Terry J. Yake

For his record of achievement in technology and management, the Schools of Engineering are proud to present the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award to Terry J. Yake.

Vice President, Technology Management
United Telecom, Inc.
BSEE '65, MSEE '66

After completing his Purdue education with a master's degree in electrical engineering in 1966, Mr. Yake, a distinguished military graduate of the Air Force ROTC program, served as a captain in the Air Force until 1970. For the next 11 years he worked for Ohio Bell Telephone.

In 1981 Mr. Yake joined United Telecom as Assistant Vice President for Network Engineering. From 1984 to 1990 he was assigned to US Sprint, and he distinguished himself as an executive engineering manager and leader of the work forces that designed and built the nation's first digital telecommunications network based on optical fibers-a step forward from microwave radio and coaxial cables. This network, completed in just four years, involved 23,000 miles of buried cable and capital construction costs of $3.8 billion.

In 1990 Mr. Yake assumed his present position as United Telecom's Vice President of Technology Management.

  • "I've always been proud of attending a university that has maintained a very high reputation. When I'm asked where I went to college and I say Purdue, nobody ever says, 'Where's that?' The name speaks for the quality and durability of the education."

  • "I was a relatively serious student and spent a lot of time studying. I remember looking out from my room at Cary Quad at 11 at night, and if I saw too many lights still on I would think of how there was a lot of competition for grades. So I would keep studying. Little did I know that they had just left their room lights on and were gone."

Advice for students:

"It's important to understand how society will utilize the fruits of your efforts. You need to have an appreciation of how you can impact a larger audience than those just within your career field."