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PYSK: Bill Turpin, CEO, Missouri Innovation Center

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 2.30.15 PMName: Bill Turpin

Title and company/organization: President and CEO at Missouri Innovation Center

Age: 58

Job description: I work with faculty and students from the University of Missouri and local entrepreneurs to start and grow technology-based companies. MIC also operates the MU Life Sciences Incubator with more than 20 clients commercializing new technologies in areas such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals, animal health, ag tech and alternative energy.

Years lived in Columbia/mid-Missouri: I was born and raised in Missouri until after college graduation. I moved back to Columbia in July 2014.

Original hometown: Bowling Green, Missouri

Education: B.S. in electrical engineering, University of Missouri; MBA, University of Texas, Austin

Community involvement: Board member, Regional Economic Development Inc.; member, Columbia Chamber of Commerce; member, MU Research and Development Advisory Board; member, Dean’s Engineering Advisory Board; mentor, Startup Weekend Columbia; member, #BOOM Planning Task Force; executive board member, Great Rivers Council, Boy Scouts of America

Professional background: I’ve had a 35-year career in computers and Internet services and spent eight years in Austin and 24 years in Silicon Valley. I started several companies: developed one of the first Windows applications, was acquired by Netscape in the early days of the Internet, created a multiplayer video game platform and developed mobile applications. I’ve also been an angel investor and mentor to many companies throughout my career.

A favorite recent project: Creating a multiplayer RoShamBo iPhone game with a friend just for fun.

A Columbia businessperson I admire and why: Brant Bukowsky. He started a ticket sales company with his brothers while he was a college student, and that company grew into Veterans United. He’s willing to help others and make Columbia a better place for startups.

Why I’m passionate about my job: I enjoy mentoring people who are thinking about starting a company. I hope I can help them create new products that will make the world a better place.

If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would: I’d still be mentoring people and maybe starting another company.

What people should know about this profession: It’s a lot harder than it looks to start a high-tech company. It takes a lot of hard work and a certain amount of good fortune to be successful. You have to realize that you’re competing against really smart people all over the world who are trying to do something similar.

What I do for fun: I enjoy running and biking on the MKT Trail and reconnecting with my old college buddies. I also enjoy wine tasting and cooking at home.

Family: My wife, Josephine, manages our home life; my youngest son, Nick, is in the College of Engineering at MU; and my two older sons are finishing college in California.

Favorite place in Columbia: I like the Cajun food and variety at Glenn’s Cafe.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of: I was vice president of engineering at Netscape in 1995 and helped develop technologies that commercialized the Internet, including SSL encryption, Javascript, HTML email, IMAP, LDAP and RSS.

Most people don’t know that I: Sailed my sailboat from California to Hawaii five times in the Transpac Race. I was

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