Grabbing the Globe 2008-2009

Randall and Barbara Meyer "Grabbing the Globe" Seminar Series

2008-2009 Academic Year


Jody Howard
Dr. Michael (Mike) Foley
Randall Swisher
Thomas Marriott

September 25, 2008

Electrical and Computer Engineering

October 9, 2008

Electrical and Computer Engineering

March 26, 2009


April 23, 2009

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

University of Iowa engineering alumna Jody Howard (BS 1986 in electrical engineering) began her career with Caterpillar in 1992 in the Cat Electronics business unit.  Her first project there was to develop an electronic service tool that is used by Service Technicians around the world and translated into more than 15 languages.  This and other engineering projects required extensive international travel working with Caterpillar manufacturing facilities and international suppliers. Howard joined the Caterpillar Global Purchasing organization as the Division Manager for Global Electronic procurement.  In this role, Howard managed a global team and worked with suppliers around the world. She then relocated to Grenoble, France where she lived as an expatriate for 3 years.  While in France, Howard was responsible for purchasing activities of Caterpillar factories in France, Italy, German, and England with staff located in each country.  She worked with many suppliers from most western European countries as well as from Eastern Europe and Asia. Howard returned to the U.S. in 2006 and is now based in Peoria, IL, and is the Director of Social Responsibility for Caterpillar.  This position has global responsibility for all employee safety, environmental affairs, and industrial hygiene issues for the corporation in addition to the emerging issues of corporate sustainable development.

University of Iowa engineering alumnus Dr. Michael (Mike) Foley (BS 1987 in electrical engineering) is executive director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). Dr. Foley joined the SIG in March 2004 as the Executive Director. He is responsible for guiding the qualification and interoperability programs, promotion of the technology, the specification publications, and the long-term roadmap of Bluetooth wireless technology. Dr. Foley previously worked with Bluetooth wireless technology and other wireless technologies as a senior wireless architect with Microsoft. While there, he played a pivotal role in the creation and development of the wireless desktop vision and 802.11. Dr. Foley also helped shape the Bluetooth standard from its inception, as a SIG Board Member, and later Chairman of the Board from 2002 to 2003. Under Dr. Foley’s direction, Bluetooth technology has experienced phenomenal growth and consumer acceptance. Since his arrival at the helm of the Bluetooth SIG, he has pushed through an ambitious roadmap, demanding substantial improvements in interoperability and security. Dr. Foley also facilitated and guided the Bluetooth SIG partnership with the WiMedia alliance, solidifying a place for Bluetooth wireless technology in the wireless PAN of the future. In 2007, Dr. Foley was awarded the Telematics Leadership Award for achievements and innovation in the telematics market with Bluetooth wireless technology. In addition to his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from The University of Iowa, Dr. Foley holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University and a Masters degree from Arizona State University.

Randall Swisher served as executive director of the American Wind Energy Association from 1989 until 2008. Prior to that, he worked as Legislative Representative for the American Public Power Association and as Energy Program Director for the National Association of Counties. He has also worked as Professional Staff for the House Interior Committee's Energy and Water Subcommittee and as Executive Director for the D.C. Public Interest Research Group, where he first became involved with renewable energy advocacy in 1975. Between 1976 and 1981, Swisher served as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University and Georgetown University Law Center, where he taught courses on energy policy. Swisher has a Ph.D. in American Civilization from George Washington University and a B.A. in Political Science from The University of Iowa.

University of Iowa engineering alumnus Thomas Marriott (BS 1968 chemical engineering) is founder and president of Hawkeye Consulting Services LLC. Earlier in his career, at the gas and chemical firm Air Products & Chemicals, Inc., Marriott gained extensive domestic and international operations and engineering experience through his work in the U.S. as well as Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Mexico, Brazil, Trinidad, India, South Africa, and Algeria. He became an expert on safety and environmental issues during his tenure at Air Products and served as its corporate safety and environmental director. Marriott also is a member of the UI Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Advisory Board.