NMSU’s Sheriff chairholder works to grow a culture of entrepreneurship

May 10, 2016 by Amanda Bradford, NMSU News Center

Robert Macy came to New Mexico State University on a mission to make entrepreneurial thinking something that permeates all areas of campus and extends throughout the state.

New Mexico State University College of Business Professor Robert Macy, left, who holds the Bill and Sharon Sheriff Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship, works with Lauren Goldstein in a recording studio used for web- and podcasting at the Arrowhead Center on campus. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

New Mexico State University College of Business Professor Robert Macy, left, who holds the Bill and Sharon Sheriff Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship, works with Lauren Goldstein in a recording studio used for web- and podcasting at the Arrowhead Center on campus. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Macy, a College of Business professor who is the first to hold the Bill and Sharon Sheriff Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship, has spent his first year at NMSU doing just that.

“I’m trying to just embed it in every college,” Macy said. “I want to create and develop a culture of entrepreneurship across campus and across the NMSU system.”

He’s already made significant strides in that area, meeting with each of the deans to discuss program ideas, reenergizing the entrepreneurship concentration in the College of Business and collaborating with Industrial Engineering Department Head Edward Pines on eventually making the minor in entrepreneurship accessible to anyone on campus.

“I want to have a chance to have a positive effect on students’ lives, not just help them mark time for four years,” Macy said. “These are students who want to do something, and that’s really appealing to me.”

He also works closely with Arrowhead Center, NMSU’s tech commercialization hub. He’s serving as co-principal investigator on Next Gen, a new program funded under the Economic Development Administration’s 2015 Regional Innovation Strategies program. Next Gen will take student entrepreneurship programming developed on NMSU’s main campus to the university’s community colleges in Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Grants, as well as Doña Ana Community College in Las Cruces.

“There’s a lot to build with and work with there. Everybody is really open to trying things,” he said. “I see a lot of opportunity to help people.”

One tool for that is a new broadcast space Macy set up at Arrowhead Center that enables the team to use video conferencing to deliver information and interact live with campuses around the state. Macy also used the space to help launch a series of half-hour shows, available as audio and video podcasts on iTunes or YouTube, featuring entrepreneurs from Studio G, the student business incubator directed by Kramer Winingham, who also serves as co-PI on the Next Gen program.

Kathy Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center, said Macy is contributing in both large and small ways to initiatives all over campus.

“He’s a real force multiplier in that sense,” she said. “He’s very collaborative and encouraging.”

Macy holds a law degree, a Master of Business Administration and a doctorate in management, all from the University of Oregon, as well as a bachelor’s in history from Washington State University. He came to NMSU from Penn State University, where he created two new minors and a new major related to entrepreneurship in the Smeal College of Business and founded the Penn State Innovation and Commercialization Graduate Program. Outside of his academic experience, Macy also developed a law practice focused on startup companies.

College of Business Dean Jim Hoffman said Macy’s experience developing entrepreneurship programs at Penn State, a land-grant university like NMSU, made him a great fit here.

“He’s reinvigorated the entrepreneurship emphasis here,” Hoffman said. “He just brings a great energy to the college and to the university as a whole, and he understands our land-grant mission of teaching, research and service.”

The chair in entrepreneurship was established by a 2013 gift of more than $1 million in stock from business executive and NMSU alumnus Bill Sheriff and his wife, Sharon, who wanted to help the College of Business attract and reward faculty who would provide leadership and expertise in cultivating a spirit of entrepreneurship in New Mexico and develop resources to advance that goal in the state and region.

“We are excited about the passion Dr. Macy has for developing the program and resources to support the teaching and cultivation of entrepreneurship at NMSU, the local area and the state of New Mexico,” Bill Sheriff said.

“Half the time, I get to do all the cool things Arrowhead’s doing; half the time, I get to do all the great things the College of Business is doing,” Macy said of his role at NMSU. “I was looking for someplace with new challenges – somewhere that I could make a difference. And I found it.”


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