Skip to Content

Entrepreneurs in Residence

Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) are essential to the commercialization components of the PhD programs in Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization, and Computer Science. EIRs perform many key functions in these doctoral programs:

  • Assist in the planning and execution of the two boot camps required for both PhD programs,

  • Present at least one seminar in the commercial forum every two years,

  • Mentor and advise the winning teams from boot camp 2 to polish their business plans and business pitches to try to enter and compete in external business plan competitions,

  • Advise teams on intellectual property assets,

  • Mentor and advise teams in transitioning into launching companies,

  • Serve as board member on the board of directors for companies that have launched from the program,

  • Occasionally serve as CEO or other officer in the companies that have launched to fill talent voids that exist in early stage startups,

  • Attend as an advisor at business competitions,

  • Assist in promoting the programs, raising support, and spreading the university’s reputation.

Meet the Experts

Richard (Rusty) Eugene Phillips Jr.

My role as an Entrepreneur in Residence for the MSEC Ph.D. Program is to provide advice  and guidance regarding all aspects of how to  form a technology-based business to individual teams which are formed during the MSEC Business Plan development curriculum. As the teams initiate the formation of a business involving each team’s different technology, I serve not only as a judge for the business plan competitions the teams participate in, but also serve as advisor to the teams, helping them make appropriate decisions, be they technical, organizational, or legal as each form a business around their chosen technology. Sharing my background and experience as a Research and Development executive for an implantable medical product company and Founder of a medical device start-up has proven to be quite helpful to the students as they begin to plan their own technology businesses. Being involved in the MSEC Ph.D. program in this capacity has been very rewarding, helping each of the teams involved work toward the start-up of a new technology-based company.

George Steinke

My role as Entrepreneur in Residence for the MSEC Ph.D. Program encompasses two main areas: Conducting the Entrepreneur Boots Camps and mentoring.

The Entrepreneur Boot Camps are designed to give students a week long challenging and intense experience that exposes them to all aspects of developing a creditable business plan. Each student participates in two Boot Camps. In the first Boot Camp students are given a business idea and lectures on the components of developing a business plan. Over the week, via mentoring, homework and students presentations they develop a business plan for the idea. At the end of the Boot Camp students show their work by doing an investor presentation for their business idea. The presentations are judged by outside business people and prizes are awarded. The second Boot Camp is very similar, but with an extremely important difference, the business idea and investor presentation are based on how to commercialize the students research.  Dr. Gary Beall and I started the Boot Camps in support of the MSEC program in 2011. Each year they have been improved and as a result the student plans and presentations become extremely professional as evidenced by the success of MSEC students in business plan completions around the nation.

My second area of activity is mentoring and support of student’s entrepreneurial ventures. My involvement starts at the very beginning when students are first considering a business idea and continues through development of the idea, business competitions and launch of the business. But it doesn’t end there.  I continue to remain engaged via board service, consulting and have also temporarily served in executive positions. In short, I feel that my mentoring role is do what is necessary to make the students entrepreneurial endeavors a success.

Jeffrey Zhao

My role as Entrepreneur in Residence for the MSEC Ph.D. Program is to provide a fresh, technology-oriented perspective and help students develop critical skills necessary for success in today's startup ecosystem. As a design-oriented product owner, project manager, educator, and entrepreneur, I've helped build successful companies, teams, and projects from the ground up and taught others how to do the same. My approach to teaching involves learning by doing, fostering an environment of high standards, trust, and deliberate risk taking, and drawing from varied, interdisciplinary experiences. My goal is to supplement the wealth of professional, financial, and technical acumen brought by the Texas State faculty and students to give MSEC students the best possible chance of success.