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A Black Man, Father of The Cell Phone?

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By William Reed

To this point, the economic growth leader of the 21st century is the wireless communications industry.  Millions of people regularly use cellular phones. With today’s cell phone, you can talk to anyone on the planet. Cell phones include: a compact speaker, microphone, keyboard, display screen, and a powerful circuit

board with microprocessors that make every phone a miniature computer. When connected to a wireless network, this bundle of modern-day technology allows you to make phone calls or exchange data with other phones and computers around the world.

Jesse Eugene Russell is an African-American inventor who brought the world cell phones.  Trained as an electrical engineer at Tennessee State University, at 63, Russell is recognized globally as a thought-leader, technology expert and innovator of wireless communications. He has more than 30 years experience in advanced wireless communications and is the recognized father of digital cellular technology. The Historically Black College and University (HBCU) graduate is former chief wireless architect for AT&T Bell Laboratories and served as chief technology officer for Lucent Wireless. An icon in the industry, Russell holds more than 75 patents in digital cellular technologies, dual-mode digital cellular phones and digital software radio. An American legend, in 1995 Russell was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering for “pioneering work in digital cellular communications technology.”

Russell’s innovations continue to spark the international economy.  The globe expects some 2.5 billion smartphones to be sold from 2010 to 2015. The main reason for cell phones’ popularity over the past 20 years is the faster and easier communications it provides. A cell phone is really a very sophisticated and versatile radio.  Much like a walkie-talkie, a cell phone receives and sends radio signals. Wireless networks operate on a grid that divides cities or regions into smaller cells. One cell might cover a few city blocks or up to 250 square miles. Every cell uses a set of radio frequencies or channels to provide service in its specific area. In each cell, there is a base station consisting of a wireless antenna and other radio equipment. The wireless antenna in each cell links callers into the local telephone network, the Internet or another wireless network.

African Americans can take pride in what Russell has achieved in the planet’s business advancements. From being honored by the Clinton administration for his work in cell phones and wireless communications, Russell continues to innovate, specifically in the next generation’s (4G) broadband wireless communication technologies, products, networks, and services. Rising from a disadvantaged background, Russell's career, and knowledge in wireless technology and standards advanced as he served in numerous high-level corporate positions; Director of the AT&T Cellular Telecommunication Laboratory (Bell Labs), Vice President of Advanced Wireless Technology Laboratory (Bell Labs), Chief Technical Officer for the Network Wireless Systems Business Unit (Bell Labs), Chief Wireless Architect of AT&T, and Vice President of Advanced Communications Technologies for AT&T Laboratories (formerly part of Bell Labs).  Russell’s early childhood was spent in economically and socially challenged neighborhoods within inner-city Nashville. Russell says a key turning point in his life was the opportunity to attend a summer educational program at Fisk University. It was here that Russell began his academic and intellectual pursuits. Russell continued his education at Tennessee State University where he focused on electrical engineering and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1972. An excellent example of “a Black achiever,” Russell was a top honor student in Tennessee State’s School of Engineering and became the first African American to be hired directly from an HBCU by AT&T’s Bell Laboratories and subsequently became the first African American to be selected as the Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Young Electrical Engineer of the Year in 1980.  Russell continues his personal and corporate leadership in the industry and is currently chairman and CEO of incNETWORKS.com, a New Jersey-based broadband wireless communications company focused on the next generation of broadband services (4G) broadband wireless communications technologies, networks and services.  (William Reed is Publisher of Who’s Who in Black Corporate America and available for speaking/seminar projects via BaileyGroup.org)

Written by: Precinct Reporter Group
 

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