For our 10th anniversary, we interviewed Doug Hockstad, TLA's associate vice president. In this video, he talks about why he chose to come to the University of Arizona and the opportunities he saw in helping start the office. He also discusses what he learned from TLA's previous leader Dave Allen, and what the future will bring not just for TLA, but for the university and the ecosystem.
"Don't worry about if you think you have an invention. Reach out to TLA to talk to us about the work you're doing... And we'll work collaboratively with you to hopefully move something from your work out into the world.” – Doug Hockstad
I chose to come to Tucson and the University of Arizona for several reasons. The ones that just jumped to mind are, when I looked at Tucson and the University of Arizona, I really felt like there was an opportunity to have a real impact on this university and on the region with what tech transfer can do, and I felt like I was a person that could add to that and hopefully really impact everything.
I'd say the biggest thing I learned from Dave (Allen) is the administrative side of running a commercialization enterprise. Dave, I think, was very adept at working with the bureaucracy and the administration of the university. And up to then my main job had been managing people, so this was a different aspect of tech transfer and I'd say that's probably one of the biggest things I learned from Dave.
Moving this enterprise forward, one of the things that we want to do at TLA is have an impact on that. Nationally we want to be seen by other people the other offices as an exemplar of one of the best ways to do commercialization.
We're going to become more and more involved in the Phoenix ecosystem. The PBC, the Phoenix Bioscience Core, is going to grow over these next 10 years and going to require more and more involvement from TLA.
As we launch more and more startups, more and more of those startups will be successful. And as that success grows we'll have startups, we'll have medium-sized companies, we’ll have large companies, and we'll create an ecosystem that will support its own growth as well as support essentially students graduating, staying in the local area, and then taking the risk because they know there's somewhere else to land in the ecosystem, snd so it's worth it to take a risk.
Over the last ten years we've seen growth in available capital targeting startups, and we're seeing more of that now. There's a new fund being built in Phoenix; it's going to be $100 million fund. As we build this ecosystem that supports small companies, and medium companies, we will draw more and more interest from investors in this region, and not just to draw companies out of the region but supporting companies in the region. It is that growth that will feed on itself and we'll see more investment being available.
Everyone in the office knows and understands that we are built on our relationships with our faculty, with the constituents in the community, and it is the highest priority of everything that we do, and we do it really well.
I would tell every employee of the university – faculty member, researcher, student employee, graduate student – I would tell them, don't worry about if you think you have an invention. Reach out to TLA to talk to us about the work you're doing, (and) the things that we may see in the work you're doing. And we'll work collaboratively with you to hopefully move something from your work out into the world.