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ECE Professors gather in a group to talk at the MDE Expo held at the Virginia Tech inn

Our ECE Major Design Experience Faculty Mentor Team

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Luke F. Lester, IEEE & SPIE Fellow, received the B.S. in Engineering Physics in 1984 and the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1992, both from Cornell University. He is a Professor and Head of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Virginia Tech.

Prior to joining VT, he was a professor of ECE at the University of New Mexico (UNM) from 1994 to 2013, and most recently the Interim Department Chair and the Endowed Chair Professor in Microelectronics there.

Before 1994, Dr. Lester worked as an engineer for the General Electric (Martin Marietta) Electronics Laboratory in Syracuse, New York for 6 years where he worked on transistors for mm-wave applications. There, in 1986, he co-invented the first Pseudomorphic HEMT, a device that was later highlighted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest transistor.

By 1991 as a Ph.D. student in Prof. Lester Eastman’s group at Cornell, he researched and developed the first strained quantum well lasers with mm-wave bandwidths. These lasers are now the industry standard for optical transmitters in data and telecommunications. In all, Dr. Lester has 28 years experience in III-V semiconductor devices and advanced fabrication techniques.

In 2001, he was a co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Zia Laser, Inc., a startup company using quantum dot laser technology to develop products for communications and computer/microprocessor applications. The company was later acquired by Innolume, GmbH.

He is an active organizer and participant in the IEEE Photonics Society’s conferences, workshops, and journals. He was a US Air Force Summer Faculty Fellow in 2006 and 2007.

Dr. Lester’s other awards and honors include: a 1986 IEE Electronics Letters Premium Award for the first transistor amplifier at 94 GHz; the 1994 Martin Marietta Manager’s Award; the Best Paper Award at SPIE’s Photonics West 2000 for reporting a quantum dot laser with the lowest semiconductor laser threshold; and the 2012 Harold E. Edgerton Award of the SPIE for his pioneering work on ultrafast quantum dot mode-locked lasers. He has published at least 125 journal articles and over 240 conference papers.

Dr. Joe Adams earned a B.Sc. in Computer Engineering from Syracuse University and a M.Sc. in Computer Systems Engineering from the University of Arkansas. His Ph.D. is in Computer Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where his research focused on network security and trust-based access control in mobile ad-hoc networks. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, a Member of the ACM and Eta Kappa Nu, and a CISSP.

Before joining the ECE faculty, Joe retired from the US Army as a Colonel in the Signal Corps, where he held a number of operational positions before serving as an Associate Professor at the US Military Academy and later as the Chief Information Officer at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. Following retirement, he created the Michigan Cyber Range, an internationally utilized platform for education, training, and testing in cyber security. He provided his expertise to over 27 states and a number of European countries and was awarded the Legion of Merit by the Michigan National Guard for his contributions to cyber force training and readiness.

Toby Meadows

Kelley Andrews grew up in Hampden, Maine a suburb of Bangor--the former lumber capital of the nation.  After graduating from Hampden Academy, she set her sights on achieving a degree in engineering.  She received her B.S. from the University of Maine and has been working as an electrical engineer in industry for the last 36 years.  

She worked as a field engineer in several industries including pulp and paper, power systems, marine, and mining.  She ran projects such as upgrading paper machines both domestically and internationally.  Her field experience led to teaching other field engineers, and to running a field engineering program for more than 10 years at General Electric. 

As a result of teaching, Kelley became intrigued with Renewable Energy. She has been working with wind power converters for nearly twenty years.  Her current responsibilities include validation engineering with the design engineering team for wind power converters at GE as well as managing manufacturing testing for four factories, located in China, Vietnam, Brazil and India.  She is responsible for testing of new onshore power converters sized between 1.5MW to 6.5MW. These wind turbines are capable of supplying power to between 800 and 3800 homes per wind turbine.  Her mentoring position with the MDE allows her to leverage her experience in field engineering, project management, and teaching.

Toby Meadows

Dr. Daniel Connors received a B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.  He is a senior member of IEEE and members of SIAM, INFORMS and ASEE and holds several patents.

Dr. Connors worked at IBM Research in Yorktown Heights, New York, for more than twentynine years on a wide variety of problems including semiconductor manufacturing, personal computer production, supply chain management, optimization, business analytics and cognitive computing.

After retiring from IBM, Dr. Connors became an Associate Professor at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) in Johnson City, Tennessee, where he helped develop ETSU's first engineering program in General Engineering.  He developed courses in circuit analysis, engineering economics and ran the senior design courses.

Dr. Connors joined Virginia Tech in Fall 2023.

Toby Meadows

Toby Meadows grew up in Jewell Ridge, Virginia, a small coal mining camp nestled in the prestigious Clinch Valley Mountain range of Southwest Virginia. His father and grandfather worked in the coal mines most of their lives.  

 This is the place where he developed a strong work ethic, a curiosity for all things and an appreciation for treating others with dignity and respect – core values that have been especially critical to his engineering career and leadership development.

He is a first-generation college graduate receiving a B.S in Aerospace Engineering in 1989 from Virginia Tech.  He is a Professor of Practice for the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Virginia Tech.  Other achievements include Level III certification in System Engineering and a Graduate of Naval Air System Command (NAVAIR) sponsored Executive Leadership Program.

He has over twenty-nine years of leadership and system engineering experience with NAVAIR.  He is adept in system engineering design processes, acquisition, and leading multi-discipline engineer and logistics teams to successfully meet NAVAIR aircraft modification, acquisition, and sustainment goals.  He has worked with engineering professionals and program managers across the aviation industry to develop creative design solutions and strategies to meet the Department of the Navy’s aircraft modification cost, schedule, and performance objectives.

He plans on retiring from NAVAIR in the summer of 2019 to continue inspiring, mentoring and preparing future generations of Virginia Tech graduates for leadership.  He lives in Emerald Isle, NC where he enjoys spending time with family and outdoor activities like surfing, fishing, and hiking.

Scott Ransbottom

J. Scot Ransbottom, a first-generation college student, received the B.S.E.E. in Electrical Engineering in 1988 from Ohio University; the M.S. in Computer Science from Duke University in 1997, and the Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2004. 

He is serving in a collegiate faculty role focused on challenging and nurturing our next generation of engineers to apply their knowledge of math, science, and the human condition to solve meaningful problems and create new capabilities to the benefit of society and humanity.

Throughout more than 27 years of military service, Colonel Ransbottom, USA, Retired, served in numerous operational and leadership roles. He managed the programming and prioritization of over $250M annually in Army communications infrastructure projects throughout Southwest Asia, a 28 nation region which included two designated combat theaters. He coordinated a major communications system redesign that enhanced service delivery while yielding over $17M in direct cost savings. Scot served more than 10 years on the staff and faculty at the U.S. Military Academy where his roles included Acting Deputy Department Head and as the Director of Policy, Strategic Planning, and Assessment for the institution. He also served in several other teaching and administrative roles.

Here at Virginia Tech, before joining ECE, Dr. Ransbottom served in the role of Deputy Chief Information Officer and IT Chief of Staff where he was responsible for helping to lead in the planning, delivery, and enhancement of IT for all Virginia Tech centralized services. He also previously served as the Deputy IT Security Officer where he was responsible for operational cybersecurity at Virginia Tech.

Scot is a senior member of the IEEE and a member of the ACM. As a member and former faculty advisor for both Eta Kappa Nu, Electrical Engineering; and Upsilon Pi Epsilon, Computer Science, Honorary Societies, he is committed to the professional and ethical development of our next generation of engineering leaders. He has volunteered his service and leadership in the Honor Flight Program, First Robotics, First Tech Challenge, First Lego, Science Fairs at the state, region, and county levels, as well as the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of America. Scot is committed to facilitating the development of engineers prepared to thrive in diverse, interdisciplinary, and multicultural teams solving real-world problems.

Ken Schulz

Ken Schulz graduated from Grove City College with a BSEE in 1982. In 1984 he graduated from Virginia Tech with an MSEE studying Control Theory. Mr. Schulz has more than 33 years industry technical and leadership experience with Lockheed Martin Corporation and recently served as Chair of the Advisory Board for the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech (2016-2018).

Significant Accomplishments Include five US Patents (latest one awarded August 21, 2012) and two Lockheed Martin Evening of Stars Awards (2007 and 2010).

Special Leadership roles in Lockheed Martin include Senior Manager of the Lockheed Martin RFIC Design Center, Corporate Advanced Technical Leadership Program (ATLP) and Engineering Leadership Development Program (ELDP) Manager for Lockheed Martin. Also created a nearly 300-person organization spanning ten locations in nine states integrating a portion of Lockheed Martin’s technical leadership development. Mr. Schulz has also served as the Hardware Manager for the Manassas, VA facility and began technical management as the Analog Circuits Design Manager in Manassas, VA.

Special Technical roles include Globalstar Electronics Design. This work was patented and resulted in over 2000 devices being launched into orbit as part of the Globalstar constellation. Also led the RF, ADC, and DAC work on the ACeS Channelizer payload enabling satellite phone coverage for nearly 1/3 of the world’s population.

Specialties: Analog Design, RF, Power Electronics, Space Electronics, Management, Leadership Training, Recruiting.

A woman stands next to Hokie Stone

Professor Shelley Stover has over 30 years of experience as an engineer in the aerospace industry, working primarily in Federal and contract positions for NASA.

 Her diverse experience ranges from systems engineering support of international organizations to embedded software development for spaceflight destined microcontrollers. She earned her MSEE at Georgia Tech and her BSEE from Auburn University. She is all but dissertation, ABD, in her PhD program at Georgia Tech where she focused on embedded AI. In pursuit of life long learning, she has also continued her education with numerous graduate courses at William and Mary. In addition to being a mentor for the ECE MDE program, she currently serves as the Business Development Lead in the NASA Langley Research Center Science Directorate.  

Fall 2024 MDE Expo


Spring 2025 MDE Expo

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