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One-Time Unconventional Student Gives Expertise Back to Southern Nevada

College of Engineering Alumnus of the Year Mike Maier helps show tech start-ups the way.

People  |  Oct 11, 2018  |  By Brian Sodoma
Mike Maier

Mike Maier helps mentor local tech businesses and start-ups. (Casey Jade Photography)

Editor's Note: 

As part of UNLV's Homecoming festivities, the UNLV Alumni Association will celebrate the accomplishments of graduates at its annual reception and awards ceremony Oct. 18. You can stream the awards ceremony live here.

College of Engineering Alumnus of the Year Mike Maier  (BS ’86 Computer Science) has more than 30 years of experience with public and private technology enterprises, including startups, government contractors and defense technology companies. He works as an independent senior consultant/program manager with several small to large companies focusing on business development for advanced and cloud computing, IT infrastructure, Internet of Things, and SMART cities. He is heavily involved with mentoring and developing local technology business and start-ups, especially those supporting Nevada economic diversification.

Tell us about a when someone showed you unexpected kindness. How do you pay it forward?

As an “o’Missour’a farm boy,” I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be blessed and fortunate enough to be where I am today. I have many to thank. As a nontraditional student and an Air Force Vietnam-era veteran, I struggled with some of my studies and would not have finished my degree if not for the extra encouragement and frank advice from three of my UNLV computer science professors — John Werth, Steve Sherman, and Evangelos Yfantis — who saw and believed in my potential.

As my professional journey grew, I was blessed with several mentors and coaches, Chuck Aquilina, Bill Donahoe, Bob Phillips, and retired Air Force Lt. Col. C. Lee Carpenter along the way. They too saw and believed in my potential to do more. It is through their extra encouragement that I was able to understand and see my journey from then to now.

In turn, I was privileged and honored to mentor and coach several high-potential young and upcoming employees that went on to see their own successes.

After doing considerable work outside of the state as a consultant for a number of years, in 2010 I made a concerted effort to plug in with local Southern Nevada business organizations and educational institutions. I hoped to share, and help individuals with, what I had learned along the way. I called it “Fusion & Transformation of People + Process + Technology.”

Through my activities and interactions with businesses, local academia, and various boards and committees, the “o’Missour’a farm boy” still in me continues to plant the seeds to grow our next generation of students, employees, and businesses.

Innovation and education

Mike Maier’s experiences have ranged from traditional systems integration and delivery to leading-edge solutions spanning various business and government sectors.

While working with Bechtel at the Nevada Test Site in the late 1990s and at the Hanford Waste Treatment Plant project in Washington state from 2001 to 2006, Maier was an early innovator building technology solutions to improve business operations, as well as defining an “information-enabled/connected construction site” vision. Later, with the company VMware Inc., he drove a virtual research and development team evaluating hardware platform configurations for VMware’s early cloud computing efforts.

More recently, he held the position of assistant vice president/director with Tech Mahindra, a part of the Mahindra Group, an Indian multinational conglomerate. He continues to collaborate on a wide range of high-tech initiatives, with an emphasis on those that affect Nevada economic diversification.

Maier is heavily engaged within the local technology and education communities. He was a founding committee member for the UNLV Technology Assessment Committee, co-founder for the Southern Nevada Chapter of the National Defense Industry Association, and the first honorary board director for the Technology Business Alliance of Nevada. He is a UNLV College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board member and past president of the UNLV College of Engineering Alumni chapter.