By Lexi Palma ’13 and Ken Jubie
As Executive Director of the David ’73 and Christine Spicer ’75 Stack Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Michael Hickey ’83 is helping to pave the way for Siena College students who are interested in launching their own businesses.
“What better way to learn, what better way to get context for what you can really do in the world than to actually start your own business while you’re going to college,” Hickey said.
Hickey uses his 25 years of experience in the technology industry, including 15 as a software executive, to lead the College’s interdisciplinary program. He has bought and sold more than a dozen companies and served as Chief Operating Officer of MapInfo and President of Pitney Bowes Business Insight before returning to work at his alma mater. Through it all, Hickey always had the entrepreneurial spirit.
“I would call myself an ‘intrepreneur’ in that I was one of those people who would work inside of a company, who would drive change and who was willing to take risks,” Hickey said.
Along with a team of Siena professors, Hickey guides prospective entrepreneurs in the Stack Center from idea development to commercialization. The team assists students from all three of Siena’s schools – liberal arts, science and business – in generating ideas through competitions and workshops. The professors help students nurture and formalize the business entities and develop business strategies, models and go-to-market plans, all during their college careers.
“I’m excited by the fact pokies machines that Siena can play a big role in the creation of jobs, the creation of companies that can provide new revenue streams for society and for the College,” Hickey said. “Maybe, we’re creating businesses, but if not businesses, we’re definitely creating innovators who can lead in the new, complex world.”
Hickey, who is also Siena’s Executive-in-Residence, continues to influence the world’s economic development. He was among the business leaders who attended last summer’s second annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America Conference in Chicago. The Clinton Global Initiative was established by President Bill Clinton in 2005, in hopes of turning ideas into action. Hickey attended the conference as a representative of the Center for Economic Growth, where he serves as Executive Vice Chair.
Hickey said the CGI was started to address economic and social issues. “CGI America recognizes we have problems of our own,” Hickey said. “The event is focused on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the United States. Specifically, it brings leaders together from business, government and education.”
During the conference work groups were created to lead to specific and measurable outcomes that would benefit the economy and society. “I participated in the Entrepreneur Workshop with individuals like Scott Case from Startup America,” Hickey said.
Whether he is working with established business leaders at a conference or helping Siena College students turn their ideas into viable businesses, Michael Hickey is sparking positive change that could lead to development and improvements in our economy and society as a whole.