Aaron Horn is doing what he wants to do.
Horn began work Tuesday as the Chief Operating Officer of NewBoCo—a Cedar Rapids-based nonprofit—becoming the organizations 19th employee.
Horn has been involved with the Iowa Startup Accelerator in part-time roles since 2014 ranging from investor, mentor, board member and board chairman.
His full-time job was Director of IT for the Iowa Interstate Railroad.
“I’m really passionate about entrepreneurship, especially building the ecosystem,” Horn, 36, says. “And that’s something NewBoCo is passionate about as well and has a lot of things going on that drive towards that.
“My involvement has just kind of continually grown to this point, to where I get to do it full-time. Which is awesome.”
Horn—an Adel native and Iowa State University graduate—was the Global Head of IT for Becker Underwood until it was sold for $1 billion in 2012. After moving to Eastern Iowa in 2014 a mutual friend would connect Horn with NewBoCo Executive Director Eric Engelmann as the Iowa Startup Accelerator.
“We got connected via somebody and I remember it was a phone call when I first chatted with him, and I was like man, this guy sounds like a cool cat,” Englemann says. “I’ve got to get him plugged in to some of the things that are going on so he can find his tribe in Eastern Iowa.”
Englemann says Horn will be providing more “bandwidth” for NewBoCo.
“We are going to compliment each other very well,” Englemann says. “I have a little bit more of the visionary mindset and he’s more of how the heck we get it all done.”
Englemann said Horn will also focus on specific projects and programs offers, like the Corridor Angels Investor Group.
“That’s something I’ve launched but it needs somebody to really focus on it and I think he’s going to spend a lot of time focused on that program,” Englemann says.
Horn says he’d like to have 100 investors in the investor group and that he will work on expanding the DeltaV Code School to Des Moines.
“It’s funny because I have been involved since the beginning so it kind of felt, even though it’s my first day, it was un-ceremonial,” Horn, said. “We sat down at a desk and just kept going on all the stuff that we were working on.”