Rensselaer alumnus and serial entrepreneur, inventor, and technology executive Robert L. Godgart ’82 has been selected as the 2016 William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year. Established in 1990, the award brings the world of entrepreneurship and innovation into Rensselaer classrooms by recognizing successful entrepreneurs and role models who share their wisdom and experiences with students.
As a successful entrepreneur, Godgart started five companies and turned them all into market leaders. His visionary ideas took him on a journey to transform not one, but several industries. At Rensselaer, Godgart pioneered early computer applications in architecture and soon launched his first company, Image Systems Technology. The company’s CAD Overlay product would become the world standard to put paper drawings on PC computers for architects and engineers.
Next, Godgart teamed up to create the Capital Region’s first seed venture fund, leading investments in successful Rensselaer companies such as LearnLinc and Vicarious Visions. He started PowerAdz to revolutionize the newspaper industry, putting 1,800 newspapers online. Godgart is most well-known for founding Autotask, the world’s leading information technology business management software; he also started ChannelEyes to reinvent how indirect sales channels are managed. Today, he gives back to the community as an executive coach, mentor, board member, and angel investor who helps CEOs and entrepreneurs accelerate their growth.
“We are excited to honor Bob Godgart as the recipient of this year’s William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year, a hallmark event made possible due to the generosity of Bill Glaser in his dedication to promote and foster entrepreneurship in our world,” said Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School. “Bob reflects the tenacity, innovation, and commitment of Rensselaer students and graduates who create solutions for a better tomorrow.”
The Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year program will take place Friday, October 7, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies auditorium. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship and the Lally School of Management.
“It is a great honor to receive this recognition from Rensselaer, however, it’s also for all the people behind these ventures that made them successful,” said Godgart. “Co-founders, management teams, investors, strategic partners, and most importantly, the employees and their families who spent so much of their lives dedicated to the startup life. I truly hope that my business journey will inspire young RPI entrepreneurs to pursue their technological dreams.”
Godgart received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Rensselaer with a concentration in building science but ultimately became fascinated with computers. In 1980, before the days of personal computers and cell phones, he spent many nights in the lab pioneering computer applications in architecture.
Godgart has been an active leader in the information technology community, serving as chairman of CompTIA, the information technology industry’s largest association, and was named several times as a CRN Magazine Channel Chief, and the MSP Mentor 250, as well as the SMB 150, and the Channelnomics 12 Channel Leaders to Watch.
Today, the William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year Award has become part of a tradition at Rensselaer. Each year, the award celebrates entrepreneurs whose vision, commitment, and creativity exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit that is part of the past, present, and future of Rensselaer.