An important element in IdeaFunding history is the tradition of honoring aspiring entrepreneurs and community leaders who have helped inspire others and build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Tucson and Southern Arizona.
Established in 2001, the Thomas R. Brown Award recognizes an individual entrepreneur for their commitment, innovation and economic contribution in Southern Arizona. The award honors the co-founder of Burr-Brown Corporation, Tom Brown. He and a friend, Page Burr, started the company in Brown’s garage in 1956, and shortly thereafter Brown bought out Burr’s interest and grew the company until 2000 when it was acquired by Texas Instruments. The sale was the largest in Arizona history. Burr-Brown was a precision electronics manufacturing company with sales almost exclusively outside of Arizona, and thus it contributed significantly to the economy of Arizona. This year at the IdeaFunding Startup Showcase on October 16th, the winner of the Thomas R. Brown Outstanding Entrepreneur Award was Accelerate Diagnostics’ President, Chief Executive Officer & Director, Lawrence Mehren, a position he’s held for six years. Mr. Mehren has an impressive pedigree leading him to his current role. With a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Arizona and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Mr. Mehren went on to work in management positions with Gale Group and Merrill Lynch before he went on as Managing Director, Partner and head of P&M Corporate Finance’s life sciences practice. This set him up perfectly to take on the roles of SVP and CFO of Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. for one year and Head of Global Business from 2008 until 2011.
While your day-to-day activities may not bring you in contact with this strapping eloquent businessman, be proud of yet another outstanding Tucson entrepreneur and the amazing company and its products they contribute to our global society.