Meet Remy Arteaga, the New Director of the Top-Ranked McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship
Many entrepreneurs share common characteristics, a knack for identifying needs, a capacity to creatively solve problems, and a tolerance for taking risks. Some are born with these qualities, others develop their skill set through educational programs such as the those offered by the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, and still others can pinpoint the moment they acquired their entrepreneurial mindset.
The McGuire Center's new director, Remy Arteaga, believes that his entrepreneurial training began at the tender age of 3, when his family moved from Peru to New York City.
"We moved into a neighborhood that was pretty chaotic," he said. "From the time I was a little kid, I saw both my parents working and finding ways to survive in the neighborhood. I think that taught me entrepreneurial principles – you learn how to deal with uncertainty, you learn to solve problems, you learn to find opportunities. Looking back, I believe that is where the seeds were planted."
While he may have developed many qualities of an entrepreneur early in life, Arteaga didn't immediately gravitate to entrepreneurship. He attended the University of Rochester and studied electrical engineering, a field his father encouraged him to pursue, before taking a position at General Motors.
"I was fortunate that I was put into a group that did a lot of business activities – competitive analysis, customer needs analysis, brainstorming new product design – and that built the foundation of my business understanding," he said.
During his six years at GM, Arteaga was involved in activities that drove innovation from within the company. He co-founded the Methods Group and developed company-wide product innovation methods that saved GM millions per product launch.
He also developed an interest in striking out on his own. He freelanced and did IT consulting before he landed at a startup and got his first real taste of entrepreneurship.
Arteaga became the president of Atlantic Imaging Inc., a digital printing startup that he led to profitability in 6 months. He then joined an Internet startup as COO and negotiated a multi-million dollar acquisition deal with Snowball. After that, he launched a third startup.
"It failed – and I had no idea why," he said. "Failure is good. It made me realize that there were things I still didn’t know."
His desire to understand what had happened and learn more about entrepreneurship led him to enroll in the MBA program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 2004. He worked part time as the CEO of a medical device startup during his MBA program, and continued on fulltime after he graduated with top honors. In 2007, he became the CEO of an RPI spinout, DualAlign, LLC, a smart algorithm software company that develops medical and geospatial imaging solutions. Over the course of five years, he raised more than $1 million in funding and negotiated multi-million-dollar partnership deals with global corporations.
During that time, he also got his start as an educator, and he quickly developed an interest in nurturing the entrepreneurial mindset and capacity of others. He began as an entrepreneur in residence at RPI, and then was invited to be the program director of the entrepreneurship center for a year. At that point, he combined his new passion for entrepreneurship education with his two decades of experience in entrepreneurial, innovative, and strategic roles to co-author a book, Pivot: How Top Entrepreneurs Adapt and Change Course to Find Ultimate Success, published by Wiley in 2013.
"I tripped into academia," Arteaga said. "I got to do all these things in a very short amount of time, which pivoted me away from the path of doing another startup. I became more interested in having an impact on the people around me. Instead of shareholder wealth, my focus became about other people's health and wealth and mindset. I loved it. My whole focus changed from inward to outward, to be in positions where I can have impact."
From 2013-2015, Arteaga served as the director of the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado-Boulder Leeds School of Business, and then took a position as the executive director of LBAN, a Palo Alto-based non profit that delivered Stanford Latino entrepreneurship education and research programs.
"I got a chance to be in Silicon Valley for a while at an organization that had national impact and worked with established entrepreneurs, and that was great," he said.
Ultimately, he found himself drawn to working with students again. The position at the McGuire Center interested him because Eller College of Management Dean Paulo Goes is very supportive of entrepreneurship, and the position offered the opportunity to have great impact on students and the community, Arteaga said.
"These types of opportunities don't come around every day," he said. "The McGuire Center has a rich history, with great leaders like center’s previous Executive Director, Bob Lusch. It is on a very good path, and I hope to add to that and help it scale. My hope for the McGuire Center is that it can have tremendous impact within the University of Arizona, within the region, and on a national stage."