By Sophie Vandebroek, chief technology officer and president of the Xerox Innovation Group
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate National Engineering Week than by receiving the fantastic news that our CEO, Ursula Burns, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. With just 2,250 U.S. elected members since it was founded in 1964, the Academy is highly selective.
Ursula is cited for her “technical and business leadership of the renaissance of a global services and technology company.” It is so good to see the NAE recognize her passion to lead Xerox’s transformation leveraging our strong innovation culture.
The NAE elects people who made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education,” and who “pioneer new and developing fields of technology, or are making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering.” It is a great way to describe what we, Xerox engineers and researchers, do every day.
Let me give you a few examples:
We are mining hospital records to detect hospital-acquired infections early on, and to help hospitals run efficient and effective operations. We are applying mobile imaging to monitor vitals and diagnose diseases. We are helping companies anticipate consumer satisfaction and buying behavior. We are creating greener cities by mining traffic data and adjusting mass transit schedules or parking pricing to minimize unnecessary driving. We are enabling justice faster by preventing fraud and by enabling lawyers to mine huge amounts of documents in a touch less way.
We’re proud of our strong tradition of innovation and our on-going commitment to innovation.
Another interesting fact is that the NAE has inducted amazing Xerox women to its ranks before. Esther Conwell, a Fellow at our Xerox Research Center in Webster, NY from 1972-1998, and Lynn Conway, a Research Fellow at the Palo Alto Research Center from 1973-1983 were also awarded this distinction. We do have our share of Xerox male alumni elected to the Academy, including John Dessauer, an early leader of Xerox R&D and former CEO Paul Allaire, as well as a several prominent Xerox researchers.
Please join me in congratulating Ursula and in celebrating National Engineering Week.
While Sophie leads the Xerox research labs across the globe, she remains an engineer at heart. She has a passion for encouraging young people, especially girls and minorities, to pursue careers in science and engineering.