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2014 Awards presented to 2 ECE alums

Two ECE alumni will be recognized at the College of Engineering’s 17th Annual Excellence in Engineering and Architecture Alumni Awards for 2014. The awards will be presented Homecoming weekend.

Dr. William C.Y. Lee (MS ’60, PhD ’63, electrical engineering) will receive the college’s Lifetime Achievement Award for leadership in the field of cellular telecommunications.

Lee is one of the founding pioneers of wireless communications. He has more than 40 years of experience in the industry, along with 35 patents with 5 more pending, and is a leading scholar in wireless technologies.  After receiving his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from The Ohio State University in 1963, he spent 15 years at Bell Labs as one of the lead developers of the advanced wireless system, AMPS, and created the widely used “Lee model” for wireless signal propagation.  Subsequently, he joined the ITT Defense Communications Division where he headed the advanced mobile communications system.

In 1990-91, Dr. Lee invented, patented, and deployed a new microcell system that increased radio capacity by 2.5 times over conventional systems. This invented system was the first distributed antenna system deployed in Los Angeles and San Diego. As a leader in personal communications network (PCN) technology,  Dr. Lee led the team that won the PCN license in the UK for PacTel. He also headed up the application of PacTel’s PCS experimental trial in 1993.   In addition, Dr. Lee went on to assist Qualcomm in the development of their CDMA technologies.  It was also under his leadership that the first CDMA commercial system was completed in 1995.

Dr. Lee formerly served as co-chairman of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Associate (CTIA) ARTS Committee, which initiated the selection of the 2G Standard System for The United States.  His previous positions also included Chief Scientist and Vice President of Vodafone AirTouch PLC and Chairman of Linkair Communications Inc.  Now he is the honorary dean of School of Advanced Communications, Peking University, China.

Dr. Lee has been elected as an IEEE Fellow and has served as a member of numerous councils, including the California State Council on Science and Technology, the US Council on Competitiveness, and the FCC Technical Advisory Council.

He has earned many prestigious awards, including the IEEE Vehicular Transportation Society (VTS) Avant Garde Award, the CT.I.A. Award, the CDMA Industry Achievement Award, A Bell Lab Service Award, the IEEE Third Millennium Medal Award and, most recently, the IEEE VTS Hall of Fame Award.  He is the distinguished alumnus of The Ohio State University and the honorary professors of three universities in China.  Dr. Lee has published more than 300 articles and seven textbooks on wireless communications.

In addition, the college recognized Maria Martinez (MS ‘81, electrical engineering) with a Distinguished Alumni Award for outstanding professional achievement signified by an important invention, notable research or design, administrative leadership, or genius in production.

Martinez is the President of the Global Customer Success organization at, responsible for helping customers achieve unprecedented business value with solutions. Her organization is responsible for customer on-boarding, architecture services, consulting services, training, product adoption, technical support and contract renewals.

She has more than 30 years of experience in business and technology leadership roles. She joined from Microsoft, where she was the Corporate Vice President of their Global Services & Support business. Prior to Microsoft, Martinez was President and CEO of Embrace Networks, the Vice President of Cellular Infrastructure at Motorola and the Department Head at AT&T Bell Labs. 

Martinez is passionate about customer success, supporting her employees' career development and philanthropy. She has focused her philanthropic energy on inspiring girls to pursue careers in technology and enabling veterans to enter the civilian workforce. In 2014, she was named one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology by the National Diversity Council.

She has a Master’s degree in computer engineering from Ohio State University and a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico.