When the Austin chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals selected Kevin Koym as its “Technology Community Leader of the Year,” I couldn’t forget the first time I truly met him.
Several years ago, I drove up from San Antonio for a Door64.com networking event. The event was held at one of Austin’s Sixth Street bistros. Getting there early, I parked on the street about a block away. I didn’t see the sign that said my parking space was reserved for valet parking an hour later. When I left the event to go home, I couldn’t find my car. I went back inside to ask someone for help, and Kevin helped me determine that a tow truck had taken my car to an impound lot on Austin’s south side.
It was nearly 11 p.m., and Kevin suggested that I spend the night in his guest room. In the morning, he would take me to the impound lot.
After calling my wife to tell her that I was going to spend the night in Austin, I crashed at Kevin’s house. Posted above the bed in his guest room was the poster of the Blues Brothers with their “We’re on a mission from God” catch phrase. Over breakfast, I asked him about the poster.
One of the things that I have learned about Kevin is that when you ask him a simple question, he’s not one to give you a monosyllabic response. For the next 20 minutes, I learned about the inspiration of that poster. For several years prior to moving back to Austin, Kevin worked in Chile with small businesses, building incubators to help people form businesses.
Since my first exposure with Austin tow trucks on Sixth Street, Kevin has formed the Austin Tech Ranch. Through this program, the AITP award winner has helped a lot of people with innovative concepts work together to build partnerships and concepts. Kevin’s concept is different than most incubators. He and Jonas Lamis, his partner, have helped promising technology and processes find their purpose. A lot of people have a vision for a new product or service. Kevin and Jonas help those willing to work at it find the methodology to make it happen. That’s what makes it different from other incubators. Most give a small startup a space to work, but Kevin and Jonas hold biweekly campfires to help their partners learn about the various tools needed to help a business succeed.
Knowing Kevin since the Austin towing company took away my car, I have gotten to see Tech Ranch develop. It’s no wonder that the AITP picked Koym as their second award winner.
Like Jake and Elwood Blues, Kevin is on a mission from God…….