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Inspiration for TV show 'Scorpion' joins Houston Technology Center's board

Andrea Rumbaugh | Updated 11:27 am, Friday, December 18, 2015


(Photo : Steve Gonzales) Walter O'Brien, CEO of Scorpion Computer Services and executive producer of the CBS TV show Scorpion, has been added to the Houston Technology Center's board of directors. ( Steve Gonzales / Houston Chronicle )


Walter O'Brien, a computer expert who claims to have hacked into NASA's computers and who founded Scorpion Computer Services at age 13, has joined the Houston Technology Center board of directors.

"It's very exciting for both the community and the Houston Technology Center," said Walter Ulrich, president and CEO of the technology incubator and accelerator.

O'Brien, the real-life inspiration for the television series "Scorpion," was the keynote speaker at the Houston Technology Center's Innovation Conference & Showcase in October. Afterward, Ulrich said they discussed the local technology and the potential for O'Brien to join the board.

"I think it was just high mutual interest," Ulrich said.

He said O'Brien will bring his technical expertise and insightful vision for the future of technology. And since he lives in Los Angeles, O'Brien can also provide an objective perspective on how people outside the city view Houston.

"I look forward to making tangible and inspirational contributions to the Houston Technology Center's initiatives," O'Brien said in a news release. "HTC is an engine behind Houston's and Texas' continued growth."

In addition to O'Brien, the board elected four others: Galen Cobb, vice president of industry relations at Halliburton; Badar Khan, president and CEO of Direct Energy; Victor Cintron, CEO of Houston Technology Center's client company DimDrop; and Tamera Venzke, co-founder of Houston Technology Center's client company GoToPills.

In other news, the Houston Technology Center-Asia + Middle East, the sister company that's building business connections abroad, has started a boot camp for Asia-based entrepreneurs and startups that will include a trip to Houston next year.

This will bring 10 to 15 Asian entrepreneurs, startups or emerging companies to Houston every three months. They will spend at least two weeks learning about the local Houston Technology Center and touring various Houston staples, including NASA's Johnson Space Center and the Texas Medical Center. They will also have daily classroom sessions and homework assignments.

Sid Vinyard, founder and chairman of the Houston Technology Center-Asia + Middle East, said this can foster business opportunities between Asian and Houston technology companies.

And since many of these visiting entrepreneurs want to establish a U.S. presence, "this gives Houston the opportunity to become that foothold," Vinyard said.