Recently, an engineer in the microwave industry proudly showed his father a Microwaves & RF article that reflected his work. Both this engineer's father and mother were engineers. In fact, his mother was part of the Johns Hopkins team that developed the vacuum-tube proximity fuse during World War II. Upon reviewing the issue, the father was of course impressed by his son's work. What also stood out for him, however, was my editor's column and picture.
Before children, when this husband and wife were both working in engineering, his wife was very much in the minority. In addition, they were resented for "bringing home more than their fair share" because both of them worked and made good salaries. Unfortunately, this type of attitude must not have surprised her. When she had gone to graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she was planning to get her PhD. Yet she encountered a "glass ceiling" in terms of the attitude toward women at MIT, and instead decided to get an MS in physics. This brilliant trailblazer has now passed on, but her husband noted that she would have been very pleased to see a woman as the editor of a technical magazine like Microwaves & RF.
For me, this story underscored how much more prominent women in this industry have become. Whereas academia was not accepting of women pursuing higher degrees in the past, many women are now leading research and teaching the next generation of microwave engineers (see "Women In Microwaves"). in addition, a lot more women have taken the helm at microwave companies.
For example, when Harold Isaacson passed away suddenly 11 years after founding ARRA, inc., his wife Florence was left with two small children. Yet she stepped in and guided ARRA into becoming a long-running component supplier that still exists today. Florence knew what she wanted and made clear what she expected of people. One could say that this same type of approach is taken by Meta Rohde, President of Synergy Microwave. This private company is not large in terms of number of employees. Yet the devotion, talent, and innovative spirit of its engineering teamunder Meta's direction allow it to satisfy its mission statement of providing superior solutions.
Some female leaders also are managing to bridge the engineering and corporate sides. For example, Belinda Piernas has been on the front lines of many new developments and innovations. Currently, she also serves as President and CEO of United Monolithic Semiconductors USA, Inc. Also rising up through the trenches is Suja Ramnath, Vice President and General Manager of M/A-COM Technology Solutions' Market- Facing Businesses. She has led growth teams addressing multiple markets ranging from consumer entertainment to strategic defense. These are just a few examples of womenpast and presentwho have helped drive the microwave industry forward. Ranging from brilliant engineers to exceptional businesspeople, women are increasingly taking higher-profile roles in the microwave industry.