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A Discussion with Tim Anderson, Chair of ETM
A Discussion with Tim Anderson, Chair of ETM

Tim Anderson assumed the role of chair of PSU's Engineering and Technology Management department in fall 2014. 

How long have you been with the ETM department? I joined the Department of Engineering and Technology Management, ETM, in 1995.  At the time, we were known as the Engineering Management Program.  

What is your area of expertise? My research is in the area of benchmarking and optimization but has been broadening with applications to technology forecasting, new product development and analytics.  In fact, my team is called the Extreme Technology Analytics Research Group.  Each term carries meaning, first, we often use “Extreme Point Methods” as compared to traditional central tendency methods.  Second, our work revolves around technology.  Third, we draw insight from data using the most appropriate analytical methods.  Recent research has included data mining for Nike, a big data project for the power grid funded by BPA in partnership with Intel, and a new approach to technology forecasting applied to over a dozen industries with an open source toolkit distributed.

What did you do before? I did my PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech but before that did my bachelor’s degree was in Electrical Engineering.  I worked for Honeywell, US West (one of the regional telephone companies after the AT&T breakup), and for Oki Electric in Japan.  The time in Japan was particularly interesting as I had the opportunity to work in Japan alongside the other engineers.  As a fellow electrical engineer, I’m still really interested in that side but these experiences really highlighted to me that depth of technical content in each discipline leaves little time for providing experiences in areas such as project management, new product development, and decision making.  Technical skill is a necessary but not sufficient condition for both a company’s and professional’s success.

What are your priorities as chair? ETM has established a strong international reputation for excellence and has long served as a resource to local industry including Intel, Tektronix, HP, Daimler, Boeing, Biotronik, and many others.  We have a long history serving the electronics industry and are working to both strengthen this ever further and work with the new startup companies.   

LinkedIn shows that over 18% of our alumni are already at the Director, Vice President, or higher level.  ETM Is about developing leaders in technology based organizations and we will work to continue and expand that.

What new things can we expect from ETM? We are working on extending our reach to meet the needs of local industry and better connect our department's alumni through LinkedIn.  We have doubled the membership of our alumni group in the last six months and now have nearly half of all the graduates in the history of the department already signed up.  

ETM has been expanding our course offerings to meet the needs and interests of local industry.  For example, this spring, Dr. Tugrul Daim will be teaching a new class, Health Technology Innovation, which draws upon an important sector of local healthcare providers/community where technology adoption can literally be a matter of life and death.  

We have a great team of faculty in the ETM department; people have backgrounds in a range of engineering disciplines (EE, ME, CE) along with startup company experience but we will need to grow the department to expand our reach to new areas.

What are you most excited about in ETM? To quote the Hall of Fame hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, good players skate to where the puck is, great players skate to where the puck will be.  ETM skated to a spot and the puck has now arrived.  Since the founding of the ETM Department by Dr. Dundar Kocaoglu, our focus has been on providing a range of cross cutting skills for engineers and technologists to manage and lead technology based organizations.  In recent years many companies and organizations have come to appreciate the importance of soft skills in Industry. They now  appreciate the importance of T-shaped individuals where the technical depth is reflected by the vertical portion of the T and cross-cutting, discipline spanning skills represent the top of the T.  IBM has been talking about this for a few years but we’ve been doing it for 28 years.

What would you like people who are unfamiliar with ETM to know about the program? Any Maseeh College alumnus could consider ETM.  While most people enroll in the Master’s program first, people can get started with one of our five graduate certificates that can be signed up for with minimal commitment.  Ambitious people can do a dual Master’s degree between ETM and their original major such as electrical engineering and take advantage of 15 credits of overlap to shorten the time to degree.  While a doctoral program is a bigger commitment, we have even had company senior executives do an ETM PhD for both professional development and personal fulfillment.

In talking with prospective applicants, most are surprised by what we do to help them balance the complexity of work and family commitments.  All of our classes are offered in the evening and once a week to meet the needs of working professionals in the Portland Metro area.  All of the core Master’s courses are offered both downtown and on the Westside for the convenience of busy professionals in Beaverton and Hillsboro.  Also, we have recently started offering classes on the Southside in Wilsonville.

How can prospective students learn more? We are having an ETM Open House on Wednesday, March 18th at 5:30 PM in the PSU Fourth Avenue Building, Room 10.  Everyone interested in learning more about ETM is welcome to attend.  Feel free to bring a friend or colleague as well.  While our founding Department Chair, Dr. Dundar Kocaoglu is on sabbatical this year, he will be in town and attending the ETM Open House to meet alumni.  This is a great chance to meet a founder of our field and IEEE Centennial Fellow.  

People come to ETM from all different engineering and technical majors so any alumnus of Maseeh College could be a fit.  

  • Graduate Certificate:  Five different topics including Project Management and New Product Development, each requiring only four classes.  These can classes can then be used towards a Master’s or PhD.  

  • Master's:  All new students meet with a faculty advisor to draw up a personalized curriculum plan for their career goals.

  • Dual Master’s:  Many students do a dual major with ETM and another master’s degree.

  • PhD:  Videos of recent final defenses are posted on the ETM web site.

  • PICMET:  The Portland International Conference on the Management of Engineering and Technology, the leading conference in the world is held here in Portland in odd years and internationally in even numbered years.  This is a great opportunity to have top people right here in your neighborhood.  More info at www.picmet.org

  • Research:  Involves a wide range of companies such as Nike, BPA, Intel, and OHSU as well as applications including New Product Development, Environmental Decision Making, Technology Roadmapping, and Data Mining.

  • Seminars:  They are open to the public

  • On-Site Meetings: If your company has a group of people interested in hearing more about ETM, we can come out to your company.  We’ve done these as “Lunch & learns” with Intel, Triquint, and others in the past three months and have had  over 200 attendees.  

Feel free to give me a call or email - I would be glad to talk with any Maseeh alum.  My phone number is (503 725-4660 or tim.anderson@pdx.edu).  You can also stop by - our offices are right across from the Intel Lab in the Fourth Avenue Building (LL 50-02, 1900 SW 4th Ave.).  

What is your area of expertise? This is an exciting time to be a part of the technology industry and you can feel this increased activity growing in Portland.  

For more information on these and other items feel free to visit our web page: etm.pdx.edu