Oral-History:Joel Engel


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About Joel Engel

Engel received his BS in Electrical Engineering from City College, his Masters from MIT, and his PhD from Brooklyn Polytechnic (1964). His career was largely at Bell Labs from 1959 to 1983. His first major work was on mobile telephone systems engineering; in 1969-72, with Phil Porter and Dick Frenkiel he came up with the basic plan for cellular, mobile radio/telephone communications, Advanced Mobile Phone System, presented by AT&T and accepted by the FCC—though not actually put into national use until the 1980s. He spent two years working on regulatory policy in AT&T’s corporate planning department, then returned to Bell Labs, 1975-83. There he did research on videotext services and energy management systems. From 1983 to 1987 he was VP of engineering, and then of R&D, for Satellite Business Systems (SBS), working on high-speed data and voice communications via satellite. He then moved to Ameritech, providing joint R&D for various Bell successor companies, where he set up their new laboratories. While there, Ameritech did much development of digital, fiber optic, e-mail, and voice messaging technologies. He discusses the effect of the Bell divestiture on research and speculates on the future of the communications industry. Engel has received the Alexander Graham Bell Medal of the IEEE (1987) and the National Medal of Technology (1994).

About the Interview

JOEL ENGEL:An Interview Conducted by David Hochfelder, Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, 30 September 1999

Interview #366 for the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, Rutgers - the State University, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:
Joel Engel, an oral history conducted in 1999 by David Hochfelder, IEEE History Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.