Randall and Barbara Meyer Grabbing the Globe Seminar Series

2012-2013 Academic Year


September 6, 2012

All-College Seminar

Dr. Brian RauchDr. Brian Rauch is Vice President, Engineering at John Deere Construction & Forestry, Dubuque, IA.  He earned a BS degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1986, and MS and Ph.D. degrees in engineering mechanics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990 and 1993 respectively.  He also achieved an Executive MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000.

In 1986, Dr. Rauch began work as a design engineer for Caterpillar Inc in Peoria and Aurora, IL until leaving for graduate school in 1988.  After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Rauch was a senior research engineer for Hewlett Packard in Boise, ID, before joining the Deere & Company Technical Center in Moline, IL in 1994.  At the Technical Center, Dr. Rauch developed hybrid test and analysis methods for off-road equipment.  In 1995 he joined the Construction and Forestry Division as Manager, Advanced Research and Development.  Since that time he has held various positions of increasing responsibility in the Division.

October 18, 2012

Civil and Environmental Engineering Seminar

Dr. James E. AshtonDr. James E. Ashton, is President of Ashton and Associates. After graduating as valedictorian from the UI, Dr. Ashton went on to earn advanced degrees at MIT and Harvard. Early in his career, he wrote three books and numerous technical articles that earned him an international reputation as an expert on composite material.

An engineer, author, scholar, and entrepreneur, Dr. Ashton epitomizes the American success story, in spite of a mid-career setback that challenged his professional future. He joined General Dynamics Corporation in 1967 as a Senior Engineer in technical and operations management. From 1975 to 1980, Dr. Ashton directed the General Dynamics team of 8000 personnel and several international manufacturing subcontractors that produced the F-16 fighter plane, which has been called by some the most successful weapons system this nation has ever seen. His career with General Dynamics was on the rise. After 15 years with the company, he had earned a reputation as a hands-on manager who could mobilize a complex work force to get things done. In 1982, however, Dr. Ashton was dismissed from his position as Vice President of Engineering for the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics when he refused to allow the waste and mismanagement he discovered in the production of the Trident submarine and 688-Class attack submarine to continue.

Applying his leadership, planning, and organizational skills in related industries, Dr. Ashton went on to serve as President of Space Services, Inc., of America, which introduced the first private launch vehicle; Vice President and General Manager of Rockwell International's Tulsa facility; President of Healthdyne, Inc.; Chairman of Lanson Industries; and Vice President and General Manager of the Downhole Sensors Division of Schlumberger Well Services, where he did pioneering work in the management of job system shops; Vice President and General Manager of the Naval Systems Division of FMC Corporation; CEO of Fiberite, Inc.; and Chairman and CEO of Precision Partners. Despite the price he paid in his own career, Dr. Ashton holds firm to his convictions that business must be conducted honestly and ethically and has carried that message around the world.

October 25, 2012

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Franz LeberlDr. Franz Leberl [b. 1945, IEEE Fellow, 1996] graduated from Vienna University of Technology [Dipl.-Ing., 1967, Dr. techn., 1972]. His career took him to the International Institute for Geo-Information and Earth Sciences [ITC] in the Netherlands [1969-1974], to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory [Pasadena, CA, 1974-1976], a professorship in Graz [Austria] first in photogrammetry [1976-1984], since 1992 in computer science. He was the CEO of the 1000-people Austrian Institute of Technology [Vienna, Austria, 1996-1998], started companies in the USA [Vexcel Corp., 1985] and in Austria [Vexcel Imaging GmbH, 1993], and exited from business by a sale to Microsoft in 2006, then collecting Microsoft employee-experience as a Director of the Virtual Earth business unit 2008. He also had the function of Dean of Computer Science in Graz [2008]. His publication record stands at ~ 330, his harvest of doctoral graduates is at 46. His private passions are skiing, now at 150 days per year, and jazz drumming ….more under http://www.leberl.info/

Abstract for Internet-inspired 3D Geodata:  The Vexcel-business Story with a Microsoft-exit”

This talk will address 3D imaging of the Earth, planets and the human habitat as my professional passion during all of my now 43-year professional life. It will explain my transition from a start in academia into the business world, a life between Europe and the USA, between academia and business, and between research and research management. The focus will be on my business experience and links into academia. Since 1985, I have started 2 businesses, one in Colorado, the other in Austria. Their markets and products differed, yet they were connected by their interest in Earth imaging, and their name was “Vexcel”. Both companies evolved into a leadership role in their respective niche markets. The US-Vexcel has been called the World’s leading company in radar signal processing. The Austrian Vexcel evolved into the leader in digital aerial mapping cameras with a 50% global market share. Both companies were experts in geo-data and very profitable. Since 2005 the Internet became “location-aware”. Search companies developed an appetite for knowledge in the geospatial domain. Google-Earth and Microsoft BING-Maps both resulted from acquiring geo-competent small businesses, in Microsoft’s case these were the US and Austrian Vexcel companies in 2006. This also represented an exit for me from the business world. I will explain the start-up process for a new high-tech business, the necessary ingredients of success, and how the Internet is the source for business opportunities. Of interest might be the transitions between academia and business, and the exit from business after 20 years. A by-product of the talk will be a review of the location-aware Internet, fully-automated 3D mapping of the human habitat, and the fun of innovation in an age where computing seems to have removed most constraints previously posed by the digital infrastructure.