Two graduates of the UCLA Sameuli School of Engineering – Alison K. Brown Ph.D. ’85 and Reza Rofougaran ’86, M.S. ’88, Ph.D. ’88 – were elected to the National Academy of Engineering earlier this month. An NAE-induction is among the highest professional honors that can be granted to an American engineer. The academy announced its 2020 class of 87 members and 18 international members on Feb. 6.
Alison K. Brown is the president and chief executive officer of NAVSYS Corporation, a Colorado-based developer of GPS technologies. She was elected to the NAE “for contributions to research and development of precision navigation and timing technologies.”
Brown is also an honorary fellow of Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge, England; and a fellow of the Institute of Navigation. She is currently serving a third term on the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, having previously served as a board member for two terms from 1994 to 2003.
Her doctoral advisor was Lewis (Tino) Mingori, a professor emeritus of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UCLA. She received a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Cambridge University. She founded NAVSYS in 1986.
Reza Rofougaran is the co-founder, co-CEO and chief technical officer of Movandi, a venture-backed startup working to harness the potential of millimeter-wave technology for 5G communications. He is also one of the world’s most prolific inventors, with more than 800 U.S. patents issued to his name.
Rofougaran was elected to the NAE “for the development of radio system-on-a-chip technology for wireless networking.”
He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering at UCLA. His doctoral advisor was Asad Abidi, Distinguished Chancellor’s Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Rofougaran and his sister Maryam Rofougaran ’92, MS ’95 co-founded Innovent Systems in 1999. They built the world’s first CMOS Bluetooth transceiver, an important milestone in wireless communications.
This major innovation attracted the attention of Broadcom, which acquired the company in 2000. At Broadcom, Rofougaran was a senior vice president, involved in the company’s wireless strategy-planning and mergers and acquisition for entering into new wireless markets, until leaving to co-found Movandi in 2016.
In 2018, Rofougaran received UCLA Samueli’s Alumnus of the Year award.
Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution. It is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. With more than 2,000 peer-elected members and international members, NAE constituents include senior professionals in business, academia and government who are among the world’s most accomplished engineers.