EMC Personality Profile

Introducing Tom Jerse

The EMC personality that is profiled in this issue of the IEEE EMC Newsletter is Dr. Thomas (Tom) Jerse. Tom works full time as an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. He is also an Associate Technical Fellow of the Boeing Company and he works part time for Boeing, primarily by telecommuting at least one day a week during the school year and more frequently during the summer.
Tom received a BSEE Degree from the University of New Mexico in 1973, a MSEE from Stanford University in 1975, and a PhD degree from the University of Kentucky in 1994. Tom had always admired the work of Clayton Paul so when he decided to go for his PhD degree, he contacted Clayton who graciously took him on as a PhD student and Tom spent three enjoyable years earning his degree. Clayton has certainly had a positive influence on a number of students.
While earning his undergraduate degree, Tom worked for five years as a broadcast engineer at WTWO-TV Terre Haute and KOB-TV Albuquerque. Tom’s EMC experience began when he was working in TV stations. It did not take long to realize that cables had non-ideal properties that required careful application of the proper techniques for grounding and bonding.
After receiving his BSEE, Tom worked for ten years for Hewlett-Packard (HP) in their Signal Analysis Division in Santa Rosa, California. During his first six years with HP he was a microwave/RF circuit designer and he designed the front end of the HP8568A spectrum analyzer. Then he became an R&D Project Manager and was the principal system architect of the HP8562 family of portable spectrum analyzers.
Working on HP spectrum analyzers where spurious responses that are over 100 dB below the fundamental response can be viewed on the screen of the instrument, Tom quickly learned the techniques of EMI control and started consulting on other projects within HP. As many before him, he discovered the time honored truth that the later in the product development that EMI fixes are applied, the less cost-effective the EMI fixes were likely to be.
In order to have EMI considered earlier in the design and development of products, Tom developed a half day in-house course, “Designing for EMC,” that he taught at many HP Divisions. While on the HP faculty loan program to the University of California at Davis in 1987, Tom developed a full-term EMC course. The next year, it was transformed into a two day comprehensive course that was offered to customers around the world.
Tom found teaching to be so enjoyable that when he was turning 40, he decided that if he was ever going to be a professor, this was the time to go back to school or it was not going to happen. His wife was very supportive and with Clayton’s assistance and a lot of hard work, he earned a PhD. While he was working on his PhD, he continued to teach his EMC course for HP from time to time.
After earning his PhD, Tom accepted a position at The Citadel, Clayton’s alma mater, where he teaches courses on electromagnetics, EMC, circuits and electronics and performs research on common-mode emission modeling.
Tom’s other academic employment has included spending a year as an Assistant Professor of Music at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York where he taught computer music and set up a computer music laboratory. He also taught graduate courses in microwave circuit design and a mezzanine course in EMC at the University of California at Davis.
In 1997, Tom accepted a full time position with Boeing, in Seattle, performing RF and EMC work for a variety of programs, but he missed teaching. Fortunately, he was able to work out his current situation where he can teach and still keep current by working on advanced projects.
Tom is a long time member of the EMC Society. He won the first President’s Memorial Award in 1992. He received the EMC Society University Grant in 2003 and has been the Chairman of the University Grant committee from 2006 to the present. Tom is the Co-chair of the Technical Program Committee for the 2008 IEEE International Symposium on EMC in Detroit.
Tom spent two years as an EMC Society Distinguished Lecturer. He spoke at ten Chapters and greatly enjoyed talking to other EMC engineers to learn about new problems and new points of view.
During his spare time, Tom enjoys gardening and growing roses. He also enjoys music, playing the piano, harp, trombone, recorder, and bowed psaltery. He has played in dance bands, brass quintets, Dixieland bands, concert bands, amateur symphonies, weddings and coffee houses.
Tom is married and his wife Christine has been very supportive of him and his career. They have one grown son. EMC

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