Joseph Jachinowski, CEO and President of Elekta Inc., says being a 21st century engineer involves much
more than just engineering.
In his keynote speech, “So you Thought You Went To School to Become an Engineer?’’ at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science annual awards banquet in April 2008. Jachinowski spoke of the importance in developing skills beyond engineering for students who want to advance in their careers. Business and communication skills will be paramount to success as well as humility and persistence, he told the group, which included students, faculty and alumni.
Jachinowski, who holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from WSU, began his career with Varian Medical Systems in 1981. He spent several years building the company’s system and software organization and launched a line of cancer care devices which became the most widely utilized radiation therapy products in the world.
In 1990, he co-founded IMPAC Medical Systems, of Mountain View, California, becoming its Chairman, CEO and President. IMPAC became the world’s leading supplier of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems for the field of cancer care.
In April of 2005, IMPAC was acquired by Elekta, AB., a Swedish medical device manufacturer. Jachinowski became Executive Vice President for R&D and later President and CEO of Elekta, with control of sales, marketing and service for North America. The company has annual revenues of more than $350 million.In his speech, Jachinowski outlined many of the challenges in his own career. He told the students that the first job they take will often lock them in to a career path, so choose wisely. For this generation of students, the greatest challenges will be in the area of global competition and global warming, and he emphasized the need for today’s engineers to capitalize on the challenges and develop sustainable practices that will be good for the planet and our country’s competitive position. Engineers will need to take the lead in helping society to move forward and to develop a more sustainable way of living, he told the group.