Michael S. Tomczyk 
Technology - Innovation - Education
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CAREER PROFILE:  MICHAEL S. TOMCZYK

 
 

 
I was going to post a Bio here but decided that's a bit stodgy and self-serving - so if you want to see my career profile, you can check out my Wharton Profile - or - my LinkedIn Profile - or - find me on Wikipedia.  Anyway, I thought it would be more fun to include some personal insights and observations - this is still self-serving, but hopefully not stodgy. 
 
My current career goal is to expand my involvement in managing high value growth initiatives, ideally in a corporate or university-led innovation ecosystem.
 

Managerial Leadership at the Mack Center for Technological Innovation

 
As Managing Director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation since its inception, I've been privileged to provide managerial leadership at the world's leading center for the study of best practices and strategies for managing innovation.  One of my primary roles is to serve as the "bridge" between our faculty and industry partners. 
 
My proudest achievement this year was leading the recruitment of 10 new industry partners (despite the recession): Air Liquide, General Motors, Lockheed-Martin, Medtronic, Merck, NASA, NSSC, Olympus America, Sanofi-Aventis, Tyco Electronics.  This year we also redesigned our website, launched an electronic newsletter and published several magazine style conference reports - I do most of the writing and editing for these communication vehicles. 
 
The most fun part of my job is hosting an annual event I designed called the "Emerging Technologies Update Day" - a showcase of emerging technologies looming on the near horizon that have the potential to transform industries and markets.  This years ET Update Day will be held on Friday, Feb. 25 and the theme will be: "Turning Science Fiction Into Science Reality."
 
In addition to my Mack Center activities, I serve on the program leadership of the BioSciences Crossroads Initiative which I helped establish in 2002, and serve on the Commercialization Core committee promoting translational medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.  I also serve on the advisory committee of the Advanced Computing Department at Temple University.  I serve as a senior member of an IEEE/IEC committee developing standards for the use of nanotechnology in electronics, and as a Founding Strategic Advisor to the Nanotechnology Research Foundation.
 
Developing Educational Technology
 
Before joining Wharton I was chief operating officer at Better Education, which was founded by a group of former NASA scientists.  The company held the seminal patent for classroom networks and was a pioneer in distance learning.  My role ranged from product development and marketing to business development.  I forged strategic alliances with HP and Texas Instruments which included persuading T.I. to built communication utilities into their graphing calculators so they could be used with our network.  B.E.'s Classtalk system was used in classrooms including 300-seat lecture halls at Harvard and other universities - students used the network to respond to questions by the professor, which gave an instant indication of whether the students learned the concepts.  The system was also used to give short electronic quizzes (note: the company licensed its technology and ceased operation in 2000).  Many of these concepts are now incorporated in online "distance learning" courses provided by cutting-edge universities.
 
Leading the Charge in the Home Computer Revolution
 
I am probably best known for my role in the development and launch of the first home computers at Commodore in the 1980s, which is described in my Wikipedia listing and in my 1984 book, THE HOME COMPUTER WARS. To my surprise, this memoir has become a collector's item.  To see more about this part of my career, see Tech Pioneer.  I also spent a year as vice president of a technology division at CIGNA, the insurance giant. 
 
Management Consulting
 
Over the years, I have been a management consultant to clients in about 100 industries.  In addition to home computers, I've been involved in the launch of many well-known innovations including Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) and CT Scanning.  In the 1990s I was CEO of my own marketing firm (Aranda Corporation).  I've edited more than 100 annual and quarterly financial reports.  I've helped launch new banks (in Wisconsin and California) and represented Century 21 during their national expansion/rollout.  One of my most interesting consulting assignments was serving for 3 years as Chilton Publishing's Internet Strategy Consultant.  I've also helped launch several successful startup venturesDue to my busy schedule, I currently limit my consulting activities to one or two clients - projects that interest me and where I feel I can add value.
 
Military Experience  
 
I served as an officer in the U.S. Army for 3 years on active duty and several years in the Army Reserve.  I worked mostly for general officers in military commands as: Public Information Officer in the XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters at Fort Bragg; as Asst. Adjutant on the general staff of the lst Signal Brigade in Vietnam; and as Assistant Adjutant on the general staff at USASTRATCOM/United Nations Command in South Korea.  I was promoted to the rank of captain after two and a half years.  My military commendations included a bronze star (for meritorious service in Vietnam, where I traveled extensively and experienced combat); Army Commendation Medal and Airborne Badge.  I believe that the lives of American combat troops need to be protected at all costs, and I am appalled that military leaders seem to be sliding back into the obsolete philosophy that a certain percent of deaths and casualties are "acceptable."  My personal opinion is that technology was NOT used early and effectively to protect our troops in the second Iraq war.
 
Academic Degrees
 
Master's degree in environmental studies from the University of Pennsylvania (May 2010); M.B.A. from U.C.L.A.; B.A. in literature and journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
 
 









Media Activities
Podcast - Teradata River
Dec. 2010 - Interview on Best Practices for Innovation Ecosystems.
Doctoral Class Interview
Oct. 2010 - Skype interview w. doctoral class at Northwestern University - Stacey Gonzales is doing a doctoral paper on the VIC 20.
Film Documentary
Summer 2010 -  6 hour long interview with a film crew shooting a documentary on the birth of the home computer, detailing my experiences at Commodore.
Interview - Stefan Egger
September 2010 - interview with Stefan Egger who edits a "Commodore retro" site in Austria.

 
Venture Startups
 
I've been privileged to help start several entrepreneurial ventures since joining Wharton (as a founder, advisor and/or board member):  Parallel Computers Technology Inc. (PCTI) - an advanced computing venture ;  V.I. Labs, a provider of software security systems; and Group Cortex (the Delaware Valley's largest Internet service provider - acquired by AnswerThink).  
 
Consulting & Speaking
 
I occasionally serve as an advisor and sounding board for innovation teams at corporations, in areas where I have an interest and where I feel I can provide value.
 
I do several presentations at industry conferences and workshops each year, on topics related to emerging technologies, innovation strategies and implications for the future. 
 
I believe that as innovation champions, we can all help "make the future happen faster."