Alfred R. Lucas
For his record of commitment to quality and his outstanding contributions to top-quality engineering in a premier American company, the Schools of Engineering are proud to present the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award to Alfred R. Lucas.
Vice President and Director
Strategic Alliances, Paging Products Group
BSEE '63, MSEE '65
On being a student
I've always been into science. I developed an interest in electronics because of projects I'd do with tube radios, crystal radios, and other home-brewed gadgets. I had a rather unusual experience in that my high school in Illinois offered a senior course in electronics, and I took it and every other science course I could get my hands on.
As a student I was a member of Pi Tau Sigma and Eta Kappa Nu honor fraternities and active in residence-halls activities. I had my own classical-music show on the residence-hall radio station at 6 o'clock in the morning. I don't know if I ever had a listener. My roommate listened to the first show and said, "Have fun," because he didn't intend to wake up that early every morning to listen!
I took my education at Purdue very seriously and stayed focused on it. I had a vision of becoming an engineer, but I had only a vague idea of what an engineer was. I had the fortune in my junior and senior years in college to work in summer positions in electronics firms in Chicago, and that experience was extremely valuable in understanding engineering.
When I look back at what had the greatest impact on my career, I think of Professor Thompson in EE, who encouraged me to go for a master's degree. I didn't have much money and decided to get a teaching assistantship. I spent more time preparing for teaching than preparing for my own classes. It was a tremendous experience-interfacing with people, being coach and mentor-that served me well and helped prepare me for my career at Motorola. When I became a manager, I fell back on the experiences I had as a teaching assistant. That is one experience I had at Purdue that I would never give up.
|My Purdue education was tremendous-it gave me a firm foundation for my work here, and I can't say enough about it. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Boilermaker. My initial way to get into the Christmas spirit was to go to the annual PMO Christmas show. It's been fun to see the campus grow over the past 30 years.||
On his professional career
We work at the forefront of technology, and for an engineer there's nothing more exciting than that. We get to have fun with technology. We've done work pushing the state of the art in low voltage and low integrated circuits.
Seeing a product you've worked on as an end product used out in the world is a rewarding thing. I now have eight U.S. patents. The Schneeberger Design News Quality Award I received in 1992 was given in recognition of the quality of pagers we were producing to sell in Japan. The toughest customers in the world are in Japan.
On industry-university interaction
Any program that gets the educational community together with industry to discuss common problems and learn how we can help each other is a good step. Last spring, a corps of Purdue professors went to Motorola to learn about quality. Purdue has a sensitivity to that sort of interaction.
- Appointed Motorola's vice president and director of strategic alliances, Paging Products Group. Responsible for developing and nurturing joint ventures and technology agreements with outside firms.
- Promoted to vice president and director of Japan Paging Operations. Responsible for design, marketing, and manufacture of radio pagers for Japanese marketplace.
- Joined Motorola's Paging Division, where he pioneered several generations of tone and voice pagers, alphanumeric paging, paging at 900 Mhz, and paging on FM subcarriers.
- Joined Motorola as senior engineer in Applied Research Group.
BSEE '63, MSEE '65, Purdue.