson Lee. The first few meetings led to agreement that the entity should be an autonomous organization and should focus on emerging companies in four technology sectors:
- information technology
- life sciences
- NASA-originated technology
Dr. Martin Lindenberg was asked to chair the effort, which he did for almost a year and a half, with the help of a handful of key volunteers and early board members. Initial committees were formed to organize the board, plan the facilities, raise the money, create the business plan, etc.
The early and founding champions included some very committed volunteers who dedicated considerable time and energy in developing the plan and marshaling the resources needed to help transition HTC from an idea to an actual entity:
Dr. Martin Lindenberg
Kenneth M. Williams
Many people met frequently for almost one and a half years to breathe life into the HTC. The HTC's appreciation is gratefully expressed to the scores of volunteers whose donation of time, energy and experience made the formation and successful commencement of HTC operations possible on January 4, 1999 with Paul Frison as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Special acknowledgement also needs to be made to the following persons whose involvement helped at crucial junctures:
Dr. Malcolm Gillis
Dr. John Mendelsohn