IBM distinguishes engineers

IBM has added 63 more people to the ranks of its Distinguished Engineers program, a designation that includes only 388 of the company's 195,000 technical employees.

The program is a way for the company to elevate employees who are inventors, hold patents and are recognized experts in their respective fields, according to Sharon Nunes, IBM's vice president of technology.

“These people are really senior technical experts in their field," she said. "It’s kind of the pinnacle of a lot of technical work.” Engineers are considered equal in rank to senior managers, she said. They must go through a rigorous selection process, starting with a nomination from managers.

“We expect them to be well respected in the technical community," Nunes said. "They should be bringing others up and mentoring them."

The program is 10 years old, she said, and started when IBM was trying to strengthen its focus on customers.

“We were crawling out of the dark days where there was a lot of concern about whether the company was going to survive," she said. "We were changing the face of the company to be more outward-facing toward our clients. We recognized the need of having senior leaders out working with our clients.”

Michael Mott, one of the newly designated Distinguished Engineers, came to IBM last year from Boeing, where he held a similar position as a technical fellow, works on satellite technology projects.

Mott, who serves as an executive vice president in IBM Federal, said he was drawn to IBM because of the company's emphasis on research, among other reasons.

“We have the intellectual capital to transform ourselves," he said.

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