Thomas (BS ’71 MS ’72) Reflects on Career with Students

Published: April 18th, 2012

Thomas

GAINESVILLE, FL: “I never worked as an engineer,” said David Thomas (BS IE 1971, MS ISE 1972), kicking off his talk to laughs with students in their Intro to ISE course on April 9.  The former IBM executive and current board member of Interpublic Group and Fidelity Investments discussed his career, described as a “rugby match, not a relay,” and provided tips for success.  Before moving up the corporate ladder, he was a Sales Engineer for IBM in Tampa and admitted it was his hardest job.  “Do it long enough, you’ll have a bad year,” he said.  But “the job got easier because you developed confidence,” he admitted.  While his career began in sales, he stressed the importance of engineering.  “Technical skills are very important,” he said, and critical to learning complex problem solving and focusing on how to make business better.  “I would definitely make the same choice.”

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