If you ask Robert Coleman P’13, entrepreneurship is one of the most exciting ventures a person can undertake. “It can become the most important experience of your whole career,” he said.
Coleman is President and Chief Executive Officer of Six3 Systems, Inc., which was founded in 2009 in partnership with GTCR Golder Rauner, LLC. It architects, builds, and supports enterprise software applications and systems for government and commercial customers. Coleman is also serving as the 2013 Dolan School Entrepreneur-in-Residence.
The Entrepreneur-in-Residence program was created in 2012 to facilitate having a business professional with entrepreneurial experience provide mentoring to students in entrepreneurship classes and engaging in the business plan competition.
In 1990, Coleman founded Integrated Data Systems (IDS), a highly regarded provider of software engineering, computer security, and enterprise architecture solutions to the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense. ManTech, a provider of technology solutions in information systems, environment, telecommunications, defense, and aeronautics, acquired IDS in 2003 and Coleman served as President and COO from 2004 to 2009.
Dr. Donald Gibson, Dean of the Dolan School, said, “Bob’s willingness to engage with students is inspirational. He provides a vision for students of how to take an idea and turn it into a viable company.”
Coleman, whose son Matthew is a senior at Fairfield majoring in Information Systems and Operation Management, said that he was happy to take on the role as Entrepreneur-in-Residence. In 2013 he visited Assistant Professor Mukesh Sud’s entrepreneur classes to share his experiences with students and talk about the greatest challenges and rewards of entrepreneurism. “The greatest thing is that you’re the one setting the strategy and the direction of the company. It’s all attributed directly to you,” he explained. The greatest challenge, conversely, was that successes and failures depend totally on the person taking the chance.
Coleman also noted that entrepreneurship builds great camaraderie. “You become so close to those who you work with that it’s like creating a second family,” he said.
In addition, Coleman noted that he hoped to convey to students that entrepreneurism should be about creating a business of value. In his opinion, he explained, those who followed “me-too” business ventures or exploited loopholes from the 90’s deregulation helped contribute to America’s current economic state. “Entrepreneurism is not just about creating wealth but creating value for the country,” he concluded.
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