The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Advisory Board provides counsel to the ECE Department Chair and Associate Chairs regarding the mission, goals, and strategic plans of the Department, and seeks to promote the interests of the Department locally, regionally, and internationally. Members offer their insights, advice, and expertise on a wide range of issues that include undergraduate and graduate education, research activities, strategic planning, corporate partnerships, fundraising, and public relations. Members also serve as liaisons between the Department, industry, government, and other academic institutions.


Current Advisory Board Members 

dimple amin Vice President Global Engineering & Managing Director,
Ciena India

Dimple Amin is currently responsible globally for driving Ciena's Networking Platforms Business Operations along with responsibilities as Managing Director for Ciena in India. Mr. Amin has held many senior leadership positions at Ciena over his 20 year career at the company including leading Optical Transport Engineering, Solutions Development & Integration, Product Validation & Test, Product and Supplier Quality, Program Management, Quality Management Systems, Corporate Social Responsibility, Digital / ASIC Development, and Advanced Technology.  He led a team on the research, development, and commercialization of the world’s first single wavelength 100 Gigabit DWDM platform. He also has led teams which introduced the world’s lowest latency platforms for data center connectivity, high-frequency trading, and enterprise networks. When Ciena was a startup, he designed and developed hardware with industry-leading capabilities for Ciena’s pioneering Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing Optical platforms.

With more than 26 years of experience in the technology industry, Mr. Amin started his career at the US Naval Research Laboratories at the Airborne Electronic Warfare Division, focused on synthetic aperture radar systems, hardware and software design, advanced signal processing and communications systems.

Mr. Amin holds a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University (1997) and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland (1991).  Mr. Amin is a member of the IEEE and the IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu Electrical & Computer Engineering Honor Society.

Charles BarnettSenior Vice President, Engineering Mobile Satellite Systems,
Hughes Network Systems, LLC

Dr. Barnett is a Senior Vice President of Engineering at Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), a wholly-owned-subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation. Dr. Barnett has been with Hughes for 28 years.  He has broad technical backgrounds in wired, wireless terrestrial communication and satellite communications having spent more than 30 years in the design and development of terrestrial wired switching and transmission systems; Terrestrial Wireless mobile systems, Geo Satellite TDMA VSAT systems and Mobile Satellite Communication Systems (High Throughput converged Packet and Voice systems), Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite systems, and Ground Based Beam Former. He is currently engaged in the research and development of a High Throughput Packet system and the application/adaptation of existing and emerging (4G and 5G) terrestrial wireless standards to the mobile satellite environment.

Dr. Barnett received his doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.

Ken BetaharonChief Technology Officer, 
Asia Broadcast Satellite

With over 40 years of experience in the satellite industry, Ken has been involved in virtually all satellite communications-related activities, including the procurement, program management, launch, and operation of over 45 satellites. His experience also includes extensive research and development efforts, ITU filings, and establishing terrestrial infrastructure.

Ken began his career at Comsat Labs, right after graduating from University of Maryland. This was followed by a long career at Intelsat. Ken has been with ABS since 2008.

Ken graduated from the University of Maryland with a BSEE degree in 1969 and an MSEE degree in 1971. He is a member of Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi.

Milan VlajnicVice President of Quality, Safety and Mission Assurance for Technical Services,
Northrop Grumman

At Northrop Grumman, Ruth Bishop serves sectorwide mission assurance and Six Sigma functions to enhance quality and measure productivity while predicting future program performance for Technical Services.

Prior to that, Bishop served as the director of mission assurance for the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Targeting Systems division for Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector. She joined Northrop Grumman in 1981 and has held positions of increasing responsibility since starting her career as a laboratory technician with the former Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

She earned bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and in biological sciences from the University of Delaware. Bishop has completed Six Sigma black belt certification and is a certified quality manager.

Chief Strategy Officer

At Pondurance, Lyndon Brown is responsible for Product Management, Corporate Development, and driving cross-functional performance. Previously, Brown served as VP of Business Development at Verodin, where he was responsible for accelerating corporate growth through a growing ecosystem of global strategic and alliance partners. Lyndon joined Verodin from Endgame, where he launched and operated several successful business areas, including its global managed service provider business, channel sales program, and technical alliance ecosystem. Lyndon was Endgame’s first product manager, driving the company’s entrance into the enterprise endpoint security market. Prior to that, Lyndon spent 10 years as a Computer Engineer in the U.S. Intelligence Community and presently serves as an advisor to security startups through the Mach37 cyber accelerator.

Jim CantorExecutive Vice President,
Performance Excellence and Strategic Partnership Officer

Dr. James Cantor joined SAIC/Leidos in 1990 as a project manager and worked on several high-profile programs before entering line management as a division manager, operations manager and deputy Group President.  In 2014, Dr. Cantor became the National Security Sector Chief Engineer and Leidos Technical Director for Program Execution and in 2016 he assumed these same responsibilities for the entire corporation.   As part of his role, Dr. Cantor focuses on the technical and execution risk of Leidos’ most critical programs.

Dr. Cantor has over 30 years experience in program development, system engineering, statistical methods, sensors, signal processing, estimation and detection methodology, simulation system development, and simulation and information technology development primarily for national security applications. Prior to joining Leidos, he was a principal engineer for Computational Engineering, Inc., and also worked for the Naval Research Laboratory and the Department of Army Ballistic Missile Defense Program Office.

Dr. Cantor earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and a Master of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park and he received his Ph.D. in mathematical statistics with an emphasis on time series analysis from George Washington University. Outside activities include serving on the Advisory Board for UMD’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Executive Leadership Team for the American Heart Association.

Sonal DeshpandeRetired
Previously: Sector Vice President of Mission Assurance, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems

Sonal Desphande is sector vice president of Mission Assurance for Northrop Grumman’s Mission Systems sector, a leading global provider, manufacturer and integrator of advanced, secure and agile software-defined systems and solutions.

Deshpande has responsibility for mission assurance across the sector, including quality and product assurance, compliance, process excellence and supplier quality, as well as environmental health, safety and fire protection.

Previously, Deshpande was the sector vice president of Mission Assurance for the former Electronic Systems sector. Prior to that, she was appointed vice president of Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics (EM&L) for the Airborne ISR&T and Space ISR divisions. Her team was responsible for all the EM&L activity in support of all airborne and space programs within these divisions.

Deshpande also served as vice president of Advanced Maritime and Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Systems. In that role, she was responsible for the sector’s advanced maritime and IAMD solutions focused on innovation, affordable and open architecture concepts to grow and penetrate adjacencies in the maritime electronics and IAMD markets.

In 2011, she was appointed vice president of Electronic Systems Logistics Services and was responsible for a comprehensive logistics services strategy that aligns product support and investment strategies to strengthen enterprise performance, customer satisfaction and shareholder value.

In 2007, Deshpande was business area director of Classified Advanced Technology Programs. In 2008, she was appointed program director of the S-Band Cobra Judy Replacement Program where she had leadership and program management responsibility for the delivery of the CJR S-Band Antenna.

She joined the company as a hardware design engineer in 1986 and was responsible for digital processor design, test and delivery in support of various government programs. In 1999, she was appointed program manager and, in 2003, served as program director of a U.S. Army helicopter program. In 2004, she was appointed business area director of the USAF B-1 Programs.

Deshpande earned her master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University School of Engineering and her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from University of Maryland, College Park. Additionally, she has completed the Harvard Business School General Management Program and various program management and leadership training at Northrop Grumman.

Deshpande is involved with mentoring middle and high school students through programs which encourage students to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and math. She is an advisory board member for the University of Maryland, College Park Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She also serves as a board member for the Maryland Academy of Sciences at the Maryland Science Center.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide. Please visit and follow us on Twitter, @NGCNews, for more information.

Daniel R EdenDirector, Collections & Operations Division,
Lockheed Martin Rotary & Mission Systems (RMS)

Daniel Eden is the Director for the Collections & Operations Division within the Rotary & Mission Systems business area at Lockheed Martin. He is responsible for a broad portfolio of Domestic and International programs providing innovative Cyber and SIGINT capabilities and operations support to governments and intelligence community customers across the globe. 

Mr. Eden has more than 30 years of experience supporting the Department of Defense and intelligence community in a variety of technical and leadership roles, including Chief Engineer, Program Manager, and Director of Programs. He is experienced in large-scale system design, development, deployment, and life-cycle support. 

Mr. Eden has a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, is a Project Management Institute (PMI) certified Project Management Professional (PMP), and is a graduate of the Program Management Development Program (PMDP). He has one daughter and lives with his wife in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. He enjoys chess, piano, woodworking, and a variety of outdoor activities. 

Dan GoodmanCEO,
Relativity Sciences, Inc.

Dan Goodman is a serial entrepreneur, consultant, advisor and educator. Dan is the CEO of Relativity Sciences, Inc., a consulting and training firm he founded in 2008, focusing on intrapreneurship, innovation, and customer intimacy for Fortune 500 companies and government organizations. He has been an advisor and consultant to well over one hundred organizations, from startups to venture capital firms to Fortune 100’s on entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship, strategy, commercialization, and culture change.

Among his roles in companies he has founded, Dan was Chairman and Managing Director of Zernike USA, the U.S. arm of Zernike Group, a Dutch venture capital and science park management firm; CEO of The Silverthorn Group, a product development firm specializing in building automation, transportation, medical and energy systems; CEO of Odexia, a university spinout company commercializing a novel micro-electromechanical sensor (MEMS) for national security applications. He has been a board director or advisory board member for over a dozen corporations, non-profits, venture capital firms and business incubators.

Dan has served the University of Maryland as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EiR) since 2002, currently as EiR and Senior Fellow for Executive Development at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. In the Division of Research, he advised senior university leadership on innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization strategies. Prior to that, as EiR Emeritus and Technology Commercialization Fellow at the Smith School, he co-taught MBA entrepreneurship classes. As Research Development Lead for the Lockheed Martin strategic relationship, he developed and managed research collaborations in medical informatics, genomics, secure wireless communications, cyber-psychology, and robotics. Earlier, he developed licensing deals for the university’s intellectual property portfolio at the Office of Technology Commercialization.

Dan is an Executive-in-Residence with Columbia Technology Ventures at Columbia University in New York City, where he works with faculty and post-doctoral inventors to facilitate the transfer of research innovations from the lab to the market, as well as supporting the university’s innovation and start-up efforts.

Dan is a proud ECE alum (BSEE ’87).

Jim Howland

Civil Group Director of Strategy,
The Aerospace Corporation

Jim Howland currently serves as the civil group director of strategy at The Aerospace Corporation overseeing corporate strategic development and sponsor relations.

For 34 years, Jim was at The MITRE Corporation and was a technical director of MITRE’s Electronic Systems and Technology division. He works across MITRE’s C3I Federally Funded Research and Development Center sponsors and is dedicated to technical expertise focused on communications, electromagnetics, sensors, and signal processing technologies. He was also the corporate chairperson for STEM outreach and strategy. He previously served also as the corporate program lead for several counter improved explosive devices programs for both the DoD and intelligence communities.

James Hsu

Chairman, Board of Director, SynerGene Therapeutics, Inc.
Trustee, H.C. Jimmy Lin Foundation

James Hsu is an entrepreneur and a Trustee of the H.C. Jimmy Lin Foundation. Since 2006, James has been Chairman of the Board of Directors of SynerGene Therapeutics, Inc. He provides entrepreneurial executive management to foster innovation in development of therapeutics for cancer and neurological disorders based on SynerGene’s proprietary platform technology with payload delivery via targeted nanocomplexes; SynerGene has ongoing Phase I & II clinical trials for novel nanomedicines addressing brain, pancreatic, and head & neck cancers; SynerGene is also developing countermeasures against chemical warfare threat agents under a grant from Department of Defense (DoD). 

James is also President of Resources Management, LLC., (2000-Present). He provides management and financial consulting services for individuals and charitable organizations and sets up youth-inspiring grants and scholarships for communities and universities. He initiated the concept of “Impact Scholarship” to organize team competitions to stimulate and inspire student innovation & entrepreneurship in selected scientific & technology fields and serves as trustee and/or treasurer for charitable organizations.

From 1984-1999, he was Founder, Chairman & CEO of Information Dynamics, Inc. (IDI). After founding IDI, he led and grew the company to generate over 50 million in revenue in 1999.  IDI provided information technology, science, engineering, peer review and administrative support services via federal contracts including contracts for National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters, Goddard Space Flight Center, Johnson Space Flight Center, Kennedy Space Flight Center, Federal Highway Administration (FHA), National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

He has won many awards and recently became an Adjunct Professor in the Information Management Department at Chung Yuan University in 2018. He was born in China and obtained his B.S. Degrees from the National Taiwan University in 1968, and his M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin in 1971 and 1976, respectively. He also received a Diploma in Business Management from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania in 1979.

Bogdan KosanovicDirector of Software Engineering
DeepSig, Inc.

Dr. Kosanovic received his undergraduate degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Belgrade, Serbia in 1986. Between 1985 and 1988, he worked as a systems programmer at the University of Belgrade. In 1988 he joined the "M.Pupin" Research Institute in Belgrade where he was developing real-time digital signal and image processing algorithms. In 1991, Dr. Kosanovic entered graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh where he subsequently received his MS and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1992 and 1995, respectively. His research was focusing on applications of Fuzzy Logic in nonlinear system modeling, signal processing, and bioengineering. Dr. Kosanovic introduced the concepts of Temporal Fuzzy Sets, Dynamic Fuzzy Sets, and Fuzzy Information Space.

Upon graduation Dr. Kosanovic joined Telogy Networks, a startup company in Maryland where he worked on developing Voice over Packet technology and associated real-time digital signal processing software architectures. In 1999, Telogy Networks were acquired by Texas Instruments, Inc. During his tenure with TI Dr. Kosanovic continued to manage and lead a team developing advanced real-time signal and image processing algorithms including acoustic and line echo canceling, multi-core software libraries for high performance computing, voice over packet, performance audio, and embedded software engineering technologies. Dr. Kosanovic has been supervising and coordinating research activities with the University of Maryland and George Washington University. He was teaching graduate courses in real-time signal processing and embedded systems at these Universities. Dr. Kosanovic holds 14 US patents and was a recipient of two Outstanding Inventor Awards from his business unit at Texas Instruments, Inc. in 2002 and 2006.

Upon retiring from Texas Instruments in 2019, Dr. Kosanovic joined DeepSig, Inc., a startup in Arlington, VA, to lead a software team developing products that use AI and machine learning to realize state of the art signal processing and radio systems with applications in RF sensing and awareness and 5G-NR RAN L1 implementation.

Dr. Kosanovic is also a classically trained pianist and composer. He spends considerable time in his music studio where he records original and classical music. During 1980's he led and performed in various jazz and fusion bands in Serbia. At the same time, he was a recording artist and music producer in Belgrade Radio. Dr. Kosanovic is a member of Belgrade Society of Jazz Musicians, Serbian Society of Composers, and ASCAP.

Kevin LeeEngineering Teacher, SMCS Magnet Program,
Poolesville High School

Kevin Lee is an Engineering teacher at Poolesville High School in the Math, Science and Computer Science Magnet Program. He has taught in the SMCS program at Poolesville for the past 11 years teaching courses such as Principles of Engineering, Robotics, Materials Science and Research & Design. In addition to his role as a classroom teacher, he is the sponsor for the FIRST Robotics team and FIRST Tech Challenge team at Poolesville. Mr. Lee has been teaching in Montgomery County Public Schools for 25 years. Prior to teaching at Poolesville, he taught Technology Education at Martin Luther King Jr Middle School and was a classroom teacher at Cashell Elementary School. Mr. Lee received his Bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and his Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. 

Bill OlsenDirector of Launchpad Operations,
MasterPece Solutions

Bill Olsen is Director of Launchpad Operations at MasterPece Solutions. Previously, he was Director and System Delivery Lead for Booz Allen’s Cyber and National Agencies accounts. He is experienced in large scale systems development, 
high performance computing, and Service Oriented Architectures. Bill has over 25 years of experience working for large System Integrators which include: Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Westinghouse. He holds a Masters in Business Administration from Loyola University and a Bachelors of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. For the last three years, he has served on the Executive Advisory Board for the STEM organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics.

StarkeyTechnical Director,
Booz Allen Hamilton 




ECE Advisory Board President,
Chief Technology Officer, Vice President, Engineering & Operations,

ComTek Communication Technologies, Inc.

Milan Vlajnic is Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Engineering & Operations at Communication Technologies. He oversees day-to-day operations, product development, IT & engineering and technology strategy. He has a long track record of providing technology vision and business leadership in ever-evolving telecommunications marketplace.

Mr. Vlajnic has held senior executive positions in engineering, operations, general management and R&D with Nortel Networks, Bay Networks and Penril Datability, where he was leading advances in wireless, optical, signal processing, software engineering, IP media and voiceband modem technology. He received his Masters in General Administration from the University of Maryland and his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Belgrade.