NADER NAJAFI:
 
ALEX BURKULAS




 
 
 
 
 
CEO and President, Integrated Sensing Systems Inc. (ISSYS) in Ypsilanti, which designs, develops, manufactures, and commercializes innovative products based on high performance microelectromechanical systems. Markets include industrial, medical, fuel cell, and other alternative energy applications. Products are created to provide the highest accuracy, fit the smallest sizes, and have unmatched biocompatibility and corrosion resistance. Najafi founded ISSYS in 1995 and has been leading its growth for the past 14 years. Prior to founding ISSYS, Najafi worked at IBM in Burlington, Vt. He was also assigned by IBM to be a member of the Project Technical Advisory Board (PTAB) of the SEMATECH Sensor/Actuator Sensor Bus Project. He has authored nine patents and has more than 20 pending in addition to more than 55 publications, including three book chapters, and has given many technical presentations. He was the first elected chairman of the Industrial Advisory Board of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Integrated Microsystems at the University of Michigan. He also participates in many local and national activities. These include serving on the blue ribbon 2003 selection committee panel for the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center program, being a member of the advisory board for the Michigan Small Tech Association, and serving as a director of the Michigan Microsystems Alliance. Najafi also was co-founder and president of the nonprofit Michigan High-Tech CEO Alliance. An independent action forum for CEOs of high technology-based companies in Michigan, the Alliance brings a CEO/hi-tech presence to issues of business capitalization, job creation, and government policy. Najafi has a doctorate and master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan.


WHERE BORN: "Asfahan, Iran."

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: "My PSA advisor, Professor Ken Wise. More than anything else, he showed me how to be a good businessman and work within my moral and ethical boundaries."

LAST BOOK READ: "I always read multiple books. One is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: "Honest, hardworking, and gets things done."

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: "In general, we’re at a threshold of becoming a dominant technology. A great deal of academic intellectual properties are available and only a fraction have been converted to actual products. We’re bringing a highly enabling technology from technical papers to actual products at a high system level so they can impact people’s lives and manufacturing technologies."

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: "My iPhone."

FAVORITE PLACE: "Mountains, I love mountains."

FAVORITE HOBBIES: "Reading."

FAVORITE FOOD: "Fresh fruits."

MY HIDDEN TALENT: "I know more about psychology than I know about engineering."

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: "Without any cursing. Loving and respectful."


At the annual awards reception in May 2015, one Leader & Innovator from the previous 12 months will be selected as the Leader & Innovator of the Year.