As the first member of his family to attend college, let alone graduate and go on to earn advanced degrees, Mike Echols knows firsthand the value that a college degree can bring to work, health, happiness, and to life. He also knows firsthand that, without close role models to support a decision to earn a college degree, it can be lonely and at times an overwhelming journey.
After high school, Mike earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Carnegie Mellon University, then went on to earn an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His career began as assistant professor in the School of Business at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Later his corporate career was at the General Electric Company where he held three senior executive roles. From there, he returned to academia as an entrepreneurial senior executive, first as Executive Director of the Creighton Institute for Information Technology and Management at Creighton University in Omaha
In 2000 he began work for Bellevue University in Omaha, an innovative university that provided services that make it possible for working adult learners to earn their college degrees—long before most universities even contemplated the need for it. In 2016 he retired from Bellevue University.
Mike writes a column about learning published in Chief Learning Officer magazine six times a year. In 2007, Mike was recognized as one of the Top 20 Most Influential Training Professionals in America by Training Industry, Inc. 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, Mike worked with Bellevue University to establish the nation’s first Human Capital Lab, the first academic department dedicated to measuring the value created by corporate learning. At Bellevue University Mike founded the Strategic Initiatives Division, which created the Human Capital Lab at Bellevue University, where pioneering research is conducted on the return on investment (ROI) from human capital investment in corporate learning.
His work in Strategic Initiatives and Human Capital Lab garnered numerous prestigious honors and awards including the “Excellence in Academic Partnerships” Gold Award with partners The Home Depot, Verizon Wireless, SunTrust, Convergys, and CACI. Mike’s passion for helping adult learners succeed in school—and in life—remains with him and is the inspiration for his current venture: Future Guides.