Connie Bourassa-Shaw and her replacement as Director of the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, Rob Adams. (UW Photo)

Rob Adams, a Seattle angel investor, startup mentor, and the former acquisitions manager for Cisco, will replace Connie Bourassa-Shaw as Director of the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.

Those are big shoes to fill: James Jiambalvo, Dean of the Foster School of Business, told GeekWire that Bourassa-Shaw has been the “heart and soul of the entrepreneurship program at Foster,” when she announced she would be stepping down as director in January.

In addition to his work in the startup community, Adams is also currently teaching the Buerk Center’s “Creating a Company” course that Bourassa-Shaw pioneered.


Rob Adams brings nearly two decades of experience in the tech industry to the Buerk Center. (UW Photo)

When she announced she would step down to spend a year in a part-time role leading the UW’s new Masters of Science in Entrepreneurship degree, before officially retiring, Bourassa-Shaw said she hoped to find a replacement who “loves students as much as I do.”

Adams fits the bill, according to Jiambalvo.

“Rob has 18 years of experience at Cisco where he worked on due diligence related to 73 tech acquisitions,” Jiambalvo said in a press release. “Since leaving Cisco, he’s been an advisor to startups in Seattle and the Bay Area, an angel investor, and a consultant to venture capital and private equity clients. Our priority for this position was to find someone who is well-connected in the Seattle entrepreneurial ecosystem, who loves working with students, and who can continue to expand entrepreneurship across the University of Washington. Rob’s that person.”

Adams will take the helm at the Buerk Center in June.

“I’m grateful for this chance to build on the exceptional foundation that is the Buerk Center, constructed and nurtured by Connie,” Adams said in a statement. “I’ll do my best to continue and expand on that work, as entrepreneurship becomes increasingly important for students’ future successes, regardless of their chosen careers.”



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