Startup Innovation

In The Defense Industry

Innovation in the military space can be quite difficult to navigate for startups as the process may be confusing to understand. On November 9, 2020, MassChallenge Texas hosted the event, "Startup Innovation In the Defense Industry" for founders who are striving to tap into the safety and security market.

Panelists provided insight on what they are currently looking for and offered tips on how a startup can propel their cutting-edge ideas forward. 

Watch The Video Here


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Partnerships Account Manager at MassChallenge Texas

Melissa is the Partnerships Account Manager for MassChallenge Texas. Previously Melissa was the Office Manager for TMAC at the University of Texas, Arlington where she served as the Government Affairs Representative. Before TMAC, she was an Analytical and Research Chemist for state agencies and private companies. Prior to that, she served in the United States Air Force as an Intelligence Operations Analyst where she conducted intelligence training to aircrew on collecting/reporting requirements and procedures, assessing offensive and defensive weapon system capabilities, and recognition techniques. Melissa holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Learn more about Melissa Junkans here.




Managing Director at MassChallenge Texas

Mike is a demonstrated leader in making sound investments that drive economic growth by supporting startups from all industries. Through his work he and his team connect top organizations - like Reliant and UPS - with new breakthrough ideas that come through their accelerator program to help the adapt to new and quickly shifting market needs. Mike is passionate about youth entrepreneurship and is also the founder of Pitch-A-Kid and Startup Info Matters.

Learn more about Mike Millard here.

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Corporation’s Cyber Operations Division Strategic Engagement and Innovation Lead For MITRE

Bobby Blount is an engineer currently serving as The MITRE Corporation’s Cyber Operations Division Strategic Engagement and Innovation Lead. In this position, he executes MITRE’s Good Growth strategy by building strategic partnerships and innovation opportunities with industry, small businesses, and universities. He also serves as the San Antonio site leader where he is responsible for expanding business growth with government sponsors in cyber security, information technology, and software development.

Bobby began his career as an Air Force Communications and Computer Officer. In this role, he focused on development of cryptography and communications systems in tactical environments. After separating from the Air Force, Bobby joined Booz Allen and Hamilton where he implemented and tested survivable communications networks.

Bobby’s over 32-year career with The MITRE Corporation as a member of technical staff addressing enterprise communications and cyber challenges for city government, civilian agencies, and the Department of Defense.

Community Involvement

Bobby has received national, state and local recognitions for his community support efforts and initiatives.  He currently provides leadership to the following:

  • San Antonio Area African American Community Fund Steering Committee, Chair
  • Bexar County School Boards Coalition, Chair
  • Go Public Campaign, President
  • Dragons Soccer Club, Chair
  • Northside ISD, Board of Trustees
  • Texas Caucus of Black School Board Members, Executive Vice President
  • Texas Solar Race Car, Director
  • Department of Energy National Science Bowl, Regional Director
  • Northside Soccer League, Director


Bobby received his JD from George Mason University, his MS from St. Mary’s University, and his BS from the United States Air Force Academy responsiveness to customer needs.

Learn more about Bobby Blount Jr. here.

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Commercial Engagement Executive at Defense Innovation Unit

As a Commercial Engagement Executive, Clif is focused on building relationships, growing investment momentum, and accessing nontraditional technology in the commercial sector on behalf of the DoD. Clif served on active duty surface warfare assignments with the United States Navy in various locations around the world and now splits his DIU part time with J.P. Morgan full time as a Banker focused on technology & disruptive commerce companies participating in the innovation economy. Clif holds a Bachelors of Science in Quantitative Economics from the United States Naval Academy and a Masters of Science in Manufacturing Systems Management from Southern Methodist University.




Senior Strategic Advisor at Department of Homeland Security 

Ormal is a strategist with over 15 years of international business experience, who is currently providing advice and counsel to a flagship effort of the Science & Technology Directorate for International Programs working on advancing innovation. In this role he advises key stakeholders within the R&D arm of the Department of Homeland Security, and is responsible for working with technology users, industry stakeholders, and academic influencers to gain insight into ways to address and close capability gaps in homeland security. A key function is fostering homeland security solutions development by soliciting input and guidance from international industry and government partners.

Previously, he spent 13 years with Walgreens Pharmacy working on population health efforts utilizing technology in an effort to improve community health outcomes, as well as serving on several community councils with executive level members from area non-profit and for profit healthcare corporations.”

Ormal received his B.S. and MBA from the University of Florida.

Learn more about Ormal here.

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Director, Austin HUB - AFWERX

Founding member of AFWERX, an Air Force technology organization; named #16 Best Workplace for Innovators by Fast Company in 2020. As an Air Force Reservist, Matthew is working as the AFWERX Austin Director and as a Portfolio Manager with AFVentures, where he invests in early-stage companies that will provide solutions to global challenges. After he completed his service as an active duty officer in the United States Air Force, Matthew returned to school to add education in financial analysis and accounting to his undergraduate and graduate education in operations research, all of which he applies to his current roles. Matthew is currently sitting for his Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Public Accountant Exams. As part of the University of Texas Venture Labs program, Matthew worked as a Principal to lead a team of six Associates in strategic business case development for post-revenue companies by supporting business operations, modeling revenue projections, and developing marketing strategies. During his career with the United States Air Force, he completed an analytically rigorous NSA-sponsored graduate thesis on modeling and optimization of large data sets; managed significant relationships with foreign liaisons, private defense companies, and the U.S. government; and created and implemented high-impact policies to improve the efficiency of business operations and
responsiveness to customer needs.

Learn more about Matthew Scott here.





Technology Scouting Program Manager - BAE Systems

Gil Gonzalez leads BAE Systems’ Tech Scouting program management. He has over 30 years of defense and aerospace experience. His career began as a Marine, leading teams up to 300 in global operations. Using his technical expertise in optical and communication systems, Gil’s technology involvements include carbon nano-tube research, C3 systems integration, and the development of sea, air, land, and space sensor technologies for customers such as DARPA and AFRL. Before joining BAE Systems, Gil worked at Raytheon, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and GE Aviation. He has an MS in Electrical Engineering and an Executive MBA. Gil is also an author and musician enjoying life in sunny Austin, Texas.

Learn more about Gil Gonzalez here.





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