On December 10, 2009 I attended a dinner at the Haas School of Business at University of California at Berkeley to thank Jerry Engel for his leadership of The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. There were a lot of people in attendance, including Jerry’s son and wife.
I’ve known Jerry since about 1992. I met him while I was working at Cooley Godward Kronish, which at the time was a sponsor of the the Lester Center. Cooley received ten passes per month to the Entrepreneurs Forum, which Jerry had started in about 1991. I didn’t introduce myself to Jerry right away, as I was pretty shy back then. Jerry probably didn’t know me until 1998 when I really started serious work to raise money for Hotpaper.com, my first Internet startup.
Jerry stepped aside as Executive Director of the Lester Center recently to assume the new role of Faculty Director. This dinner was to honor and recognize his leadership.
I am posting this today because I received the pictures from the event from Bruce Cook yesterday. I’ve also known Bruce for a long time, as he’s been a fixture at most every Entrepreneurs Forum that I’ve been to. He’s an independent professional photographer that covers many of the events at Haas. We talk shop about the latest cameras when he has a spare moment. Bruce is a real pro, and is particularly good at gathering people together for group shots when he only has a minute or less to get the shot. Bruce graciously gave me his permission to use these shots on my blog. Thank you Bruce.
Keval Desai and Melissa Daniels were at the dinner. It was Keval who suggested to Jerry in 1999 that Haas stage a business plan competition. Jerry was cool to the idea, but Keval and Melissa convinced him, and the competition was born. I was a finalist in that first competition with my startup Hotpaper.com, and I firmly believe I would have not sold my company for as much as I did and when I did if not for Keval and Melissa.