Update 10/7/2020: Michael Jensen, dean of the BYU Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, along with his business partner, former BYU Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty member David Arnold, have been named Entrepreneur of the Year® region winners by Ernst & Young. Get the details about the win here.
Michael Jensen, dean of the BYU Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, has been nominated for the 2020 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® award. Dean Jensen is an Entrepreneur of the Year® finalist for the Utah region along with his business partner, former BYU Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty member David Arnold.
Jensen and Arnold co-founded Wavetronix, a Utah-based company that provides innovative radar technology to make roads safer and more efficient, in 2000. Their achievements are recognized alongside the contributions of leaders from other Utah companies including Homie, Cotopaxi, Divvy and Pluralsight One.
Entrepreneur Of The Year®, founded by Ernst & Young, is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs. The program encourages entrepreneurial activity by recognizing the contribution of entrepreneurial leaders of high-growth companies who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only global awards program of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities and more than 60 countries.
Jensen and Arnold collaborated on research and curriculum during their time as faculty members in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department starting in 1994. They co-founded Wavetronix after an introduction by the BYU Technology Transfer office to an investment group interested in the capabilities developed through their research.
“Our research applied the revolutionary innovations fueling cellular telephone development to radar systems,” says Jensen. “When we applied those capabilities to the detection of vehicles, the high performance and reliability of our systems had the potential to save commute time and reduce accidents.”
For 20 years, Jensen has balanced his primary commitment to BYU alongside his entrepreneurial endeavors with Wavetronix.
"People often ask me why I'm still at BYU,” says Jensen. “BYU is a big part of who I am. It’s impossible to tweeze out elements of my life and career that have not been profoundly impacted by my BYU experiences as a student and as a faculty member. There’s nothing more rewarding than doing my small part to help improve our programs so that students can have those same life-changing experiences that are core to a BYU education.”
Jensen received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from BYU in 1990 and 1991, respectively, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1994. Since 1994, he has been an Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty member. From 2006 to 2012 he served as Electrical and Computer Engineering chair. He began his five-year term as dean of the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering in 2016.
Jensen’s entrepreneurial background is a perfect match for BYU Engineering’s unique focus on mentored student learning. With the college’s entrepreneurial-minded programs like Student Innovator of the Year, and experiential programs supported by the Weidman Center and by endowments from prominent alumni and friends of the college such as King Husein and the college’s namesake, Ira A. Fulton, students graduate with confidence in their ability to promote positive change through leadership, ethics and innovation.
“Being entrepreneurial isn’t just about starting a company,” says Jensen. “It is about being creative, resilient, and using engineering skills to solve problems beyond technical hurdles. I hope our students take advantage of the college’s programs designed to help them develop these skills.”
Entrepreneur Of The Year® regional finalists were selected by a panel of independent judges. Award winners will be announced at a virtual celebration on October 6th.