Station Houston Names Longtime Education Executive Rowe as New CEO
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as requiring coding classes for middle-school students. Before that, she was an investment banker and management consultant in New York.
Station Houston was launched two years ago by a team of four co-founders: Reale; Blair Garrou, managing partner at Houston venture firm Mercury Fund; Emily Keeton, head of M&A at WeWork in New York, and Grace Rodriguez, who is Station’s second-in-command.
Since Station’s founding, the organization has emerged as a leader in the city’s startup ecosystem, hosting events and becoming a hub where startup leaders can convene. During Hurricane Harvey last August, Station hosted an ad-hoc group of developers and others who volunteered their time constructing apps to rescue storm victims and distribute aid to them.
Rowe will now be in charge of one of the Station’s biggest projects: being an anchor in a proposed new innovation district in Houston. The $100 million project, is being managed by Rice Management Company, which oversees the Rice University endowment. It involves renovating a shuttered Sears store and surrounding parcels of land into a hub with coworking spaces, classrooms, and offices for corporate venture arms.
Another player in the city’s startup community is Houston Exponential, a civic organization that arose from the efforts of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Innovation and Technology Task Force, the Greater Houston Partnership, and others. HX, as it is called, started the HX Venture Fund, a $40 million to $50 million fund of funds last October.
For Reale, who served on the Houston mayor’s task force, leaving Station’s day-to-day operations behind is “bittersweet.” He says he doesn’t know what’s next for him, except that he plans to support Rowe, Station, and the Houston startup scene.