Assumption College Trustee, Entrepreneur Inspires Future Business Leaders
As the CEO and President of CHAMP, “the world leader in sport cleat technology,” Harris MacNeill knows what it takes to be successful.
Having dedicated most of his career to improving the quality of athletic products and growing the business that his father and grandfather started together in 1931, MacNeill’s company has grown from a small operation in his grandfather’s basement in Waltham, MA, to a worldwide operation thanks to partnerships with global brands such as Adidas and Nike. Earlier this year, the parent company of CHAMP, MacNeill Engineering, merged with, PrideSports, a provider of golf traction elements, golf tees and other golf accessories to form the MacNeill Pride Group. According to a press release from CHAMP, “The new company will be the largest global designer, manufacturer and distributor of replaceable sport and industrial cleats and other golf accessories.”
Although he didn’t attend Assumption, MacNeill, whose son, Mark, graduated from the College in 2014, loves what an Assumption education can do for its students. “You get all of the fundamental values and the education along with it,” MacNeill said. “Once I got involved [with the College], I really enjoyed the whole aspect of [the school], the history, the motto. It can transform people’s lives and it’s really been a pleasure.”
MacNeill, who also serves as a member of the Assumption College Board of Trustees, recently spoke to students in the Small Business and Entrepreneurship class, which it co-taught by Professor Bryan J. Coleman and Libby O'Hara. Prof. Coleman said they invited MacNeill to participate in a guest lecturer series he created to demonstrate to students the various aspects of entrepreneurship that they can only obtain from hands-on and active learning experiences.
“With each of our speakers, I want our students to hear about the unique pathways to business ownership that each guest traveled,” Coleman said. “The students also benefit from hearing about what it really takes in terms of sacrifice and hard work to make a business work. It's not for everyone.”
Students in the Small Business and Entrepreneurship class have heard from several local business owners including Renee King from The Queen’s Cups; Matt Naimoli and Zack Gould from G&N Insurance; and Judy Briggs from 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. Through MacNeill, students heard from someone in the Assumption community share their successes in their business endeavors. MacNeill shared with students the time, preparation, dedication, and risk-taking involved in being an entrepreneur.
Several students were inspired by MacNeill’s lecture.
“He [MacNeill] gave us a lot of advice. He stressed the importance of having a long-term approach to business,” said Jacqueline Avola ’18, an organizational communications major. She added that MacNeill discussed the importance of treating customers not only as good as but better than “we want to be treated” and to embrace every opportunity that is presented. But perhaps most importantly, he preached about personal passion. “He told us we have to love what we do,” Avola said. “You could tell by the way he talked that he was really proud about his family business and how far he'd come.”
Caroline Gilbody ’18, a business management major and an aspiring professional photographer, was able to connect MacNeill’s passion and career trajectory with her own. “This was also really inspiring for me because I love photography and want to make this a successful business… this encourages me that it is a possibility and can be successful,” she said.
Kimberly Dunbar, Director of Public Affairs, Assumption College