Faculty Biography

William O'Brien

Will O'Brien

Associate Professor of Practice
J.D,. Suffolk University Law School
M.B.A., State University of Albany, Albany, NY

Research Interests

Business sustainability, environmental stewardship

Teaching Courses

Sustainability Consulting Projects
Green Business Management
Project Management

Professional & Academic Experience

Will is an experienced business executive, change agent, entrepreneur, consultant, teacher and attorney. He is a professor of practice at Clark University Graduate School of Management, Lecturer for Johns Hopkins University Environmental Studies Department, Massachusetts Maritime Academy as well as for Benedictine University’s Asia Institute. His courses include: eco-entrepreneurship, energy management, operations management, organizational change management, project management and sustainability consulting & management.

He has 40 years experience in starting businesses, creating new organizations and managing P&L responsibility for global operations resulting in consistently high financial performance. Experience includes: marketing management for computer systems and services, technical support, operations, supply chain management for multi-vendor service delivery and a small law practice. Much of his professional career has been in leadership positions for worldwide organizations and addressing strategic issues and consulting with executives from global companies in various industries.

After serving as a U.S. Naval Officer in Vietnam, Will spent a year traveling around the world. At Honeywell Information Systems, Will managed Finance & Administration at a large field sales office. In 1972, Will joined Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), now part of Hewlett-Packard, and worked for the company for 25 years in various management and executive positions. He left DEC, 1978-80, to serve as Director of Customer Service for Data Printer. Returning to DEC in 1980, he managed a mini-computer systems business for the Laboratory Data Product Line and achieved aggressive growth goals. From 1985-90, Will was responsible for worldwide marketing operations for DEC’s Services Division (revenue = $2.6B) and served as a member of the executive team.  In the early 90s, he established DEC’s Marketing University focused on development and education of 3,000 marketing professionals worldwide. Subsequently, he led the rebuilding of DEC’s Worldwide Sales and Partner Training organization.

Upon retiring from DEC, Will worked as a consultant for Kana, Inc. responsible for helping large national and global corporations implement Internet technologies to: improve customer responsiveness, reduce costs and increase productivity of their service operations.

Since the mid-70s, Will has been a regular contributor to his local community and church and has, since 2007, focused on enabling current and future leaders to become environmental stewards. He is currently a Member of the Board of Directors, Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston and the Director of the Worcester Sustainable Business Leader Program.

He has taught management courses at Vietnam National University in Hanoi, Vietnam as part of Benedictine University Asia Institute’s Executive Education program. At the same time, he conducted Green Business Workshops to help Vietnamese businesses to reduce their operating costs, improve their business practices and reduce their environmental footprint.  

Will has been married for over 40 years to Kathleen. They have three children and seven grandchildren and live in Stow, MA.