From drones to a smartphone app, Wayne Chen ’06 has been involved with all kinds of cutting-edge technology since graduating from the University of Hartford’s Hillyer College. He talked to students about his wide range of business endeavors when he returned to campus to receive the 2016 Hillyer College Outstanding Young Alumnus Award on Tuesday, Sept. 20. Chen encouraged students attending the award ceremony to be proactive and think about ways they can impact the future. “It is important to create connections early on,“ he explained. “You need to connect people to a greater purpose.”
That attitude has shaped the course of Chen’s career, as many of his projects focus on helping others. He worked on prototype development of a mobile app to help doctors identify triggers of post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans. He also worked with engineers at Booz Allen Hamilton (a Virginia-based company that provides management and technology consulting and engineering services to corporations, governments, and not-for-profits) to create drones that deploy unmanned maritime vehicles to patrol U.S. waterways and inspect infrastructure systems. Chen has also worked on emerging technology products for Sysco, Porsche USA, Tommy Hilfiger and E-Trade during his digital agency days and led product management at venture-backed start-up companies.
Chen is currently ventures director of Booz Allen Hamilton’s Edge Tech team, a team that he helped establish. He leads market surveillance and tech scouting strategy and pursues new ventures with top start-ups, industry partners, academia, and venture capital firms. In April 2016, he achieved his goal of launching the “Innovation Center” at Booz Allen Hamilton. While showing pictures of the innovation center to University students, he said, “If I can do it, you can do it.”
Chen also encouraged students to join clubs and find ways to gain leadership experience while in college. He says he learned that from English Professor Robert Dryden, who urged him to join the Student Government Association (SGA) while he was a student here. Chen was elected SGA vice president of student affairs. Soon after, he organized different campus groups to work together on a big fundraising event with huge success. “The University really challenged me and pushed me to think,” adds Chen.
After receiving an associate's degree here, Chen continued his studies at George Washington University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in international business.