The future of engineering in the U.S.

May 12, 2006

Kettering University, in partnership with the University's student chapter of Eta Kappa Nu, will host a discussion May 25 by Dr. Ralph W. Wyndrum Jr., president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA, on the future of the engineering.

A national leader of electrical and electronics engineers is coming to Kettering University to discuss job prospects and the future of engineering in the United States.

Kettering University and its student chapter of Eta Kappa Nu, a national electrical engineering honor society, will host Dr. Ralph W. Wyndrum Jr., president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers - USA (IEEE) and CEO of Executive Engineering Consultants, May 25 at 12:20 p.m. in Room 1-817 of the Academic Building to discuss the current state and future of the engineering industry in the United States.

Wyndrum's career currently focuses on research and design resource allocation and decision sciences targeted at new product and service development. With more and more jobs outsourced overseas each week-and in many newer cases, research and design responsibilities outsourced along with these jobs-many companies are finding it difficult to justify the creation of new innovative technologies. Wyndrum's talk will address this subject and how the United States can once again become a central figure in research and design of new products and technologies.

Before he joined Executive Engineering Consultants, Wyndrum spent 36 years at A T & T and Bell Labs, serving as a member of the Technical Staff, supervisor of Integrated Circuit Development, head of several transmission systems and R & D departments. At A T & T he also served as technology vice president and vice president of Program Planning and Management. In the 1970s and 1980s, he was an ITU delegate from A T & T for local transmission systems. He also led the development for manufacture of several major subscriber loop carrier systems now serving millions of customers, and of the early prototype TouchTone telephones.

Prior to becoming president of the IEEE-USA, Wyndrum served as the IEEE-USA vice president of Technology Activities and has served on the IEEE-USA Executive Committee and Board of Directors for the past five years. In his capacity as president of this organization, Wyndrum continues to discuss the state of engineering and its future with hundreds of CEOs and other corporate leaders from throughout the country. His talk at Kettering summarizes the conclusions he has reached from these discussions.

Dr. Jim Gover, professor of Computer Engineering, a Fellow of the IEEE-USA and current candidate for the organization's Vehicle Technology Society board of directors, said that Wyndrum's talk will provide important insight into how America can once again become an engineering and innovative power. "In his position with IEEE-USA, Dr. Wyndrum has had extensive access to senior corporate executives and has gained great insight into what corporate management sees as the assets and liabilities of today's engineers," he said. "From my conversations with Dr. Wyndrum, he revealed that today's executives are increasingly concerned about their engineers' rate of innovation that improves employers' competitive positions in the marketplace. Thus, he is hearing that the pendulum is swinging back toward the importance of the technical and innovation skills of engineers and maintenance of these skills through life-long learning."

Gover also said that the future of engineering education may include many changes, including the need for students to pay more attention to invention as well as universities working to provide more online courses for the working engineer. "We might also expect to see more emphasis on the cost of design and manufacturing alternatives in our course, something that Wyndrum may discuss in his talk," Gover concluded.

Wyndrum has published more than 40 papers, articles and reviews, and is a contributing author to texts published by Wiley and McGraw Hill. He is often invited to speak at international conferences and workshops, and holds six patents in integrated circuit applications, VF receiver design and voice/data transmission.

The IEEE is the world's largest international professional engineering society with more than 350,000 members around the world. All of the 230,000 U.S. members are also members of IEEE-USA, headquartered in Washington, D.C. IEEE-USA serves as an independent advisory group on technical issues to the Congress and President.

For more information, contact the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering at (810) 762-7900.

Written by Gary J. Erwin