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Roger Linquist

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner,
NxGen Partners
BSME '61, MSME '63

For changing the face of wireless communication, personifying the greatest aspects of a Purdue engineer, and turning humble beginnings and a solid technical background into opportunity and impact

 

Roger Linquist ranked 8th on the 2011 list of the Top 25 Most Powerful People in U.S. Wireless, by Fierce Wireless, the wireless industry's go-to online publication. Fierce Wireless explained his power this way: "The chairman and CEO of MetroPCS has seen a lot of trends come and go in the wireless industry. But MetroPCS' goal of providing cost-conscious customers with the best value in the industry is proving to be a long-standing success story."

Before that success story would be written, the story of a Carthage College transfer student would play out at Purdue.

"I had talked to some counselors and mentors — one of whom was involved with a think tank in Chicago — and he said that if you really want a strong foundation, an engineering degree would be the best way to go. I had thought that liberal arts was the way, but no."

Once at Purdue, his professors encouraged his enthusiasm for studies in heat transfer and thermodynamics.

"I had very, very helpful professors," Linquist says. "George Zucrow was head of the rocket lab then, and he had a tremendous reputation. He pointed me in that direction, and that's the way I went. After graduation from Purdue and a master's degree, I had a goal to take technology and apply it to commercial applications."

He did exactly that in pursuing cell communications, with exceptional success.

After he founded MetroPCS in 1994, he expanded the cellular carrier to be the 5th largest in the United States, covering a region with over 100 million people and generating more than $5 billion in annual revenue. In 2013, MetroPCS merged with T-Mobile to become T-Mobile-US, serving more than 43 million customers.

MetroPCS, Linquist says, was his greatest professional achievement.

"I think creating a company that had a total population of nearly 25,000 people was my biggest moment. We had 4,000 employees and just over 20,000 indirect representatives. T-Mobile then absorbed that."

Today, Linquist is chief executive officer and managing partner for NxGen Partners in Dallas, Texas, a private equity fund primarily focused on providing equity capital to small- and medium-sized companies.

Career Highlights

2014-present Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner, NxGen Partners
1994–2013 Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board of Directors, President, MetroPCS Communications
1989–1997 Director, PageMart Wireless Inc.
1989–1994 Chairman, PageMart Wireless Inc.
1989–1993 Founder and Chief Executive Officer, PageMart Wireless Inc.
1986 Founding Director, Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association
1966 MBA, Northwestern University
1963 MSME, Purdue University
1961 BSME, Purdue University