In his winter commencement address Dec. 16 at the University of Missouri-Rolla, David Wisherd talked about using technology to create wealth.
“I am not referring to personal wealth,” Wisherd said. “I am speaking about the unique opportunity those of us in the pursuit of engineering and sciences have to add materially to the well-being of society as a whole.”
Wisherd is chairman of the board of WhereNet, a wireless resource management company in Santa Clara, Calif. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UMR in 1969.
UMR awarded Wisherd an honorary doctorate during commencement ceremonies.
In his address, Wisherd described how factory jobs spread out from large cities like St. Louis into rural areas like Rolla a century ago. In the same way, according to Wisherd, those jobs are now moving to places like China.
Meanwhile, new jobs in wireless communication and business information systems are being created in the United States to help replace jobs lost overseas, Wisherd said.
Wisherd urged the new graduates to consider doing “something technically creative, especially while your education is still fresh.”
Wisherd founded WhereNet (formerly WiData) in 1997. WhereNet develops, manufactures and markets a wireless resource management system used for tracking inventory, monitoring job orders and maintaining equipment.
Previously, Wisherd helped start Spectrian Corp., which designs and manufactures power amplifiers for use in cellular telephones. Prior to co-founding Spectrian in Sunnyvale, Calif., Wisherd held engineering and management positions with various companies throughout the country.
In 1995, Wisherd contributed to UMR’s Emerson Hall project in order to name the Gabriel G. Skitek Electromagnetics Laboratory after one of his favorite professors. A member of the university’s Order of the Golden Shillelagh, Wisherd established the David S. Wisherd Endowed Scholarship at UMR in 1996.
UMR awarded Wisherd an honorary professional degree in electrical engineering in 1999.