Luke F. Lester, IEEE & SPIE Fellow, received the B.S. in Engineering Physics in 1984 and the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1992, both from Cornell University. He is a Professor and Head of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Virginia Tech.
Prior to joining VT, he was a professor of ECE at the University of New Mexico (UNM) from 1994 to 2013, and most recently the Interim Department Chair and the Endowed Chair Professor in Microelectronics there.
Before 1994, Dr. Lester worked as an engineer for the General Electric (Martin Marietta) Electronics Laboratory in Syracuse, New York for 6 years where he worked on transistors for mm-wave applications. There, in 1986, he co-invented the first Pseudomorphic HEMT, a device that was later highlighted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest transistor.
By 1991 as a Ph.D. student in Prof. Lester Eastman’s group at Cornell, he researched and developed the first strained quantum well lasers with mm-wave bandwidths. These lasers are now the industry standard for optical transmitters in data and telecommunications. In all, Dr. Lester has 28 years experience in III-V semiconductor devices and advanced fabrication techniques.
In 2001, he was a co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Zia Laser, Inc., a startup company using quantum dot laser technology to develop products for communications and computer/microprocessor applications. The company was later acquired by Innolume, GmbH.
He is an active organizer and participant in the IEEE Photonics Society’s conferences, workshops, and journals. He was a US Air Force Summer Faculty Fellow in 2006 and 2007.
Dr. Lester’s other awards and honors include: a 1986 IEE Electronics Letters Premium Award for the first transistor amplifier at 94 GHz; the 1994 Martin Marietta Manager’s Award; the Best Paper Award at SPIE’s Photonics West 2000 for reporting a quantum dot laser with the lowest semiconductor laser threshold; and the 2012 Harold E. Edgerton Award of the SPIE for his pioneering work on ultrafast quantum dot mode-locked lasers. He has published at least 125 journal articles and over 240 conference papers.
Toby Meadows grew up in Jewell Ridge, Virginia, a small coal mining camp nestled in the prestigious Clinch Valley Mountain range of Southwest Virginia. His father and grandfather worked in the coal mines for the majority of their life. This is the place where he developed a strong work ethic, a curiosity for all things and an appreciation for treating others with dignity and respect – core values that have been especially critical to his engineering career and leadership development.
He is a first-generation college graduate receiving a B.S in Aerospace Engineering in 1989 from Virginia Tech. He is a Professor of Practice for the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Virginia Tech. Other achievements include Level III certification in System Engineering and a Graduate of Naval Air System Command (NAVAIR) sponsored Executive Leadership Program.
He has over twenty-nine years of leadership and system engineering experience with NAVAIR. He is adept in system engineering design processes, acquisition, and leading multi-discipline engineer and logistics teams to successfully meet NAVAIR aircraft modification, acquisition, and sustainment goals. He has worked with engineering professionals and program managers across the aviation industry to develop creative design solutions and strategies to meet the Department of the Navy’s aircraft modification cost, schedule, and performance objectives.
He plans on retiring from NAVAIR in the summer of 2019 to continue inspiring, mentoring and preparing future generations of Virginia Tech graduates for leadership. He lives in Emerald Isle, NC where he enjoys spending time with family and outdoor activities like surfing, fishing, and hiking.
J. Scot Ransbottom, a first-generation college student, received the B.S.E.E. in Electrical Engineering in 1988 from Ohio University; the M.S. in Computer Science from Duke University in 1997, and the Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2004. He is serving in a collegiate faculty role focused on challenging and nurturing our next generation of engineers to apply their knowledge of math, science, and the human condition to solve meaningful problems and create new capabilities to the benefit of society and humanity.
Throughout more than 27 years of military service, Colonel Ransbottom, USA, Retired, served in numerous operational and leadership roles. He managed the programming and prioritization of over $250M annually in Army communications infrastructure projects throughout Southwest Asia, a 28 nation region which included two designated combat theaters. He coordinated a major communications system redesign that enhanced service delivery while yielding over $17M in direct cost savings. Scot served more than 10 years on the staff and faculty at the U.S. Military Academy where his roles included Acting Deputy Department Head and as the Director of Policy, Strategic Planning, and Assessment for the institution. He also served in several other teaching and administrative roles.
Here at Virginia Tech, before joining ECE, Dr. Ransbottom served in the role of Deputy Chief Information Officer and IT Chief of Staff where he was responsible for helping to lead in the planning, delivery, and enhancement of IT for all Virginia Tech centralized services. He also previously served as the Deputy IT Security Officer where he was responsible for operational cybersecurity at Virginia Tech.
Scot is a senior member of the IEEE and a member of the ACM. As a member and former faculty advisor for both Eta Kappa Nu, Electrical Engineering; and Upsilon Pi Epsilon, Computer Science, Honorary Societies, he is committed to the professional and ethical development of our next generation of engineering leaders. He has volunteered his service and leadership in the Honor Flight Program, First Robotics, First Tech Challenge, First Lego, Science Fairs at the state, region, and county levels, as well as the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of America. Scot is committed to facilitating the development of engineers prepared to thrive in diverse, interdisciplinary, and multicultural teams solving real-world problems.
Mr. Schulz graduated from Grove City College with a BSEE in 1982. In 1984 he graduated from Virginia Tech with an MSEE studying Control Theory.
Mr. Schulz has more than 33 years industry technical and leadership experience with Lockheed Martin Corporation and recently served as Chair of the Advisory Board for the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech (2016-2018).
Significant Accomplishments Include five US Patents (latest one awarded August 21, 2012) and two Lockheed Martin Evening of Stars Awards (2007 and 2010).
Special Leadership roles in Lockheed Martin include Senior Manager of the Lockheed Martin RFIC Design Center, Corporate Advanced Technical Leadership Program (ATLP) and Engineering Leadership Development Program (ELDP) Manager for Lockheed Martin. Also created a nearly 300-person organization spanning ten locations in nine states integrating a portion of Lockheed Martin’s technical leadership development. Mr. Schulz has also served as the Hardware Manager for the Manassas, VA facility and began technical management as the Analog Circuits Design Manager in Manassas, VA.
Special Technical roles include Globalstar Electronics Design. This work was patented and resulted in over 2000 devices being launched into orbit as part of the Globalstar constellation. Also led the RF, ADC, and DAC work on the ACeS Channelizer payload enabling satellite phone coverage for nearly 1/3 of the world’s population.
Specialties: Analog Design, RF, Power Electronics, Space Electronics, Management, Leadership Training, Recruiting