Stevens Institute of Technology: Conversations - Jeong Kim





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Published on May 25, 2012

We got a chance to sit down and speak with the 2012 commencement graduate keynote speaker, Jeong Kim.

Dr. Jeong Kim is a 51-year-old marathoner who doesn't know how to slow down. A principled idealist, he has served his country and has dedicated himself to the improvement and education of others. In his professional life, Dr. Kim has a record of success across a broad range of endeavors -- successes due in large part to his quiet but effective leadership, strengths in high performance team-building, and assertive risk-taking management style.

Dr. Kim is driven by speed and challenges. As a youth, he completed high school a semester early, college a year early, and his Ph.D. two years early. And, he did it all while working full-time. As an entrepreneur, he created the "#1 Hot Growth Company" among all public companies in the U.S. (Businessweek, May 1997) in just five years -- and then sold that company, Yurie Systems, to Lucent Technologies for $1.1 billion in cash in 1998.

Dr. Kim thrives on addressing tough challenges and succeeding. As president of the Optical Networking Group at Lucent, a Fortune 50 company at the time, he orchestrated a multi-billion dollar business turnaround that propelled its worldwide market share position from #4 to #1 (Dell'Oro Report, July 2001) in just four fiscal quarters.

Dr. Kim's drive for speed and accomplishment are complemented by his strong commitment to ideals and principles. Wanting to demonstrate his gratitude for a country that had given him so much opportunity, Dr. Kim enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Nuclear Submarine Officer after graduating from The Johns Hopkins University. During seven years in the Navy, he gained expertise in nuclear engineering and nuclear weapons effects, and earned a master's degree in Technical Management from Hopkins. Following his military tour, Dr. Kim joined AlliedSignal, working at the Naval Research Laboratory on satellite communications. Throughout his career, he continued to express his appreciation to his country by serving on the U.S. Presidential Commission on a review of U.S. intelligence, the External Advisory Board of the CIA, and the Award Committee for the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Ever reminded of its determinative impact on his life, Dr. Kim has contributed his time and money to higher education. He has been a strong advocate for a cross-disciplined approach to an engineering education -- a concept also endorsed by the academic leadership of the University of Maryland and which was effectively designed into the architecture of the Engineering building there that bears his name. Between 2002 and 2005, Dr. Kim served as a professor at that university with joint appointments in the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering departments. In addition to his role of teacher, Dr. Kim serves on the boards of The John Hopkins University, Georgetown University, and Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Dr. Kim was elected into the National Academy of Engineering in 2004.

In 2005 Dr. Kim became the 11th president of Bell Labs, the first leader recruited from the outside of Bell Labs in its 80-year history. Soon after accepting the position, he initiated actions ranging from refocusing fundamental research to creating research ventures -- actions that ultimately yielded assets with industry-transforming potential such as innovations associated with green technologies and others that enabled radically new wireless architectures. In July 2011, he accepted the additional role of chief strategy officer for Alcatel-Lucent, the parent company of Bell Labs.

For his professional accomplishments, Dr. Kim has received many honors such as induction into the Washington Business Hall of Fame. And he serves on the boards of multiple corporate and nonprofit organizations including Schneider Electric SA in France and the Science Advisory Committee of the World Economic Forum.

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