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Faculty of the Fortnight: Rick Winfield

SNC’s newest Business department faculty member

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The chatter of students and teachers fill the open space of Rick Winfield’s office.

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Professor Winfield in his cubicle

More than just a cubicle, it’s an accepting space, open for the purpose of working together and sharing ideas, something Winfield finds important in education. Winfield teaches marketing, entrepreneurship and finance at SNC, but he is much more than just an educator; he is also a successful businessman.

“I started my career as an entrepreneur and worked for a couple start­-up companies during the dot com mania in the late 1990s,” Winfield said.

As a web developer and technologist, Winfield helped start four companies, including his own website called onlinetrainingschools.com. Winfield believed that his new site would give him plenty of spare time and freedom, but it did not quite work out that way.

“When I started it, I just wanted to work from home,” he said. “Hopefully we’d work really hard on it for a few years, then it would become a little money making machine and I could go skiing all the time, but it didn’t quite work like that because it was much more successful than I thought it would be.”

Due to his company’s success, Winfield had to spend more time working and managing the site than he had originally hoped. Five years later, he sold the business during a large consolidation of the industry. When the sale was completed in 2005, Winfield pursued his dream of skiing on every continent in the world.

In 2008 he attempted his first ski trip to Antarctica, but was unable to make it further than the port in which their vessel was docked, stagnant and broken down.

“The boat was abandoned and was actually floating off the coast of Ireland last time I read about it,” Winfield said.

Although his first attempt at skiing in Antarctica failed, Winfield went back the very next year and added a check mark to his dream of skiing all seven continents. He says he does not just love the skiing aspect of this lifelong goal; he is in it for the adventure as well.

On Winfield’s desk sits a photo from his first ski trip in Antarctica. He recalls it was the best ski trip he has been on.

After years of traveling, entrepreneurial ventures and exploring the outdoors, Winfield settled in Tahoe to help educate young entrepreneurs at SNC. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School’s Global Asia Program.

Using his knowledge as a lifelong entrepreneur, Winfield teaches marketing, entrepreneurship and finance. In years prior, he taught at the University of Nevada Reno. He began as an adjunct professor but found that he enjoyed the profession so much that he decided to become a fulltime professor.

“Teaching is rewarding,” Winfield said.

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Rick Winfield, new faculty of the business department

In addition to educating, Winfield is also invested in several companies. He calls himself an “active angel investor/advisor” on his biographical web page. Winfield has been a proponent of lean startup principles, he said, “since before ‘lean startup’ was a buzzword.”

However, now that he is a full­-time professor and also a new dad, he does not get to ski as much as he would like.

“My motto for skiing now is quality not quantity,” he said. “I try to make sure I’m getting out there on powder days or the beautiful sunny days with friends, but I’m not out there skiing just for the sake of going,” Winfield said.

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The student news site of Sierra Nevada College
Faculty of the Fortnight: Rick Winfield