EE492 Winter 2017

The EE Leadership Seminar Series was created to demonstrate to current EE students the depth and breadth of a degree in electrical engineering. Each week an alumni will speak about their UW path to industry and best practices along the way.  You'll see that electrical engineers fill many different occupations, working for large companies and small, or for themselves.  In addition to engineering design, electrical engineers go into management, intellectual property law, venture capital and finance, entrepreneurial business startups, and philanthropy.

We'll meet Fridays at 10:30 in Savery 264, beginning Friday 6 January.

Instructor:  John Sahr
office:         214 Sieg Hall
Grading:    C/NC.  Weekly participation in the seminars will be recorded.  You are expected to attend all the meetings; however you may miss one with no penalty.  If you need to miss more than one you can arrange a makeup assignment with the instructor.

It is expected that you will attend the entire presentation of our speakers and question and answer periods during the 50 minute class period.

Speakers for Winter 2017

January 6, 2017   Jody Magnuson, BS EE ‘78

Jody Magnuson is a Principal Engineer at the Fluke Corporation. She graduated from the University of Washington with a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1978 and was the first woman engineer to be hired by Fluke. She has worked as an embedded software developer and systems engineer on a wide range of products including handheld digital multimeters and bench calibrators. Jody has implemented floating point multiply and divide algorithms in assembly language on a Z80 microcontroller and developed Qt GUI code on an ARM processor running embedded Linux. Jody also has a passion for testing and has developed automated test systems that are used to perform engineering validation of products.

Jody grew up in Tokyo, Japan. Her husband and two adult children are also UW alumni. Outside the office Jody enjoys cooking, volunteer work, and caring for her two young grandchildren.

January 13, 2017 David Burnett, MS EE ’07, BS EE ‘05 


David C. Burnett received the B.S and M.S degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington, focusing on circuits and embedded systems, and is currently pursuing the Ph.D in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley with Prof. K.S.J. Pister. Prior to his Ph.D, he was Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, Visiting Lecturer at Da Nang University of Technology, Vietnam, and Robotics Engineer at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. He also served on ACM SIGGRAPH conference committees, serving as submissions juror and responsible for special technical projects and data networks. He is currently focused on wireless embedded systems, sensors, MEMS, and integrated circuits.

January 20, 2017   Joe Yi, BS EE ’89 and Victor Iseli 


Joe currently serves as the senior key account sales manager for Analog Devices.  He has held various sales roles within Analog Devices, Inc. since September 1989.  During that period he did leave for Micrel Semi-conductor and came back after four years. After graduating in 1989 from the University of Washington with a B.S. in electrical engineering, Joe started as a junior sales engineer located in Seattle with Analog Devices, Inc.  He continued to be assigned accounts with larger strategic roles like Cisco, 3Com, AT&T. He then continued his path into a senior level role where he was promoted into sales management.  Today he is a key account sales manager calling on Intel and Microsoft.  In his time away from work he enjoys surfing, Crossfit, photography, and traveling with his wife and two children.


Victor Iseli, MS EE ’95, University of Cincinnati, BS EE ’88 University of Cincinnati

Victor Iseli is a Field Application Engineer (FAE) for Analog Devices covering the State of Washington.  He graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a BSEE in 1988 and MSEE in 1995.  He has more than five years of experience as an application engineer, and almost 30 years of experience in electrical and computer engineering as well as software development.  Victor has worked at companies such as Philips, Lockheed, Terabeam, and a couple of small startups, and is listed as an author of at least five patents.  He is interested in embedded computing, sign al processing, and analog circuits, and is a member of IEEE.  His hobbies include tinkering, running, music, and spending time with the family

January 27, 2017    Siri Weerasooriya, PhD EE ’92, MS EE ‘89

Siri Weerasooriya

Siri Weerasooriya is a hands-on technology leader skilled in inventing, staging, and productizing high performance, self-calibrating, embedded systems used in consumer electronics.

Siri worked for 14 years at Western Digital (WD), San Jose, CA, world’s largest maker of HDDs & SSDs.  As a Senior Director/Engineering Fellow, he led the team that developed and deployed the first Self Servo Write (SSW) process into volume manufacture that let blank HDDs write their own tracks & sectors. This pioneering work earned him 42 US patents. He also headed WD’s Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) initiative and demonstrated the first 2.5” HAMR HDD.

In 2016, Siri started his own LLC and is currently consulting at Toshiba Inc., San Jose, CA on improving IOPS on SAS HDDs used in data centers. In spring’17, he starts teaching a class on “Embedded Firmware Essentials” at the UCSC Silicon Valley Extension.

Siri earned MSEE & PhD degrees from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1989 & 1992 respectively. His research involved early application of machine learning in Energy Systems.


Siri plays keyboard & violin in a band, is an avid biker / badminton player, and loves landscaping. Find out more at




February 3, 2017      Kyle Hurlbut, BS EE ’78, MBA ‘80

Kyle Hurlbut

After receiving his EE and MBA degree, Kyle gained his technical and business experience at Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and Symantec.  At HP he received a patent in touch screen interfaces and did artificial intelligence research at HP Labs.  At Sun and Symantec he sold for and managed professional service groups in Silicon Valley and the UK.  Then Kyle founded and worked for several startups.  Most recently he ran worldwide services for LitePoint, which builds smart phone RF test instruments and was sold to Teradyne.



February 10    Annie Vithayathil BS EE 2001, JD 2009

Annie Vithayathil is a product attorney in Microsoft’s Corporate External and Legal Affairs department who supports the Windows & Devices Group. She focuses on legal issues surrounding Microsoft’s release management and servicing of current and legacy Windows operating systems. Prior to joining Microsoft she was an associate in the Patent Procurement practice group at Perkins Coie LLP, where she worked on a wide variety of projects in patent prosecution, licensing, and litigation. Before entering law school she worked as the Director of Strategic Development at a DARPA-funded biodefense start-up. She earned her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington, S.M. in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law. Find out more at


February 17  Young Alum Panel:

Caleb Dougherty MSEE ’12 BSEE ’06

Caleb grew up in the Puget Sound area and received his BSEE and MSEE degrees from the University of Washington.  His was hired by Agilent Technologies (now Keysight Technologies) soon after graduation and has been working there for almost 10 years.  He spent 6 years in technical writing and then transitioned to a software R&D position where he works on various projects related to wireless communication standards and signal analysis.  When he’s not working, he enjoys reading, piano, organ, and working in the yard.

Marta Tenold LaCroix BSEE ’10  

Marta received her BSEE from the University of Washington with a focus in Embedded Systems. As a student, she completed a 6-month co-op at Cisco Systems in San Jose, CA. After graduating she joined the Network Leadership Development Program at Verizon Wireless in Bellevue, WA. This program consisted of 9 engineering rotations over three years, ranging from RF Design Engineering to Switch Engineering. Upon finishing the program, Marta took a management role as the System Performance Manager for Western Washington. In 2015, Marta moved to the RF Engineering Manager role, her team designs all new and existing cell sites in Washington, Northern Idaho, and Northeastern Oregon. Outside of work, Marta finds happiness in playing soccer, attending UW Football games, traveling the world, and enjoying Thai food!

Greg Rosenthal MSEE ’14 JD ’14

Greg is a Seattleite and received his BS from University of California, Berkeley, and MSEE and JD from the University of Washington.  He works as an associate at Perkins Coie, a large technology law firm HQ’d in Seattle.  Greg focuses on patent prosecution, portfolio management and related patent litigation. Greg has experience in telecommunications, computer architecture and networks, cloud computing, software, electronics, medical devices, semiconductor manufacturing and devices, energy and power, chemical processing and wireless communications. Before joining Perkins Coie, Greg worked for Clariant in Frankfurt, Germany, in the patent management group. Prior to working at Clariant, Greg worked at Dow Chemical in Texas and Michigan as an engineer. While in college, Greg worked as an intern in Suzhou, China, where he learned Mandarin.


Jessica Tran PhD EE ’14 MSEE ’10 BSEE ’08

Jessica J. Tran, Ph.D. graduated from the UW electrical engineering department  (Ph.D. 14', M.S. 10', B.S. 08') with a focus in digital signal processing, video compression, and human-computer interaction. Her academic advisors were: Professor Eve Riskin (EE), Professor Richard Ladner (CSE), and Associate Professor Jacob Wobbrock (iSchool). She currently works at Microsoft as a design researcher evaluating Windows 10 products.  Prior she worked at Thomson Reuters in New York City as an associate in a technical leadership training program. Outside of work she enjoys running half-marathons and marathons and recently ran the Walt Disney World and New York City Marathons in 2016. LinkedIn:


February 24, 2017 George Chrysanthakopoulos, PhD EE ’00, MS EE ‘97

George Chrysanthakopoulos joined VMware in August of 2014, as a Principal Engineer. He is the creator and technical lead for Xenon, a decentralized control plane framework and is now leading a new multi cloud, multi compute, application management effort at VMware.


George started his career and spent 16 years at Microsoft initially in NT kernel, working high speed peer to peer serial buses, smartcard technology and PnP storage devices. He was a part of the founding Xbox Systems team, leading the audio, streaming and peripherals kernel work.
George delivered a popular concurrency and REST service programming framework which was used as the basis of the robotics effort at Microsoft. He worked on consumer robotics with a focus in autonomous navigation in dynamic, unstructured environments (our homes). He was
promoted to Distinguished Engineer for his work on Xbox Systems Software, the service oriented framework, concurrency runtime, and robotics work. George was briefly at Google, building an alternative to map/reduce pipelines for geo scale (multi data center) instant stats processing. He joined F5 Networks in 2012 and within months delivered the first multi hypervisor, line-rate virtual edition of the BIG-IP network appliance. George also designed, and implemented the core of the new BIGIQ management product line, creating a significant new business for F5.


George has over 25 assigned patents, holds a B.S in Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech, a Masters and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle.

March 3, 2017

Bob Fries, BS EE ‘85

(biography & photo on the way)