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It's Cold Out There

As a tight U.S. job market persists, outsourcing and immigration policies are questioned

5 min read

Any career counselor would tell Sandra L. (”Candy”) Robinson she’s done everything right. A software engineer with 23 years’ experience, she holds a BSEE, a master’s in computer science, and an MBA. After each of her four children was born, she returned promptly to work. As chair of IEEE’s Dallas Section and an active member of the Society of Women Engineers (Chicago), she networks constantly. Throughout her career, she deliberately selected projects and positions that seemed the most promising and the most stable.

Until a few years ago, Robinson’s strategy seemed to be paying off: she was happily employed and had moved into a US $89 000-a-year management job. Then, in January 2001, her company merged with Citigroup, she was laid off, and she’s been out of work ever since. ”You figure the more experience, the more education you have, the better. You stay on top of your field, you do all the right things,” Robinson says. ”I never in a zillion years would have seen myself in this position.”

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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
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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