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2019 ME Distinguished Engineering Alumni

The Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award is presented to engineering alumni who have distinguished themselves in any field of endeavor that reflects favorably on Purdue University, the engineering profession, or society in general.

In the case of alumni who are engaged in engineering work, their record of accomplishments should indicate a high potential for future growth into positions of increasing responsibility. The College of Engineering has over 85,000 living alumni. The distinction of DEA has been bestowed upon 516 of these outstanding individuals.

Ziqiang Hu

Ph.D. '92
Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, MIDEA GROUP


From bicycle factory worker to senior vice president and chief technical officer, Ziqiang Hu embodies all that the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards were established to honor. When he came to Purdue from his native China, he took on the complex language of engineering at the PhD level in his second language of English. Hu says he will forever appreciate the kind and patient efforts of his PhD advisor, J. Stuart Bolton, professor of mechanical engineering.

“I still remember that every time I turned in my thesis draft, I would get back a paper filled with red marks,” Hu says. “Often it was difficult to find even one sentence that was not corrected and I didn’t have to rewrite. However, it was this kind of dedicated mentorship that led to our great relationship now.”

Hu, who oversees 10,000 researchers and engineers located around the globe in his leadership role for Midea Group in China, says he is grateful for all the lessons he learned at Purdue.

“The most valuable lessons I learned at Purdue were centered around the process of collaboration,” Hu says. “Learning from other students was a very critical part of my academic experience, which really helped to broaden my own knowledge and opportunities. I continue to apply this, and encourage this kind of environment in my R&D centers, as I believe it ultimately leads to a more productive and innovative workplace.”

Hu says a steadfast focus on long-term goals and the short-term accomplishments needed to attain them has been key in his professional life.

“At each step, I look to see how the short-term goals achieve my overarching long-term goals,” he says. This approach, he adds, has helped him make critical, career-changing decisions, such as moving from the General Electric (GE) Global research center in Niskayuna, New York, to the GE appliances division in Louisville, Kentucky, and then back to China to work for Samsung and Midea.

He concedes that those decisions and changes were challenging, but such difficulty is expected when approaching life according to his personal philosophy: “Dreams are never achieved without some sacrifice, passion and persistence. In Chinese culture, keeping one’s nose down is a sign of humility, focus and hard work.”

Career Highlights

2014-present Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Midea Group
2014-2018 Director, Midea Corporate Research Center
2012-2014 Vice President, Midea Group Washing Products, Business Division
2006-2012 Vice President, Suzhou Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
2006-2012 Director, Suzhou Samsung Electronics Institute
2000-2006 Program Manager, Global Research Center and General Electric Appliances, General Electric Co.
1994-2000 Project Leader, GE Global Research, General Electric
1992-1994 Principal, Noise Cancellation Technologies, Research and Development Center, General Electric

Education

1981 BSME, Shanghai Science and Technology University
1985 MSME, Shanghai Science and Technology University
1992 PhD ME, Purdue University