Entrepreneurs / Hiring

Power Moves: Patrick T. McQuown will lead entrepreneurship at Towson University

Plus, role changes at the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, Plank Industries and Mindgrub.

Jessica Solomon. (Courtesy photo)

Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region. Got a new hire, new gig, promotion? Email us:

Towson University has a new entrepreneurship and innovation leader to start 2020.

Patrick T. McQuown was named executive director of entrepreneurship at the university. He will lead TU’s entrepreneurship strategy, as well as oversee the TU Incubator and the university’s forthcoming community hub in a historic armory. The latter space, which a press release indicated will be called StarTUp, is scheduled to open this year. In the role, he will also work with the directors of TU’s Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Student Launch Pad.

“Patrick’s arrival, coupled with the launch of the StarTUp in 2020, comes at an exciting time for our university,” TU President Kim Schatzel said in a statement. “This role is instrumental in catalyzing TU’s entrepreneurship efforts as well as connecting Maryland’s entrepreneurs to TU’s outstanding people and programs.”

The executive director is a member of the university’s administrative team, and this role includes work in both academic and non-academic environments to promote entrepreneurship among the university community and beyond.

McQuown, who is scheduled to start on Jan. 29, was previously the executive director of James Madison University’s Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship. He created a summer accelerator program for students at JMU, and secured a $5.2 million naming gift. He is also an entrepreneur and technologist: McQuown launched web and mobile development company Proteus from his George Washington University dorm room, and created text polling for TV’s “American Idol.” In other higher education roles, McQuown served as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Brown University and Yale University, as well as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

“I’m looking forward to coming to Towson University and joining the university leadership in creating a world-class entrepreneurial ecosystem,” McQuown said in a statement. “It was clear to me that from the President on down entrepreneurship was top of mind.”


The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation promoted Jessica Solomon to VP.

The expanded role, which is a promotion from senior program officer, comes as the Baltimore-based foundation approaches its 30th year of grantmaking in 2021.

“This new role will enable me to support the Foundation in remaining adaptive and responsive,” Solomon said in a statement. “Historically, we tended to support the smaller, riskier organizations that serve marginalized populations and people of color. Now more than ever it is imperative that our work is well-rooted in a deep understanding of the history and the untold stories of the communities we serve.”

A Baltimore native and graduate of Western High School, Solomon has more than a decade of experience in organizational development. Prior to joining Deutsch, she was principal at national consultancy Art in Praxis.

The foundation makes $4 million in grants to Baltimore-area organizations annually. Last year, RWDF launched the Wash and Learn Initiative, through which Enoch Pratt Free Library and Libraries Without Borders provide access to computers and digital resources at local laundromats. It also funded recognizable destinations for Baltimore’s tech and creative community including Station North makerspace Open Works and Motor House.


Tom Geddes is stepping down as the CEO of the company overseeing Kevin Plank-founded ventures that aren’t Under Armour.

As the Baltimore Sun first reported, Geddes will step down from Plank Industries and become an outside adviser to Plank. A successor as CEO has not yet been named.

Geddes led Plank Industries since 2012, overseeing a portfolio that includes Port Covington redevelopment and its innovation hub City Garage, as well as the neighborhood’s Sagamore Spirit Distillery, Fells Point luxury hotel Sagamore Pendry and Baltimore’s water taxi. The Port Covington project broke ground on the first phase of development last year, and has plans to attract tech companies to the live/work/play area known as Rye Street Market. DataTribe, Evergreen Advisors and AllegisCyber already committed as part of “Cyber Town USA.”

The move came around the same time Plank stepped down as CEO of Under Armour, the apparel brand he founded in 1996. Plank is remaining in roles with the Tide Point-based company as executive chairman and brand chief.


Locust Point-based innovation agency Mindgrub brought on a pair of leaders to start 2020.

  • Sarah Quackenbush is joining as VP of client development. In the role, the 17-year veteran of advertising will work to grow new and existing client relationships.
  • John Rainey was named engagement director, bringing more than 20 years of sales, client relations, marketing and business development experience.

“We are excited to welcome both Sarah and John to Mindgrub this month,” Vincent Sharps, Mindgrub’s chief business officer and EVP, said in a statement. “They each bring a set of diverse skills and experiences to the table, and I am confident they will add tremendous value to our growing team.”

Mindgrub's new hires: Sarah Quackenbush and John Rainey.

Mindgrub’s new hires, Sarah Quackenbush and John Rainey. (Courtesy photo)

Companies: Mindgrub / Robert W. Deutsch Foundation / Towson University
Series: Power Moves

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