Tom Junod

Robert Reid, left, delivered the fifth annual Bunshaft Lecture at UAlbany last Nov. 5. Pictured with Reid are Caryn Bunshaft ’82 and Al Bunshaft ’80, who established the lecture, and Kim L. Boyer, professor and dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS).
Photo: Mark Schmidt

Robert Reid, B.A.’90

Consultant and Catalyst

By Jim Sciancalepore, M.A.’93

“I enjoy helping clients succeed ... taking something from an idea on a napkin to an operating model is very rewarding,” said Robert Reid, founder and managing director of Vistrada, a management-consulting and venture firm.

The UAlbany alum has long excelled at helping people and organizations attain their full potential. 

Back when he was earning his B.A. in computer science from UAlbany, Reid took on a rather ambitious job to earn some extra spending money. He developed a custom computer program for a title-processing company in downtown Albany. The program was an automated order-entry system which eliminated the company’s paper-based approach. Unsure what to charge for his work, he asked for $500.

Reid recently spoke to the owner of this business, who declared it “the best piece of software I ever bought!” Even though he may have significantly undervalued his work, Reid was still grateful for the opportunity.

“I used the knowledge I had learned in school to create a solution that tied a business need to the technology ... which reinforced a potential career path,” he explained. “It was a moment of clarity for me.”

Reid would spend the next 25-plus years helping others succeed. Thriving at the intersection of business and technology, he worked his way into management and consulting roles at companies such as Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting), AT&T, Verizon, Goldman Sachs, American Express and McCann Erickson. He joined a venture firm in 2000 to help early-stage companies commercialize their offerings, which allowed him to work with over 20 venture-backed companies.

In 2007, Reid used the knowledge gained from his consulting and operational experiences to form his own company, Vistrada. The Manhattan-based consultancy has grown steadily and currently boasts 35 employees coupled with a strong partner network. Vistrada serves a wide range of businesses, from large corporations to early-stage companies and start-ups.

“I get to work on projects that are important to our clients and easy to feel passionate about,” said Reid. “It’s very gratifying.”

Beyond his business, the married father of two has also deployed his consulting skills for other organizations – including his alma mater.

He has spent the past several years as an adviser for UAlbany’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Recently, as featured speaker at the University’s Bunshaft Lecture, Reid shared his real-world perspective on business and entrepreneurship. 

Reid is happy to share his time with his University community. “I feel an obligation to give back,” noted Reid. “UAlbany gave me the tools and knowledge to excel and helped point my compass in the right direction.” 

He is also currently piloting a venture that will bring students, businesses and universities together through an online hub at The initiative, intended to help college students and graduates find internships and apply their education, will also make it easier for employers to recruit and cultivate talent.

In addition, Reid serves on the advisory board of the Universal Hip Hop Museum – sharing his business acumen to grow the organization’s influence and resources, and helping to support innovations such as virtual-reality exhibits. The museum’s mission is to teach, engage and inspire audiences around the world through the creativity and power of hip hop culture. “It’s inspiring to see the effort of the people involved who are already well established in the industry,” noted Reid. 

Reid, who immigrated to the United States from Guyana at age 13, attributed his passion and entrepreneurial spirit to his maternal grandfather, a successful Guyanese businessman. “My values are shaped by his accountability, work ethic and all the traveling he allowed me to experience in my early years,” said Reid.