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A Time for “Returning:” Alumnus Gives Back

by Nanette Cormier

Mark Atkins ’71 has developed an interesting theory about career development. It is no surprise that its stages, which happen to rhyme, mirror the evolution of his business career and life.

He says that the 20s are for “learning;” the 30s for “yearning;” the 40s for “earning;” and the 50s and beyond for “returning.” Atkins has spent 40 years in business.  During 23 of them he served as chairman, CEO, and president of two entrepreneurial early stage companies that evolved into global market leading entities and were sold in the aggregate for an excess of $150 million.

Entrepreneur Mark Atkins '71 believes that the dynamism and diversity of
UMass Boston present an unparalleled context for students during
the “learning” stage of their careers. He will teach three courses at the College of
Management in spring 2013.
Invention Machine Corporation, which he left in July 2012, is a software company with an innovation platform for assisting global manufacturing companies in developing their next generation products.

The second company, Vality Technology, is a software company that helps the Global 2000 companies integrate their huge and disparate data stores into useful, real time information to support their sales and marketing activities. Earlier in his career, Atkins worked for Honeywell and an IBM spin-off, and contributed to what were early versions of “Cloud” computing.

After his long tenure as CEO, Atkins has entered into his fourth stage of “returning,” which will allow him to share his experiences in the three earlier stages of “learning,” “yearning,” and “earning” with students by joining the UMass Boston College of Management faculty in spring 2013.

Atkins, who grew up in the Franklin Field Housing Project in Dorchester, expresses his gratitude to UMass Boston for giving him his first big opportunity to launch his career by granting him a full scholarship to attend college. He was the first in his family to do so.
After UMass Boston, he earned his MBA by attending Babson College at night, also on scholarship. He is a self-proclaimed “city guy” ever energized by the vitality, opportunities, and promise of urban environments.

And now in “returning,” Atkins hopes that his teaching based upon his commercial experience will help students launch their own personal and professional careers. He believes the dynamism and diversity of UMass Boston present an unparalleled context for students during the “learning” stage of their careers.

“We couldn’t be more delighted than to have Mark Atkins share his decades of entrepreneurial achievement and leadership experience in how to build successful global companies,” says College of Management Dean Philip Quaglieri.

In addition to his teaching, Atkins has already “returned” to the university by providing the Atkins Scholarship program. He has tremendous belief in the quality of the university’s faculty and students and sees the university as a remarkable institution for launching successful entrepreneurial careers like his own. In short, he says “There’s no better place for learning than UMass Boston.”   



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