Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education

2007 Bernard M. Gordon Recipients Acceptance Remarks

The 2007 Bernard M. Gordon Prize was presented to Dr. Arthur W. Winston, Mr. Harold S. Goldberg and Mr. Jerome E. Levy "for the development of a multi-disciplinary graduate program for engineering professionals who have the potential and desire to be engineering leaders." These remarks were delivered by Mr. Harold S. Goldberg on Tuesday, Feburary 20, 2007 at the NAE Awards Dinner and Ceremony.

    From Arthur, Jerry and me, thank you, Dr. Wulf, the Academy and the Selection committee.

    Let me first tell you how to start a college. The process takes months. First, the application, then the written proposal, followed by discussions. Then, comes a peer visitation, to inspect facilities, faculty and curriculum concepts. This is followed by open meetings, closed meetings, public meetings, private meetings, conferring with everyone, including the governor, presentations to the Board of Regents, meetings with the Board of Regents and, finally, a vote of the Board of Regents and - The Gordon Institute was born.

    But, more important is why? Why start a college in the early ‘80s? Weren’t there enough schools?

    This brings us to the engineering profession in the mid-seventies and early eighties. Corporate engineering departments, worldwide, were failing in cost, time and specification control and engineers were deemed “poor managers”, unable to lead.

    Meanwhile, Bernie Gordon and his engineering teams at EPSCO, Gordon Engineering and Analogic were developing product after product from the first Air Traffic Controller equipment for the FAA, the Star Tracking Computer for the first Polaris Missile submarine, the instrumentation package for NASA’s Goddard Space Lab, digital x-ray and many, many more on time, on budget, within product cost and within specification. These are in addition to his most famous products, high-speed A/D converters and, of course CT scanners.

    It was obvious that Gordon teams had a lock on a technical project methodology that was indeed, successful and unique. But we were forced to train our own engineering leaders. Nowhere, that we knew of were engineering students taught more than technology and science. They never learned the business of engineering, project engineering or technical leadership. Gordon made presentations and wrote articles to alert academia about these shortcomings. Academia wasn’t impressed. Even endowing university chairs to teach engineering for industry failed to bring results.

    And so, Bernie proposed that we set up our own technical leadership school to teach what he had taught us. There were attitudes to change, methodology to apply, financial information to garner, personal interface concepts to master and speaking and writing techniques to learn.

    I took on the responsibility of getting our charter. Jerry Levy spearheaded the group writing the curriculum. We required our students to prepare an original development project to practice the methodology, to analyze selected literature to learn how others handled leadership problems and, to learn corporate finance to understand the business of engineering. Both Jerry and I taught classes. Bernie supplied the building, the financing and lots of support. He also guest lectured. Art Winston joined us as a faculty member as we started classes and set out to help us get accredited. And we succeeded. We were a fully accredited college when it came time to join with Tufts University. Arthur modified the curriculum to conform to Tufts academic environment, introducing “the Practicum”, a summer program of consulting projects for outside entities.

    Our graduates returned to their companies excited over what they had learned. And they, in turn, set out to teach their own people. Our school is now consistently oversubscribed as our alumni ring up leadership achievements in their own careers. It’s very gratifying to find the number of colleges that have since introduced technical leadership courses and curricula. That’s what we wanted in the first place.
    Our goal is to keep the program exciting, meaningful and successful, a paragon for others to follow.

    We thank the NAE and its selection committee for recognizing our program and we especially thank Bernie Gordon for his vision and his confidence in us.