Since graduating from UF in 1988, with high honors and an electrical engineering degree, Randy Glein’s career has trended with the growth of the technology industry itself – as venture capital investor, operating executive and entrepreneur. Glein is managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), a venture capital firm headquartered in Silicon Valley. He oversees investments for a roster of innovative, high growth technology companies, including Box, SpaceX, Tesla Motors, Tumblr, Twitter and Yammer. In 2013, Forbes named Glein to its annual Midas List of top technology investors, and UF’s College of Engineering selected him for the Gator Engineering Innovation Award.
“Randy has applied his engineering education, his creativity and his entrepreneurial approach to drive and lead the transfer of innovation to society,” said Cammy Abernathy, dean of UF’s College of Engineering. “The college is proud to have him as an alum, and even more so to honor him with the Gator Engineering Innovation Award.”
This award is given to engineering graduates who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in innovation and marked contributions to society. Previous recipients include esteemed entrepreneur-business leaders, Don McKinney, Chris Malachowsky and Augi Lye.
Glein credits much of his success to the opportunities that opened up for him while at UF, particularly when alums acted as mentors, and helped him to find the right fit at his first job.
Having seen firsthand how and why the technology industry skyrocketed in the past three decades, Glein is a strong advocate for what the Engineering Innovation Institute is doing to prepare students to be innovators.
“I’m a huge fan of offering project-based learning – as the Engineering Innovation Institute does,” said Glein. “Bringing together multiple engineering disciplines to create new products, and developing those products within the boundaries of market analysis and business planning, to ensure a real need is being addressed. That is the kind of program that prepares young engineers for the real world.”
The role of diversity and collaboration across multiple disciplines, Glein says, is a critical part of an engineering curriculum. He calls it the “interdisciplinary renaissance.”
“We’re in an age of incredible technological advancement that calls for renaissance thinkers to lead the charge,” said Erik Sander, director of the UF Engineering Innovation Institute. “The institute is focused on creating the next generation of entrepreneurial engineers who recognize world-changing opportunities, and the power that interdisciplinary teams have to convert technology advances into products and services that have tremendous impact on our lives. Randy serves as a great example of a true renaissance thought leader.”
To current students, Glein shares his perspective, “Anything is possible.” He advises students: “Think big. Change the world. There are not limits to what you can accomplish. Life is short, so don’t dwell on things you can’t control. Spend your time on things you love and are passionate about. You will feel better and accomplish more, and the world will be better as a result.”
To hear the presentation that Randy Glein shared during the 2013 Gator Engineering Innovation Summit, click here.