Frisco-based NTEC names new executive director
By HANAH CHO
Frisco-based NTEC named a new executive director on Thursday amid signals that it plans to tweak the medical technology incubator’s direction.
Serial entrepreneur and Frisco resident John Miller replaced Larry Calton, who helped launch the North Texas Enterprise Center in May 2003 and served as its executive director since then. Miller started his new job on Feb. 11.
Additionally, Hubert K. Zajicek, NTEC’s managing director of medical technology, also recently left his position after more than five years. Reached by email, Zajicek declined to comment on his exit.
In a brief interview, Miller said Calton was ready to move on while Zajicek’s goals did not “align with the vision we had with NTEC.” Miller called Zajicek’s exit a “matter of choice on his part, pretty much.”
“We wanted to change direction,” Miller said, noting the incubator was not ready to reveal its plans.
Miller added, however, that the incubator does not plan to abandon life sciences, which includes biotechnology and medical devices.
Miller said he also hopes to sustain the annual MedVentures conference, which was organized by Zajicek. The event highlighted medical technology startups and innovation.
“What I could say is we certainly will maintain our interest in life sciences, which we have been pursuing for 10 years,” he said.
Still, Miller noted that funding capital for life sciences was dismal last year.
Venture capital investment in life sciences nationwide and in North Texas saw double-digit decreases in 2012, according to the MoneyTree report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association. The report is based on data provided by Thomson Reuters.
Nationwide, biotechnology and medical devices sectors secured $1 billion less funding last year compared with 2011, according to the MoneyTree report. And of the total $6.7 billion in life sciences funding, Texas represented a tiny silver of the pie, or $227 million.
Over the past few years, NTEC has been expanding its focus to include power technology and cyber security. The public-private partnership is headed by the Frisco Economic Development Corp.
The incubator currently hosts 25 early-stage companies.
Miller is the former chief executive of Plano-based YLG Holdings, a large commercial landscape company. Miller also has executive experience in the wind energy and telecommunications industries.
In a prepared statement, NTEC board chairman Ken Hawari said, “John’s experience and track record as a senior corporate executive and successful serial entrepreneur are well suited to advancing NTEC’s mission, and we believe he will bring new energy and fresh ideas to the job of identifying and attracting high-quality development stage companies to Frisco.”
Hawari also praised Calton for his decade-long tenure.
Calton could not be reached for comment Thursday. He plans to continue working with entrepreneurs in North Texas, according to the news release.
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