Class of 1986, Ph.D.
Where is your hometown?
Novi Sad, Serbia, Yugoslavia
How did what you learned at Virginia Tech impact your career?
After completing my Ph.D. studies, our family returned to Yugoslavia, where I started as an assistant professor at the University of Novi Sad. Four years later, my Ph.D. advisor, Prof. Fred Lee, came to Novi Sad and convinced me to come back to Virginia Tech. Today, I am still a Tech professor, sharing everything I learned with anyone who can use it: undergraduate and graduate students, engineers, researchers, managers, universities, professional associations, institutes, companies, and governments in many countries around the world.
Why did you choose your profession?
After high school, I wanted to study physics (to understand the universe) or film directing (to change humanity), but my parents convinced me to be more practical and go into electrical engineering. I still occasionally yearn for a higher mission, but I constantly have fun balancing between abstract intellectual concepts and practical impact on students and industry, which being a professor of electrical engineering at Virginia Tech affords me.
Why did you decide to come to Virginia Tech?
I applied to the Ph.D. program at Virginia Tech after completing my M.S. degree at University of Novi Sad in Yugoslavia in the area of power electronics because at that time Prof. Fred Lee had already published several interesting technical papers on similar subjects. He accepted me to be his graduate student and worked together with Dr. Victor Stefanovic, then director of the General Electric Industrial Electronics Development Lab in Charlottesville, VA, to secure a 4-year graduate fellowship, which supported my studies.
Who influenced you during your career and/or time at Virginia Tech?
Everyone in Blacksburg and Virginia Tech has influenced me, but above all, my advisor, colleague and dear friend, Fred Lee. From him I learned power electronics, essence of understanding, importance of hard work, gratification from sharing, striving for perfection, and the fun of being a professor. Everything I did and all I have been in the second half of my life springs from Virginia Tech and the Blacksburg communities, and I cannot imagine greater satisfaction than passing it on to everyone I meet and everywhere I go.
What's one of your favorite memories from Virginia Tech?
Many days and nights spent with my fellow graduate students pondering about new electronic energy systems in our smoky laboratory in the basement of Patton Hall.
Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1986
M.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, 1982
Dipl. Ing. Electrical Engineering, University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1976
American Electric Power Professor, Virginia Tech Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (2006-present)
Co-Director, NSF Engineering Research Center for Power Electronics Systems (1998-present)
Professor, Virginia Tech (1999-05)
Associate Director of Virginia Power Electronics Center, Virginia Tech (1996-98)
Associate Professor, Virginia Tech (1990-99)
Acting Head of the Institute for Power and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Technical Sciences, University of Novi Sad, Yugoslavia (1989-90)
Assistant Professor, University of Novi Sad, Yugoslavia (1986-90)
Assistant Head of the Institute for Power and Electronic Engineering, University of Novi Sad, Yugoslavia (1982)
Instructor, University of Novi Sad, Yugoslavia (1976-82)
ADVISORY BOARDS, COMMITTEES
Member, U.S. National Academy of Engineering (2014-present)
President, IEEE Power Electronics Society (2011-12)
IEEE Fellow (2006-present)
Member of ΦΚΦ Honor Society (1985-present)
Class of: 1986
Year Inducted into Academy: 2018