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Mainspring Spotlight: Andy Cole

Andy’s diverse background is the key to his ability to span departments, navigate complex social networks, and align diverse stakeholders to collaborate. He has worked with organizations small and large, private and public, and companies in countless industries. Among his many experiences, the four foundational pillars include entrepreneurship, management consulting, engineering, and coaching.

As an engineer, Andy contributed technical expertise to advance innovation projects for Google Earth, the EPA, and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. At Vestas, an industry leading alternative energy company, Andy specialized in solving the most urgent technical problems in the field and championing global, high-priority projects – several of which prevented systemic failures and led to millions in savings.

As a management consultant for a top market research firm in Boston (CMB), he led engagements with large clients such as Cigna Health, Synchrony Financial, Electronic Arts, and Harvard Business School. Past engagements included customer journey, customer segmentation, process design, strategy workshop facilitation, program assessment and development, branding and positioning, and many others.

As an entrepreneur, Andy co-founded two Boston businesses specializing in innovation programming (Hackfit, Scramble Systems), providing immersive experiences leading to disruptive innovations within corporations and universities. Strategic partners included Harvard iLab, MIT Media Lab, IDEO, IBM Smart Cities, and dozens more. Hackfit was franchised in four major US cities and included sponsors like Microsoft and Constant Contact.

In his hometown in Northern Michigan, Andy launched a startup incubator (20Fathoms) with the goal of attracting talent to the region, closing the tech gap between rural and urban centers, and creating a sustainable generator of jobs designed for the future. The initiative sparked a community movement, and -

after just two years – incubator members had raised over $160 million in startup funding and created over 150 jobs that paid an average of $99k/year – making a compounding and lasting impact on the local economy. The incubator itself raised over $2 million in funding, including a major federal grant putting Traverse City on the map, alongside fellow awardees and innovation powerhouses like Cornell, Purdue, Johns Hopkins, and Mayo Clinic.

At every point in Andy’s career, one common thread has been Andy’s natural tendency to teach, mentor, and coach – helping his teammates to become aware of their skills, gaps, and drivers; and push themselves to perform at a higher level than they initially believed they could. He noticed that - when professionals are able to fully leverage their unique abilities - not only does performance spike, but work/life satisfaction spikes as well – creating a positive feedback loop where success begets success.

Andy solidified his coaching skills by training under award-winning executive coaching expert Dr. Joseph Weintraub at Babson College. While in graduate school, Andy served as a lead coach in the Coaching for Teamwork and Leadership Program for two years and received recognition for coaching the college’s most successful professional consulting team. Andy is a Co-Active trained coach, has formal training in Facilitative Leadership® skills from Interaction Associates, and was a popular instructor and mentor with Startup Institute (an innovative bootcamp for startup talent).

Andy holds a BA in Liberal Arts from Kalamazoo College, a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from Babson College.


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