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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Engineering Award Recipients

Professional Achievement Award


Wales, Wis.

“For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to design electrical and electronic systems,” recalls Mike. “My grandfather would let me take over his kitchen table, where I would build and experiment with all sorts of electronic gadgets. He encouraged me to work hard and stay with it.”

And stay with it Mike did. “I built my own shortwave radio, stereo amplifier and first computer,” he says. At Marquette, he had the opportunity to build a microcomputer with Dr. Russell Niederjohn. “This experience gave me the confidence to take on many projects through my career knowing I had the skills to learn additional technical details required as a project progressed,” he says.

One year out of Marquette, Mike started as an electrical design engineer in nuclear imaging with GE Healthcare and proceeded to hold numerous design and engineering management positions in the company. In 2006, he was named an officer of General Electric Co., and in 2008 he was elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows for his significant contributions to the medical and biological engineering field. Today, Mike is vice president and chief technology officer for GE Healthcare and leads its Global Science and Technology Organization.  

Through it all, Mike has remained the curious kid tinkering at the table, as his numerous patents in medical imaging and instrumentation attest.

“I write iPhone/iPad applications just to keep current, and I still have an electronics lab in my basement,” he says. “Currently, I’m experimenting with a set of microcontrollers.”

Get to Know: Michael J. Harsh

Hometown:  Milwaukee

Favorite quote: “You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new.”  Steve Jobs

Someone past or present he’d like to have dinner with: Howard Thurston

Favorite Marquette memories:  Building one of the solar panels on the roof of the Engineering building and camping out on Wisconsin Ave for playoff tickets during the 1977 NCAA Championship.  

In grade school Mike wanted to design electrical and electronic systems.