Posts Tagged ‘engineering’

Odds and Ends Monday

January 21, 2013

I have been busy lately:

The WiMAX Forum – you think Wi-Fi for your laptop and cellphone is great, just wait for WiMax. My oldest client has asked me to be a leader in the WiMax Forum, so I am getting up to speed on the politics of this tech forum. Lot’s of fun and a few great challenges for me, here!

My Nikon 1 J1 camera – it is lots of fun – a minimalist camera with a disappointing megapixel count but a great user interface for me. I took this camera with me to Taiwan, and it took great pictures – a good compromise between a point-and-shoot camera and a semi-pro camera. I like the interchangeable lens, and that was the differentiator for me that pushed me into the line at the CostCo register!

My good friend Mark Hepworth – our City Councilman – is running for Mayor. I think Mark will make a superb Mayor. He is principled, ethical, and credible in the City politics scene. Mark asked me to work for his campaign a few months ago, and I am glad to work for him.  I can’t wait to call Mark “Mr. Mayor”!

We have a crime wave in our neighborhood. My neighbors are up-in-arms -they are worried and anxious – three homes burgled in two weeks. I have arranged a meeting with the Chief of Police, here, this week. As the HOA “guy” (the President), I have a Crime Watch team organized with street captains, an efficient e-mail pyramid, and cameras and signs and lots of stuff to fight crime. Regardless of all of this, we have a crime wave, here. We have the crooks on camera in the commission of more than one burglary, so we’ll catch these rats!

January reporting deadlines for my companies are due in a week (groan) – working on this – well, I should be working on this right now, but I am procrastinating…  Blogging, instead!

My alma mater Rice University has drafted me to work on their local College of Engineering Alumni Committee – we need to raise some money for this department, and I think I can help!

My good friend JC and I had dinner recently with past Senator Kay Hutchison

IMG_0456and Nobel Prize winner Dr. Robert Curl (the carbon “buckyball”). I had dinner at the Curl house a number of times while I was at Rice – their son Mike and I were dorm roommates… It was good to spend some time with Bob and his wife that evening and catch up. We somehow meet about once a year and enjoy dinner in a “highfalutin” venue somewhere – every year, somehow…

IMG_0457The other night was the Texas Academy of Mathematics, Engineering, Science and Technology – the annual TAMEST awards banquet. This is a terrific venue to rub shoulders with brilliant and impacting people in Texas!

“Home Maintenance Week” – well, two weeks was last week and will be this week – some sheetrock repairs, fence repairs, irrigation system repairs, window repairs – all either done last week or to be done this week. I do some of this, and hire out some of this – the annual January maintenance homeowner activity for our household… I have everything “under control”!

A Christmas present was the 1988 and 1989 “Mission Impossible” series on DVD – watching the 1988 series now. This is a classic serial that I have not ever seen on contemporary TV – sad – a great TV serial!

So, time to get back to filing my W2’s and W3!

Brian – Out for now!

A Great Success Story

December 21, 2010

Over the weekend, I attended a little “shin-dig” at a warehouse location nearby our home – a ribbon cutting party for a young company’s new factory location. This company, Luraco Technologies, manufactures a number of products including a magnetically coupled water pump. This interesting invention includes an electric motor on one side of a bulkhead that spins a number of powerful magnets inside the motor housing, and a magnetic fluid “slinger” on a low friction spindle on the other side of the bulkhead. No penetration is required through the bulkhead for power or plumbing to pump water with this device.

This company was launched five years ago with a Federal grant to solve a military problem, and they satisfied the objectives successfully. Today Luraco has about 25 employees in about 23,000 sq-ft of factory space, and I suspect that their revenue will be in the low millions of dollars for 2011. Not bad for five years for hard work in this economy. A great success!

But, I like to “peel the onion” – I think I have the pertinent facts, here… Behind every success is a story – often a story of an even larger success, and that is the case here. The CEO and CTO of this company are brothers – two of five children. Two of the siblings (including the CTO) have Ph.D. degrees, and a third is working on an M.D. The father was at this little party beaming with pride – along with aunts, uncles, and more than 200 other relations and friends of the family. The family are Vietnamese immigrants who claimed refugee status and settled in the US more than a decade ago. The father was a driver for an officer in the US Army during the Vietnam war – poor and uneducated, he was imprisoned by the communist Vietnamese government for seven years for “crimes against the country” shortly after the US withdrew from the Vietnam. On his release from prison, he was an outcast with no opportunity in his homeland. He brought his entire family to the US to start a new life as soon as his refugee status could be determined. He and his wife worked two jobs each almost from their first month here to be able to afford to put their children through college as far as each would go. His children are all destined to be successful – every one of them – not just in the father’s eyes, but by anyone else’s measure, too.

This is a Great Success Story. I was proud to be there – I was beaming with pride alongside the father for a few moments. What a memorable evening.

Engineers can just about do Anything!

November 28, 2010

I was watching a really neat DVD: “Moon Machines” from the Science Channel – again – I love this DVD. This is a really good DVD for an engineer. The problems chronicled are engineering problems; the people chronicled are engineers. The first show concerns the Saturn 5 rocket, and about seven minutes into the second scene, George Phelps, senior project engineer at North American Aviation from ’64-’68 says, “Engineers can just about do anything.” This quote is special – let me  repeat it:

“Engineers can just about do anything.”

I have met George, and he is a passionate engineer. George reminds me of my mentor Bill Thompson at Rockwell International… Bill taught me to be an engineer – I didn’t learn to be an engineer at university. As I type this post, I am pulling out my slide rules. I have three – a K & E Keffel & Esser from 1938 (my grandfather’s), a Charvoz-Roos (my father’s), and a Sterling Precision (mine). This is engineering “culture” lost. I remember in grade school when the PE coach called me, “ruler-head” because I kept my slide rule in my binder in my PE locker during PE…

You may think that I am weird, but I am here to tell you that engineers can just about do anything – this is indeed the case. You may not appreciate that. You may not fathom why that is the case, but it is. Engineers can just about do anything. Or as a good friend PN says, “Engineers make it work.”

I am an engineer – a good engineer, and a passionate engineer. The game has changed in the business world where an engineer is virtually unappreciated today, but I am here to tell you – an engineer can just about do anything.

Need something complicated done? Done right? Done well? Call an engineer!

Prefabricated Housing is an Appealing Engineering Problem

November 27, 2010

Recent “musings” about architecture with another engineer who is a good friend prompted me to make this observation:

Utility in a building comes from a certain sense of “object-orientedness” not unlike good software.

“What?” he exclaimed. “NO – great architecture comes from symmetries, asymmetries, materials, and and an artful sense of fancy or awe…” We are talking about two very different design objectives: usefulness and sensual appeal. At the end of the day, it is both of these that make great design.  Not being an architect, I have to confess that I don’t know just what makes great architecture. On to the problem of design…

Before I could get to ponder the question of great design very far, another friend asked me to do some research on prefab housing. His Objective:

Move to the countryside and retire in an ultra-modern 3500 sq-ft “green” home that costs no more than $100,000 complete with solar/wind power systems, appliances  and furnishing – he provides the land that is already in hand in the middle of nowhere with no utility infrastructure nearby (none whatsoever).

A FANTASY…  But for a bigger budget I wonder what he can buy. I think he can do it for $350,000 ($100/sq-ft) – he has a few builders to choose from, but who knows if what they will actually finish will satisfy my friend… I think I could do it for $200,000 today for materials and construction labor and a year to engineer the house and have it built (no fee for me in that number)… And with economies of scale, perhaps I could build the house for a good bit less than that! I may be surprised, however, at how much the power system will cost – maybe I am way low on my own estimate…

This prefab house needs to be (my friend is talking):

  • Affordable – like a mobile home,
  • Durable – like a rail shipping container,
  • Energy-efficient and completely solar/wind powered,
  • Free of toxins, contaminants or hazardous materials, with recycled or repurposed materials used wherever possible.
  • LEED Bronze – or even Gold certified!

After some more conversation, further details and expectations began to emerge:

  • Built on site by no more than two people,
  • Compact and spacious – how those both come about, I can’t quite imagine as we are talking, but that is the “art of design”…,
  • Modern and visually appealing,
  • Reconfigurable.

How prefab? One big piece delivered to site, or 10 pieces or 100 or 1,000 or 10,000? His answer: 1,000 pieces plus the “nuts and bolts” would be OK – certainly not much more than that. And tools? Just hand tools, a power drill, a small power generator, and a hoist of some sort to lift panels into place and complete the structure… Here is what he expected to receive on site – initially, just the “structural system”:

  • A foundation plan for cement piers and synthetic cement or steel floor beams,
  • A skeleton aluminum or steel framework of some kind,
  • Exterior and interior solid wall panels with a standard dimension,
  • Exterior roof panels and interior floor and ceiling panels,
  • Exterior wall panels with a variety of windows installed,
  • Exterior and interior doorway panels and doors.

The structural system needs to be engineered. I’m thinking, “These are a lot like software objects. They have “attributes”, and some “inherit” attributes from others. Some of these objects have “behaviors”, and there are “interfaces” between objects.

What about “infrastructures”? He didn’t think about that…

  • Electrical interconnects, plumbing junctions and airflow ducting between panels,
  • Electrical runs, plumbing runs and airflow ducting across panels,
  • Power system, environmental system, water system and sewage system with options for external tie-ins to conventional utilities.

These systems also need to be “engineered”. So, this is like “peeling an onion” – good “sport” for an engineer!

What about “finishing touches”? “Oh yeah,” he says, “that, too…”

  • Floor coverings, wall coverings and exterior veneers,
  • Door fixtures, kitchen fixtures, bathroom fixtures, utility room fixtures and light fixtures.

All “green” – they need to be specified and selected. What about fasteners? “Hand-tools and a power drill, only.” he reminds me. Fasteners are a big industry – they are integral components of the home that must be engineered into every part. More systems engineering! LEED Gold certified? OK – maybe…

What else?

  • “Super-efficient” appliances,
  • “Green” furnishings,
  • “Hi-tech” entertainment, communication and computing equipment that is integrated, efficient and survivable with interfaces to the outside world from remote locations,
  • A total-home control system.

Even more systems engineering. I am almost drooling over the challenge of doing this. This might be a really fun problem to solve – a fun company to start!

  • Design the home on-line in an evening with a web-based 3D visualization application,
  • Order all materials, systems, appliances and even furnishings on-line,
  • Pay by wire-transfer the next day and finance any remainder necessary also on-line,
  • Contract the foundation to be done the day after financing is secured and payments are received,
  • Receive all materials in secure, returnable rail containers on site in a week by specialized shippers – maybe even by UPS,
  • Complete the home with your significant other in another week, or have the home assembled in that timeframe as an ordered service,
  • Move-in two weeks after the order with the critical systems completed,
  • Completely finished the house in less than a month.

I think that there is a lot of good to be done in this business area. I think a new prefabricated, modern, green, energy efficient home can be built for the buyer for less than $50/sq-ft for materials and construction labor plus the land and supplementary power system if the scale of business is sufficiently high and the systems engineering is thorough enough to capture the nuances of a LEED-certified home’s design and construction requirements. It may well be the wave of the future for new home construction. I see lots of companies trying to enter this market, but I don’t see any that have comprehensively engineered designs and green systems that would satisfy my friend – certainly not for what my friend can afford to spend. He’s still looking, and I am now thinking…

The Clothing Industry Needs an Engineer…

October 1, 2010

I am perpetually frustrated by my attempts to buy clothing efficiently. The “specification” is poorly designed. The clothing industry badly needs an engineer to overhaul the way clothing is sized, labeled and inventoried. I bought blue jeans recently, and just for grins I tried on a half dozen pair manufactured by two companies.  All were marked the same size, and every pair fit differently. Worse, every pair was cut inaccurately by as much as two inches compared to the label. To an engineer, these circumstances should never arise…

Pants – the key dimensions are diameter and length – conventionally, the waist and inseam. Every pair of jeans I tried on had a different length because a) the front rise and rear rise of each garment was different, and b) the fabric was cut inaccurately. If pants were specified by the outer seam instead of the inner seam, pants from different manufacturers would have been closer to the same length. The inseam really tells one very little about the garment – whoever thought that key measure up was certainly no engineer… If the rear rise was specified, I would know exactly how roomy the pant would be in the seat from any manufacturer. And if I knew the circumference of the bottom of the leg, I would know about the taper of the pant, too.

Key Specification #1 – Waist Circumference
Key Specification #2 – Outer Seam Length
Supplemental Specification #1 – Rear Rise Length
Supplemental Specification #2 – Leg Cuff Circumference

Shirts – the conventional key dimensions are neck circumference and sleeve length from neck to wrist over the shoulder (actually a better start than pants…). Most men find a brand of shirt that fits well, and they “stick to it” because other brands of shirt will fit very differently – just like pants…  If I knew the length of the back of the shirt from the collar to the bottom seam, I would know exactly how likely a shirt from any manufacturer was to “pull out” from my pants, for example. If I knew the shoulder width, I would know better how the shirt would hang; and if I knew the bottom circumference, I would know about the taper of the shirt.

Key Specification #1 – Neck Circumference
Key Specification #2 – Sleeve Length
Supplemental Specification #1 – Back Length
Supplemental Specification #2 – Shoulder Width
Supplemental Specification #3 – Bottom Circumference

Shoes – well, this industry is just as lost as the clothing industry is… Why shoes aren’t specified in inches or centimeters is beyond me. I have huge feet, and there is no store in the area I know of that sells shoes my size. I buy what I know will fit me from… I hope that my two manufacturers stick to their conventions about sizing…

Key Specification #1 – Length
Key Specification #2 – Ball of Foot Width
Supplemental Specification #1 – Heel Width
Supplemental Specification #2 – Arch Height

Sadly, the clothing industry has a flawed basis for specifying garments. So does the shoe industry. It causes me no end of grief. I carry my specifications with me whenever I shop for clothes. Otherwise, shopping for clothes has the same allure for me as throwing darts (I can’t hit the broad side of a barn). With these “best fit specifications” in hand, I can measure anything in seconds and know if I will like the fit without trying the garment on!

Yup – I must be an engineer…

Pay Peanuts, Hire (fill in the blank)…

October 31, 2009

There is an old phrase that I don’t particularly like – I think it belittles people: “Pay peanuts – hire monkeys…” A better word for “monkeys”? Maybe I’ll think of one before I get to the end. But the point of this phrase is clear:

You don’t get an expert if you don’t pay for one.

And non-expert employees don’t capture exceptional opportunities.

I’m going to rant on this topic – please bear with me while I lay it out, and then trust me to “tie the bow” at the end. I have a home project that entails unusual materials (but not exotic) and modern 3D fabrication methods, and I am using some very modern software tools to move my project forward. My materials are 316 stainless steel and titanium grade 6. I am using 1/8″ wire rod bent into several 2D and 3D forms; I need common hardware such as clevis pins made of these materials. Nothing in this sounds exotically high-tech to me, but I have hit one brick wall after another – mostly due to the ignorance of the employees of the suppliers and service providers with every company I have dealt with.

Hardware – I need a small clevis pin in 316 stainless – many manufacturers will make this part for me for an extravagant sum – one large stateside manufacturer actually stocks this part and will sell it to me through their mid-scale distributor for a reasonable price. Fine.

“Mr. Distributor, I need a clevis pin with these dimensions in this material, please.”
“We sell this size in zinc-plated steel.”
“Please order this size and material from this particular supplier – please order this specific part number – it is exactly what I need.”
“OK, it is on order”
“What did you actually order?”
“They sell the stainless for $2 each – that’s what we ordered.”
“316 stainless?”
“What’s 316?” “Is it stainless?”
“You didn’t order the 316 stainless?”
“No, I guess we didn’t – we’ll reorder and be sure to use your part numbers this time.”
“Great – thanks”

“Mr. Wireformer, I need this 3D form in 1/8″ 316 rod, please.”
“Send us a dwg file – no problem.”
“What format version do you want – 2000 or 2007?” (my cad software exports to dwg-2007 more reliably than dwg-2000…)
“I don’t know – just send us a file, and we’ll see if we can use it…”
“OK – here is dwg-2007.”
“We can’t open it.”
“OK – here is dwg-2000.”
“We can’t open it”
“What software are you using?”
“AutoCAD LT.”
“This is a 3D drawing, not 2D – your software won’t work well with a 3D drawing.”
“OH – OK, we’ll get our expert to look at this – he has AutoCAD.”
“Our expert says that the file has no units – I don’t know what he means, but that’s what he says…”.
“Please ask him to use the dwg-2007 file and look at properties for units – he should see that they are inches.”
“OK.” “He says that he can’t use the 2007 file.” “He says that the 2000 file doesn’t have units.” “He says that you sent him a pipe part – he needs the path.”
“OK – here is a 3D line drawing.”
“He says that the curves are too complicated.”
“What does he suggest – what kind of curve is useful?”
“He doesn’t know how to answer your question…” “He says to please figure it out and send us a better file.”

It turns out that the wireformer needs dwg-2000 format line drawings with any elliptical elements converter to poly-splines – that answer from my software manufacturer’s user forum. Now, we’re talkin’. It also turns out that the wireformer’s AutoCAD user could have converted my pipes to lines, and converted my elliptical segments to splines – if he knew how – but he didn’t…

What is obvious here is that these employees at the supplier and wireformer are pleasant to talk to, but they are naive in their field – they are not experts – nowhere close. A conversation “business owner to business owner” revealed that these companies have shed their experts, opted for lesser-paid employees, and try to turn away unconventional requirements.

I find this same trend with several of my own clients. In a nutshell, a few of my smaller clients have steadily shed their expert engineers over the years. They offshore technical services as much as they can, and I guess that they cross their fingers that they can address their opportunities when they come. These clients are each grumbling that their business is declining and that they are less and less able to attract business from their long-standing service provider customers because they are more and more often technically noncompliant.

My advice to my clients and also to their service provider customers: pay for expertise – hire a few more talented engineers – your deficient resources won’t deliver exceptional products and services. Engineers build the future, and more importantly, they make it work!

Yes, I’m just an engineer!

September 28, 2009

Several weeks ago, a local VC pronounced to me: “Sorry, not interested – you’re just an engineer… We want a Ph. D.”

What? I was asking for a few hundred thousand to churn out a proof of concept for a software product idea of mine. My reception was somewhat icy cold, and the partners assembled apologized for their sour demeanor and explained that the economy had dealt them one failure after another lately. Following my upbeat “pitch”, the overwhelming criticism of my proposal, business plan and idea in general was that it was not being delivered by a scientist – a lofty Ph. D. – rather, by “just an engineer…”. I replied, “How many of you took the elevator up from the lobby this morning? You all “risked life and limb” to use the product of engineers, not scientists.” “How many of you use a cell phone? Order from” All the inventions of engineers…”

I went just a little further to explain that, “Scientists discover the underpinnings of something that is new. Engineers build it, and more importantly, make it work!” This sadly went over their heads. My opportunity would not be forthcoming from this group this morning. I might return later, but for now they were not receptive – sometime, you have to take your lumps and move on.

I was going to take my lumps and move on without a second thought until this morning when I listened to an IEEE Spectrum podcast featuring an interview with Judith Estrin who I know from her brief stint at Cisco Systems ten years or so ago.

Closing the Innovation Gap

Her message: we are not focussed on innovation today – we are focused on “flipping” which is ultimately just transferring ownership and is not productive or sustainable in the long term. This podcast is worthwhile to listen to. It resonates so closely with my parting message to these VC’s…

Yes, I’m just an engineer – a good one – and I focus on innovation. Want to make money in a few years with less risk? Invest in innovation – not just discovery. While investing in discovery, invest too in building and creating – invest too in small starts – make the best use of your engineers! Engineers will build your future and make it work!

Paradigm Shifts – My EE “ain’t EE No More…”

August 15, 2009

Electrical Engineering or EE has lost its focus, and I believe that engineering disciplines in general are mired today, particularly in the United States – distracted by a search for purpose. It is not clear what EE encompasses today, and it is even less clear what EE will evolve to in the future. What is certain is that my EE “ain’t EE no more…”

My career has moved through several paradigm shifts over the years. Some career counselors suggest that a high-tech career for someone entering the workforce today will likely undergo at least three “tectonic” paradigm shifts over a span of between 8 and 11 employers before retirement. I believe it! But I find it a little worrisome that my particular field of engineering has changed so much, and worse, seems to be currently “stalled” in a transition to something that is still a fuzzy target. Engineers don’t deal with fuzziness very well – that is one reason why this career field is currently mired mid-stride in its evolution…

It seems for some of my clients that high level project objectives are less well defined than in the past, that low level objectives are defined (often erroneously) to an inappropriately fine degree of detail, that engineers contribute less to decision making than I recall I did, and that engineers are insulated from customers more than I was early in my career. Further, when I consult with a client on hiring, the list of certification credentials and expertise elements for a position is typically huge – an overly long checklist of specific knowledge that leaves little room for “creative” or “inventive”. And often, the engineer who is hired has knowledge, but is uninterested in looking past that boundary of knowledge to learn by creating or inventing. Worse, creating and inventing have become less a part of the engineering job, or disappeared entirely for many engineering positions. From the perspective of the student/intern, I have been told time and again that engineering looks dull and uninteresting: “we all just turn a crank… I’ll be glad when it is 5:00!” Yes, many of these budding engineers are unchallenged in a job that has little opportunity for the “fun” of creation and invention. If only my profession had a mentor to instill character in the profession and point to the fun…

Let’s look at a publication that caters to the EE profession:

IEEE Spectrum 08.09 (the August 2009 edition of the magazine of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers). This magazine “bills itself” as “the magazine of technology insiders” – is there some kind of exclusive club of technologists? Does the readership feel isolated from the EE mainstream? Why isn’t IEEE Spectrum “the magazine for engineers building the future”? In my brain, that is what engineers are charged to do – what engineering is!

A quick survey of articles in the 8/09 edition of IEEE Spectrum includes substantial content that is not EE-oriented (not from my perspective, at any rate):

Update: Jordan’s Radioactive Water Problem – not EE at all…

Update: How Software Found the Air France Wreckage – this article simply described the application of a physical model of oceanic drift – not EE at all…

Update: Foundry Giant Sees the Light – about Taiwan Semi’s compliance with Taiwan and China government LED and solar cell priorities and initiatives, and not EE aspects at all… What are US foundries doing, and what are the US Government’s priorities and initiatives, by the way?

Careers: The Rise and Fall of the Quants – about the departure of engineers to the finance industry and the impact of the finance industry collapse on these engineers – all about engineers who abandoned engineering (huh?)… I guess that these engineers didn’t see a bright future for engineering… What about the engineers still doing engineering?

Invention: What makes you an Inventor – ever wonder why your boss and also your CEO are listed as inventors on your patent? On the EE periphery…

Technically Speaking: Brave Neuro World – about the nonmedical use (misuse) of beta blockers such as Ritalin – not EE…

The LED’s Dark Secret – the cover story on a newly realized failure mode for the LED – focus on semiconductor physics – not quite EE, but close enough for me…

Empire off the Grid – about how the inventor of the Segway powers his island off the coast of Connecticut – he has lots of gadgets to generate power and strategies to use less power – not really much engineering here – this article was EE for the lay person… I want an island, too…

CPU: Heal Thyself – very interesting – about strategies to avoid computational errors when CPUs are overclocked – this Is EE!

Seeing is Not Believing (Doctoring digital photos is easy – detecting it can be hard) – purely for the lay person – not EE at all…

The Data: Europe comes to Bury CO2, Not to Praise it – no EE here, either…

This is all rather curious. Half of these articles focus outside of the EE fields, and many are written for the lay person and not the technologist…  I see, now – IEEE Spectrum “the magazine for the technology manager (who is really not an engineer)”

So, I apologize for my sarcasm. I really went overboard, I know. But what I hoped to demonstrate was that the EE profession is “championed” by a society that reflects a body that obviously includes technologically removed managers in industry, but not the engineers working in industry who are charged with building the future. All you have to do to realize that is to look at the IEEE Spectrum magazine – much of it is not about engineering or engineers, and even less is about EE. None the less, I enjoy reading this well written magazine.

What about the other IEEE publications – who do they cater to? There are plenty of excellent IEEE publications: Society Proceedings, Society magazines (there are a dozen or more societies) – they tell a story, too. What you will notice is that more than 80% of these articles are scholarly submissions sprinkled with evidence of some minor industry collaboration. There is some relevant “meat” here on these bones, but by and large, it mostly comes from academia and not industry. These articles rarely provide a good glimpse into the nuances of the engineering problems or solutions discussed – they deliver context and tell the “what” but not the “why”. I want to know the “what” and the “why”.  In a sense, the “what” is the context, and the “why is the story about the engineering – the insight into the engineered solution. The “why” is often missing in these publications…

Who champions the electrical and electronic engineer in the United States? IMHO – in my humble opinion, it is not the IEEE… No society really does, and that is another reason why the engineering profession in the US is in the doldrums – electrical engineers have no advocate… The manager is served, and the researcher is served, but the working engineer? Who cares… Who wants to be an engineer? Well, I do, and I hope that a lot of others do, too! I am afraid though that interest in the engineering profession is declining as are the rewards for doing good engineering in the US. Without an army of talented, passionate engineers, who will build the future? I think that the engineering profession is crucial for our future economic prosperity.

My EE “ain’t EE no more…”  That is quite unfortunate. The EE profession needs a mentor. And an advocate. Badly.