GW Engineering Hall of Fame: ECE Members

hall of fame members at award ceremony

GW Engineering Hall of Fame: ECE Members

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is proud to introduce our alumni who are members of the GW Engineering Hall of Fame.  The Hall of Fame was established by the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) in 2006 to recognize and honor distinguished alumni, faculty, staff, and friends from across the school who have contributed to engineering, technology or management in a sustained and significant way during their careers. These men and women bring distinction to GW through their achievements and their contributions to their professions, the University, and society-at-large.

Meet the ECE Alumni Members of the Hall of Fame

Abdullah Almojel
dr. abdullah almojel
Dr. Abdullah Almojel is an engineer and has been an educator and a senior leader in the Saudi higher education system for more than 20 years. From 1997 to 2001, he served as an assistant and associate professor of computer engineering at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia, where he later became department chairman. In 2001, following his tenure as university professor, Dr. Almojel was appointed deputy minister for cultural relations in the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education. In 2009, he became a founding member of the executive leadership team to establish the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST). From 2009 to 2014, Dr. Almojel was instrumental in establishing new departments, leading initiatives, and forming strategies to strengthen KAUST’s national and international position, and he was chief strategist in seeking external philanthropic support. After extensive work in the academic and government sectors, Dr. Almojel entered the private sector and became the founding president of a social enterprise called Global Dimension for Education and Training. Dr. Almojel earned his bachelor of science degree in computer engineering from King Saud University in 1987, his master of science degree in computer science from University of Denver in 1991, and his doctor of science degree in computer engineering from GW in 1997.
Amina Al Rustamani
Amina Al Rustamani

Amina Al Rustamani received her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from GW in 1993, 1996, and 2001, respectively. Following her studies, Dr. Al Rustamani started her career in 2001 with Dubai's TECOM Investments. She later served as executive director of media at TECOM Investments, and her pioneering initiatives in the media sector brought her recognition at the federal level, when she was appointed as a board member of the National Media Council, the industry body that regulates the country's media sector. Dr. Al Rustamani is currently the chief executive officer of TECOM Business Parks, an umbrella organization for the nine free zone clusters of TECOM Investments. As chief executive officer, Dr. Al Rustamani is responsible for defining and executing the strategy of all the free zones to realize the Government of Dubai's objective of establishing a knowledge-based economy. She is leading this initiative in the information and communications technology, media, education, life sciences, and clean technology industries, as embodied in the free zones.

Anousheh Ansari
anousheh ansari

Ms. Anousheh Ansari is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Prodea Systems. As she launched her company, she also blasted off on September 18, 2006, for a nine-day expedition aboard the International Space Station and captured headlines around the world as the first female private space explorer. A successful serial entrepreneur and active proponent of world-changing technologies, she-along with her family-provided the title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million cash award for the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks. This feat was accomplished by legendary aerospace designer Burt Rutan in 2004. Prior to her Space ventures, Ms. Ansari served as co-founder, chief executive officer, and chairwoman for telecom technologies, inc., which later successfully merged with Sonus Networks. She has received multiple honors including the World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and many more. She is a member of the X Prize Foundation's Vision Circle and its Board of Trustees. Ms. Ansari received a bachelor's degree in electronics and computer engineering from George Mason University in 1988, a master's degree in electrical engineering from GW in 1992, and an honorary doctoral degree from the International Space University in 2006.

Nelson A. Carbonell
Nelson Carbonell

Mr. Nelson A. Carbonell is an entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience. In 1993, he founded Cysive to develop applications for companies wanting to put more of their operations on the Web. As president and chief executive officer, he grew the company from a basement start-up to a successful public company. Using the experience he gained in financing a business at Cysive, he decided to found Snowbird Capital in 2004 to provide mezzanine debt to middle market companies in North America. In 2010, he founded Nelson Carbonell and Associates to assist middle market companies with strategy, financing, operations, and technology. Mr. Carbonell is an active member of both the GW community and the broader community. He serves as the vice-chairman on the George Washington University Board of Trustees and has chaired several key committees, most notably for SEAS, the committee that led the full Board to approve the construction of the Science and Engineering Hall. Outside of GW, he serves on the Board of The Flint Hill School in Oakton, Virginia, and is a former chairman of the Washington-Baltimore Young President's Organization, as well as a former member of its international board. Mr. Carbonell earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from GW in 1985.

Gene Colabatistto
gene colabatistto

Mr. Gene Colabatistto has more than 25 years of experience in the global defense industry, and has held leadership positions in both the military and private sector. As president of defense and security at CAE, a global leader in immersive, integrated training systems, Mr. Colabatistto manages over 2,500 employees in 30 countries. In 2014, CAE was recognized by Canadian Defence Review as Canada’s number one defense company. Previously, he held senior management positions at SAIC, Space Imaging, SPOT Image, and Veridian. Mr. Colabatistto also served in the United States Marine Corps as representative for intelligence systems and satellite and airborne reconnaissance during Desert Storm. His career has been dedicated to the innovative application of space, airborne, and intelligence technologies to issues related to national security. He has been recognized by the Director of Central Intelligence, Director of the National Reconnaissance Office, Secretary of the Navy, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps for “Significant Intelligence Successes” and Meritorious Service. Mr. Colabatistto was recently recognized in January 2015 by GovCon Exec as one the Top 100 most influential executives in Washington. Mr. Colabatistto is a commercial pilot and has served as an Angel Flight and Homeland Security/First Responder pilot. He is a 1996 alumnus of GW with a Master of Science in electrical engineering. Prior to that, he received a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering and a Master of Science in systems management from University of Southern California.

Aicha Evans
aicha evans

Aicha Evans is the chief executive officer of Zoox, an autonomous mobility developer. Prior to joining Zoox in February 2019, Ms. Evans worked for Intel Corporation for 13 years. She most recently served as senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Intel, responsible for driving its long-term strategy to transform from a PC-centric company to a data-centric company. Before this, she was general manager of Intel’s Communication and Devices Group, where she oversaw a 7,000-person global organization and was responsible for its wireless business and engineering for multi-communications products and platforms, including Radio Frequency transceivers (RF), cellular LTE and 5G modems, Wi-Fi, Wi-Gig, GPS, and Bluetooth. Prior to Intel, she spent 10 years in various engineering management positions at Rockwell Semiconductors, Conexant, and Skyworks. She was appointed to the Anita Borg Institute Board of Trustees in 2016 and to the Supervisory Board of SAP in 2017. Ms. Evans holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the George Washington University.

Bahram Javidi
bahram javidi

Dr. Bahram Javidi is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor at University of Connecticut. His recent research activities include 3D visualization and recognition of objects in photon-starved environments; automated disease identification using biophotonics with low cost compact sensors; information security, encryption, and authentication using quantum imaging; nonplanar flexible 3D image sensing, and bio-inspired imaging. Dr. Javidi has been named Fellow of eight scientific societies, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Optical Society of America (OSA). Early in his career, the National Science Foundation named him a Presidential Young Investigator. Dr. Javidi has received numerous other awards for his research including the Alexander von Humboldt Prize, Germany's highest research award for senior scientists and scholars, in 2007, as well as the IEEE Donald G. Fink Best Paper Prize and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow Award in 2008. Most recently in 2015, he was awarded the European Physical Society’s Prize for Applied Aspects of Quantum Electronics and Optics. Dr. Javidi received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from GW in 1980, and a Master of Science in 1982 and a Doctor of Philosophy in 1986 from Pennsylvania State University, both in electrical engineering.

Ashok Kumar Jha
ashok jha

Mr. Ashok K. Jha began his career at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), where he supported several of NASA’s key missions, including the Cosmic Background Explorer and the Hubble Space Telescope. After working as a NASA civil servant, he joined Boeing, leading a range of programs, including NASA’s Space Station program. Building on the leadership expertise he developed at NASA and Boeing, Mr. Jha co-founded ADNET in 1991 to provide engineering and IT solutions to the NASA science community. As CEO of ADNET, he has led the company to an exceptional growth period, expanding its core functions to science, engineering, IT, and education and public outreach to a growing client base. Through Mr. Jha’s vision, ADNET today supports more than 40 NASA science missions at five NASA Centers nationwide. NASA GSFC has recognized ADNET’s achievements with consecutive Goddard Small Business Contractor of the Year Awards and two nominations for the George M. Low Award, the Agency’s highest recognition of quality. Mr. Jha received his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1986, his bachelor of science degree in communications in1990, and his master of science degree in electrical engineering in 1992, all from GW. He is a member of the SEAS National Advisory Council.

David Karlgaard
David Karlgaard

David Karlgaard's career as a technology entrepreneur exemplifies the success that can come from combining knowledge of engineering principles with business acumen. Dr. Karlgaard received his D.Sc. in electrical engineering and computer science from GW, and his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, and he translated this knowledge into business success. After working as an electrical engineer at various U.S. government research laboratories and later as vice president of Computer Sciences Corporation, Dr. Karlgaard and two partners co-founded PEC Solutions, a government information technology services company, in 1985. He served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of PEC until it was sold to Nortel in 2005. Under Dr. Karlgaard's leadership, PEC Solutions was recognized by Forbes Magazine as 15th in its "America's Best 200 Small Companies" issue (2001); by The Washington Post as 74th among the "Top 200 Companies" in the Washington, DC area; and by Business Week as 8th among the nation's "Best Small Companies" (2002). Karlgaard himself received KPMG International's Greater Washington High-Tech Entrepreneur Award in 2001, and in 2002 Ernst and Young recognized him and his partners with the Entrepreneur of the Year award in the government services category.

Pradman P. Kaul
pradman kaul

Mr. Pradman P. Kaul is president and chief executive officer of Hughes Communications, Inc., the world’s leading supplier of broadband satellite services and network solutions using interactive VSAT (very small aperture terminal) products.  He has been recognized for his professional achievements many times over the course of his career, most notably in 2004, when he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering, and in 2009, when he was inducted into the Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) Hall of Fame.  Most recently, he was honored by the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation with the 2012 Innovator Award and received the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award by COMSYS telecommunications consultancy company for his visionary leadership and contributions to the satellite industry.  Mr. Kaul received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1967 from GW, and a master of science degree in electrical engineering in 1968 from the University of California, Berkeley.

Laird H. Moffett
laird moffett

Dr. Laird H. Moffett is chief scientist at Envisioneering, a small business that provides mission support and technology development for U.S. national security.  In this role, he provides management consulting and technical expertise to the Electronic Warfare Branch and the Directed Energy Warfare Office at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center.  Dr. Moffett joined the Envisioneering team of engineers in 1999 after a 30-year career that included work at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C., and with Raytheon Systems in the fields of electronic warfare, signal processing, RF design, and modeling and simulation.  Dr. Moffett earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri at Rolla in 1967, a master of science degree in electrical engineering from Michigan State University in 1968, and a doctor of science degree in electrical engineering from GW in 1976.  

Arnold C. Meltzer
arnold meltzer

Professor Arnold C. Meltzer has been affiliated with GW since 1954, when he began his undergraduate study in engineering. Professor Meltzer received his bachelor's degree in machine computing in 1958, and in 1960 he became an instructor at SEAS. He followed this with a master's degree in electrical engineering in 1961, and joined the professorial ranks at GW in 1962. In 1967, he completed his doctoral degree in electrical engineering, and he became a full professor in 1975. He served as the chairman of two departments: the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, and later as the interim chairman of the Computer Science Department, developing the by-laws, budget, and hiring criteria for the then-new department. He, more than anyone, is responsible for originating the computer science and computer engineering programs at SEAS. Professor Meltzer was also active outside GW, serving as a Ford Foundation Fellow and a National Science Foundation Fellow, and providing technical consulting work for various federal agencies. In 2005, after 45 years of teaching at GW, he retired as professor emeritus of engineering and applied science.

Asghar Mostafa
asghar mostafa

Mr. Asghar D. Mostafa has spent more than 25 years creating and building technology companies. After co-founding his first company, ICOM, and later working as vice president of product development for the telecommunications division of Data General, Mr. Mostafa founded ISDN Systems Corporation (ISC) in 1991. He served as president and chief executive officer of ISC until 1995, when U.S. Robotics/3Com acquired the company. In 1997, he founded Advanced Switching Communications, Inc., which completed its initial public stock offering in 2000 and successfully raised close to $200 million in cash through private investment and initial public offering. In 2003, Mr. Mostafa founded Vinci Systems and served as its president and chief executive officer. The company was purchased after two years by Tellabs, Inc., and, to date, more than four million of its interoperable broadband Optical Network Terminals have been deployed to Verizon for its FiOS network. In April 2008, he founded Entourage Systems, Inc., and then followed three years later, in April 2011, with his newest venture, Rubriq Corporation. Mr. Mostafa received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1981 and a master's degree in computer science in 1982, both from GW. He is a long-standing member of the IEEE and ACM and has served on the board of directors of several networking and communications companies.

Raymond Pickholtz
raymond pickholtz

Raymond Pickholtz is an emeritus professor of electrical engineering at GW. He received his bachelor of science and master of science degrees in electrical engineering from the City College of New York in 1954 and 1958, respectively, and his doctoral degree in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now NYU-Poly) in 1966. Following that, he worked as a researcher at RCA Laboratories, ITT Laboratories, and IBM Research and as a faculty member of the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and of Brooklyn College. In 1972, he joined the SEAS faculty, and over the course of his career earned a strong reputation for his research, the fruits of which include six U.S. patents and the several hundred technical papers that he authored or co-authored. In addition to this, he is also known for the great care that he showed as a teacher and mentor to his many appreciative students. At SEAS, Professor Pickholtz led the development of the telecommunications curriculum; conducted research in data communications, computer communications networking, and secure communications; supervised many doctoral dissertations ; and served as the chairman of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 1978-1980. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), from which he received the IEEE Centennial Medal in 1984 and the IEEE Millennium Medal in 2000.

Rodolfo R. Rodriguez
rodolfo rodriguez

Mr. Rodolfo (Rudy) Rodriguez is the founder and chief scientific officer of Advanced Animal Diagnostics, and has 50 years of experience in bioengineering. Previously, he was vice president of R&D for Becton Dickinson Primary Care Diagnostics, and served prior to that, in senior R&D positions at Beckman Coulter and Baxter. Mr. Rodriguez has a reputation as an R&D pioneer and was involved in the development of several products that created entirely new industry segments. Among them are the first automated blood cell separator (Baxter/Fenwal CS-3000), the first random-access chemistry analyzer (Coulter DACOS) and the famed BD QBC hematology system. Rudy subsequently adapted the QBC technology for companion animals, into the VetAutoread marketed by Idexx. Mr. Rodriguez holds 29 US patents, and was granted patents in each of the last five decades. He is an Adjunct Professor at NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, a four-time winner of the R&D 100 Award for one of the 100 most significant new technical products of the year, and was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering for “inventions to analyze blood and separate blood components that enable widespread clinical therapies”. Mr. Rodriguez earned a Bachelor of Science in 1963 from the University of Miami and a Master of Science in 1969 from GW, both in electrical engineering.

Christopher J. Scolese
christopher scolese

Mr. Christopher J. Scolese is the director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, a role he assumed in March 2012. He previously served at NASA as associate administrator, one of the agency’s highestranking civil servant positions, at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. There Mr. Scolese was responsible for the oversight and integration of NASA’s programmatic and technical efforts to ensure the successful accomplishment of the agency’s overall mission. From January 2009 until July 2009, Mr. Scolese served as NASA’s acting administrator where he was responsible for leading the development, design, and implementation of the nation’s civil space program. Previously, Mr. Scolese served as NASA’s Chief Engineer, Deputy Director of the Goddard Space Flight Center, Deputy Associate Administrator in the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters, Earth Orbiting Satellite (EOS) Program Manager, and the Deputy Director of Flight Programs and Projects for Earth Science at Goddard. He was selected by Admiral Hyman Rickover to serve at Naval Reactors, where he was associated with the development of instrumentation, instrument systems, and multi-processor systems for the U.S. Navy and the Department of Energy while working for Naval Sea Systems Command. Mr. Scolese is the recipient of several honors, including the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, the NASA Distinguished Leadership Medal, Goddard Outstanding Leadership, two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) National Capital Section Young Engineer/Scientist of the Year Award. He is a Fellow of the AIAA and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Mr. Scolese received his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from The State University of New York in 1978 and his Master of Science in System Science, Networks and Controls in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at GW in 1982. He also received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Buffalo in 2015.

Richard Spires
richard spires

Richard Spires is the chief executive officer of Learning Tree International, a leading provider of IT workforce development and training solutions. Prior to leading Learning Tree, he was appointed as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s chief information officer (CIO) and served in the role from 2009 to 2013. He also served as the vice-chairman of the Federal Government CIO Council and the co-chairman of the Committee for National Security Systems. Mr. Spires held a number of positions at the Internal Revenue Service from 2004 through 2008, serving first as the CIO and then as the deputy commissioner for operations support. He also recently held the position of chairman of ACT-IAC, the leading non-profit organization dedicated to improving the effectiveness of government through the use of information technology. Mr. Spires received bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the George Washington University.

Clifford B. Stearns
clifford stearns

Clifford Stearns represents the Sixth District of Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives. After graduating from GW in 1963 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, Congressman Stearns served four years in the U.S. Air Force as an aerospace engineer in satellite reconnaissance during the Vietnam War. Returning from Vietnam, he worked in the private sector from 1967-1972, and then started a successful motel/restaurant business in Florida. Congressman Stearns was first elected to the House in 1988 and since then has held leadership positions or served on a number of Congressional committees. He is currently the Republican Leader on the Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He is also a member of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the Energy and Commerce Committee, and a member of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus. Throughout his tenure, he has served on the Veterans Affairs Committee, where he is currently the Deputy Republican Leader. Congressman Stearns has received a host of awards throughout his career, covering military, economic, Veterans, national security, health, senior citizens, and family issues.

L. William Varner, III
l. william varner, III

Mr. L. William Varner III is the president of the Mission, Cyber & Technology Solutions Group (MCTS) of ManTech International Corporation, a 2,700-person group of professionals supporting the intelligence and defense communities. Mr. Varner joined ManTech in 2009, after a long career with Northrop Grumman TASC. While at TASC, he was a core member of the senior executive team that grew the company to approximately $2 billion in annual revenues. As vice president at TASC, he led more than 1,000 employees in the Intelligence Operating Unit in delivering leading-edge and innovative technical solutions and operations support to the U.S. defense and intelligence communities. Mr. Varner earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from GW in 1973. He earned a master's degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1975 and an MBA from Virginia Polytechnic University in 1982. He also holds advanced studies certificates from Harvard University, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, and the University of Virginia's Darden School. Mr. Varner is a member of the Board of Directors of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance and the Science and Engineering Board of the National Defense Industrial Association. He is also a member of the University of Maryland Cyber Think Tank.

Vernon W. Yates
vernon yates

Vernon Yates earned his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from The George Washington University. During his 38-year career, he was involved in early stage business activities in the radio, computer, telecom and software industries. He worked for Collins Radio and was intimately involved with the communications systems for the Gemini, Apollo, Lunar Lander, and Manned Orbiting Lab programs, as well as the Manned Space Flight Network built by NASA. Later, he joined NCR, where he was appointed vice president and general manger of the Personal Computer Division. After retiring from NCR, he was appointed CEO of a venture capital-backed telecommunications company. Mr. Yates subsequently started an angel investment group in San Diego that is now part of the Tech Coast Angels, the largest angel investment group in the United States.

Charles K. Watt
charles watt

Charles Watt is the founder and chairman of Scientific Research Corporation, a member of the faculty at Clemson University, and an active member of the board and consultant for several advanced technology private and public organizations. He has made a career of providing leadership and advice to private industry, government, and academic institutions, and his present responsibilities include the full spectrum of emerging technology research, as well as applied research and technical functions that support numerous commercial and defense programs. Over the course of his career, he has also served as a faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and as an executive at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the U.S. Navy Department, and private industry. Dr. Watt received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1959 from Clemson University, and his master's and doctoral degrees from GW in 1973 and 1986, respectively. He is also a graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. His career has been distinguished by numerous honors and commendations, most notably the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Distinguished Service Award.

Byung K. Yi
Byung Yi

Byung Yi, who has more than thirty years of experience in research and development of communications and space systems, started his career in 1976 as a staff engineer and moved steadily up the ladder to technical director at Fairchild Space Company, chief engineer at Orbital Sciences Corporation, and now the senior vice president of LG Electronics and president of LG Mobile Research Center. In his current position, Dr. Yi is responsible for conducting the research relevant to future wireless mobile devices and for developing the mobile terminal models for U.S. and North American operators. Complementing his management skills, Dr. Yi has an impressive record of research and innovation, highlighted by the eight U.S. patents and five international patents he holds. Dr. Yi also has an extensive list of technical publications to his name and has served on the board of directors or steering committees of a number of professional organizations, including the Telecommunication Industry Association, the Center for Wireless Communications, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 Technical Specification Group, and a number of others. He received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Yon Sei University in 1973, his master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1980, and his doctoral degree in electrical engineering from GW in 1999.

Ya-Qin Zhang
ya-qin zhang

Dr. Ya-Qin Zhang currently serves as the president of Baidu Corporation, a leading Internet company based in Beijing, China, with over 40,000 employees. Dr. Zhang joined Baidu from Microsoft, where he most recently served as corporate vice president and chairman of its Asia R&D Group, leading Microsoft’s overall research and development efforts in Asia-Pacific.  During his 15-year tenure at Microsoft, he held various other key positions, including the managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, chairman of Microsoft China, and corporate vice president of Mobile and Embedded Products Division.  In 1997, Dr. Zhang—then in his early 30s— became the yougest member ever inducted as an IEEE Fellow.  He has published more than 500 papers in leading international conferences and journals, and has been granted more than 60 U.S. patents in digital video, Internet, multimedia, wireless, and satellite communications.  Dr. Zhang received bachelor of science and master of science degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1983 and 1985, respectively, and a doctor of science degree in electrical engineering from GW in 1989.