Jason Macleod, Festa Fellowship recipient, is spending his summer at the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology (IAGT) at Cayuga Community College, working directly with the CEO to help restructure the organization.
IAGT is a nonprofit organization that was created in 2001 by the governing council of NASA’s Regional Application Center and the organization has worked on multiple contracts with NASA.
Macleod, an MBA student, has been given the opportunity to work directly with the CEO of IAGT, Robert Brower, to restructure the organization and develop new business strategies to create financial stability.
“I’m the translator to communicate with share holders, investors, or potential clients to explain why we’re important to them and how we can develop a partnership,” Macleod said.
Attending SUNY Oswego
Macleod graduated high school early and decided to attend SUNY Oswego for his undergraduate degree, where he pursued technology management with a minor in business administration.
While attending SUNY Oswego for his undergrad, Macleod was given the opportunity to intern under John Moore, who was the director of engineering and sustainability for the campus, but is currently working at Rochester Institute of Technology.
“He taught me how to interact with people in a business setting, the importance of networking and ultimately, he got me the first co-op here with O’Brien and Gere,” Macleod said.
O’Brien and Gere is an engineering firm in Syracuse. While working at the firm, Macleod was offered a job, but he decided to return to SUNY Oswego to further his education and get his MBA.
As a graduate student, Macleod became eligible for the Festa Fellowship and decided to apply.
“As an MBA student who hasn’t graduated yet with no formal experience of working at the top of an organization, I now get to experience this while still in school.”
Festa recipient at IAGT
Macleod’s main objective at IAGT is to help restructure the organization, develop a new business strategy because the organization's goals have changed, and develop business through old clients and new clients.
IAGT promotes the wisest usage of geospatial information technology within government education and commerce.
According to Macleod, geospatial technology is the use of satellites to visually represent information for businesses to make better decisions about market segmentation for the government to look at population density, education levels of communities, tax maps, etc.
“It’s so policy makers can make better-informed decisions, educators can improve the technology and commerce can thrive from the information they provide,” Macleod said.
As an undergrad, Macleod studied technology management and as an intern at O’Brien and Gere, he worked with geospatial technology, but not the programming. Macleod will now become more familiar with the technology and use his business expertise to improve the organization.
“The importance of this Festa Fellowship is that I’m gaining experience working with people that I otherwise would not be qualified to work with yet,” Macleod said. “As an MBA student with no formal experience of working at the top of an organization, I now get to experience this while still in school.”
On paper, Macleod may not have all the qualifications, but the Festa Fellowship has given him the opportunity to work side-by-side with a CEO.
“He’s benefiting from my assistance and I’m benefiting from developing the network that he has access to and just learning the skills of what a CEO does and how to start your own business,” Macleod said.
SUNY Oswego has helped Macleod gain the knowledge and skills in different aspects of business in a multitude of industries through internships and co-op experiences. Macleod would like to eventually start a business to specifically help students get the experience needed to meet their career goals.
“I know I want to do something with education as far as bridging the gap between students and college and identifying where you want to work and what your career goals are,” Macleod said.
According to Macleod, there is a displacement between students and their career goals, in which classes don’t always identify.
“When they get to college, they are focused entirely on the path they are on rather than what their next goal is and they don’t decide to set the next goal until the time they already should be achieving it,” Macleod said.
The internship and co-ops Macleod has participated in, along with the courses he took at SUNY Oswego, has prepared him for the future career goals.
I feel that people should be setting these goals and making these goals sophomore year,” Macleod said. “You need to have that network, you need to know people who can help you.”