Prominent Patriot Chuck Schue, EMBA ’05, Navigates a Unique Career Path
An expert in radio navigation systems, Charles “Chuck” Schue, Executive MBA ’05, has centered his life and his company around navigation. His contributions have led to major critical infrastructure and safety-of-life navigation system improvements.
He has been involved in every major technological advance in global long range and enhanced long range navigation systems since 1975 and collaborated on the United States’ first Differential Global Positioning System designs in the 1990s. Schue is currently “making the market” to provide resilient positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) solutions for instances in which Global Satellite Navigation System service is not available or deemed trustworthy. Since 2010, he has successfully acquired several companies and combined them with his existing Low-Frequency Business Unit to become the world’s sole provider of terrestrial high-power, long-range, co-primary PNT.
Navigation has been more than just a career for Schue; it has been a way of life. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Schue has lived all over the world including Europe, Asia, and throughout the United States. One of the greatest obstacles he faced throughout his life has been navigating through so many relocations. He moved more than 10 times through the end of high school and another 18 times in 26 years during his career in the U.S. Coast Guard. But for Schue, there is always a silver lining.
“My unique U.S. Coast Guard career allowed me to work with more than 200 companies in acquisition, engineering, and quality assurance roles,” he says. “I learned the value of small to medium-sized enterprises to the government, military, and private industry.”
After retiring from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2000 and inspired by his involvement in a previous startup venture (a medical technology company founded 1981), Schue established Ursa Navigation Solutions, Inc. (UrsaNav) in 2004, a company designed with the stars in mind. The name originates from the famous constellation “Ursa Major” (also known as “The Bear” or “The Big Dipper”).
What started as a navigation company has turned into an innovative engineering, information technology, and associated professional services and solutions company with six locations in Virginia, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and Belgium. UrsaNav won the Inc. 500|5000 awards three times, as well as the VA Fantastic 50 and celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Schue considers himself the “architect of ideas” at UrsaNav and encourages all of his employees to push their boundaries. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation in 2012, the first Native American and one of only a handful of Americans to be honored with the distinction.
According to Schue, his goal is “to navigate UrsaNav on a course that includes making the world a safer and better place—whether through innovative products, vital services, or community service initiatives.”
Once an exceptional student, Schue is now an exceptional alumnus. He was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Award for Executive MBA at his 2005 graduation and received Mason’s Distinguished Business Alumni Award in 2013. The latter a result of his longtime support of the School of Business, having participated as a judge in the Dean’s Business Plan Competitions and SOM 498 Capstone Case Competitions, as well as serving on Mason’s School of Business EMBA Advisory Council.
Schue says the Mason EMBA program helped him improve his local business network and he still keeps in touch with his professors for critical or strategic thinking. He even offers his own support to students as a mentor or competition judge which gives him a chance to keep his own skills sharp. Additionally, he “pays it forward” by mentoring start-ups in Virginia and California.
Mahesh Joshi, associate professor of management and director of the innovation and entrepreneurship program at Mason’s School of Business both taught Schue and has worked with him closely since he graduated. “Chuck is committed to making things better around him and has been very supportive in helping to improve the quality of education delivered at Mason,” says Joshi. “Because he launched his own business and was showing signs of success, I invited him to be a business plan competition judge. For the next few years after that, he was a financial supporter of the competition.”
Schue still takes time out of his busy schedule to attend the EMBA capstone presentations to ask insightful questions of the current EMBA students.
“It will be hard to find another student like Chuck in the classroom and even harder to find another alum like him,” shares Joshi.
With two master’s degrees before pursuing his EMBA and strong GRE results under his belt, Schue’s program options were not limited. He was looking for a particular fit that Mason offered. He emphasizes, “My goal was to find a school that best suited my personal needs: supportive and understanding staff; progressive and involved leadership; professors with a good mix of practical and academic experience; program focused on strategic vice tactical thinking; program recognizing the necessity of a global view; good mix of student backgrounds (commercial, government, military); convenient campus.”
And for Schue, it was definitely the right fit, even now after graduation.
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