Alan Michaels elected fellow of the National Academy of Inventors
Alan Michaels, director of the Spectrum Dominance Division at the National Security Institute and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).
Michaels will join an elite group of NAI fellows at the university, one of those being Virginia Tech President Tim Sands and the other X.J. Meng, University Distinguished Professor of molecular virology.
“I’m honored to welcome another electrical engineer as a fellow into the National Academy of Inventors,” Sands said. “Dr. Michaels has spent the majority of his career contributing to the welfare of society through his work in cybersecurity and continues to inspire others to do the same. His dedication to innovation in secure communications is demonstrated by the number of projects he leads, including through his role as director of the Spectrum Dominance Division at the National Security Institute.”
Michaels is the inventor of 44 awarded U.S. patents with approximately 80 more international issuances. In addition, his patents have been licensed to six companies and directly to the U.S. government. Soon, he will be adding the Ford Motor Co. to that list through a joint submission with Virginia Tech that brings enhanced security to intra-vehicle communications.
Outside of Virginia Tech, Michaels is best known as a software-defined radio (SDR) architect and an expert in the area of secure communications. His experience in developing and ensuring the communication capabilities of the military, while limiting the communication capabilities of adversaries, also relates directly to the work he does as the director of the Spectrum Dominance Division at the National Security Institute.
Thanks to Michaels’ leadership, the group now hosts 15 faculty members and more than 150 students. He is also the professor behind the university’s Vertically-Integrated Projects (VIPs), a multidisciplinary experiential learning model adapted to the university’s infrastructure from the international VIP consortium for the intelligence community and Department of Defense. These VIP programs prepare Virginia Tech students for a diverse set of careers in both industry and government.
Michaels was nominated by Glenn Kurowski, senior vice president and chief technology officer for CACI.
“Alan is key to our CACI Virginia Tech Scholar and Research Development Program, an undergraduate program designed to engage some of the brightest minds into digital signal processing (DSP), as well as the driving force to establish experiential learning and workforce development programs at the Hume Center," said Kurowski. “His passion creates student engagement, and engagement leads to student success. We are ecstatic to be partnering and leading students into DSP, R&D, and a career in industry.”
The National Academy of Inventors was founded in 2010 “to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.”
NAI fellows hold more than 48,000 issued U.S. patents, which have generated over 13,000 licensed technologies and companies and created more than one million jobs. In addition, over $3 trillion in revenue has been generated based on NAI fellow discoveries.
Michaels is no stranger to revenue-based outcomes. His doctoral research at Georgia Institute of Technology resulted in 28 associated patents alone, which helped improve military challenges in secure communications.
Joining Michaels at the induction ceremony is the remainder of the 2021 NAI fellow class. These respected inventors hail from 116 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes worldwide. Collectively, they hold more than 4,800 issued U.S. patents. Among the new class of fellows are 33 members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and three Nobel Laureates, and fellows hold a variety of other honors and distinctions. Their collective body of research and entrepreneurship covers a broad range of scientific disciplines involved with technology transfer of their inventions for the benefit of society.
Michaels will be recognized at the induction ceremony during the annual conference of the National Academy of Inventors in Phoenix on June 15.
Michaels, an Atlanta native, earned a bachelor's degree, master's degree, and a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering; a bachelor's degree and master's degree in applied mathematics; and a master's degree in operations research from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He also holds an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University.
He is a professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and an early member of the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology, joining Virginia Tech in 2015. Michaels also serves as the associate director for research and innovation for the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) in Southwest Virginia, where he develops plans for the research direction of the node, engages faculty in research collaboration, and advances the strategic direction of CCI in Southwest Virginia.
Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Michaels served 10 years with the Harris Corporation as a researcher, senior engineering manager, advanced program lead for R&D technology, and systems engineer.