Alumni Spotlight: Jerry Higgs

Jerry Higgs, IEM Alumni, AT&T Engineer in Palo Alto, CA. Jerry Higgs IEM Spotlight October 2013

Meet Jerry. He's an senior development engineer with AT&T. He works in Palo Alto, CA. He just moved there about 3 months ago and credits his advancement to what he calls the "cutting edge forward thinking culture of IEM." 

Here's the interview:

IEM: Describe yourself. Who are you, what do you do?
Jerry: I am a modern day explorer. I like to investigate & learn. I live in Palo Alto, CA. I am a senior development engineer working in the ecosystem and innovation chamber. 

IEM: How did you end up at IEM? What affect did IEM have on your career?
Jerry: I started out at the University of Alabama getting my bachelors degree. I wanted an MBA, but with technology. I had a professor there recommend the IEM degree, so I came and met with Dr. Callahan. After I talked with him, [I signed up.] I didn't realize at the time how state-of-the-art and forward looking IEM was until I got to the Bay Area and I was so prepared for the innovative environment. At IEM I was taught the same concepts as what they expect out here. Moving outside the norms and being creative is what we use here--and that's the same as IEM. 

IEM: What are some of your favorite memories of IEM?
Jerry: Many school-things don't relate to what you need in the workplace. IEM is structured to put you in real life situations with real business people. You learn to manage and operate in the real world when you leave. It goes against the culture of the South--but it's on the cutting edge of what we need here on the west coast. The culture of the South makes it hard to quantify the value of the way IEM thinks and operates, but I get regular recruitment requests because of the value IEM gave me. It's exciting and compelling. There's a shortage of qualified engineers and IEM is very important in getting people out of their comfort zone to be what this field needs. 

IEM: What advice or suggestions to you have for other people considering IEM?
Jerry: IEM made it possible for me to go from a Masters to PhD. The projects they assign help me manage the complex engineering problems I face here in Palo Alto. There's a shortage of engineers that can manage projects. So few can bring a project to completion. IEM trains you to do that. 

IEM: What book are you reading right now? 
Jerry: I read so many technical books with my job that I like to read "Just fun" books, I just ordered "Wild at Heart" by John Eldredge. I haven't read it yet, it just arrived. 

IEM: Share with us a random fact about you. 
Jerry: My favorite color is black, and I love to watch cartoons with my two little girls, Gabrielle and Zoe.

IEM: If someone is new to Birmingham, what should they be sure to see while they are here?
Jerry: The Civil Rights Museum. It's neat to see where Birmingham was compared to where it is now. Also Regions Stadium.

IEM: We are so excited you're doing so well in Palo Alto. Thank you Jerry for talking with us and please keep in touch!
Jerry: Thank you.

IEM will be in touch with Jerry to see what new and innovative things his new position out in California brings for him. We are sure to update all of our readers here at IEM News with the latest. 

You can get in touch with Jerry and learn more about what he's doing at AT&T here.

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