We recently lost a great industry leader in Michael Hackworth. As co-founder and former president, CEO and chairman of the Board for Cirrus Logic, Mike pioneered the semiconductor industry's "fabless" movement.
Many recall his noteworthy line, playing off of Jerry Sander's remarks, that "real men don't need fabs." Mike was a Silicon Valley icon, and the Tech Museum's IMAX theater is named after him. Mike led Cirrus Logic to its meteoric rise in the late 80s and into the 1990s, and much of the company's current success is due to Mike's stewardship of the company as chairman.
My vote would be for two that never made your list: Both are well known in the field of wireless and signal processing.
1. Andrew Viterbi - the biggest name known in cell phones and Qualcomm. He was responsible for Forward Error Correction - a technique used today in every cell phone. Later as one of the partners of Qualcomm, he is a professor who not only developed equations but showed that CDMA is possible in practice.
2. Nikil Jayanth - currently teaches in Georgia tech but is one of the pioneers who made modern day digital communication possible in a variety of ways. Starting with the IS-54 TDMA cell phone standard way back in 1990 that led to the creation of GSM in Europe. Similarly MP3, HDTV and Audix voice storage used in all phones today.
These are unsung heros EE Times should list. I am sure a long list of their students, and industry leaders and business persons will support their candidature
Scott Adams - Many more engineers would be in jail for killing managers/marketers/accountants with a blunt spoon if it weren't for Dilbert. And I'm not even sure life would be worth living without Wally.
Cell phones, iPads, and GPS navigation seem to currently have more of a wow factor, but there are technologies that are so ubiquitous and integrated into society that they are almost overlooked. For example, barcode scanners, auto-pay gasoline pumps, and anti-lock brakes have all come into widespread use in the last 40 years, even if some of the prerequisite inventions came a bit earlier. Yet we have all but forgotten just how different checking out at a grocery was in 1972.
Nevertheless, the Internet is almost certainly the technology that historians will see as having the most profound effect. I truly believe it will be ranked close to the invention of writing in importance. Before about 5,000 years ago, information was exchanged by word of mouth. The invention of writing allowed society to accumulate information and pass it much more accurately, though to only a few poeple in each generation. The printing press made information available to far greater numbers of people. The Internet, in addition to making information available to most of the global population, is making searching for and accumulating information orders of magnitude faster.
The Other Tesla David Blaza5 comments I find myself going to Kickstarter and Indiegogo on a regular basis these days because they have become real innovation marketplaces. As far as I'm concerned, this is where a lot of cool ...