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"Economics of Technology and the Engineering Career"
-- Dr. Dan Donahoe and Dr. Michelle Poliskie, Exponent.

Presentation Slides: "Economics of Technology and the Engineering Career" (350 kB PDF)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

  • Seated dinner served at 6:30 ($25 if reserved before April 8; $30 after & at door; vegetarian available)

  • Presentation (no cost) at 7:30.

    Ramada Inn

  • 1217 Wildwood Ave (Fwy 101 frontage road, between Lawrence Expressway and Great America Parkway), Sunnyvale, (800) 888-3899 -- see map.


  • For dinner and/or meeting: by email to Janis Karklins
  • Please reserve for "presentation-only", even if not attending the dinner.

    As prospective college grads, or as members of the IEEE affinity group called Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD), you must have invested time thinking about your engineering career choices. Obviously, you picked a degree program and an institution. Next you either have, or will soon, scout for jobs. You will search for jobs within technologies (and business sectors) you feel offer the greatest career benefits to you. Within a given sector you will have to find a firm that matches your interests and desired job security. No doubt you have read about the demise of some big firms with long histories of success, and also you have watched some newer firms disappear (often by acquisition) after enjoying meteoric growth.

    After you settle down in a position, you have to manage your early career. You will choose assignments that offer opportunities to master skills and enhance your future opportunities. Eventually, within the firm, you must decide if you want to work in a technical role or move into a business role. In facing all these decisions, you are acting based on an understanding of business and economics. For most engineers, our source of business and economics information is our family, our peers and the press. However, the scientist in you is probably feeling uncomfortable with business wisdom so often presented from these sources. If you have taken a first course in Economics, you may have walked out of the final exam feeling disappointed with the paltry tools provided. This talk will help you build confidence to set a course in our stormy Tech Economy.

    Speaker Biography
        Dr. Daniel N. Donahoe is a Managing Engineer in Exponentís Mechanical Engineering and Materials/Metallurgy practice. Dr. Donahoe has over twenty-five years of experience. Prior to joining Exponent he had been employed at Lockheed, Motorola, Ford Aerospace, Teledyne, Compaq Computer and Iomega, and the University of Marylandís industry and government sponsored CALCE, Electronic Products and Systems Center. His functional assignments include work as a design engineer, reliability engineer, thermal engineer, manager, technologist, and scientist.
        In military electronics he worked on electronics exposed to extreme environments ranging from the high acceleration loads of gun launch to thermal challenges faced in life support, and the design of radar systems. In addition to electronic products exposed to exotic environments, he has worked on cost-driven commercial electronics products such as cooling of computer components. He has worked on integrating rack and stacked electronics into facilities. His electronic packaging analysis skills include thermal analysis, stress and dynamics analysis, and failure analysis. His Ph.D. dissertation on ceramic capacitors included failure analysis work using modern tools of failure analysis including the environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEMô), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), and focused ion beam (FIB). Dr. Donahoe worked on several industry standards related to electronics. He has served as an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Components and Packaging Technologies for seven years. Upon return to California, he is beginning service on the Silicon Valley Administrative Committee for the IEEE Components and Packaging Technologies Society. He has served as a teaching assistant for an intermediate heat transfer course (University of Illinois), an instructor for high school physics (Judge Memorial Catholic High School), for junior college courses in basic electronics and in statistics (Maricopa County Junior Colleges), and for a graduate course on sensors (University of Maryland). He is the Secretary for IEEE's CPMT Santa Clara Valley Chapter.
        Dan's MS in Mechanical Engineering is from University of Illinois at Urbana, with his PhD from the University of Maryland; he also earned an MBA from Santa Clara University, and is a Registered Professional Engineer in Arizona and California.

        Dr. Michelle Poliskie is an Engineer in Exponentís Mechanics and Materials practice. Dr. Poliskie specializes in the chemical structure and properties of non-metallic materials, with an emphasis on plastics and elastomers. Her synthetic skills and extensive knowledge of materials characterization techniques have been applied to solve problems related to the identification of degradation pathways and kinetics, optimization of small molecule synthesis, and development of devices to monitor polymer deformation. Most recently, Dr. Poliskie has employed spectroscopic techniques to link macroscopic deformation mechanisms to molecular-level behavior and kinetics. She has specific experience with polymer nanocomposites, elastomers, inorganic crystals, and photolithographic films.
        Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Poliskie participated in a variety of collaborations with researchers in government, academic and industrial laboratories. She has assisted with technical and business aspects of a start-up company. Her BA in Economics, and in Chemistry (with honors) is from Grinnell College, with her PhD from MIT in polymers; she was the recipient of a National Research Council fellowship. She is a member of the American Chemical Society and the Materials Research Society.

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