CIE Leadership Team


Michael J. Hickey , CIE Executive Director and Executive in Residence, Business

Mike came to Siena with over 25 years experience in technology businesses, with the last 15 as a software executive.  He has served as an officer for two public companies.  He has bought and sold over 12 companies.  In his previous role as President of Pitney Bowes Software, Hickey managed a global software business to record revenue of $400 million with over 1900 employees.  As President of Pitney Bowes Software from 2007 until 2010, Mike merged two like sized former public software companies (MapInfo and Group1 Software) into one integrated global business that became one of the 70 largest software companies in the world.  His efforts led to 66% increase in operating profit.  He and the business received a leadership award from Vantana Research highlighting these accomplishments.  In 2008 Mike was named to Tech Valley’s Hot 10 list of executives and government officials who make things happen in Tech Valley.  

Additionally, Hickey is President of The Hickey Group; an executive consulting firm that helps CEO’s maximize their growth potential through strategy, execution, teamwork and leadership.  He is also an investor and one of the initial members of the Eastern New York Angels, an investment fund for business start-ups.  Hickey is vice-chair on the Board of Center for Economic Growth (CEG). He is also on the Board of Inmedius, a government software solutions provider. He previously served as Chairman of Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce, Chairman for AeA's (TechAmerica) New York Council Executive Committee and National Board of Directors, Chair of the TechValley Portal Committee, Board of the American Marketing Association, Board of Associate Trustees of Siena College as Chair-elect , Editorial Board of Business Geographic's, Board of IA Systems, and the board for Apprenda, a middleware PAAS player.



Cheryl L. Buff, Ph.D., CIE AcademicIntegration Lead, Marketing

Cheryl Buff received a B.A. in Psychology from Siena College, an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from Adelphi University, and a Ph.D. in Administrative and Engineering Systems from Union College.  Since coming to Siena in 2001, Dr. Buff has taught a number of marketing courses including Consumer Behavior, Marketing Management, and Business to Business Marketing.  Additionally, she has mentored numerous independent studies and student research projects. Dr. Buff has authored or co-authored over 20 refereed journal publications as well as numerous conference proceedings publications.  She regularly presents at academic conferences.  Her research is in the areas of branding, pricing, consumer decision making, marketing ethics, and marketing pedagogy.  Dr. Buff received Siena College’s Jerome Walton Excellence in Teaching award in 2010.

Prior to joining Siena, Dr. Buff taught at SUNY Albany.  Additionally, she has worked for Publishers Clearing House, and Coopers and Lybrand. She is currently an Associate Professor of Marketing at Siena College.


Charles F Rancourt , CIE Intellectual Property Lead

Mr. Rancourt is a long-time adjunct faculty member at Siena, currently teaching strategic management.  Previously he taught introduction to management, business mathematics and business statistics.  In addition, he also taught technology transfer management at Albany Law School and business statistics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Mr. Rancourt is the former director of technology commercialization at Rensselaer and is a consultant providing technology transfer services and small business support.  Prior to Rensselaer he worked in the textile, paper and printing industries in various managerial positions, including plant manager and general manager.

Mr. Rancourt has M.S. and B.S. degrees in management from Rensselaer and is co-author on two papers related to university incubators and technology transfer.  He is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers, the Social Enterprise Alliance, and the Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce


Sharon Gower Small, Ph.D., CIE Innovation Lead, Computer Science

Sharon Gower Small received a B.S. in Computer Science from Siena College in 1989.  Dr. Small received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from The State University of New York at Albany.  Her main area of interest is in Computational Linguistics (CL).  This stemmed from her research work at SUNY Albany where Dr. Small was the lead research scientist and third phase co-PI of the HITIQA project funded under the federal government’s AQUAINT program. The AQUAINT program (2001-2008) was a federally funded highly competitive program whose goal was to develop Advanced Question Answering tools for Intelligence Analysts. The HITIQA system was selected for insertion into federal analytical environments during Phase III of this program.  Dr. Small was personally responsible for all of the insertion projects.  Dr. Small has recently expanded her research into robotics, initially focusing on dialogue utilizing her CL research.  Prior to her Computational Linguistic work, Dr. Small had completed research in high performance computing and artificial intelligence.  She is the author of numerous conference papers, journals articles and book chapters. 

Dr. Small was previously CEO of Language Analytic Corporation (2007-2010), where she focused on CL work on various federal contracts as well as National Science Foundation, Small Business Innovation Research grants. She is currently the director of the Siena College Institute for Artificial Intelligence and an  Assistant Professor in the Computer Science department at Siena College in Loudonville, NY.


Kenneth E. Williams, CIE Entrepreneurship Lead, Management

Ken is a professional specialist at Siena bringing 35+ years of business experience to the college and Siena’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Since coming to Siena in 2009 he has taught Siena’s School of Business (SoB) capstone strategy course and is the Director of the Internship Program as well as teaching the entrepreneurship courses. As a veteran entrepreneur, Ken has launched and/or helped to launch numbers of businesses including a technology inventory management company, a CRM company serving the auto industry, a financial services company, a medical device manufacturing company and numerous retail companies.

Williams has degrees in accounting, finance and law from Clarkson University and is a recognized international marketing expert having created marketing strategies for companies like BMW of North America and having been sent to Ukraine on a USAID project to jump-start entrepreneurial businesses after the fall of the Soviet Union. Ken has held high level management positions including CEO and CFO in both for-profit and not-for-profit companies and has taught extensively at RPI, Clarkson and Skidmore Colleges. As the principal of K.E.Williams Consulting,Ken has produced strategic plans for companies like PAR Technology and Lentec Corporation.