Scott Hiipakka
Scott Hiipakka at his promotion ceremony at Milford High School on March 13.

Scott Hiipakka currently serves on the board of directors for Leadership Oakland and was recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as a 2020 “Notable Veteran.”

Scott Hiipakka, CEO of the Michigan Israel Business Accelerator, has received a promotion from the rank of colonel to the rank of brigadier general in the Michigan Army National Guard. The official title of the role is assistant adjutant general.

Hiipakka will continue to be responsible for the majority of units in the Guard and building teams ranging from 30 up to 2,500 people in their respective organizations. There will likely be additional areas he will be in charge of relative to special projects for the adjutant general.

To Hiipakka, the promotion is a blessing and an honor.

“If you would’ve said to me when I was entering the military that I would’ve made the rank of colonel, I would’ve said, ‘no way,’” Hiipakka said. “But then, if you would’ve said I’d make the rank of brigadier general, I would’ve laughed at you.” 

Hiipakka entered military service in June 1993 as an infantry officer initially assigned to the 10th Mountain Division as a platoon leader. Upon selection to the 75th Ranger Regiment, he served with the 3rd Ranger Battalion until 1997.

Following active duty, Hiipakka entered the Michigan Army National Guard in 2001 and has served in key roles including multiple commands and staff officer positions.

Hiipakka currently serves on the board of directors for Leadership Oakland and was recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as a 2020 “Notable Veteran.” He also serves as an adviser and former appointee to the Michigan Community Service Commission.

As the CEO of the MIBA, Hiipakka sees a possible synergistic effect between his roles with the MIBA and the Army.

“In the MIBA, we’re responsible for creating opportunities and jobs in Michigan and connecting Israeli innovation to Michigan businesses,” Hiipakka said. “What I see is opportunities to accelerate that, particularly in the defense industry. I’m already connected in that space, and from my initial conversations with Israeli companies, they think it’s pretty cool that the CEO of MIBA is a general. We’ll see what the outcomes are, but I do see the opportunities to build partnerships.”

Now, more than 25 years into his military career, Hiipakka forges ahead with his willingness to serve.

“What I hope to achieve in this new role is to first and foremost serve the men and women I serve with, serve their families and serve the community,” he said. “As citizen soldiers, that’s what we do, and I’m blessed to be able to continue to do so at this new rank.”

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