College of Engineering Award Recipients
Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award
JAMES H. GROTELUESCHEN, ENG '73,
Glen Ellyn, Ill.
“I really like to do two things,” says Jim Grotelueschen, “launch new products and solve problems.” In both areas, Jim has been extraordinarily successful.
At Motorola, he drove the design completion and production ramp of the world’s first portable cell phone. At Research in Motion, he helped launch Blackberries in all cellular technologies. And at the many startup companies with which he is involved, his projects include a smart phone application that helps manage conditions such as diabetes; a universal entertainment remote that displays television program listings, e-mail and e-commerce; solar panels, high-efficiency LED-based light bulbs; and visually enhanced search engines.
“I am an active investor,” he explains. “If I’m going to invest in a business, I’m going to either be on the board, act as an adviser, work full time or consult on the side.”
The work makes for a rather diverse résumé. As does being chairman of the board of Milwaukee’s Helios-USA; a board member of Nothing but Nature, GenerationOne and Naka-Media; and an adviser for Digital Optics International, Gearbox Express and ISCO.
Where does one go from here? “I’m going to stay involved in these start-ups,” Jim says. “I will also get more involved with the Red Cross.”
Jim’s formula for success is sound and simple: “Work hard, try hard and have fun along the way.”
Fun fact: Originally from Logansport, Ind., Jim would like to have dinner with Bill Gates to discuss K-12 education.