UIC engineering dean might bring new era
November 8, 2004
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
A new era might be
dawning in engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
With Prith Banerjee's recent arrival as dean of the College of
Engineering, UIC could become a world class player.
off to a good start. He aims to beef up enrollment. He's creating
a strategic plan to stimulate cross-disciplinary collaboration
that could garner prestigious National Science Foundation grants.
He's raising money, cultivating corporations, and Thursday he
launches a series of Tech Talks where he'll outline his vision.
"Exceptional engineering in the heart of Chicago." He
believes the future of engineering lies in conducting research
with strong industry ties, and considers an urban location an
talk, he implements. While dean of engineering at Northwestern,
he conceived an idea to automate computer-chip design. He formed
AccelChip Inc., and raised $2.3 million in financing before adding
another $6 million in venture capital. The company employs 25,
and claims annual revenue of $800,000.
stepped down from AccelChip to launch a new venture called Binachip.
The key technical people are two of Banerjee's former students,
David Zaretsky and Gaurav Mittal. If the company IPOs, it'll reap
big rewards for studying under Dean Banerjee. Going forward, Banerjee
sees new company creation as a definite opportunity at UIC.
annual undergraduate fees are about $16,000 for Illinois residents,
Banerjee's program is an academic bargain. Time will tell if he
can spin his magic. Our city will be a beneficiary if he succeeds.
Chief Operating Officer Bob Herbold visits Thursday to speak at
Steve Lundin's BIGfrontier event at the Merchandise Mart. Herbold's
flogging a hot new book, The Fiefdom Syndrome.
ways to demolish business cliques, and he sees fiefdoms as responsible
for colossal failures at Enron, Arthur Andersen and WorldCom.
become fixated on their own activities," Herbold says. "They
get very introspective. They believe things they do are quite
good. Their assessment is more positive. They try to become independent.
try to control information about their performance," Herbold
adds. "They are not unethical. They are trying to put their
best foot forward." That's the beginning of the problem.
observations are worth hearing. For a technologist, he's seen
a lot. He earned a Ph.D. in computer science at Case Western.
He worked in R&D at P&G, moving up to run data centers.
He did a one-year rotation in P&G's vaunted marketing department
intended to break down silos in the organization. It turned into
a nine-year stint. He was named head of market research, later
CIO and then global head of marketing.
In 1994, Herbold
met Bill Gates, who recruited him as Microsoft's chief operating
officer. "My job was to take the business issues off Bill's
desk," Herbold says. Steve Ballmer ran sales. Gates focused
on products. "My job was to handle the internal operations
and the business issues," Herbold says. The rest of Microsoft
reported to him.
more corporate battle scars than most CEOs. He's definitely worth
hearing. What's most amazing is he started out as a tech geek.
come in many forms. Take Jeff Soble, 45, a cardiologist and assistant
professor at Rush Medical Center. Soble sees patients, and teaches
medical students. In his spare time, he's a successful entrepreneur.
Soble is founder
of Cyberpulse, a local software company that provides information
management tools for cardiologists. His software is found inside
medical systems manufactured by GE, Siemens, IDX and Camtronics,
top players in the field. His programs help assure doctors have
the right information at the right time to care for patients.
the business in 1995, teaming with Jim Roberge, an IIT researcher.
They were interested in computerizing cardiology reports, and
connected with Marquette Medical Systems in Milwaukee, now part
only begun to scratch the surface of how information technology
can empower doctors to serve patients in a complex medical environment,"
says Soble, whose company is profitable. "You must have crucial
information about the patient at your fingertips. That's where
hospitals are evolving, and that's what Cyberpulse empowers,"
Krauss is a Chicago-based tech writer and consultant.