As Founder and CEO of Startup Tucson, Justin Williams has been a leader of regional efforts to develop a vibrant startup community in Tucson, AZ through programs that support entrepreneurs and innovators alike. Programs like Startup Tucson’s Idea-to-Impact Pipeline have set a national standard for strategic integration of programs like Co-Founder Speed Dating, Startup Weekend, Hackathons, Thryve Startup Incubator Growth Accelerators, and Startup Job Crawl. Justin has mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs to help them take their ideas to impact.
Justin is also Co-Founder and Executive Director of InnovateUA, a program to foster a campus-wide culture of entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Arizona. He also teaches entrepreneurship in both the Eller College of Management and the College of Engineering.
Prior to his tenure with Startup Tucson, Justin served as Director of the Arizona Technology Council. There, he established the Tucson office as part of its 2008 merger with AMIT – Tucson’s Aerospace, Manufacturing and Information Technology Cluster – where he served as Founder and Executive Director since 2005.
Justin worked for over 10 years with high-tech firms in Southern Arizona including Electronic Data Systems, Intuit, and Ventana Medical Systems. He has worked with numerous small technology companies helping to commercialize university research including Ridgetop Group, Ardext Technologies, and Selectioneering.
Justin has a B.S. in Systems Engineering, an M.B.A. in Marketing and Finance, and is an alumnus of the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship. In 2011, Justin was named as one of Tucson’s “40-Under-40” by the Arizona Daily Star.
As COO, Liz Pocock is responsible for strategic oversight and day-to-day operations for the Startup Tucson team. Liz believes in building strong programs focused around the needs of Tucson businesses and entrepreneurs to ensure that the organization grows and delivers on its mission to help Tucson strive. Previously the Supervising Research Attorney and Development Director at the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade, Liz has more than five years of experience in non-profit organizational management and has a record of successfully managing complex stakeholder, contract, and partner relationships in national and international contexts. Liz has a J.D. with a focus in international business and trade law from the College of Law at the University of Arizona and is currently serving on the Executive Committee of the Tucson Young Professionals Board and the Advisory Committee of the Tucson Chapter of the Global Chamber.
Events & Marketing Coordinator
Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu serves as the Events & Marketing Coordinator of Startup Tucson. Ashley comes from an academic background having spent 14 years working on a bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D., and additional certifications. Frustrations and boredom with academia led Ashley down a new career path with Startup Tucson.
After attending several entrepreneurial events at the University of Arizona and Startup Tucson, Ashley applied and was accepted to two business incubator programs including the Thryve Startup Incubator. In this program, Ashley worked on her startup business idea, The iiSH, short for Indigenous Intellectual Sovereignty Hub. The iiSH is essentially Native American BuzzFeed running the gamut from serious journalistic content to snarky fluff.
Ashley serves as an organizer and volunteer for various community organizations including Arizona State Museum, Native SOAR, and Neoglyphix: The Original All Indigenous Aerosol Art Exhibition. She currently serves as a fiction reader for the Chicago-based literary journal Literary Orphans and is the Vice President of the Eta Pi Chapter of Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, Inc.
Hayes Lavery is a senior at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management with a double major in MIS and Entrepreneurship. Hayes served as project manager for an Eller non-profit consulting course and co-founded Plans2Pixels a web consulting company. Hayes is passionate about technology, the outdoors, and environmental sustainability. He is actively utilizing his passions to help take his next steps in becoming a future leader in the entrepreneurial community.
Director, Venture Development Programs
Tony Ford has over 25 years experience in media, marketing, and business development. He is the Co-Founder of ArtFire.com and is currently creating new storytelling methods for film and virtual reality as a Founder of Chronos Productions. He holds an MBA in International Business and has coached more 100 company executives to pursue rapid growth as the Director of Venture Development Programs at Startup Tucson. Tony serves as a strategist, coach, and business consultant to companies throughout Tucson and the United States, and currently works with clients in software technology, aerospace, e-commerce, consumer products, and healthcare. Tony has served as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Arizona and is an award-winning radio personality and frequent featured speaker.
Director, Communications & Impact
Dillon Walker is a creative strategist, business leader, and community builder, based in Tucson, Arizona. Dillon is the founder and principal of Hydrant, a digital studio providing a distinct set of creative, digital, and marketing services to organizations of many sizes. As a community builder, Dillon is the Vice President of the Tucson Young Professionals and works to create a more vibrant city for young people to thrive in.
As Startup Tucson’s Director of Communications & Impact, Dillon looks for the ways in which Startup Tucson can accomplish its mission through better communication strategies, aligned mission partnerships, and organic community building. Dillon’s passion for the role stems from his own entrepreneurial background and a desire to see a global mindset applied to Tucson’s unique city dynamic.
Instructor, Thryve Programs
Aaron is a Tucson native and a University of Arizona alumni. He has over 15 years experience in the software industry in roles including development, design, data analysis, management, and product management. In addition to his Bachelor’s Degree in MIS from the U of A, he has an MBA from Colorado State University. Aaron is the CEO and Co-Founder of Localoop, a local discovery platform powered by the expertise of the locals. He is a strong supporter of the Startup Tucson mission and has served many roles including Thryve Alumni (x2), Thryve Instructor, TENWEST Committee Member, and Co-Director of the TENWEST Summer in the City program.