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BUILD SMART DEVICES & SYSTEMS USING ELECTRONICS INTELLIGENCE & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES TO SOLVE PROBLEMS.

Electrical Engineering (EE)

e·lec·tri·cal en·gi·neer·ing

The study of devices, circuits, signals & systems, electromagnetics, and programming, with additional expertise in electronics, power, control, communications, optics, and/or computers to solve problems in any field you choose.

Also Known As: Digital Design Engineer, Digital Signal Processing Engineer, Electronics Engineer, Signal Processing Engineer, Network Systems Engineer, Solar Engineer, Power Engineer, Lighting Engineer, Communications Engineer, Semiconductor Engineer, Robotics Engineer, Automotive Engineer, Controls Systems Engineer, Programmer Analyst, Bioelectrical Engineer, +10,000 more

A sleek blue bipedal robot with a block M stands in the UMMA art museum

WHY EE AT MICHIGAN?

  • No. 6

    US News and World Report

  • $50M

    Research

  • 80+

    industry-relevant courses

  • >550

    patents by faculty and students since 2000

  • 18K+

    Electrical and Computer Engineering alumni

Jobs: Most of the recruiters coming to Michigan are looking for electrical engineers, and are willing to pay them among the highest salaries.

Impactful Research: Building on $50M of research, EE faculty and students are leaders in transferring technology from the lab to real-world products impacting sustainability, communication and information systems, security, computers, and more.

Creativity: The EE program offers the widest variety of lab courses and senior major design experience courses to set your creativity free.

ECE students installing a solar panel

What do Electrical Engineers do?

We are the innovators that create sustainable energy systems, study the brain to better understand neurological diseases, efficiently process big data, build the computing devices that are sometimes too small to even see, manipulate the semiconductors integral to millions of applications, control robots, safely image tumors, communicate information and much more. Learn to invent, design, and improve devices that enhance life for all.

Application Areas

  • Next-Gen Electronics and Computing

    Build the smallest, fastest, and most efficient computing systems known to humankind. This age of information requires secure, smart and specialized devices to process and transmit information, influencing the world from the microscopic level. Our devices power the Internet of Things.

    Courses: Digital Integrated Circuits, Intro to Semiconductor Devices, VLSI Design I, Embedded Systems, Computer Architecture

  • Automotive Industry

    Tackle the technology in our most used mode of transportation – cars. You could be responsible for designing and developing the newest and best in safety mechanisms, entertainment systems, controls, and electronics to maximize performance and enable connected vehicles.

    Courses: Embedded Control Systems, Electric Machinery and Drives, Control Systems Analysis & Design

  • Robotics and Autonomous Systems

    Our world is increasingly autonomous. At the heart of robotic movement are control algorithms, sensors, and AI processors to enhance search and rescue operations, enable driverless vehicles, build smart prosthetics, and automate factories.

    Courses: Control Systems Analysis & Design, Hands-on Robotics, Computer Vision, Embedded Control Systems, Machine Learning

  • Sensing for Health and Safety

    Eavesdrop on neural activity with electrodes and LEDs, create sensing devices to monitor crops and problems in infrastructure, probe the brain to treat Parkinson’s, collaborate with doctors to create better techniques and tools for everything from diagnosis to surgical procedures, detect hidden explosives, and monitor air, water and land – all using electrical engineering devices and techniques.

    Courses: Intro to MEMS, Solid-State Device Lab, Advanced Embedded Systems, Integrated Microsystems Lab

  • Information, Communication, and Data Science

    Sort through and patch the holes in big data to discover meaningful patterns in any field of your choosing, from personal health, to economics, pollution, and much more. Learn to effectively communicate information from distances ranging from a few feet to deep Space.

    Courses: Digital Signal Processing, Digital Communication Signals and Systems, Wireless Communication Systems, Machine Learning, Wireless Link Design

  • Power, Energy, and Sustainability

    Electrical engineers develop energy-efficient lighting, displays, and solar cells. They figure out how best to incorporate wind and solar energy into the nation’s grid, and how best to control energy usage on a large scale to reduce overall energy used without impacting comfort. They are helping design more efficient electric and hybrid electric vehicles, and they are developing new sources for renewable fuels.

    Courses: Power Electronics, Electric Machinery and Drives, Power System Design and Operation, Grid Integration of Alternative Energy Sources

  • Electrical engineering is extremely broad. Above are several key application areas around which a student may orient their technical and free electives, in consultation with their advisor.

Electrical engineering is extremely broad. Above are several key application areas around which a student may orient their technical and free electives, in consultation with their advisor.

Graduate receiving hood during ceremony

Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Studies Program (SUGS)

Complete your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in only five years with SUGS by taking some graduate-level classes during your undergraduate years, so you can save yourself one semester and complete the masters with only two additional semesters.

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Sample Course List

First-Year

First-Year

  • Fall Semester
    • CoE Core
      Calculus I (Math 115)
    • CoE Core
      Engineering 100
    • CoE Core
      Chemistry (125/126 and 130 or 210 and 211)
    • Elective
      Intellectual Breadth
  • Winter Semester
    • CoE Core
      Calculus II (Math 116)
    • CoE Core
      Engineering 101
    • CoE Core
      Physics (140 and 141)
    • Elective
      Intellectual Breadth

Sophomore Year

Sophomore Year

  • Fall Semester
    • CoE Core
      Calculus III (Math 215)
    • CoE Core
      Physics (240 and 241)
    • Major Requirement
      Circuits (EECS 215)
    • Major Requirement
      Programming & Elementary Data Structures (EECS 280)
  • Winter Semester
    • CoE Core
      Differential Equations (Math 216)
    • Major Requirement
      Signals and Systems (EECS 216)
    • Major Requirement
      Electrical Engineering Systems Design I (EECS 200)
    • Major Requirement
      Electromagnetics I (EECS 230)

Junior Year

Junior Year

  • Fall Semester
    • Major Requirement
      Probabilistic Methods in Engineering (EECS 301)
    • Major Requirement
      Technical Communication
    • Major Requirement
      Flexible Technical Electives
    • Major Requirement
      Upper-Level EE Technical Elective
    • Elective
      Intellectual Breadth
  • Winter Semester
    • Major Requirement
      Electrical Engineering Systems Design II (EECS 300)
    • Major Requirement
      Upper-Level EE Technical Elective
    • Major Requirement
      Upper-Level EE Technical Elective
    • Elective
      Intellectual Breadth

Senior Year

Senior Year

  • Fall Semester
    • Major Requirement
      Upper-Level EE Technical Elective
    • Major Requirement
      Upper-Level EE Technical Elective
    • Major Requirement
      Flexible Technical Elective
    • Elective
      General Elective
  • Winter Semester
    • Major Requirement
      Technical Communication
    • Major Requirement
      Major Design Experience
    • Major Requirement
      Flexible Technical Elective
    • Elective
      General Elective

Individualized schedules will be made by students in consultation with an advisor who will tailor their classes to better fit the student's needs.

Practice Your Purpose

Apply the skills you are learning in class to the real world.

Student Design Teams

A woman atop a roof wearing a hard hat and holding a power tool in front of a set of solar panels.
Grid Alternatives
A drone with 4 propellers floats in the air with a pyramid shaped center with a white box on tip and wires sticking out
MAAV - Michigan Autonomous Aerial Vehicles
A student races an all-terrain baja car with enormous wheels on a dirt track with mountains in the background.
Michigan Baja Racing
MDST Logo
MDST - Michigan Data Science Team
An electric racecar labeled with a large “Michigan” with a student driver wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet
Michigan Electric Racing
2 team members wipe the completed maize and blue solar car. The car has a sleek design and half covered in solar panels.
Solar Car Team
A small vessel made up of two boxes sits in the NERS Fountain. The bottom box has a painted shark face
UM::Autonomy - Autonomous Boat
A hand adjusts the brightly colored wires with a green light shining in the background
Michigan Applied Robotics Group
4 students wearing MRover shirts smile while carrying the rover, a machine platform with 4 tires and a robotic arm.
MRover - Michigan Mars Rover
IGV Logo
Intelligent Ground Vehicle Team
A maize and blue model airplane with a large block M takes off from the runway
M-Fly
M-Heal members gather around the rock painted with the M-Heal emblem.
M-HEAL - Michigan Health Engineered for All Lives
Members of Hyperloop pose for a photo in the North Campus Grove
Michigan Hyperloop
Project Music Logo
Project Music
Students gather at the edge of a cliff overlooking a mountain range jutting out into the sea
Team Aquador
A student in a full-face motorcycle helmet sits nearly horizontally as he rides the maize electric motorcycle named “Chronos”
SPARK - Electric Racing
A student wears a powered exoskeleton. It is worn like a backpack and has metal pieces that extend down to the feet.
STARX - Strength Augmenting Robotic eXoskeletons
Students For Exploration And Development of Space
Students for the Exploration and Development of Space
Masa Logo
MASA - Michigan Aeronautical Science Association

Professional Development

GEECS Logo
Girls in EECS
HKN Logo
Eta Kappa Nu - Honor Society
IEEE Logo
IEEE - Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers
A large group of members of “Society of Women Engineers” pose for a picture in front of a wall-sized map of Minneapolis.
Society of Women Engineers
A globe view of South America surrounded by a maize and blue gear
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
A large group of students and alumni in NSBE gather around a block M with a bipedal robot standing on it
National Society of Black Engineers

Research

A group of people placing components onto a black chip with a white insert and several small gold boxes
David Blaauw & Dennis Sylvester: The World’s Smallest Computer
READ MORE
STEPHEN FORREST headshot
Stephen Forrest: Transparent Organic Solar Cell
READ MORE
Mingyan Liu headshot
Mingyan Liu: Decoding the World’s Most Complex Networks
READ MORE
Kamal Sarabandi headshot
Kamal Sarabandi: Weapons-Detecting Radars
READ MORE
Euisik Yoon headshot
Euisik Yoon: Blood Biopsy - Detailed Genetic Analysis of Cancer Cells
READ MORE
Jeffrey A. Fessler headshot
Jeff Fessler: Ultra-Low Dose CT Image Reconstruction
READ MORE
Jessy W. Grizzle headshot
Jessy Grizzle: Getting People Moving
READ MORE
Mohammed Islam headshot
Mohammed Islam: Shoebox-sized Chemical Detector
READ MORE
Heath Hofmann headshot
Heath Hofmann: Traditional Engine Conversion with the Help of Control Algorithms
READ MORE

Alumni Biographies

Each of these alumni are real people who were once in your shoes, deciding a major. Explore their path and how a Michigan education set their life in motion.

  • Amit Singhi headshot
    • Amit Singhi
    • Piston Group
  • Babak Parviz headshot
    • Babak Parviz
    • Amazon
  • Katie Bouman headshot
    • Katie Bouman
    • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • Dawson Yee headshot
    • Dawson Yee
    • Microsoft
  • Hannah Goldberg headshot
    • Hannah Goldberg
    • GomSpace
  • David Wentzloff headshot
    • David Wentzloff
    • University of Michigan, Everactive
  • Mariesa Crow headshot
    • Mariesa Crow
    • Missouri University of Science & Technology
  • Mitchell Rohde headshot
    • Mitchell Rohde
    • Quantum Signal
  • Richard Bergman headshot
    • Richard A. Bergman
    • Synaptics
  • Tony Gioutsos headshot
    • Tony Gioutsos
    • Autonomous Americas at Siemens
Amit Singhi headshot

    Amit Singhi

    Piston Group

Babak Parviz headshot

    Babak Parviz

    Amazon

Katie Bouman headshot

    Katie Bouman

    California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Dawson Yee headshot

    Dawson Yee

    Microsoft

Hannah Goldberg headshot

    Hannah Goldberg

    GomSpace

David Wentzloff headshot

    David Wentzloff

    University of Michigan, Everactive

Mariesa Crow headshot

    Mariesa Crow

    Missouri University of Science & Technology

Mitchell Rohde headshot

    Mitchell Rohde

    Quantum Signal

Richard Bergman headshot

    Richard A. Bergman

    Synaptics

Tony Gioutsos headshot

    Tony Gioutsos

    Autonomous Americas at Siemens

Not sure what major to choose?

Tap in to our network of 85k+ engineering alumni. Do you have questions you’d like answered? Our alumni are always eager to talk about engineering.

Please email engin-alumni@umich.edu for more information.

SPEAK TO AN ALUM
A fully functional microcomputer made by EE faculty and students made up of sheets of metal and wires sits at a coin's edge

Industries & Occupations

  • Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution
  • Semiconductor and Electronic Components Industry
  • Computer Hardware and Circuit Design
  • Signal Processing Design
  • Navigational, Measuring, Control, and Electromedical Instruments Manufacturing
  • Scientific Research
  • Communications Industry
  • Aerospace Industry
  • Defense Systems
  • Business Consulting and Management
  • Robotics and Automation
  • Automotive Industry
  • Sustainable Power Industries
  • Wireless Communications Industry
  • Bioelectrical Devices
  • Law
A student team adjusts the soundboard, made up of dials and a screen displaying soundwaves, connected to an electric guitar

Companies

  • Apple
  • Broadcom
  • Microsoft
  • Amazon
  • AMD
  • Analog Devices
  • Cisco Systems
  • Facebook
  • Ford Motor Company
  • General Electric
  • Google
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Intel
  • Medtronic
  • Motorola
  • NASA
  • Nvidia
  • Oracle
  • Qualcomm

Find salary information at the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Discover the various salary ranges based on experience level and location.

LEARN MORE

LEARN MORE

Amit Singhi headshot

Amit Singhi

  • Piston Group
  • Chief Operating and Financial Officer

Indian Institute of Technology, B.Tech Electrical Engineering, 1987
University of Michigan, MS Electrical Engineering- Systems, 1989
University of Michigan, MBA Corporate Strategy & Finance, 1994
Career Summary

I was born and brought up in India. After my undergraduate studies at I.I.T. Mumbai, I moved to the U.S. for a Masters program at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Upon graduation, I worked at the General Motors R&D Center in Engineering and Operations on Advanced Navigation Systems and internal Manufacturing consulting. While I was working full-time at G.M., I pursued my M.B.A. from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in the evening program. On completion of the program, I switched from engineering to finance and from G.M. to Ford. I worked at Ford in Finance for about 20 years — in all different operational units of the company, including engineering, product development, manufacturing, procurement and supply chain, customer service, corporate staffs, culminating in my role as CFO of Ford South America in Brazil for about 3 years.

On our return back to the U.S., I was presented an opportunity to become CFO of FLIR Systems — a $5B publicly traded high-tech company in thermal and visible imaging systems based in Portland Oregon. I took on the challenge to move to a new industry with different products, different people, new location, and very different business dynamics. After about 2 years at FLIR Systems, I joined the Piston Group in Detroit, Michigan as its CFO. Piston Group is a $3B privately held group of automotive supply companies, including Piston Automotive, Detroit Thermal Systems, and Irvin Products. A few months into the new company, I took on the role of COO as well. I have enjoyed my journey across different continents, different educational institutions and companies, different industries, different functional areas, and different leadership roles … in large and medium public as well as private enterprises. My learning journey continues…

Advice to Students

Different things work for different people, but principles I have tried to live by: Positive attitude; Passion; relentless Pursuit of excellence; intense focus on People ….. and having fun along the way …. go with your gut and take risks … have a continuous learning mindset and never ever compromise on integrity and transparency.

Babak Parviz headshot

Babak Parviz

  • Amazon
  • Vice President

University of Washington, BA English Literature
Sharif University of Technology, BSE Electronics Engineering
University of Michigan, MSE Electrical Engineering
University of Michigan, MS Physics
University of Michigan, Ph.D. Electrical Engineering
Career Summary

At the end of graduate school, Babak spent a year at a startup company (Nanovation) working on integrated photonics devices for telecommunication. Then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University from 2001 to 2003 and became a faculty member at the University of Washington. Babak was with Google from 2010 to 2014, eventually becoming a Director at Google [X] and a Distinguished Engineer prior to moving to Amazon, where he has been with Amazon since 2014 as a Vice President.

Reflection on Time spent at U-M

Completing a postdoc in a new field was challenging but extremely rewarding in opening new vistas and creating a new appreciation for chemistry, biology, and medicine.

Katie Bouman headshot

Katie Bouman

  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • Assistant Professor

University of Michigan, BSE Electrical Engineering, 2011
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MSE Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 2013
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ph.D. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 2017
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2017-2019
Career Summary

I started getting into research in high school, and continued as a member of the Michigan Research Community (MRC) in my freshman year at Michigan. I had the opportunity of interacting with a number of wonderful professors at Michigan, who furthered my interest in research and imaging, including Clayton Scott, Alfred Hero, and Jeff Fessler. As a graduate student at MIT I got into computer vision and imaging, and ultimately astronomical imaging. I did my PhD with William (Bill) Freeman at MIT, and my postdoc with the Event Horizon Telescope group at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Favorite Student Organizations

I loved being a member of Eta Kappa Nu and selling pizza at the dBCafe!

Favorite Classes

EECS 216- Signals and Systems, EECS 401- Probabilistic Methods in Engineering, and EECS 452- Digital Signal Processing Design Laboratory

Dawson Yee headshot

Dawson Yee

  • Microsoft
  • Principal Hardware Engineer

University of British Columbia, BaSc Electrical Engineering
University of Michigan, MSE Electrical Engineering, 1987
Career Summary

Engineers are the modern day Wizards, taking the discoveries of the Scientists and apply the science to improving the lives of people and the world. Electrical Engineering has evolved to include Electronic – I believe we are living in a renaissance of Electronics. Sensors, actuators, (input and output with control systems) have found applications that improve the performance and reliability & usefulness. Though I have EE education, I owned a very successful project where I started from a description to hiring hundreds of people, architecting and managing a variety of aspects of a company, including: Budget, Electrical, Mechanical, Acoustic, Industrial Design, Interaction Design, Procurement, Manufacturing, Reliability, and Contracts. I was uniquely able to do this because over the years I was curious to learn from others and took any opportunity to expand my knowledge.

Reflection on Time spent at U-M

I am always learning, always curious – always impressed with the ingenuity of others.

You will gain the knowledge (and responsibility) to apply your skills for good. Ideas are great, solutions are what we value. You can change the world.

Advice to Students

Some people focus deep and become specialized – pushing the state of the art. I’ve always been open to take on new challenges, learning and creating new products. Either way or other ways are fine, know what passion drives you – leverage that passion and you will excel. Measure your success by your measures and not by external influences.

Whichever major you choose, it is up to you how broad your influence expands.

It is up to you to define the future and lead where we all go.

Look around you, almost everything was “designed” by somebody for some purpose, and time will tell which are useful and elegant. You can take any opportunity and create your value if you desire – I’ve done it before and so have others. Take Flashlights, Post-it notes, Ear Buds, Speakers, Thermostats, Cameras…all have existed prior yet still improving!

Hannah Goldberg headshot

Hannah Goldberg

  • GomSpace
  • Senior Systems Engineer

University of Michigan, BSE Electrical Engineering, 2003
University of Michigan, MSE Electrical Engineering, 2004
Career Summary

My career started by working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where I held an internship between my undergraduate and graduate years, which turned into a full-time position when I graduated from Michigan. I was able to work on many interesting projects, including the Mars Science Laboratory landing test team, as well as on the instrument team for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory. I then moved to Planetary Resources in Seattle, to be part of a smaller team working on the ambitious goal of asteroid mining, working as a spacecraft systems engineer.

Later, I decided to move to Europe, working at a CubeSat company called GomSpace located in Aalborg, Denmark. At GomSpace, I began by working on a large commercial communications constellation, but more recently have been working on advanced deep-space CubeSat designs in support of missions for the European Space Agency. My career path has given me the opportunity to work with a diverse set of people across a variety of different space projects and missions, which helps continually challenge me to be a better engineer.

Reflection on Time spent at U-M

I love to constantly be learning new things. When I started at the University of Michigan, I knew I wanted to be an electrical engineer, but at Michigan I became involved with the Student Space Systems Fabrication Lab (S3FL) working on the Icarus satellite project, was able to find my passion in working on space projects and my skill as a systems engineer.

Advice to Students

Be involved and try new things. It will still be a valuable experience even if it turns out to be something you find you dislike. As I mature in my career, I find that all of my previous experiences become relevant, no matter how disconnected and unrelated they may seem at the time.

David Wentzloff headshot

David Wentzloff

  • University of Michigan, Everactive
  • Associate Professor, Co-Founder/CTO

University of Michigan, BSE Electrical Engineering, 1999
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MSE Electrical Engineering, 2002
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, 2007
Career Summary

I have been interested in engineering and how things work for as long as I can remember. I got interested in electronics in high school by tinkering with car stereos for friends, and then decided to pursue EE. During undergrad, I got involved in teaching (EECS 373) and research, and did several internships including ANS (Ann Arbor, MI), Ford (Dearborn, MI), Intel (Folsom, CA). It was during this time I became interested in a faculty position and decided to pursue a PhD. At MIT, I started working on high-power electronics for my Masters, then switched to low-power RF integrated circuits for my PhD. I also did another internship at Intel (Hillsboro, OR) during this time. This led me to UM right out of my PhD, where I’ve been since 2007, doing research focused on ultra-low power RFICs and systems, and teaching circuits classes in the ECE department. Around 2012, I decided to start a company, Everactive, to commercialize ultra-low power technology with one of my collaborators at the University of Virginia. Everactive has grown to 50+ employees in 3 locations, deploying batteryless, wireless sensing solutions for industrial applications.

Advice to Students

Do what you like, and/or what you’re good at. It sounds over-simplified, but if you follow this advice it makes everything easier.

Network while you’re at UM. You are surrounded by some of the best minds, and you will cross paths with many UM alums throughout your career.

Do internships, as many as you can land. These are great experiences and pay very well.

Mariesa Crow headshot

Mariesa Crow

  • Missouri University of Science & Technology
  • F. Finley Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering

University of Michigan, BSE Electrical Engineering, 1985
University of Illinois- Urbana/ Champaign, MS Electrical Engineering, 1986
University of Illinois- Urbana/ Champaign, PhD Electrical Engineering, 1989
Career Summary

I started college thinking that I wanted to work on the space program, but as I got further into my studies I found that I really like system modeling and control. Power and energy systems especially piqued my interest because not only are they some of the largest most complex interconnected systems in the world, they are necessary for societal growth and prosperity. I entered the power engineering field at the time that high voltage power electronics were first being integrated into distribution systems to provide the power conversion system for large scale battery energy storage.

I was fortunate to be able to work with experts in energy storage at Sandia National Laboratories for nearly a decade on this work. Expanding on this initial work, I worked on several projects supported by the Army and Air Force to look at developing mobile electrical distribution systems for forward operating bases combining energy storage and renewable energy resources as alternatives to fossil fuel plants. By melding these two technologies, I developed a career path that has allowed me to work with experts from all over the world to improve power system reliability. This led naturally to several recent projects developing methods for energy management and control in microgrids. This work was supported by the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

I chose to work as a professor because I not only enjoyed the intellectual challenge of research, I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm with young engineers. Teaching and research are two sides of the same coin. The engineering field is moving rapidly with new developments and knowledge being created every day. I see my job as a professor to review and assimilate as much information in my field as possible and then to organize and disseminate it to the next generation of engineers. In this way, I really do get the best of both worlds.

Advice to Students

Join and be active in your professional society. It is a great place to keep on top of your technical skills and to network.

Mitchell Rohde headshot

Mitchell Rohde

  • Quantum Signal
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

University of Michigan, BSE Electrical Engineering
University of Michigan, MSE Electrical Engineering Systems
University of Michigan, MSE Biomedical Engineering
University of Michigan, Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering
Career Summary

My path was (and still is) one of an entrepreneur. I co-founded Quantum Signal while finishing up my PhD in 1999, hoping to bring signal and image processing algorithms into wider application in a variety of fields of application. In the earliest years, the company scraped along doing consulting and minor development work for a very small number of clients, and I was the only full-time team member. As time went on, QS grew into a more full-fledged engineering research and development organization, taking on projects from both the government and the commercial sector, in fields as varied as automotive, defense, consumer products, and even entertainment!

As the company grew, my role also grew from doing technical work and some business functions to being much more focused on the vision and business aspects. This included learning how to be a manager and leader, filling roles (such as business development, public speaker, and more) that were critical to growing the business into what it is today. Every project, program, and customer had (and still has) special nuances, thus in our business it was never the same game twice and I am always learning and evolving. Working with team members that have experience from prior lives has also been helpful, and I am deeply appreciative of what I have, and will continue to, learn from them. It was much, much harder to start and successfully run a small business than I ever expected when we first set out over 20 years ago, but the experience has been excellent and I will never regret choosing the path that I did.

Reflection on Time spent at UM

When I was in school, we worked on walking robots, created and ran a bagel stand, held weekly tech-talks, pulled engineering pranks, and generally burned the candle at three ends day and night, and that is exactly what someone should be doing as an engineering student.

Favorite Student Orgs

IEEE- Students interested in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Eta Kappa Nu -Honors Society for Electrical and Computer Engineers, Tau Beta Pi- Engineering Honors Society

Advice to Students

I was a heavy participant in a number of student organizations and strongly recommend it to anyone in school. They provide an outstanding way to build experience and create friendships and contacts that will last far longer than you might expect.

If I were to provide really solid advice it is this: dig deep into your engineering education and commit, give it 150%, don’t squander that which is a resource you cannot buy more of (time), and most importantly, have fun!

Richard Bergman headshot

Richard A. Bergman

  • Synaptics
  • President and CEO

University of Michigan, BSE Electrical Engineering, 1986
University of Colorado, MBA, 1991
Career Summary

Despite an engineering background, my first role out of college was a technical sales role for Texas Instruments. This role was critical in developing broader skills such as communication, selling, presentation and negotiations that continue to help my career thirty years later. My career naturally progressed into program management and marketing aided by participating in an MBA program as well as taking advantage of development opportunities at my employers. Eventually, I was given the opportunity at General Management where I was responsible for a product line at S3, a major graphics company. The responsibilities included development, marketing, software and Profit & Loss. Eventually, I became a “COO” (Chief Operating Officer) responsible for all products for S3, and I played a major role in selling the company.

After learning these broader skills, I moved to a larger company (ATI, graphics chips) again in General Management. After helping to grow the business to a multi-billion entity, we sold the corporation to AMD for over $5B in 2006. I then played a major management role in the combined companies for five years. Synaptics, a public company, needed a CEO with broad experience and offered me the CEO position in 2011. Synaptics is a “human interface” company with solutions for touch, voice, display and fingerprint sensing. Using a combination of organic growth and acquisitions, I was able to grow the company from $500M to $1.7B over the next eight years. As noted in my journey, I embraced new product areas and challenges throughout my career. Each role provided opportunity for continued growth and personal development. The engineering education at Michigan provided a foundation for learning and understanding these diverse areas.

Career Timeline
  • IBM
  • Texas Instruments
  • AMD
  • S3
  • ATI
  • Synaptics
Reflection on Time spent at U-M

My number one passion, outside of family, continues to be my experience at Michigan and the various sports teams. I travel back to Ann Arbor multiple times a year and continue to enjoy the great atmosphere.

Advice to Students

Make as many connections as possible while a student and maintain that network throughout your career. The Michigan network does truly reach across the globe and can be an asset well beyond just your education.

Some of the class I enjoyed the most were outside of the core curriculum of electrical and computer engineering. While these other requirements can seem burdensome, the broader education will serve you well in your career. If you aspire to be a CEO one day, you will draw on all of your education experiences.

Don’t be afraid of trying something new or taking a risk!

Tony Gioutsos headshot

Tony Gioutsos

  • Autonomous Americas at Siemens
  • Director, Portfolio Development

University of Michigan, BSE Electrical Engineering, 1983
University of Michigan, MS Electrical Engineering, Communications, Signal Processing Minor, 1983
Career Summary

Mr Gioutsos has been involved with Automotive safety systems since 1990. As Director of Electronics R&D for both Takata and Breed Technologies, he was at the forefront of the safety revolution. His cutting edge work on passive safety algorithm design and testing led him to start the first Automotive Algorithm company in 1992.

After receiving both his BSEE and MSEE (specializing in Communications and Signal Processing) from the University of Michigan, Mr Gioutsos worked on Satellites and Radar Imaging for Defense applications before joining Takata. He has been a consultant for various companies in areas such as Biomedical applications, gaming software, legal expert advisory, and numerous automotive systems.

Mr Gioutsos is currently Director of Sales and Marketing in the Americas for Siemens PLM where he has continued to define active safety algorithm testing requirements as well as working on various other state-of-the-art approaches to enhance automated and connected car robustness. He has been awarded over 20 patents and presented over 150 technical papers.

Advice to Students

Patience patience patience. Nothing is easy that is good. I believe that there is a lack of signal processing people in the world. Sensor data processing is today and the future. Claude Shannon, please find out about him. He is a Michigan grad and the smartest man who ever lived. Read the book “A mind at play”