Teachers, Mentors, and Advisors that Inspired, Educated and Shaped Me as an Entrepreneur
Recently, I was asked to be featured for an inspirational and educational podcast for entrepreneurs. The topic of the podcast is what people and events inspired me in my journey as an entrepreneur.
Reflecting on this topic and my journey as an entrepreneur for the last 30 years, I came to realize that many people influenced and guided me with their wisdom, expertise, knowledge, and methodologies, which resulted in my successes as an entrepreneur and professional career.
Being a successful entrepreneur requires mastery of several disciplines and learning a great deal about the many aspects that make for a successful business venture.
In preparing for the podcast, I've been reflecting on the tremendous amount of learning I’ve done over the years. I wanted to start a blog series to share what I've learned and what it's meant to me. I also want to talk about growing various businesses and each of the areas that are foundational to being a successful entrepreneur.
In 1978, my journey as an electrical engineering and computer science student began at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Farmingdale. SUNY Farmingdale’s Electrical Technology Class of 1978 program graduated 36 students, from a total of 600 who enrolled in the program. The curriculum was challenging and professors were tough, often pushing students beyond their limits with coursework, assignments, and preparatory work that would help ensure employment on graduation.
After graduating from SUNY Farmingdale with my A.A.S. degree in Electrical Technology, my plan was to continue my studies at the prestigious Polytechnic Institute, where I would earn my B.S.E.E (Bachelors of Electrical Engineering) degree. On graduation, I’d have my pick of employers who were competing for graduates of Polytech’s engineering program.
Six months before graduating SUNY @ Farmingdale, I received a generous employment offer to work for a large, industrial electronics manufacturer, Hazeltine Corporation. I accepted the offer, and went to work soon after graduating from SUNY Farmingdale, as a computer terminal electronics technician in Hazeltine’s commercial products division.
In two short years, I graduated from working on the factory production floor to working in an office space. I was now engaged supporting the product engineering design team, providing computer terminal customers with technical support, and developing educational programs for customers that maintained their own Hazeltine computer terminal equipment.
At the time, I didn’t realize that I had begun my career as a professional technical analyst, engineering consultant, instructional designer, and trainer.
After a few years of employment with Hazeltine Corp, the entrepreneurial bug bit me. Earning a salary with benefits, and engaged in a bachelors of computer science course of study, I decided to open a computer consulting business to serve small businesses and large business enterprises that were local to the community where I worked and lived.