Name: Michael Olsher
Distinction: Assistant professor for Entrepreneurship at Northwood University
City: West Palm Beach
Michael Olsher had no fear when he started his own steel company before the age of 30.
“At 28, you feel a little more impregnable,” he said.
These days, Olsher, who has more than 40 years of senior management experience in the steel industry — including 25 years as founder and chief executive officer of Olsher Steel — is teaching students from all over the globe what he has learned about running a successful business.
He was recently promoted to assistant professor for entrepreneurship at Northwood University and serves as the department chair for both entrepreneurship and international business. Previously, he had taught at universities around the country including the Columbia University Graduate School of Business before becoming an adjunct professor of economics at Northwood, a private, nonprofit and accredited school specializing in managerial and entrepreneurial education, last year.
“When I was starting a business it was a more welcoming environment,” he said. “With all the technological developments, today’s students need to be even more on their game.”
Olsher was born in New York and his first job after college was on Wall Street. “I carried stock certificates around. I was an order carrier,” he said. He was a quick learner and a hard worker and before long he became a Wall Street account executive.
Later, he worked in the steel business and, after learning the ropes working for a large company, he started his own firm, which eventually became known as Olsher Steel.
He may have acquired his entrepreneurial spirit from his dad, a New York window designer for shoe stores who retired to Florida and became a well-known impresario in the condo circuit.
Olsher is always looking for new ways to be a better teacher.
“We as teachers have to find a way to transcend the material to find what is most meaningful for our students,” he said.
Education: Ph.D. in economics from Fordham University and an MBA from New York University.
Personal: Single, has two grown sons. Lives in Boynton Beach.
Hobbies: Reading, writing, cooking, golfing and pickleball.
Career highlight: “I once owned a company that was sold to a large New York Stock Exchange company, and I insisted that they keep (all 75) of my employees for two years. They (the buyers) weren’t used to being told things like that, but the sale went through. I think people need to be treated fairly. It can’t just be all about money.”
Favorite quote: “Try to make things simple, but not too simple.”—Albert Einstein
“For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.”— Harry F. Banks