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USC Viterbi School of Engineering Announces 2018 Commencement Speakers

| April 16, 2018

A.C. “Mike” Markkula, Jr., Wanda Austin, Harel Kodesh to keynote undergraduate and graduate ceremonies

Photo Credit: USC Viterbi

The satellite commencement ceremonies for USC Viterbi School of Engineering will take place on May 11, 2018 following the main commencement ceremony at the University Park at USC.

The speakers for the USC Viterbi ceremonies are as follows:

Undergraduate Engineering Satellite Ceremony:

Speaker: Mr. A. C. “Mike” Markkula, Jr., Co-founder of Apple, founder and chairman of Echelon Corporation

Mr. Markkula is the founder of Echelon Corporation and has served as Chairman, Vice Chairman of the Board, and Director since 1988. Echelon designs and markets distributed intelligence control systems, and is a leader in products enabling smart power grids.

Mr. Markkula is a co-founder of Apple, and served as a director of the company from its incorporation in 1977 to 1996. During his tenure at Apple, he also served as Vice President of Marketing, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board, Vice Chairman of the Board, Director, and Director of Claris Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple.

Mr. Markkula is also the founder of ACM Aviation, Inc, and a co-founder of the San Jose Jet Center. He served as Chair of the Board of Directors of ACM Aviation, and was the first Chair of the Board of Directors of the San Jose Jet Center. These companies were combined in 2004 and subsequently purchased by a third party.

In 1982, along with Henry and Brian Kashiwa, Arthur Rock, and Robert Noyce, Mr. Markkula founded the Volant Ski Company in Boulder Colorado and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors until it was sold to a Canadian company in the early ‘90’s.

Prior to co-founding Apple, Mr. Markkula held positions as Marketing Manager at Intel Corporation, Marketing Director for Integrated Circuits at Fairchild Semiconductor, and Member of the Technical Staff in the Research and Development Laboratory at Hughes Aircraft Company.

Mr. Markkula’s contributions have been recognized as follows: University of Southern California School of Engineering – Outstanding Alumnus; Harvard School of Business – Entrepreneur of the Year; Santa Clara University – Honorary Doctor of Public Service; University of Southern California – Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. He will receive the life Achievement Award from USC Viterbi this year.

Mr. Markkula earned both BSEE and MSEE degrees from the University of Southern California, and is credited on five patents in the area of distributed intelligence control networks.

Graduate Engineering Ceremony:

Speaker: Dr. Wanda Austin, USC Trustee and Chief Executive Office (Retired), The Aerospace Corporation

USC Trustee Wanda Austin/Photo by: Steve Cohn

In 2008, Dr. Austin became president and CEO of the Aerospace Corporation, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to the objective application of science and technology toward the solution of critical issues in the nation’s space program. The Aerospace Corporation has nearly 4,000 employees and annual revenues of more than $850 million. She retired from that position October 2016.

Dr. Austin served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology until January 2017 advised POTUS in areas where an understanding of science, technology and innovation was key to forming effective US policy.  Austin is currently a member of the Defense Policy Board having previously served on the Defense Science Board and the NASA Advisory Council.  She is an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a counselor of the National Academy of Engineering and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She has served on the USC Board of Trustees since 2010 and is on the Board of Directors for the Chevron Corporation and Amgen.

Dr. Austin is committed to inspiring the next generation to study the STEM disciplines and to make science and engineering preferred career choices.  She is the author of Making Space: Strategic Leadership for a Complex World, which explores the leadership principles she learned during her decades-long journey as an engineer, space industry executive, daughter, wife and mother.

Dr. Austin has many professional achievements and honors including: the National Intelligence Medallion for Meritorious Service, the AIAA Godard Astronautics Award, the Career Communications Group Black Engineer of the Year Award;  the Horatio Alger Award, the Bob Hope Distinguished Citizen Award, and the University of Southern California Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr. Austin was born in New York City. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Franklin and Marshall College, master’s degrees in systems engineering
and mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh, and a doctorate in systems engineering from USC.

Graduate Ceremony in Computer Science

Speaker: Mr. Harel Kodesh, Partner, Silver Lake Partners

Harel Kodesh is an Operating Partner at Silver Lake Partners, a global leader in technology investments with 39 billion dollars in combined assets under management and committed capital. He joined the firm in 2017 to work with the firm’s portfolio companies.

Prior to Silver Lake, Mr. Kodesh had been with GE where he served as Vice President at Predix and Chief Technology Officer at GE Digital. He was responsible for driving the technical strategy behind Predix, GE’s cloud platform for the Industrial Internet, and the applications developed by GE for the industrial sector. He was also responsible for the development, operation and revenues of Predix.

In 2015, he was named to GE’s Corporate Executive Council.

Before joining GE, Mr. Kodesh co-founded and served as CEO at Nurego, a spinoff of EMC Corp. At EMC, he acted as Executive VP for Cloud Business Systems and as CEO of Mozy, its wholly-owned subsidiary dedicated to Backup as a Service. From 2003 to 2008, Mr. Kodesh served as Chief Product Officer at Amdocs, transforming the organization from a professional services company to product driven. He also served as CEO of Wingcast, the Ford Motor Company-Qualcomm telematics joint venture.

Until 2000, Mr. Kodesh held various executive positions at Microsoft, including VP of the Information Appliances Division leading, the development of the Microsoft Windows CE – or Windows Mobile – operating system, and pioneered its mobility business. He also managed Microsoft’s Object Linking and Embedding team, creating a key technology for the Windows operating system. Prior to Microsoft, Mr. Kodesh managed the team at Motorola responsible for the company’s wireless data efforts and was responsible for Motorola’s early developments for the PDA and the mobile data appliance market.

Mr. Kodesh holds a BS in computer engineering and a MS in electrical engineering from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. He has served on boards for Mobilitec, DreamBox Learning, BSquare and Blue Phoenix. Mr. Kodesh sits on the Board of Councilors for USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering. Mr. Kodesh was the 2017 recipient of the USC Viterbi School’s Daniel J. Epstein Award for Engineering Management.

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