Newest UW Regent Jeremy Jaech visits UWT

Jeremy Jaech, newest member of the University Of Washington Board Of Regents, visited UW Tacoma last week to talk with student leader and learn about the campus.

“What really strikes me about the campus here is that it is so entrepreneurial,” said Jaech, who has recently been appointed to take Bill Gates’ seat on the board.

Jaech, a UW Computer Science alumni, is a prominent software entrepreneur, having co-founded Aldus Corporation, as well as Visio Corporation. He is currently serving as co-founder and CEO of WatchFrog, a company that produces sensors that can detect home hazards, a technology developed at UW Seattle.

This type of research technology commercialization is of particular interest to Jaech. The university does not sufficiently prioritize commercializing technology developed through its research, although there is a community of funders willing to invest in such ideas. As a Regent, Jaech is going to focus on bringing venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and technology together. This will allow for technology to easily get out of the university and into the community which will in turn create revenue.

“The resources are there, it’s just about changing attitudes,” Jaech said.

The entrepreneurial attitude of the UW Tacoma campus is what Jaech sees as its biggest strength. Using this approach, the college can build unique programs that can attract scholars from far and wide.

“Find a few areas to focus on, and become really good at them,” he explained, using Urban Waters as an example of such development.

Students who attended the meeting were also given an opportunity to present Jaech with their concerns. College affordability was the most popular concern, and Jaech explained that the Board of Regents hopes to bring in more philanthropic revenue during the next year.

Although the budget Governor Christine Gregoire has put forward thus far has no cuts to higher education, there is currently debate among Regents as to how strongly they should push for an increase in revenue. Jaech believes that they soon will, although there are no guarantees as to how the budget will form. Currently the strategy is to reduce cost in other areas as a way of ensuring that funding remains open for teachers, thereby maintaining the high quality instruction that will produces skilled workers.

Jaech stressed the importance of having a workforce in Washington that is from Washington. Jobs are here; however, the state imports a lot of people due to a lack of qualified workers. Jaech hopes to increase the level of support for higher education in our state, which has been waning since the recession began.