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Military Microwaves Supplement
Sherry Hess is vice president of marketing at AWR, bringing with her more than 15 years of EDA experience in domestic and international sales, marketing, support, and managerial expertise. For the majority of her career Sherry served in various positions at Ansoft Corporation including director of European operations and later as vice president of marketing. Before joining Ansoft, Sherry spent two years with Intel Corporation, where she worked in the ASIC Group and developed relationships with companies such as Bell Northern Research and Northern Telecom. Sherry holds a BSEE and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. www.awrcorp.com.
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Creative destruction. On a flight two weeks ago on American Airlines, I read an article in their May 15th issue of American Way called "Trend Spotter" In it, Marian Salzman listed her Ten trends that are changing everything from consumerism to the business landscape throughout the modern world.
Number 8 is the trend that got me smiling!
8. Not without technology: Whatever else may disappear in the “creative destruction” of the crisis, technology is here to stay. Some may yearn for simpler times and the satisfaction of hand tools, but the plain truth is that the future lies in mastering new technologies.
That was cool. And then as I was walking around IMS this past week, I bumped into a few of you who recognized me from my blog and we discussed creative destruction. Fun! I like this interest and idea exchange. So then I began to wonder what news was being presented at IMS that could be considered “creative destruction”. I'd like to hear from you on what you saw or are seeing that could fall into this thought thread.
For now, I'm going to head in a slightly different direction and look back to President Kennedy's challenge in the 1960s to put a man on the moon within 10 years. Everyone thought it would be impossible, but only 8 years later, Neil Armstrong became the first man to step foot onto the moon. While this is a magnificent moment in and of itself, what I found more shocking was that the average age of the NASA employees in Houston/mission control was 26. That means when the challenge was issued, many of those in the room were 18 years old. The power of youth, the "I can do anything" mentality is what I find awe -inspiring.
On the show floor, I heard Cobham comment about how we need more young people coming into the RF & microwave field. Certainly walking the aisles you get a sense of the aging of our business. Maybe the students didn't have the funds to travel during this recession, but it should cause us to pause and reflect. Likewise, I met with Zoya Popovic of UC Boulder who also commented about trying to attract more young persons into microwaves & RF. To re-introduce the “cool factor” in engineering, Zoya is creatively reconstructing her MMIC design course to move away from pure theoretical design. Her newest course incorporates not only actual virtual design (which features the AWR software environment), but also teams up with TriQuint Semiconductor to have the students’ designs fabricated. In her first trial of the course last fall, she had eight students take part. When the chips came back, the semester was over but the majority of students found the time to come back to the lab to test/measure their devices so that they could close the loop by comparing the simulated to measured results. In a way, the students took the initiative to self-evaluate their own designs and abilities. This is the enthusiasm of youth that put us on the moon in 8 years.
Zoya is now wrapping up her second offering of the course with 23 students and going to repeat it in the fall with more than 50 persons already pre-registered. Wow, this trend is great! Certainly, making engineering more tangible with hands-on design is always a great thing for attracting talent and students. Providing them with tools for design other than paper and pencil, outfit the students quite readily for employment in the real-world. Zoya is not alone with her efforts to reconstruct course work to entice more students over into the one industry that no doubt will be leading the creative destruction era of the years ahead.
To once again quote Marian, "the plain truth is that the future lies in mastering new technologies," and to me the future is only going to become more high-tech and wireless. This is where the bright minds of our younger generation will focus whether we call them microwave engineers or wireless engineers or even creative destruction engineers. I feel inspired that the younger generation - just like the 1960s revealed to us - will be what shapes our future high-tech world. For those of you like me and raising kids, I find this quite exciting!