Col­lege of Engi­neering alumnus and tech inno­vator Michael Sherman is the man behind North­eastern University’s Michael J. and Ann Sherman Center for Engi­neering Entre­pre­neur­ship Education.

Sched­uled to launch this fall, the new program’s cur­riculum is designed to arm engi­neering under­grad­u­ates with the appro­priate entre­pre­neurial skills to suc­cess­fully pitch and com­mer­cialize their inno­va­tions. Work­shops and courses will be led by North­eastern fac­ulty and inno­va­tors from industry.

We need to ensure that engi­neering stu­dents are able to com­mu­ni­cate in the com­mer­cial world,” said Sherman, who grad­u­ated with a bach­elor of sci­ence from the Col­lege of Engi­neering in 1968. In some ways, he said, the “com­mer­ciality of inno­va­tion is more impor­tant than the inno­va­tion itself.

It doesn’t matter how good your product is,” he explained. “If you can’t make a busi­ness case for its via­bility then you won’t be able to bring it to market.”

The center com­ple­ments Northeastern’s com­mit­ment to fos­tering entre­pre­neur­ship on campus and will work closely with fac­ulty in the D’Amore-McKim School of Busi­ness and IDEA, Northeastern’s student-​​run ven­ture accelerator.

Michael’s pas­sion for turning inno­v­a­tive engi­neers into savvy entre­pre­neurs res­onates deeply with our mis­sion at North­eastern,” said Joseph E. Aoun, pres­i­dent of North­eastern Uni­ver­sity. “Our stu­dents thrive on infusing their knowl­edge with real-​​world expe­ri­ences. Michael’s sup­port will be instru­mental for our engi­neering stu­dents and the sus­tain­ability of their inventions.”

Nadine Aubry, dean of the Col­lege of Engi­neering, shares Sherman’s pas­sion. “Engi­neers create prod­ucts but without taking those to market, what’s the point? Busi­ness con­sid­er­a­tions need to be an inte­gral part of the engi­neering design process; oth­er­wise engi­neers waste time designing prod­ucts that will never be used,” said Aubry, who met Sherman shortly after she had expressed her vision to intro­duce entre­pre­neur­ship in engi­neering edu­ca­tion as new dean last fall. “Michael and Ann’s invest­ment will allow the col­lege to intro­duce entre­pre­neur­ship in our engi­neering cur­riculum at a much larger scale.”

Sherman has 40 years of expe­ri­ence in com­mu­ni­ca­tions hard­ware and soft­ware devel­op­ment, including wire­less appli­ca­tions for mil­i­tary, gov­ern­ment, and com­mer­cial use. His busi­ness, AES Corp., of Peabody, Mass., pro­duces and installs leading-​​edge secu­rity prod­ucts for orga­ni­za­tions and house­holds in more than 130 coun­tries around the world.

Sherman grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and moved to Boston in 1963 to attend North­eastern. He cred­ited co-​​op with giving him the con­fi­dence to excel in the busi­ness world. “Gaining expe­ri­ence in the work envi­ron­ment made me realize that I could accom­plish the busi­ness objec­tives I desired,” he said. “I have always con­sid­ered North­eastern inte­gral to my career success.”

This multi-​​million dollar seed invest­ment is a tes­ta­ment to Sherman’s loyal and ongoing sup­port of his alma mater during the last 25 years. He is grateful to be in a posi­tion to give back to Northeastern’s crop of bur­geoning engi­neers. “Engi­neers and the engi­neering pro­fes­sion will exist long into the future if they are able to become the com­mer­cial engines of inno­va­tion,” he said.