The College of Engineering has been committed to providing students with the broadest educational experience possible. For the past three years, the department shifted its focus to bringing in guest lecturers who are leaders and innovators in the engineering field.
The Ganpat and Manjur Patel Distinguished Lecture Series was started to provide students, staff and faculty with valuable insight into what it takes to be successful. For faculty, it can be a way to learn new material to teach in the classroom.
Cordelia Ontiveros, the interim dean for the College of Engineering, hopes that inviting guest speakers will provide those who attend with valuable and educational material.
“We are committed to a comprehensive approach to engineering education,” said Ontiveros. “We have invited thoughtful leaders to provide the campus community opportunities to learn.”
Kevin Patrick Grundy was invited by the College of Engineering to make a presentation, titled “Ingredients and Practices of Innovation.” Grundy is a distinguished CPP alumnus from the College of Engineering. He graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. He then obtained his master’s degree in 1982.
His list of accomplishments is lengthy, but for Grundy, it all started when he turned down a job from Steve Jobs. Eventually, he accepted and became a part of the founding team for the Next Computer, which was later used to invent the World Wide Web.
“Kevin has gone on to achieve exceptional accomplishments throughout his career,” said Ontiveros.
He has been involved with many companies developing new technologies. DirecTV, Intel and Motorola have bought some of Grundy’s technologies. Companies have paid up to $1 billion for these technologies.
Currently, Grundy is the chief operating officer of Sarcos Corporation. This company specializes in exoskeleton robots and has been featured in movies like “Iron Man.”
For Grundy, it was important that he gave an actual lecture. He didn’t want this event to be just a “marketing presentation.” He started off by explaining that teaching and passing on what he has learned throughout his career has been one of the most rewarding experiences.
“One of the major roles I’ve done in my life is to mentor and teach. There’s nothing finer for me than to impart or transfer what I’ve learned to people that would listen,” said Grundy.
He explained that one of the things he learned in high school was that engineering is not all about gadgets and wires. Though Grundy feels like he was born to be an engineer, he acknowledged that it is not the most important thing. For Grundy, the key to success in many ways is having an extensive vocabulary.
Innovation is getting your ideas through to other people, according to Grundy. He expressed that his confidence with words allowed him to stand on that stage and deliver his presentation. Technical abilities are not the only key to success.
“There was a transformation in my life that was so complete, and what happened was that I found the larger my vocabulary, the easier it was for me to explain things to other people,” said Grundy. “So with innovation, what I found is if you brainstorm and quickly get to common ideas, you can transfer information rapidly.”
Grundy views innovation as curiosity. He explained that in order to be innovators, individuals have to be curious every day.
As an engineer, it’s important to be in learning mode. Not understanding a concept right away is not a problem, according to Grundy. In addition, he emphasized the importance of perseverance and not being afraid to fail.
Though engineers have a preconceived notion that failure is not an option, Grundy believes that in order to innovate, you have to “personally fail.” Take a risk and invent something new, no matter the outcome. These are only a few of the helpful tips that he gave during his lecture.
Grundy also explained that it is important to learn formulas from different disciplines. This helps people understand the relationships between different engineering concepts.
Alex Chavez, a third-year mechanical engineering student, attended the lecture. Chavez was very pleased with the fact that they invited a former CPP student who has been very successful to be a guest speaker.
“I think it’s great that the department brings in guests who have become very successful engineers,” said Chavez. “It gets us motivated to work hard and hopefully one day have a career as successful as people like Kevin Grundy.”
Guadalupe Pinedo / The Poly Post
Kevin Patrick Grundy served as a guest speaker in the engineering lecture series