A California summer ought to mean stretching out on the beach or communing with nature in the Sierra Nevada. But in Silicon Valley, as in much of the world of U.S. engineering, the mood was more uneasy than most would have wished, with signals decidedly mixed as the summer season began.

Though employment among U.S. electrical and electronics engineers had grown modestly in the second quarter of the year, employment of computer scientists and software engineers dropped rather precipitously. In Silicon Valley itself, employment was still far below its 2001 peak and not much above 1995 levels, office vacancies remained near a record high, and venture capital investment was still very sluggish.

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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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