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Q&A with Entrepreneur in Residence Doug Dresslaer

Headshot of Doug Dresslaer, a white man smiling in a plaid button-down shirt, against a teal background with text EIR Spotlight and quote, "Pivoting after learning from customers is an important growth lesson". Rev Ithaca Startup Works logo in the bottom right corner.

Q&A with Entrepreneur in Residence Doug Dresslaer

One of the most valuable resources that Rev: Ithaca Startup Works’ member companies have access to is guidance from a diverse set of Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) who are eager to share their expertise with founders. Among Rev’s newest EIRs is Doug Dresslaer, who has spent over a decade working with startups and has experience which includes corporate partnerships and work in the dairy sector.

Dresslaer is the assistant vice president of commercial partnerships at Commerce Bank, having previously served as the Director of Innovation for the Dairy Farmers of America. He spent over 11 years with Sprint, including time as the managing director of their Corporate Accelerator program. As a founding member of the accelerator, he was integral in establishing and managing key partnerships that improved the regional and national visibility of the programs based in Kansas City.

Before his work at the Sprint Accelerator, Dresslaer helped grow businesses focusing on strategic partner management, product development, and large-scale event management. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a specialization in broadcast journalism.

Dresslaer’s work with founders and startups, as well as his mentorship experience, make him an asset to Rev’s member companies. We sat down with him to learn more about his background and what he is looking forward to as a new EIR.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role of Entrepreneur in Residence?

Meeting entrepreneurs and working together to help them grow their idea into a successful business.

What is the best piece of advice you would give an up-and-coming entrepreneur?

Never give up, and don’t be afraid of failure. Pivoting after learning from customers is an important growth lesson.

How has your experience shaped how you view entrepreneurship and the startup world?

I’ve learned that the spirit and enthusiasm of an entrepreneur can’t be matched. Their ideas and their problem-solving solutions are crucial to all aspects of our lives.

After a decade of working in the industry, how have you seen the entrepreneurship and innovation industry grow? What areas do you anticipate seeing the most change in? 

It has definitely grown, and people aren’t as afraid to jump in with their ideas and work hard to make their ideas grow into a business. Since the pandemic, more and more people are looking to be their own boss and utilize their creativity and other skills to help themselves while solving industry problems. I think the areas of most change will be in the rapidly advancing areas of AI and Machine Learning.