Electrical & Computer Engineering     |     Carnegie Mellon

Tuesday, April 23, 12:00-1:00 p.m. HH-1112

Art Davidson
Carnegie Mellon University

The Wright Brothers: Lessons for Engineers and Entrepreneurs

The Wright brothers did not accidentally achieve the first powered flight. They used their skill as mechanical engineers and genius as applied scientists, but they also used their background as entrepreneurs. Using today's language, we would say that they had a gift for strategic planning. This seminar will present a timeline biography of the Wrights, tracing their success to high school enterprises, a publishing business, their famous bicycle shop, and finally to the Wright Flyer that stunned the world in 1908. Each step was planned to capitalize on their personal, technical, and business strengths, minimize risk from weaknesses, handle competition, and make the most from transient opportunity. The result was not just their series of Flyers and a successful company, but the introduction of a new industry. Such results are worthy of study and emulation.

Dr. Arthur Davidson has always been a sucker for any good-looking airplane. His interest in the Wright Brothers was piqued by the prospect of the centennial of the first flight on Dec. 17, 2003. He has been at CMU in the ECE Department since the fall of 2000, and is the Executive Director of CHIPS, the Center for Highly Integrated Information Processing and Storage Systems. Prior to Joining CMU, he had 25 years of industrial experience with IBM, Westinghouse, and Northrop Grumman, working on superconductivity and ultra low power CMOS with applications in radar. His degrees are in physics and applied physics from MIT and Harvard. He is a founder and vice President of CoREM, the Council on Realizing Excellence in Management, a Pittsburgh non profit dedicated to improving the economy of the Pittsburgh region through education about enlightened management.