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Happy Birthday ATI! Thank You for All You’ve Done!

Guest post by Laura Beck, StripedShirt 

Last night, ATI celebrated its next graduating class of 25 amazing companies who were part of the portfolio, but are now off and running on their own.  We all also took time to celebrate 25 years of ATI.   Now I’ve known and loved this organization for about 8 years, since Bart Bohn introduced me to ATI and all the outstanding people who are part of it – staff, student associates, portfolio companies, mentors and advisers, and the extended ATI family of alumni and a long and growing list of ATI fans.

Far too many people don’t even know about ATI, let alone love it, or at least respect and appreciate all the organization does, and has done for so long.  And sometimes, that’s been frustrating.  Sometimes it’s hard to be the offensive line of the football team that doggedly defends and supports the running backs and quarterback who get credit for all the big plays and points.

Last night, though, shined a light on the hardworking offensive line of ATI that has protected, guarded, and opened up endless holes of opportunity for countless companies and people.

Everyone who knows me knows I’m pretty sappy anyway, but last night my emotions, my happiness for the organization, my Mama-Bear-protectiveness and pride in all things ATI, was full to the brim.  It was a glorious evening celebrating so many amazing successes.  And in true ATI fashion, it always came back to others.  Isaac Barchas said it best and reminded me why I adore him so (and I paraphrase here):

25 years ago, ATI was the only game in town. Now AUSTIN is the incubator……

….. and fueled by so many organizations that all contribute to our collective success:  Capital Factory, DreamIt, Techstars, TechRanch, the City, Travis County, the State, Austin Technology Council, CTAN, Entrepreneurs Foundation, and all the other great entrepreneur focused organizations at UT like Longhorn Startup, Texas Venture Labs, etc., etc.

Typical of Isaac, on ATI’s anniversary and celebration, he called out, thanked and appreciated others.

I think this sums up what I love best about ATI.  That quiet offensive line that makes the game happen, helps let others celebrate a win.  That’s the approach ATI has taken, so very successfully, for 25 years, and that’s what I’m confident will continue for another 25.

Last night and in lots of releases and stories all talking up the great 25 year anniversary, we heard lots of proofs, and metrics, and stories of successes ATI has created – companies, funding dollars, jobs, tax revenue.

I wanted to take the opportunity to share what I think is ATI’s biggest proof of success: that selfless, tireless care for the community, the entrepreneur, the students.  That commitment to helping, whoever, however, whenever and always.   Embraced and proven out daily by very special people like Isaac, Mitch, Cindy, Kyle, Michael, Robin, Bertha, Shannon, Ryan, Alex, Lydia and, in my ATI time, also Bart, Melissa, Aruni, Jessica.  I so wish I had gotten to know Dr. George Kozmetsky, but it sure seems his approach, his beliefs are alive with each of us every day.

Thank you, ATI – all of you – for so many many things you do and give to so many!  It is greatly appreciated and I’m so proud that it was publicly recognized last night.  Happy 25th anniversary!