Prism - September 2002
Engineering Their Way to the Top
A Quiet Sort of Revolutionary
Feeling The Pinch
On Politics
Teaching Toolbox
Corporate Connections
ASEE Today
Last Word
Back Issues


Climbing the Corporate Ladder - The Engineering Way

Frank HubandOur cover story this month, “Engineering Their Way to the Top,” describes the increasing importance of engineers to the bottom line at many companies. An engineering degree hasn't always been the best way to influence the corporate environment —an MBA has, in the past, provided better access to prestige and executive-level power. Today, however, more and more companies are recognizing that management skills and technical expertise are both essential to corporate growth. Companies such as IBM, General Electric, Microsoft, Cisco, and Bell Labs are rewarding exceptional engineers and scientists by giving them Fellow or Distinguished Engineer status. While the power and autonomy of engineers in these positions vary from company to company, the rewards are enticing.

William A. Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineering, is the subject of the article, “A Quiet Sort of Revolutionary.” Dr. Wulf tells how he became an engineer and how inadvertent choices led him to what he calls the best job in the world. Wulf wants to see major changes take place in engineering education, and this article examines how he is working to effect these changes.

Feeling the Pinch” looks at the fiscal crisis that exists in many states. According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, 40 states are battling budget shortfalls that total nearly $40 billion. The challenge is how to meet the growing demand for quality education in these difficult economic times.

This month's Prism expands our corporate coverage, focusing specifically on the relationship between engineering education and industry. Our cover story about engineers in corporate America is the beginning of this coverage. In this new section, there is also an opinion piece from the corporate perspective— Boeing vice president Robert Spitzer talks about the challenges facing both industry and engineering education and the importance of working together. This special corporate section will appear three times a year.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.


Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher