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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 7:06 am | Fair 53º


New Director of UCSB’s Entrepreneurial Program Feels Right at Home on Several Levels

Dave Adornetto — Goleta native, Gaucho alum and former InTouch Health executive — eager to grow popular Technology Management Program

The deal was so perfect, Dave Adornetto couldn’t pass it up.

The UC Santa Barbara alumnus could teach at his alma mater, direct its program for entrepreneurs, and network among the local business leaders he’s known for years through his own work.

Officials of the university’s Technology Management Program felt the same, tapping Adornetto as the new entrepreneurial program director last month.

Since then, the former InTouch Health executive has become the face of UCSB’s popular TMP program, a position vacated by Mike Panesis, who left to take a similar position at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

“So far so good,” Adornetto told Noozhawk last week. “I’m still trying to figure out what I don’t know.”

TMP, created in its initial form in 1998, is best known for its annual New Venture Competition, which provides students with an opportunity to present business venture ideas to compete for cash prizes.

A long line of educators runs in the family for Adornetto, who served as InTouch’s CFO and then COO over the past eight years.

The Goleta native and Dos Pueblos High School graduate has taught a graduate course in entrepreneurial finance at UCSB the past three years and a management finance course at Santa Barbara City College before that.

Adornetto said he was “moonlighting” as a lecturer but always knew he’d find a way into the profession full time.

“They keep me on my toes,” he said of his graduate students. “It’s fun.”

TMP chairman Bob York sent an email to staff last month welcoming Adornetto and lauding his experiences in family-owned, public and private companies.

Adornetto graduated from UCSB with a business economics degree in 1984 and earned an MBA at UCLA Anderson School of Management. He then worked for a public accounting firm in Los Angeles and at Santa Barbara’s Mentor Worldwide LLC for 15 years in positions that included vice president of finance, vice president of strategic and operational planning, and executive vice president of operations — helping oversee revenue growth to more than $500 million from $30 million.

A background in operations and finance bodes well for Adornetto, who will help lead and grow TMP’s network of entrepreneur mentors for students.

“It’s a wonderful program,” he said. “Seeing what these students can do is really an amazing thing.”

TMP gives technically trained students a sense of business acumen lacking in so many entrepreneurs, said Adornetto, an avid swimmer and cyclist.

The program continues gathering momentum as officials prepare to offer the university’s first-ever professional master’s degree in technology management (MTM) in the fall of 2015.

Just down the hall from Adornetto’s office in Phelps Hall, a new state-of-the-art facility is being built in anticipation — something else the director can be passionate about.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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