By: Kendall Louis
Darlene Boudreaux, a retired pharma entrepreneur who nurtured new generations of entrepreneurs as executive director of the TechFW incubator, said Wednesday she was stepping down from her post after 12 years and would remain a coach for the organization.
Hayden Blackburn, TechFW’s assistant director, was promoted to executive director, Maxwell Lea, chair of the TechFW board of directors, said.
“Hayden has shown himself to be a thoughtful, capable and visionary leader who will enable TechFW to continue to be effective catalyst for innovative technology companies in our area,” Lea said in a release.
Boudreaux, who was drawn out of retirement to take the post of TechFW, founded the Cowtown Angels angel investing group out of TechFW in 2012. Angels investors secured their first exit more than a year ago, with the $465 million sale of Encore Vision – a TechFW client and incubator tenant – to Novartis. Encore Vision founder Bill Burns developed an eye drop that ameliorates nearsightedness, a common condition that affects millions of people.
“I have been impressed with Hayden’s knowledge, work ethic and temperament,” Boudreaux said in a release. “His ability to listen, understand and lead are qualities that are beneficial for TechFW, its clients, and its partners. He has been a strong leader for the Cowtown Angels group and has enabled us to improve and expand our services for technology-based companies.”
Boudreaux will continue parttime with TechFW as a coach for TechFW clients, “especially those in the life science industry,” TechFW said. Boudreaux co-founded and was CEO of PharmaFab, a Grand Prairie third-party pharma manufacturer, from 1994 to 2006. She grew revenues to $28 million before selling the company. At TechFW, a significant number of clients are in life sciences. The organization, founded more than 20 years ago, takes on clients in various stages of startup and nurtures them.
Blackburn has been assistant director of TechFW since leaving his post as executive director of Fort Worth’s IDEA Works FW incubator in December 2016.
Blackburn “has been engaged in all TechFW programs,” TechFW said, “most notably” the ThinkLab program, for founders at least working on a technology they want to market; Cowtown Angels; partnership with the EpiCMavs startup lounge at the University of Texas at Arlington; TechNest weekly startup sessions; and M-Crew, a new mentoring program.
Blackburn co-founded IDEA Works, which launched in 2014. Since 2011, he’s co-founded or been a leading contributor to the Fort Worth Business Plan Competition, and Fort Worth meetings of the 1 Million Cups organization for entrepreneurs.
By: Kendall Louis