Skip to main content

​2011 Alumni Achievement Awards

S. Massoud Amin

S. Massoud Amin
Alumni Achievement Award

At the University of Minnesota, S. Massoud Amin is the Honeywell/H.W. Sweatt Chair in Technological Leadership, director of the Technological Leadership Institute (TLI), and a professor of electrical and computer engineering. At TLI, he leads a team of five endowed chairs and 47 senior faculty members and industry executives, who develop local and global leaders for technology enterprises. His teaching and research is focused on complex dynamical systems, smart grids, pivotal and emerging technologies, S&T policy, and critical infrastructure security.

Before joining the University in 2003, Dr. Amin held positions including head of mathematics and information sciences (1998-2003) at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in Palo Alto, California. Following the events of September 11, 2001, he directed all Infrastructure Security R&D, Grid Operations/Planning, and Energy Markets at EPRI. As a pioneer in smart grids and self-healing infrastructures, Dr. Amin is considered the "father of the smart grid."

Dr. Amin worked at Washington University for 12 years as a senior fellow/lecturer (1985-1989), assistant professor (1990-1997), and associate professor (1997-1998) of Systems Science & Mathematics. At Washington University, he was one of the main contributors to several projects with United States Air Force, NASA-Ames, Rockwell International, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, MEMC, ESCO, Systems & Electronics Inc., and United Van Lines.

In 2002, he received the 2002 President's Award for the Infrastructure Security Initiative at Electric Power Research Institute, and twice received the Chauncey Award, the Institute's highest honor.

Dr. Amin is the author or co-author of over 190 peer reviewed papers, the editor of seven collections of manuscripts, and serves on the editorial boards of six international journals. After graduating cum laude from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1982 with a degree in electrical engineering, he furthered his education earning a master of science in electrical & computer engineering in 1985. He earned master and doctor of science degrees in systems science & mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis in 1986 and 1990.


Sanjai Kohli

Sanjai Kohli
Alumni Achievement Award

Sanjai Kohli is recognized worldwide as the architect of mass market GPS, and has been on the cutting edge of developing GPS technology that is now used commercially in cars, and mobile phones. In April 2010, he was named "Inventor of the Year" by the European Union for his singular contribution that lead to the success and mass popularity of GPS as we know it today. The award placed Mr. Kohli in the hall of distinguished winners whose ideas and innovations have made a tremendous impact on shaping the larger modern world.

As an entrepreneur, Mr. Kohli founded SiRF, capturing more than 70% of the GPS semiconductor and software market. He also founded and successfully ran WirelessHome (data communication) and TrueSpan (mobile video). He is working on his next company, which authenticates mobile transactions and ePayments.

Mr. Kohli graduated from Washington University in 1981 with a master's degree in systems science, and a bachelor's degree in engineering from the Indian Institute Technology, Bombay. He has 28 patents and several published papers.

Mr. Kohli and his wife, Sonia Gaur, live in Manhattan Beach, California. He has a son, Aditya, and a daughter, Ria.


Levin_135x193px.jpgMark Levin
Alumni Achievement Award

Mark Levin is an industry visionary with over 25 years of experience building and operating leading biotech companies. Mark co-founded Third Rock Ventures in 2007 and focuses on the formation, development and business strategy of our portfolio companies as well as actively identifying and evaluating new investments. He also assumes active leadership roles in Third Rock Ventures’ portfolio companies, functioning as CEO through the first 12-18 months post launch.


Mark was co-Founder of Mayfield Fund's life sciences effort where he was also the founding CEO of Turalik, Cell Genesys/Abgenix, Focal, Stem Cells and Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Mark served as CEO of Millennium Pharmaceuticals for 12 years. Earlier in his career, Mark was a scientist at Lilly and Genentech.

He earned bachelor and master of science degrees in chemical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 1973 and 1974. He is a member of the Washington University in St. Louis School of Engineering National Council, and serves of the boards of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Constellation Pharmaceuticals and DC Devices. In 2002, he received the Washington University Founders Day Distinguished Alumni Award.


Frederick (Rick) J. Oertli

Frederick (Rick) J. Oertli
Alumni Achievement Award

As chief executive officer (CEO) of Guarantee Electric Co., Rick Oertli seeks to formulate and deploy creative corporate strategies that enable Guarantee to most efficiently and proficiently deliver service to its nationwide clientele.

Mr. Oertli joined Guarantee in 1985 as a project manager after a brief stint at Southwestern Bell Corporation (now AT&T). In 1988, he formed a Guarantee subsidiary, Sōnacom, purchasing the communications and systems entity from Guarantee in 1989. He was Sōnacom president until returning to Guarantee as CEO and a member of the board of directors in 2001.

Serving in a number of civic leadership positions, Mr. Oertli is as a board member for the Federated Electrical Contractors (an international electrical contractor consortium founded in 1962). Locally in St. Louis, he serves on boards of the Regional Business Council, Boy Scouts of America, Young Presidents' Organization, National Council for the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University, Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation, Parkside Financial Bank & Trust, and Construction Leadership Institute Advisory Board.

He also is a past board member of: the Center for Emerging Technologies, Junior Achievement of Mississippi Valley, Inc., and First National Bank of St. Louis.

Mr. Oertli earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Washington University and his master's of business administration degree from the John M. Olin School of Business.


Matthew Ettus

Matthew Ettus
Young Alumni Award

Matt Ettus, founder and president of Ettus Research LLC, attended Washington University in St. Louis as a Langsdorf scholar where he earned dual bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering and computer science in 1996. Subsequently, he received a master's degree in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1997. Mr. Ettus is a major contributor to the GNU Radio project, a free framework for Software Radio, and is the creator of the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP).

His company, Ettus Research, is based in Mountain View, California and sells a line of Software Defined Radio systems called the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) family. The original USRP1 has been for sale since January of 2005, and the newer USRP2 was released in 2008. In addition, they produce numerous RF modules which allow the USRP1 and USRP2 to be used for a wide variety of communication systems. The USRP family of products is in use in over 70 countries worldwide. Customers have included over 300 universities, dozens of research labs, nearly every branch of the US government and military, and hundreds of companies, large and small.

Before creating his own company, Mr. Ettus worked on microprocessors for Sun Microsystems, GPS systems for Integrinautics Corporation, and Bluetooth ASICs for Zeevo Inc.


Jerome R. Cox, Jr.

Jerome R. Cox, Jr.
Dean's Award

Jerome R. Cox, Jr. studied electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned bachelor's, master's, and doctor of science degrees in 1947, 1949, and 1954 respectively. The next year, he joined both Central Institute for the Deaf and the Washington University in St. Louis Department of Electrical Engineering faculty.

From 1964-1975, Dr. Cox directed the Biomedical Computer Laboratory and from 1975-1991, he served as Chair of the Department of Computer Science. After leading the Applied Research Laboratory from 1991-1995, Dr. Cox became Vice President of Growth Networks, a company founded with two colleagues to produce an advanced networking chip set.

Since March 1997, Dr. Cox has been Senior Professor of Computer Science & Engineering, and in 2007 he started a new company, Blendics. Blended Integrated Circuit Systems (BLENDICS) provides System-on-Chip (SoC) design tools and services to companies that wish to develop complex, proprietary, low-power integrated circuits.

Throughout his professional career, Dr. Cox has worked in acoustics, statistical communication theory, computer design, biomedical computing, imaging, database design, electronic radiology, networking, and recently with Blendics in integrated-circuit design tools.

He has published over 100 scientific papers and book chapters and holds eight patents. The integrating theme of Dr. Cox's research has been applications of advanced technology to practical problems in biomedicine and digital electronics.