Industry Newsletter - School of Engineering - Brown University

Industry Newsletter - School of Engineering - Brown University


A publication of Brown University’s Division of Engineering


Focus ON: Leadership


How our Engineering Alumni are creating change

through innovative leadership

Leadership can be quiet or loud, but

in all cases it transforms the project,

people, and institution. We believe

that Brown Engineers are uniquely

qualified to understand, appreciate,

and embrace the many different types

of leadership. Engineering provides

the scaffolding that bolsters

dynamic leadership.


Inspiration for the leadership focus of this issue has many sources. First,

in preparation for last fall’s ABET-accreditation visit, Engineering put

together a profile of its entering students. Looking at the high SAT Verbal,

SAT Math scores of our incoming students, and their high class rank, I was

strongly reminded that we are attracting excellent students who have

high potential for leadership. Second, as I reflected on the leadership that

many of our graduates have shown, I could not help but think that many

of our students and our graduates would enjoy reading some of their

stories. You may know that last Fall, National Public Radio declared the

day after our national Day of Thanksgiving to be a Day of Listening. A day

focused on listening to members of earlier generations tell their stories.

Just as I have been moved by some of these stories I hope that you will

be inspired by the brief stories of some of our graduates that are printed

here, and by similar stories that we hope to include in future issues.


Growing up in Providence during the Great

Depression, Ed Clarke showed early signs of

leadership. During those unsettled times, he

lived in different houses in or near Providence

for the first ten years of his life, in turn building

a sense of confidence in meeting new life

experiences and challenges. He was a student

leader during junior high school, cited in

his school yearbook as one that “did the most

for his class” and best all-around pupil. He

was known for giving speeches for what was

then the Community fund (now the United

Way) at city wide meetings and wrote

essays to uplift people’s spirits during

the early years of World War II. He was

making an impact as a young leader.

Recent news highlights

including more about how

Prof. Breuer is unraveling bat flight


From the cover: Taken by Engineers Without Borders students

volunteering on a project in Peru to design and build a health

clinic to the meet the needs of the community.


Dean of EngineerinG.......................... Rod CLIFTON

CHIEF Administrative officer.....NANCY CARROLL

Editors................. Rod Clifton, Lauren Brennan

DESIGN.......................................... LAuren brennan

Address Correspondence to:


Division of Engineering, Brown university

Box D, Providence, RI 02912-9104

More broadly, I want to use this issue to begin engaging our graduates

and students in changing the perception of the roles that engineers can

play in our society - and need to play if we are to address effectively the

complex issues that we face in energy, environment, clean water, health

care, climate change, and even the world economy. Engineers today need

to be understood, not as merely workers with valuable technical training,

but as highly-capable, broadly-prepared people who bring a deep understanding

of science, math, and engineering know-how to the solution

of problems that challenge our society. Moreover, they understand that

these contributions must be made with full appreciation of their economic,

environmental, political, and ethical implications. There is little doubt

that our society needs engineers who can lead in an increasingly competitive,

fully-integrated, world economy. Preparing engineers for truly

difference-making careers is Brown’s challenge - and its responsibility in

view of the high potential of students who choose to study here.


Curricular opportunities to prepare for leadership

To prepare for broad leadership roles,

engineering programs need to address

the full education of their students, including

the liberal arts or general education

component of their programs.

At Brown, with our 4-year, 32-course

curriculum, it is customary to speak

of our 21-course Sc.B. requirement of

courses in math, science, and engineering

as making it difficult for students

to take as many courses in the

arts, humanities, and social sciences

as they would like. My inclination is

to turn the argument around and say

that for our engineering students to

be able to take 11 Brown University

courses in language, literature, history,

economics, classics and other areas,

avails them an excellent opportunity

for developing perspectives and communication

skills for leadership. Moreover,

students can take an additional

course in any semester without charge

and there is always the option of the

5-year Sc.B./A.B. dual degree program.

I welcome your comments on how the

Brown Engineering program has been

helpful to you in your leadership roles

and on ways that we can improve the

preparation of our graduates to meet

the challenges that face our society.

Rod Clifton, Interim Dean of Engineering


Edward Clarke is a co-founder of the

National Semiconductor Corp., one of the

world’s largest semiconductor companies.

He invented the double-diffusion method

for the production of semi-conductor devices.

He is the inventor of some of the the

earliest forms of two devices at the heart of

microelectronics today: the grown junction

transistor and the field-effect transistor.

He also established strong institutional

foundations for sponsored research and

graduate studies at Worcester Polytechnic

Institute, eventually leading WPI to become

a doctoral university. While at WPI, he

estabished and directed the Center for Solar

Electrification. Focusing on application

for power generation at isolated sites, he

helped change public perceptions to set the

stage for solar photovoltaics to be adopted

as a clean source of electrical energy. Dr.

Clarke earned his Sc.B at Brown in 1945,

his MSc. (1947) and MES (1948) in Applied

Physics at Harvard, and his Ph.D. at Brown

in 1951.

Edward Clarke Sc.B. ‘45, Ph.D. ‘51

2 Brown Engineering Perspectives on Leadership 3


He enrolled at Brown in 1943 and

joined the U.S. Naval Reserve after

his first term. His experience training

for the Navy fostered a sense of

discipline. He eventually graduated

summa cum laude. With his strong

education and background he was

then assigned to the jungle on the

island of Samar in the Philippines as

an Electrical Officer, Safety, Officer,

and Fire Officer. After he served his

country in numerous assignments, he

was released from the Navy and he

began applying to graduate schools.

He continued to foster his strong academic commitment by eventually

completing a Ph.D. from Brown focused on electron physics.

“...building a sense of

confidence in meeting

new life experiences

and challenges.”

His natural leadership skills led him into industry. His first challenge was to

help Sylvania Electric Company engage in the newly emerging semiconductor

industry. He became an expert in semiconductor crystal growing

and purification, in surface properties of semiconductors, and in inventing

new methods for producing transistors. His technical expertise led him to

become head of the semiconductor research division. After many years at

Sylvania and then Sperry-Rand, he partnered with his friend, Bernie Rothlein,

to create their own new semiconductor company, National Semiconductor.

Through his leadership, National became a major supplier of chips used in

US missiles during the Cold War and at the height of the U.S. Space Program.

National grew to nearly 40,000 employees at one time. His leadership

established measurement techniques and standards for the entire

industry. He also concentrated on helping educate university experts and

practicing engineers in the field. Always on the leading edge, Ed turned

his talents to academia. He began a second career as Director of Research

and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

He then later recognized another new emerging technology and established

the Center for Solar Electrification. A commitment to education,

innovation and lifelong learning continues for this natural leader.



Deirdre Hanford is Senior Vice

President, Global Technical Services

at Synopsys, Inc. Her organization’s

mission is to ensure the successful

adoption of the company’s technology

into customers’ demanding

environments. Having earned a Sc.B.

from Brown University and an MSEE

from U.C. Berkeley, Ms. Hanford

joined Synopsys in 1987. She has

held a variety of positions, including

leadership roles in applications

engineering, sales and marketing. In

2001, Ms. Hanford was a recipient of

the YWCA Tribute to Women and Industry

(TWIN) Award and the Marie

R. Pistilli Women in EDA Achievement

Award. She currently sits on the American

Electronics Association’s national

board of directors where she served as

the organization’s 2008 chairman. She

serves on the Brown University Division

of Engineering Advisory Council and the

Technical Advisory Board at the College

of Engineering at University of California,



Deirdre Hanford Sc.B. ‘83

Deirdre Hanford’s (Sc.B. 1983)

stature allows her to naturally

stand out. She greets her audience

at 6 feet 2 inches tall. It’s

April 18, 2006 and Deirdre is

presenting to a group of Intel

professionals on the 100th anniversary

of the San Francisco

earthquake and the 231st anniversary

of Paul Revere’s famous

“Midnight Ride”. Deirdre shares

with them her building blocks

for success in the context of

history. The key points are that

throughout our lives and careers,

we must engage, broaden,

learn, and balance. Sometimes

there are tectonic shifts, like the

San Francisco earthquake, that

require us to respond and seize

the opportunity for growth.

Other times, there are circumstances

where we must be inspired

to initiate change, as Paul

Revere did when he warned the

militias. To really be a stand out,

you must engage when things

naturally begin to shift, but you

also need to shake things up


Deirdre started as the eighth

employee at a Silicon Valley startup and has been there for over 21 years.

Throughout that time, she was promoted twice while pregnant and took

advantage of opportunities as they arose. She inadvertently participated

in something that resembled a rotation program where she was able to

build experience in multiple areas of the company. This willingness to

accept new challenges has propelled

her into a role where she now manages

1,000 engineering professionals across

three continents. She credits her company,

Synopsys, with fostering an environment

that allowed her to gain the

breadth of experience necessary to grow

into a senior leadership position.

“This willingness

to accept new

challenges has

propelled her...”

Deridre’s experience at Brown went beyond her textbooks and the substantial

amount of studying required to be successful in electrical engineering.

She learned from her extraordinary peers. Exposure to many different types

of people, including fellow students and faculty, was critical to helping

her understand new perspectives. Her leadership requires a careful understanding

of the technical, but also the ability to understand and communicate

with her customers.

She took full advantage of her

elective courses to ensure that

she had a broad approach to the

fundamental math and science.

Learning engineering in this wellrounded

curriculum allowed her

to become a well-rounded leader.

She is a leader that seeks out the

elective opportunities and takes


When she reflects on her academic

career, she recognizes a strong

emphasis on team projects.

Working with teams throughout

the extensive lab classes in engineering,

she began to recognize

the different work styles of her

peers. Deirdre learned to tune in

to those around her, just as an effective

leader would in the corporate

world. Under Professor Jerry

Daniels’ direction, Deirdre worked

with another student, Sally Veilette,

on her senior year research

project. This Brown Engineering

project allowed her to experience

the important process of executing

an independent study project on a year long timeline: forming a team,

forming a plan, breaking down a project into building blocks, setting a timeline,

and in turn accomplishing the goal. The

success of their senior team project, related

to capturing and counting brain waves above

a certain threshold, led to Deirdre and Sally

receiving the 1983 Domenico A. Ionata award.

Deirdre understood then that she could translate

her fundamental knowledge to address a

problem in a hands-on way. This experience

was just one of many that prepared her to

stand out in the professional world.

4 Brown Engineering Perspectives on Leadership 5




Dr. Youngcho Chi has over 20 years of experience

in the global telecommunication

industry. He is the Senior Vice President

of Strategic Planning within Telecom

Business in Samsung Electronics. Telecom

Business has global sales of $35 billion

while Samsung Electronics has global sales

of over $100 billion. He is currently responsible

for the global strategic planning of

the mobile phone, network equipment,

computers, MP3, and Mobile Solution at

Samsung Electronics.

Prior to joining Samsung Electronics

in 2007, Dr. Chi was the Senior Executive

Partner at Accenture where he was

responsible for the Wireless Industry in

Asia-Pacific for 10 years. Dr. Chi has also

worked at McKinsey & Company for 3 years

and at AT&T Bell Laboratories for 7 years.

Dr. Chi studied mechanical engineering at

Seoul National University and obtained

a Ph.D. in Applied Mechanics from Brown



Youngcho Chi Ph.D. ‘90

Dr. Youngcho Chi is a leader responsible for strategic

planning for the last 20 years in a leading

area of technological innovation, the telecommunication

industry. After obtaining his Doctoral

degree from Brown engineering, he began

his global career gaining insight into effective

leadership from his mentors. A managing partner

at Accenture offered him an opportunity to

build a strategy practice by trusting his ability

and letting him do what he does best. For 10

years, this partner has given Dr. Chi guidance and advice, while always

empowering him to make the final decisions.

Dr. Chi believes an effective leader is one who finds people with different

strengths and recognizes them. Then, this leader knows when

and how to delegate tasks to them so that they can all contribute to

the success of the team. In other words, the most effective leader is the

one who can put the best team together and let them do what they do

best. It is important to recognize that everyone has specific technical

knowledge, but in the world that we live in today, it is impossible to

lead without strong knowledge of the technology trends.

“ effective leader is

one who finds people

with different strengths

and recognizes them.”

While working on his doctoral

thesis on the formation

and propagation of shear

bands in metals, his thesis

advisor, Professor Duffy,

continuously encouraged

creation of breakthrough

ideas on how to measure

stress, strain, and temperature

– all within microseconds. Dr. Chi gained enormous confidence in

trying new approaches without concern for possible failure thanks to

Professor Duffy’s leadership, shown through empowerment and trust

ofthe abilities of others.

Dr. Chi has the following advice for students; “Take some calculated

risks with your life and career, since rewards are only given to those

who have the courage to try something that others do not dare to.” It

has already been proven that business-minded engineering students

excel in the corporate world because the training that they get is very

relevant to solving business problems. Deep curiosity, analytical thinking,

and a habit of experimentation are all very important qualities for

being a respected business leader in this dynamic and competitive

world. Dr. Chi believes that the teaching and research philosophy at

Brown makes it an exceptional institution to breed future business

leaders for the global economy.

Naeem Zafar (Sc.B. ’81) arrived at Brown as a top international student from

Pakistan and immediately felt inspired by his accomplished and smart classmates.

He describes these classmates as inspirational mentors that ignited

his competitive nature in order to better himself. He began working to organize

events and invite speakers to share their expertise for Brown’s student

chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). His

strong organizational skills and ability to bring students together led him to

a leadership role as President of the Brown IEEE chapter. He continued to

share his strong communications skills as a teaching assistant to help students

connect the dots between their technical knowledge and their communication

skills while working on team projects. This type of experience

propelled him through a career that included work at six startups (serving in

key leadership roles as CEO at three of them).

He built a strong foundation of technical knowledge and rounded it out

with a strong set of electives. This well rounded approach to education

combined with strong desire to connect with others through community

service is a hallmark of solid leadership. Naeem’s education taught him not

only what to communicate, but how to connect with your colleagues by

exhibiting a unique curiosity. He cites that it

is critical to fine tune your listening skills to

connect with people and lead effectively. In

his current role as a member of the business

school faculty at the University of California

Berkeley, he inspires his students by listening

intently, challenging them, and ensuring that

he gives them a genuine sense of believing

in them. His course on entrepreneurship

consistently gets one of the highest student

ratings on campus.

“ is critical to

fine tune your

listening skills to

connect with

people and lead


He feels that Brown is the ideal place to foster an entrepreneurial spirit since

exhibiting intellectual curiosity is a core selection criterion. He currently

works with the Brown Admissions office to interview students in the San

Francisco Bay area. Through this experience, he can help identify students

that are driven by a bigger purpose. With his entrepreneurial and innovative

spirit, he works with students and entrepreneurs to create startups. He has

been involved with the Brown Entrepreneurship Program (currently serving

as the president of Bay Area Advisory Council (BARC) to the Brown EP

program). His definition of entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunities

out of resources that you do not yet control. In order to create successful

companies, you must have individuals that can both inspire others through

their passion for their idea and have a vision that attracts top talent. Naeem

believes that if you can learn to do both effectively, you will be a leader in

your field.


Naeem Zafar is a part of the faculty of Haas

business school at the University of California,

Berkeley where he teaches Entrepreneurship

and Innovation at the MBA program. Naeem

founded Concordia Ventures and focuses on

educating and advising entrepreneurs with all

aspects of starting and running a company.

Naeem has been with six startups and has extensive

experience in mentoring and coaching

founders and CEOs. He is now starting his next

venture under the name of Institute for Service

Organization Excellence (ISOE).

His last assignment was the president and CEO

of Pyxis Technology Inc., a company specializing

in advanced chip design software for nanometer

technology. Naeem has been president

and CEO of two other high tech startups (Silicon

Design Systems and Veridicom, a Bell Labs

spin-off that invented the silicon fingerprint

sensors found today on most laptops). Naeem

has held senior marketing and engineering

positions at several companies including

Quickturn Design Systems that had an IPO in

1993 and grew to $125M in revenues.


Naeem Zafar Sc.B. ‘81

6 Brown Engineering Perspectives on Leadership 7


Leadership is

the skill used

to marshal resources,


then determine

and achieve

goals. There are

many effective

styles ranging

from Patton-like

autocratic to

Gandhi-like participative. Good leaders

change their style to meet the circumstance.

Leadership style builds

on different powers – charisma,

knowledge, authority, relationships,

fear, etc. Within this context, here are

some personal stories from my career

at Bell Labs and its siblings illustrating

what I think is important in Research

and Development (R&D) leadership.

In 1974, while leading my first major

software project, we decided to build

a technically very aggressive system

in twelve months. We couldn’t. Feeling

terrible, convinced my career was

over, my wise boss took me for a long

walk. He supported the decision to

build the aggressive system and expressed

confidence I could learn from

my errors, set a new schedule and

meet it. Invigorated by his trust, the

team set back to work. The system

went live three months late, is still

operational, and earned several billion

dollars. A few years later, a young

R&D manager working for me committed

a similar error. He asked, “Are

you going to fire me?” “Worse yet,” I

said, “You are going to have to clean

up your mess.” He later became President

of Bell Labs. Two lessons here

– first, R&D leadership takes experi-


Robert Martin Sc.B. ‘64

8 Brown Engineering

ence to learn from errors and your

good people need the opportunity

to learn. Second, holding people accountable

and delegating to them

the responsibility to achieve a result

is motivational magic.

Later, while in charge of Unix development,

I thought that our version

of Unix needed technological differentiation

while many others thought

it was good enough. I sought the

advice of a dear friend, Al Aho, who

worked in Bell Labs research. He

said one of his folks had developed

a new programming language that

many admired. I decided, with no

other input, to take it to market. C++

achieved what I had hoped. Again

two lessons: First, “good enough” is

an R&D death nail. It is important to

demand excellence. Second, recruit

the very best to your virtual team.

Seek their hopefully divergent inputs

and then don’t be afraid to decide.

Once a colleague and I were assigned

as co-leaders to resurrect a

terribly failed project that had produced

nothing after 10 years and

$250 million in R&D. In this case, the

team had developed such bad habits

and culture, it was crucial that we

quickly replace the leadership, set

a reachable goal of value to build

customer and organizational confidence,

and establish a technological

platform for long-term success. Having

very different leadership styles

and software systems skills, my coleader

and I knew it would be easy

for us to clash, and that such clashing

would mean organization strife and

failure. So, we agreed to never disagree

in public but to car pool and

resolve disputes there. People marveled

at how unexpectedly well we

got along. The system worked and

was worth billions to the customers.

Couple of lessons: teamwork, crucial

for success, often takes hard work –

lateral power is the most diffuse. Second,

leaders must adapt their style to

the organizational circumstance as

well as its people. There is no single

magical way.

As Bell Labs CTO, I came to value the

role that deep technological knowledge

played in making proper R&D

judgments. This was quite evident

in Bell Labs research. Often international

visitors were keenly interested

in the mysterious ingredients leading

to the Bell Labs innovation record.

To one Japanese team, I simply said,

world-class people, a culture of interdisciplinary

teamwork, exposure to

customers’ problems, and an instinct

for disruptive rather than incremental

change. They visited three more

times convinced there was more to it.

There was not. It was the leadership

that established and nurtured this

culture, worked exceedingly hard to

recruit the best in the world, and developed

the close relationships with

the businesses to understand problems

and transfer results.

One final thought. If one wishes to

excel in technology, then one must

commit to life-long learning. I tried

to do it through smart friends, participation

in external groups, and “a

technology a year.” For the selected

technology, I would find smart

friends in the field, ask them what

the best books/papers were, and set

about reading them. It is now a great

retirement hobby - neural science

this year!

Bob Martin ‘64

Bell Labs CTO, Retired

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