Silas Deane is a 1987 Gatton Economics graduate who serves as the Chair of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship. Silas recently sold his company, VendEngine to Tyler Technologies (S&P 500 - NYSE:TYL). The Nashville Business Journal called it the largest tech deal in Nashville's history. Silas now serves as the Vice President and General Manager of Tyler Technologies division in Government Tech.

Tell us about yourself. After graduating from the University of Kentucky, I spent a decade in Washington, D.C. working in the U.S. Senate and White House for Al Gore, Jr. and later in the U.S. House of Representatives where I was able to build a strong technology-informed resume right as the .com boom happened in the late 90s. After moving to Nashville, I was able to use that experience to have my first entrepreneurial start-up (in .com) that led to a journey of multiple tech-related start-ups. I recently sold my last start-up in 2021 and now serve as the General Manager/Vice President of Tyler Technologies (the company that purchased us), an S&P 500 company based in Plano, TX managing a portfolio that includes some of the largest IT products in the government sector.

Tell us about your most memorable times as a student. There are so many, from the lifelong friendships I made in Haggin Hall to serving as a Student Senator-at-Large in the UK SGA, I loved my time at UK. My most memorable experiences, however, came from playing Rugby for UK for four years and loving EVERY minute of that; the brotherhood that came from that sport. So proud to see UK Rugby win the National Championship last year! They certainly have come a long way and I like to imagine I played some role in helping to build that.

What advice do you have for young alumni looking to become more involved with Gatton College? For young Alumni, the resources are vast. From ongoing career advice to reconnecting with professors at another level are great experiences that young alumni can take advantage of. I love plugging into the current students, sharing my experiences, and helping guide their paths.


What parts of your professional life were most influenced by your academic life at UK? My economics professor, Dr. Krislov was probably one of the most influential people in my early career. He was honest with me that while I was not the strongest economics student at UK, I had other skills and he helped guide me on that path that led me to my career in D.C. I owe a great deal of gratitude to Dr. Krislov and his direction and I would encourage current students to take advantage of that “life” knowledge of your professors that goes beyond just the classroom.


In what ways are you assisting young entrepreneurs in fulfilling their dreams in the area of start-ups? As Chairman of the Board for the Von Allman Entrepreneur Center, I am VERY proud of our recent announcement of the Governor’s School for Entrepreneur program partnering with UK. This will allow high school students the ability to learn, at an even earlier age, the fundamentals of being an entrepreneur that go WAY BEYOND just having a cool idea. I serve on multiple start-up boards and teach classes across Nashville and at UK Bootcamp on multiple subjects.

Do you have any other thoughts about the possibilities afforded future students at Gatton College? For future students, I want to encourage them to not just look at UK as a place to earn a degree. As my UK professor, used to say – ‘take advantage of UK to learn more than just book smarts – use it to study and learn in the fishbowl of LIFE.' For many of the future students this might be their first time away from home. Use that to learn, grow and take back a wealth of knowledge and experiences that will set you on your next steps of your life journey.