Festa Fellowship recipient Jason Macleod spent 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 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, worked directly with the CEO of IAGT, Robert Brower, to restructure the organization and develop new business strategies to create financial stability.

“I was the translator to communicate with shareholders, investors or potential clients to explain why we’re important to them and how we can develop a partnership,” Macleod said.

Oswego experiences

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 undergraduate degree, Macleod was given the opportunity to intern under John Moore, who was the director of engineering and sustainability for the campus before taking a big role at the 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.

Macleod’s main objective at IAGT was 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 and for the government to look at population density, education levels of communities, tax maps and the like.

“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.

“The importance of the Festa Fellowship is that I’m gaining experience working with people that I otherwise would not be qualified to work with yet. As an MBA student with no formal experience of working at the top of an organization, I now get this experience while still in school.”

As an intern at O’Brien and Gere, he worked with geospatial technology, but not the programming. Macleod became more familiar with the technology through IAGT and used his business expertise to improve the organization.

“The importance of the 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 this experience while still in school.”

Through the fellowship, the CEO and the organization are "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.

Future plans

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 can be a displacement between students and their career goals.

“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, 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.”