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Are Engineers Who Specialize More Successful?

“Real” engineers can do anything, but maybe that’s not the right goal

2 min read
Illustration: Eglė Plytnikaitė
Illustration: Eglė Plytnikaitė

I was walking my dog one morning when I saw a man setting up a surveyor’s laser transit. I stopped to ask him about it, and the man launched into a long explanation, beginning with “I’m an engineer, so I know about these things.”

I didn’t mention that long ago as a college freshman I was required to take a course in surveying. This, as well as drafting, welding, and other forgotten subjects, were deemed to be things that a well-rounded engineer should know. I wasn’t very good at some of them, and I despaired at becoming what I thought of as a “real” engineer.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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