2011 ENE Outstanding Alumni Awards
Richard H. Le Sesne
BSE IDE, NUCLEAR ENGINEERING, 1975
Co-Founder and Chief Strategy and Technology Officer ActSense Corporation
RICH LE SESNE GREW UP IN PUERTO RICO AND the U.S. Virgin Islands, making his first visit to the States—a trip to check out Purdue University—on the day Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. Originally interested in chemistry, then electrical engineering, Le Sesne resisted academic plans of study that prescribed virtually every course selection. A conversation with Prof. Dick Grace, head of Interdisciplinary Engineering, revealed IDE’s more flexible nuclear engineering option, and Le Sesne’s academic course was set as a future “Renaissance Engineer.”
Adding minors in computer science, economics, history, and foreign languages (Spanish, French, and a bit of Russian), Le Sesne also served as treasurer, then secretary, and finally president of Purdue’s chapter of the American Nuclear Society. In addition, he worked as a co-op student at IBM, developing and supporting submarine detection software for the U.S. Navy.
After graduating from Purdue, Le Sesne embarked on what would become a 35-year career in software engineering, project management, telecommunications engineering, consulting services, and microelectronics development with IBM. He designed and built solutions ranging from hotel accounting systems to inventory tracking of nuclear reactor fuel rods to flight dynamics systems for the U.S. shuttle Space Transportation System. Le Sesne has been granted four U.S. patents and published an additional four patent applications in such diverse areas as telecommunications, radio sensors, communications cabling, and retail store operations.
Having created a number of careers for himself within the corporation, Le Sesne served as executive IT architect and program manager for IBM in 2006-07, helping to design and build Washington DC’s new Unified Communications Center, which provides 911, 311, and other critical services to District residents. He concluded his Big Blue years as senior sales leader for server and storage services for state and local governments.
In 2008, Le Sesne co-founded ActSense Corporation, which develops software for real-time sensor and actuator applications for embedded systems and smart phones. In 2009 ActSense also led the design and building of two 911 facilities on the U.S. Virgin Islands—the most satisfying job that he’s ever done, he recalls, and one that fulfilled a life’s goal of making a difference for the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.