About Mike Echols

Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and The Human Capital Lab for Bellevue University

mechols I’m the first member of my family to attend college, let alone graduate and go on to earn advanced degrees. I know first-hand the value that a college degree can bring to work, health, happiness…to life. And I also know first-hand that, without close role models to support a decision to earn a college degree, it can be a lonely and frightening journey.

As the son of an eight-grade educated East Texas pipe liner, I have traveled a long – and at times – rough road.

After high school, I earned my bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University in physics, and then went on to earn an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

My career began at the General Electric Company, where I held three senior executive roles. From there, I moved into academia as a professor.

In 2000 I began work for Bellevue University, an innovative university that provided offered services that made it possible for adult learners to earn their college degrees – long before most universities even contemplated the need for it.

Eventually I headed up the Strategic Initiatives Division at Bellevue University, pioneering research on ROI on corporate learning. I also participated and led several other strategic areas for the university.

After publishing three books about corporate learning, ROI on Human Capital Investment, Competitive Advantage from Human Capital Investment and Creating Value from Human Capital Investment I worked with the University to establish the nation’s first Human Capital Lab, the first academic department dedicated to measuring the impact of corporate learning. This body of work is available in trade publications with specific scientific case studies available for download at www.humancapitallab.org.

Our work in Strategic Initiatives and Human Capital Lab has garnered numerous prestigious honors and awards, including the “Excellence in Academic Partnerships” Gold Award with partners SunTrust, Convergys, and CACI. Bellevue University was ranked in the Top Leadership Development programs nationally by Leadership Excellence magazine.

But my passion for helping adult learners succeed in school – and in life – has remained with me.

I know my journey seems extraordinary. It has not always been easy – but I can truthfully say that the rewards immensely outweigh the cost. This is the journey that I want to support you on. My background inspired this book and my deepest hope would be that this book will inspire you to embark on your journey to degree completion.