The SunVia Team

Rob Ryan


An expert in Entrepreneurial strategy and start-ups, Rob is the founder, past chairman and CEO of Ascend Communications. Ryan earned national attention when he grew his 1989 start-up company, Ascend Communications, to more than $2 billion in sales. Lucent Technologies acquired Ascend in 1999 for approximately $20 billion in what was termed at the time the "largest technology merger ever." 

During his time at Ascend, Rob developed the Sunflower Method—a complete decision making process for innovation. For over 20 years Rob ran the Entrepreneur America bootcamp—a program designed to help entrepreneurs understand their company and core competencies better.   

Ryan received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969 from Cornell University and began his career as a systems analyst with Burroughs, then worked at Lawrence Livermore Lab on the first non-military extension of Arpanet, the precursor to the Internet. In the late 1970s he was the principal architect of DECnet and the Intel portion of the Ethernet specification while working at Digital Equipment Corp. in the Boston area. He founded Softcom, Inc. in the early 1980s, sold it in two years to Hayes Microcomputer Products, Inc. and worked there as Director of Research and Development until the late 1980s.   

Terry Ryan


Terry Ryan was co-founder of Ascend Communications with her husband Rob Ryan. Terry, a corporate lawyer, was critical to several startups’ success stories—including Ascend. Before co-founding Ascend, she was a co-founder and director of SoftCom in 1983, which was sold to Hayes Microcomputer in 1985. After Ascend’s success story, she mentored three other startups to $1 billion-plus exits as the Founder and President of Entrepreneur America Mentors, LLC. Terry has applied her passion for entrepreneurship and for learning through many endeavors. Those endeavors include making a film for high school students called “License to Dream,” which encourages high schoolers to start thinking about entrepreneurship, serving on the Advisory Board of the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, home of the world’s largest optical and infrared telescopes, and serving on the Board of Directors of the Hoover Institution, a public policy think tank at Stanford.


Terry graduated from Cornell University in 1969 and received her law degree from Boston College Law School, with high honors. She began her legal career at the then prestigious Thelen, Johnson, Marin & Bridges and continued her career at in house counsel at Tymshare/Tymnet, an S&P 500 company. When that company was acquired by McDonnell Douglas, she was promoted to Division Counsel and became the highest-ranking woman attorney at the company.

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Jay Williams

Co-Founder & President

Jay Williams has been a chief technology officer and consultant to many of the Fortune 500. As a consultant he has developed a highly refined process for managing a company’s technology infrastructure, including applications, security, and network assets. Jay is a highly sought-after, enterprise systems architect and problem solver. He has advised a number of high profile technology companies on their products and is known for a rare combination of deep technology expertise, expert problem solving ability and business acumen. Jay is widely respected by peers and has influenced many pivotal technology consortia and industry steering groups. He regularly consults with senior technology and business executives and is frequently consulted by venture and capital investors for analyses of new technology strategies.


Liz Wiley

Director, Entrepreneur Relations

Liz has been immersed in startup ecosystems for years wearing many different hats: as a startup and intellectual property attorney; as a founder of the French American Business Council in Austin, Texas; as a board member of Austin’s French startup community, French Tech Austin, and as someone who just likes connecting great people—be they startups, filmmakers, or academics—to other great people. In addition to programming learning expeditions for startups and professionals seeking to get connected with the Austin tech scene, Liz has been connecting tech communities in France and Austin, leading to her appointment as the Honorary Consul of France for Austin.


Representative presentations and events:


· Speaker: Startup Ecosystems of the U.S. (case study

of Austin, Texas) at the 2019 edition of Bpifrance’s Inno Génération conference (Paris, France)

· Led Austin delegation to the World Electronics Forum in 2017 (Angers, France)

· Speaker: “Austin Week 2016”: Launching in the U.S. (Angers, France)

· Led French Tech Austin workshops and seminars for French startups expanding to U.S. and promoting French ecosystem for U.S. startups 2015-19 (SXSW, Austin, Texas)

· Jury member: selection of startups for SXSW trade sh


Andrew Olsen

Director, Marketing

Andrew Olsen seasoned in both the fields of entrepreneurial startups and multi-media marketing. Andrew serves as founder and CEO of Puppet Pals, an education toy company. Prior to his position at SunVia, Andrew was a production manager at True Media Works, a multi media marketing frim as well as serving as an associate producer for The American Dreams show--a weekly web show that interviews some of Silicon Valley's most successful entrepreneurs.