Julie Huls, Founder/CEO
Julie helps smart cities and their business leaders power institutional change fueled by technology and innovation. Ms. Huls has twenty years of experience in management and strategic initiatives and a track record of engaging and strengthening relationships with the business and community stakeholders required to execute on bold visions. Ms. Huls has served as President and CEO of the Austin Technology Council, an association that represented 300 Central Texas technology companies, their executives and $29 billion in annual regional economic impact. While at the Tech Council, Ms. Huls led regional technology CXOs, and startup entrepreneurs through the strategic planning process, conducted the first regional technology economic impact study, negotiated the first tech industry partnership with the city of Austin, and launched the annual CEO Summit, a regional leadership platform event that consistently garnered national media attention. While at ATC, Julie served on the Board of Directors at the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA), an international organization for CEOs leading technology industry advocacy and educational associations. She has also served as CEO of the DoSeum, a STEM education organization and children’s museum in San Antonio.
Brian Kelsey, Economic Development Strategy
Brian Kelsey is an economic development researcher and consultant who brings to every research challenge a rare combination of deep analytical thinking and the ability to explain complex information in simple terms. He has helped clients of all sizes—from rural communities to the White House—design, execute, and evaluate the results of economic development strategies.
Brian is the principal and founder of Nashville-based Civic Analytics LLC and recently served as chief strategy officer for two mayors there. He has completed projects for more than fifty clients across the U.S., including a study of Austin’s technology sector that was quoted by President Obama in a 2013 speech. In 2012, Brian was awarded a gold medal from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the agency’s highest honorary recognition, for creating an “unprecedented platform for coordinating Federal economic development efforts” at the Economic Development Administration. From 2012 to 2016, Brian was an adjunct instructor at The University of Texas at Austin, where he taught graduate students about economic development research, strategy, and finance.
Joan Siefert Rose, Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
Joan is an experienced builder of technology-based entrepreneurial networks and communities. Joan served as the CEO of the Research Triangle Park, NC-based Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) for eight years leading one of the nation’s largest and longest-running support organizations for tech and life science startups. Her work there included creating and running the Tech Venture conference, an annual showcase of North Carolina’s leading startups, which attracts up to 1,200 entrepreneurs, investors, industry representatives, service professionals and academics.
Joan’s other accomplishments at CED included creating a statewide mentoring program, pairing entrepreneurs with a customized team of advisors; implementing an “Entrepreneur Hall of Fame” awards ceremony to honor the region’s leading innovators; and conducting a successful capital campaign that led to sustained financial support for the organization. While at CED, Joan served on the Board of Directors at the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA), an international organization for CEOs leading technology industry advocacy and educational associations.
Since 2016, Joan has run LaunchBio, a nonprofit support network serving life science startups in Durham, NC; San Diego; Cambridge, MA; San Francisco; and New York City. As LaunchBio’s first CEO, she has worked with the Board of Directors to set up the organizational framework, create and implement program strategy, and raise operating funds. In 2018, LaunchBio’s educational programs attracted 200-250 people, on average, to each monthly gathering.
“The Waymaker Group brings the combined power of insight and collaborative leadership required to take innovation economies forward.”
“Waymaker Group has become a trusted partner to Kenosha industry and civic leaders and helped us quicken the pace on a critical project that will transform our community’s economy. They push our market to position from our strengths, to think bigger about the region’s future and are sensitive to our community’s dynamics.”