Entrepreneurs Lecture Series
The Entrepreneurs Lecture Series (ELS) is designed to showcase outstanding innovation and entrepreneurship among NC State alumni and partners. This semi-annual event features a lecture from prominent entrepreneurial leaders followed by a networking reception. The lecture series, made possible by a grant from Andy and Jane Albright, is sponsored by the NC State Entrepreneurship Initiative.
We were pleased to welcome Thushan Amarasiriwardena, co-founder of Launchpad Toys, as our keynote speaker for the Spring 2013 Entrepreneurs Lecture Series. Watch the entire presentation here.
Thushan Amarasiriwardena has always loved telling stories, and he fell into code as the perfect medium in which to tell them. A 2004 graduate of NC State’s computer science program, he was heavily involved with the university’s student paper, the Technician, where he was editor-in-chief. After college, Thushan joined the Boston Globe as a journalist/developer. He pushed the publication’s storytelling into new formats, helping launch its video unit and developing interactive infographics. He has traveled to 44 countries and worked for the social enterprise Digital Divide Data in Cambodia. Upon returning to the United States, he and his friend Andy Russell started Launchpad Toys in San Francisco, where the company’s team of eight are building what they hope will be the Legos of the touchscreen generation. Launchpad Toys’ apps have been added to the Apple App Store Hall of Fame, and Toontastic was named one of the best apps of 2011 by the New York Times. Thushan is an ice cream connoisseur and wishes he could talk like Optimus Prime.
About the Entrepreneurs Lecture Series
The lecture series, made possible by a grant from Andy and Jane Albright, is sponsored by the NC State Entrepreneurship Initiative. The goal of the Entrepreneurship Initiative is to build a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship for NC State Students through programs and opportunities that help prepare them to be North Carolina’s job creators and leaders of tomorrow.
Past speakers include John Norris*, president and CEO of Fuel Tech Inc.; Steve Yauch*, president and owner, Carolina Electronic Assemblers; Robert Young, founder of Lulu.com; Jim Goodnight*, CEO of SAS; Bill Nussey*, co-founder of DaVinci Systems and current CEO of Silverpop; Scot Wingo*, CEO of ChannelAdvisor; Thomas R. McPherson Jr.*, former president and CEO of Hatteras Networks; Barbara Mulkey*, president and CEO of Mulkey Engineers & Consultants; Richard Holcomb*, current CEO and chairman of StrikeIron, former CEO and chairman of Haht Commerce; Nick England*, founder and current CEO of 3rd Tech, founder of Ikonas Graphics Systems, founder of Trancept Systems; Jerry Neal*, Bill Pratt and Powell Seymour, founders of RF Micro Devices; Neal Hunter*, founder of Cree Inc. and LED Lighting Fixtures Inc.; Matthew Szulik, chairman and CEO of Red Hat; Joseph Forbes, COO of Consert Inc; Marshall Brain, founder of How Stuff Works; Chris Evans*, philanthropist and entrepreneur; David Anderson* and David Gardner*, co-founders of PeopleClick ; Peter Lehrer*, co-founder of Lehrer McGovern; Josh Whiton*, founder and CEO of TransLoc; Andy Albright*, co-founder and president/CEO of National Agents Alliance; Heather Hesketh*, founder of hesketh.com; John Harthorne, founder and CEO of MassChallenge; Gerard J. Hall, founder, president and CEO of SMT; Jesse Lipson, vice president and general manager of data sharing, Citrix Systems Inc; and Grant Williard*, founder of JouleBug.
* NC State alumni