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Tough in the Trenches

Although employed U.S. engineers are starting to see their salaries rise, outsourcing has them fearing for their jobs

4 min read

No one needs to tell Chris Parkes that times are tough for engineers. The Silicon Valley circuit designer lost his job when the tech industry collapsed in 2001. After a fruitless year of job hunting, he figured his engineering career was over and started taking nursing courses.

But things have started to turn around for Parkes: earlier this year he was thrilled to land a job designing circuits for about the same salary he had at the end of the tech boom. Holding steady is a real plus in an era when just having a job is considered a boon and fears about a jobless recovery mount. "There's not a high demand for people yet," says Steve Patchel, senior consultant at the human resources and financial management firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide, in Santa Clara, Calif. The U.S. Department of Labor paints an even grimmer picture: the first three months of this year have seen the EE unemployment rate rise from 4.5 percent to 5.3 percent.

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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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