2016 Food+City Challenge Prize Judges


Bob has 23+ years of successful experience in science, engineering, high-tech entrepreneurship, and venture capital. He is UT- Austin Professor of Innovation and Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise, directing the Innovation Center in the Cockrell School of Engineering. He is also Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering and Professor of Information Management in the McCombs School of Business.


Randy Evans
H-E-B Director & Executive Chef for Restaurants

Chef Randy Evans is an award-winning chef and Texas native with more than 20 years experience working in fine kitchens in Houston, and with boatmen, artisans, farmers and ranchers across the Lone Star State. Formerly of Haven and Brennan’s of Houston, Chef Evans has worked with H-E-B since 2014 on its restaurant projects throughout Texas.  Chef Evans is a graduate of the Art Institute of Houston Culinary Arts Program, one of the Houston’s most-lauded chefs, and known as one of the original champions of “local” and farm-to-table in Texas and Houston.  He grew up near Willis, about an hour north of Houston, where he learned at an early age about the flavors of produce when it’s picked fresh and of differences in food made by hand with seasonal ingredients, where the only flavor enhancers come firsthand from Mother Nature. It’s his mother whom he credits most with the culinary influences that eventually led him to leave his medical studies at Baylor University for culinary school.  At H-E-B, Chef Evans is responsible for the menu and recipe development of its five restaurants in Austin, Houston and San Antonio. He also oversees the overall restaurant operations and develops the guest service experience for each eatery.  Chef Evans works with numerous philanthropic organizations including Recipe for Success, Urban Harvest, The Beacon and Foodways Texas, and currently serves as spokesman and consultant for the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Shrimp Marketing Board and Texas Department of Forestry and Horticulture. He is also author of award winning cookbook The Kitchen Table (Bright Sky Press, November 2006).


Martin found his way into the food and beverage industry almost twenty years ago and hasn’t looked back. An avid Longhorn fan, Martin attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing. He later recieved his MBA from the University of Houston. Martin paired his education and love of healthy lifestyle choices when he started his current business venture, a fresh and healthy take-away food concept. Combining his food philosophy to sell only great ingredients with his business ethic to provide a transparent approach to clean food, Snap Kitchen was born.

Lamar JOhnson, Supply Chain Management Center of Excellence, McCombs school of business at ut-austin

Lamar Johnson is a McCombs graduate, and is a recently retired Procter & Gamble Executive.  After a career of more than 33 years in sales, marketing and supply chain roles, Lamar is one of 6 people recognized by the Department of Marketing with a distinguished service award due to his outstanding support during his years at P&G.  Lamar currently works with the Marketing and Supply Chain programs at McCombs to create synergies between faculty, industry, and students.

Edwin Marty, Office of Sustainability, City of Austin

Edwin Marty, Food Policy Manager works on policy issues to improve the local food system in the City of Austin!  Edwin earned his BA in Anthropology from the University of Oregon; it was during his “Apprenticeship in Agroecology” at the University of California, Santa Cruz that he began to develop a true passion for sustainable farming.  He has traveled around the world, working on sustainable farming projects including places in Mexico, Mongolia, Australia and Chile.  Edwin has consulted on numerous urban farm projects around the country, helped establish the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network, and co-authored a book about urban farming in America called Breaking Through Concrete, published by the University of California Press. His extensive experience in urban farming and food policy lends itself well to the long-term vision of developing a strategic plan for the City of Austin’s food system. 

Molly S. Bray, Dept of Nutritional Sciences at UT-Austin

Molly is a nationally recognized expert and a featured speaker on the genetics of obesity, energy balance, and exercise response. She is a Professor and holds the Susan T. Jastrow Endowed Chair in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, with a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and a PhD in Human and Molecular Genetics. Dr. Bray’s research focuses on the relationship between energy balance and lifestyle factors such as exercise, nutrition, and circadian patterns of behavior.

Joe Canterbury, Appconomy

Joe is an international business executive with vast experience in global business development, finance, strategy and operations. He has worked with leading global consumer companies, including Starbucks Coffee and Mercedes-Benz.  Presently, he worked as the SVP of Business Development with Appconomy, a China focused mobile technology start-up aimed at Chinese shoppers and retailers. In addition, he is president of a consulting and investing company, which works with numerous start-up companies and established or emerging consumer brands focused on international expansion.

Marissa Duswalt, Stanford university and stanford health care

Marissa Duswalt joins us from Stanford University and Stanford Health Care, where she teaches food innovation and entrepreneurship and serves as Administrative Director of Patient and Family Education. Marissa is Registered Dietitian and was the Associate Director to Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign. She was awarded a Truman Scholarship in 2009 to recognize her leadership and scholarship regarding childhood obesity. You can learn more about Marissa's passion for helping people live healthy lives in her talk, The Power of Conscious Eating.

Claire England, Central Texas Angel Network

Claire is Executive Director of Central Texas Angel Network, one of the nation’s top angel investing networks. A native Austinite, her background includes 15 years of executive and nonprofit leadership. Previously, Claire served as Executive Director of RISE, hosting a conference series for entrepreneurs to exchange ideas with investors and business leaders. Under her leadership, RISE became a Forbes “Must-Attend 2013 Conference for Entrepreneurs,” doubling its impact on Austin’s startup ecosystem. In 2013, she was named a finalist for Austin Business Journal’s Profiles in Power – Women of Influence Award.

Caleb Harper, MIT CityFARM

Caleb is a Research Scientist and directs the design and development of the MIT CityFARM. He leads the anti-disciplinary group of engineers, architects, urban planners, economists and plant scientists in the exploration and development of high performance urban agricultural systems. His current work is focused in the areas of building integrated and control environment agriculture, actuated sensing, control automation and data-driven resource and energy optimization.

Scott Jensen, Rhythm Superfoods

Scott is the Co-Founder & current CEO of Rhythm Superfoods. He is also the former CEO & President of Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Sauce Co., which he co-founded 20+ years ago with C.B. Stubblefield, and two close friends. He also co-founded Stubb’s Austin Restaurant Company, the famous Bar-B-Q and Live Music Venue in Austin, Texas.

Aimee Olson, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

Chef Aimee has been with the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin for 13 years. She oversees all the programs and students as the Director of Education. She was the Executive Pastry Chef at the four diamond Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado during which time the chef was nominated times for the James Beard Award. She also worked as a Pastry Chef for James Beard Award Winner Barbara Lynch at No. 9 Park in Boston. Chef Olson holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Denver; Certificates in Baking and Restaurant Management from The Cooking And Hospitality Institute of Chicago; Pastry Diplome from Le Cordon Bleu Paris.

Sara Brand, True Wealth Innovations and (512) brewing company

Sara Brand is the founding general partner of True Wealth Innovations, a venture capital fund to scale women-led businesses in the high growth sustainable consumer and health markets where women are well-represented decision makers. Sara serves on UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering's External Advisory Board and acts as Senior Advisor for Health IoT to UT’s new Dell Medical School where she fosters health technology innovations across industry, academia and community. Sara is also the owner and co-founder of (512) brewing company in Austin, Texas. Bootstrapped back in 2007 with her husband, they believe (512) brewery is now the largest draught only, self-distributing brewery in the country. Sara holds a BSME with a material science emphasis from UT and earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in ME/Mfg with a minor in Energy & Resources and Public Health along with a Management of Technology Certification from UC Berkeley as an NSF Fellow. 

Lydia Steinman, Dept of Nutritional Sciences at UT-Austin

Lydia is a Registered Dietitian and Distinguished Senior Lecturer in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. With nearly two decades of experience as an award-winning instructor in Introductory Nutrition, Life Cycle Nutrition, and Introductory Food Science, she has a broad base of knowledge and expertise in nutritional science and healthy eating.

Matt Gase, eat well embrace life

Matt Gase is CEO of Eat Well Embrace Life, a fast-growing hummus company, that has recently relocated to Austin. Prior to Eat Well Embrace Life, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer at Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q.  Before joining Stubb’s, Matt led Commemorative Brands, which included brands such as Balfour, ArtCarved and Keepsake.  Prior to Commemorative Brands, Matt’s career was focused on business unit start-ups and brand building for CPG companies such as Continental Baking, Ralston Purina and ConAgra Foods.  Matt holds a Bachelors Degree from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Loyola Marymount University.

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russ conser, standard soil

Russ is an innovator and entrepreneur with deep and broad experience in emerging energy technology.  He is an expert in both the theory and practice of corporate innovation and venturing.  Russ recently completed a 30-year career at Shell where he was leader of Shell’s “GameChanger” early-stage innovation program and thus had the privilege of investing in many scientists and entrepreneurs with ideas that could change the game of energy.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for StarRotor Corporation, the Selection Committee for the Energy & Industry vertical of iSelectFund.com, the Advisory Board of the new AccelerateH20 water technology accelerator in Texas, and as an advisor and mentor to a number of startups.  Russ is now co-founder and CEO of Standard Soil – a ‘regenerative’ agriculture startup on a mission to produce healthy food in a way that creates positive impact for both people and planet.  Russ was born in Omaha, NE and graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University in 1983.