PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University engineering alumnus R. Lee Cheatham was appointed this fall as director of the Washington Technology Center, a collaborative state, industry and research university enterprise meant to move promising technologies into the private sector.
Cheatham, as head of the WTC, is headquartered on the UW campus, although he proudly sports a Cougar watch as a daily reminder of his roots, he says. He earned his master’s in electrical engineering/computer science from WSU in 1981, before going on to earn a doctoral degree in electrical engineering in 1984 from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pennsylvania. From 1985-95, he was an adjunct professor in communications theory and systems analysis at WSU Tri-Cities, and held several senior management positions at Pacific Northwest Laboratories, operated by Batelle. He has served on the WSU electrical engineering and computer science Advisory Board in Pullman for many years as well.
The current career stop blends all the elements of Cheatham’s experience over the past 15 years. He is most recently past president and founder of The Strategic Projects Group, a start-up software company in Sandy, Utah. He also managed a large textile industry consortium involving software developments that transfer applications to the marketplace. As vice president of Ameritech Library Services, a software division of Ameritech Corp., Cheatham had key library accounts at Indiana University, The University of Chicago and 14 countries around the world. His global experience in bridging industrial research and development laboratories under a variety of government, consortia and university sponsorships earned him membership in Who’s Who in Optical Science and Engineering, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Current WTC initiatives in advanced materials and manufacturing systems, biotechnology, computer systems, microelectronics, and a new one in micro-electro-mechanical-systems help stimulate the state’s economic growth. Currently, 14 WSU-involved projects are underway, the majority in the College of Engineering and Architecture. These WTC awards range from $6,000-$46,000, and are matched by state, federal or other private funding:

Amit Bandyopadhyay and David F. Bahr, Mechanical & Materials Engineering, for low-cost, reliable ferroelectric thin films for micro-electro-mechanical-systems.

Belkacem Kraimeche and Lee D. Philipp, WSU-Tri-Cities, multiple-access, multi-level optical communications protocol.

Chien-Liang Liu and Krishna Sivalingam, EECS, and Packet Engines of Spokane, to research performance and quality of service management to further enhance design of gigabit networks and other memory intensive computer applications.

Don Bender, WMEL, and TriDiamond Sports of Spokane, for development of a fiber reinforced laminated wood baseball bat with improved strength and durability.

James D. Hoover, WSU Tri-Cities, and Advanced Concepts & Design, Inc., Richland, developing an innovative sampling device for liquid and semi-liquid wastes and materials.

John Hart, EECS, and Silicon Realty of Federal Way, to develop texturing hardware on PC graphics boards to accelerate graphics and provide true 3D texture capabilities.

Robert Evans, Biological Systems Engineering, and Orchard Rite Ltd of Yakima, to optimize low emission, low energy orchard heater to protect crops against frosts.

Robert Tichy, Wood Materials and Engineering Lab, and Premier Building Systems of Puyallup, for a product optimization of structural insulated panels with oriented strandboard.

Robert Tichy, Wood Materials and Engineering, and All Service All Packaging (ASAP), Inc., Greenacres, developing a heavy gauge modular recyclable pallet made from 100% recycled material and optimizing fastener selection for strength, durability, and manufacturing automation.

Rod Bagley, Vet-Med, and EKOS Corp of Bothell, to optimize a magnetic resonance device to quantify the amount of blood clot cleared from a blood vessel after ultrasound treatments.

Russell V. Westphal, WSU Tri-Cities, with partner Cirrus Technologies, Inc., Richland, engineering performance model for a novel wind turbine to harness wind power.

Shira Broschat, electrical engineering & computer science, and Russell Tucker, vet-med, with Advanced Diagnostics, Inc., Richland, for advanced imaging algorithms for an optical sonography system.

Terri Fiez, EECS, and Advanced Hardware Architectures, Inc., Pullman, developing high-speed, low-power analog/digital architectures in a sub-micronconversion for magnetic tape.

Uma Jayaram, Mechanical & Materials Engineering, low-cost, high-volume and high-quality atomizers for spray cooling technology in electronics.

William Kinsel, WSU Tri-Cities, and CWT Technologies, Inc., Kennewick, testing and evaluating the Step Waveform Power Converter to deliver clean electrical power from diverse multiple sources operating at various voltages and frequencies.

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