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UAlbany Alum Robert Reid to Highlight Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Mentorship as Keys to Student Success at Bunshaft Lecture

Fifth annual event is Nov. 5 at 10:30 a.m. in Campus Center Assembly Hall

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 3, 2015) -- Robert Reid, ’90, Managing Director of Vistrada, a management consultancy helping clients across process, technology, marketing and venture initiatives, will deliver the 5th Annual University at Albany Bunshaft Lecture on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 10:30 a.m. in the Campus Center Assembly Hall.

Established through the generosity of Albert Bunshaft ’80 and Caryn Bunshaft ’82, The Bunshaft Endowment in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) provides support for this lecture, designed to inform the student community about a broad range of topics related to careers in computer science and engineering.

Robert Reid UAlbany alum class of 1990
2015 Bunshaft Lecturer Robert Reid, '90

Reid will share the experiences that led to his career success and tips for "unleashing your entrepreneur." The lecture will be followed by a networking reception.

"The College of Computing and Information, the precursor to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, can point to an outstanding record of producing graduates who go on to highly successful careers," said CEAS Interim Dean Kim Boyer. "Robert Reid is a noteworthy example of that proud tradition, and we are delighted to welcome him back to deliver this year’s Bunshaft Lecture, our signature event for the year. We also celebrate the success of Al and Caryn Bunshaft, whose extraordinary generosity funds this important opportunity for our students and faculty."

Previous Bunshaft Lecture speakers include Joan Pertak ’83, Adam Denenberg ’98, Jonathan Rochelle ’85, and Al Bunshaft, ’80, who provided the inaugural lecture in 2012.

Reid’s Path

Growing up in Georgetown, Guyana, Reid had first-hand experience with how an entrepreneurial attitude can open doors in the business world. His maternal grandfather had grown a scrap metal recycling company into an international endeavor, with partners and customers as far away as the United Kingdom. But it was coming to UAlbany as an undergraduate in 1985 where he learned that innovation and mentorship were the keys to successful entrepreneurial ventures.

Reid, who studied computer science and business, leveraged his experience at UAlbany to secure a position with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). His success at Accenture combined with the lessons he learned at UAlbany helped convince him to choose the road less traveled. Instead of pursuing a promotion to partner, he forged a new path by forming his own company, Vistrada, where he helps clients find innovative ways to retain existing revenue streams and create new business opportunities.

"In 1985, as a relatively new immigrant, I felt it would be a good idea to attend a school away from home in order to immerse myself in the college experience and American culture," said Reid, who had been accepted to the Carroll School of Management Boston College, but longed for the affordability and flexibility that BC couldn’t offer. "I wanted to focus on computer science or business and felt UAlbany had the best programs of all the SUNY schools."

Reid learned quickly not to underestimate the rigor of his coursework at UAlbany. While he had already taken college-level computer science courses at Jamaica High School in Queens, N.Y., he needed to learn how to manage his independence and new responsibilities. A key person in that process was Professor Emeritus Dean Arden. "Professor Arden created the challenge that raised my awareness and forced me to step up my game and not take UAlbany lightly," said Reid who credits his experience in the computer science program with understanding how innovation, entrepreneurship and mentorship provide the foundation for students' future success.

"It is important to master your studies as they help solidify an important foundational component necessary in a quickly evolving world.  Getting involved early with experiential experience will help complement your studies and help you figure out your personal preferences," said Reid. "Whether you become a corporate employee or your own boss, being entrepreneurial can occur in both spaces and will help you innovate and be recognized for your contributions."

For Reid, it was turning his consulting and software solutions experience into growing Vistrada, where he has been able to both teach and learn from so many while growing a service oriented company.  "I think you must be adequately grounded in your core values, knowledge, problem-solving ability and confidence to succeed in business and life, but you can accelerate and broaden your skills by thinking innovatively, being entrepreneurial and finding good mentors."

Entrepreneurial Opportunities at UAlbany

At UAlbany the growth in entrepreneurial opportunities include both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, the 'Young Entrepreneurs Academy' for 6th through 12th grade students, and the new Blackstone LaunchPad entrepreneurship program, which will connect the University’s 17,300 students with other campuses, the business community, and local entrepreneurs throughout the state to create an environment that nurtures students to succeed as entrepreneurs.

With a physical presence on each university campus and access to the Blackstone LaunchPad Global Network Technology Platform, the program has the potential to generate some 4,000 new ventures and 6,000 new jobs across New York over the next five years.

Reid has further helped the next generation of UAlbany students by serving as an advisor to UAlbany's CEAS and the Universal Hip Hop Museum.  He is currently leading an innovative venture project -- TalentJumpStart.com -- piloted at UAlbany which will match interns with employer opportunities for paid and unpaid internships while developing a stronger network for participating universities and students across companies.

"Mentors can teach you lessons that influence your thinking or directly support developing your ideas, being entrepreneurial allows you to test your ideas and become more innovative thinkers," he said.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.