Thomas Isenburg MSEE '93


Apractical geek for aeronautics and electronics, Tom has always been enthralled with flight and aircraft: "I wanted to build and fly airplanes."


Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he moved to New Jersey, Florida, and the Middle East. He was enrolled in college for one year in 1963, then left to join the Marine Corps, in which he served until 1968. He then returned to college and married Linda, his next-door neighbor in Cleveland and friend for over 20 years.


Tom's major hobby is woodworking: "Most all of the furniture in our homes we made with various families of wood. My wife would come up with the idea, and I would design and build it," he noted.


Tom has had the privilege of working at many companies. He started at Hughes Aircraft while he was a Master of Science student at USC studying aerospace systems and safety projects. For thirty years, he worked at Applied Technology Inc, designing and building aircraft warning systems. Dr. John Grigsby, the founder of Applied Technology, suggested that he complement his aerospace degrees with an electrical degree specializing in microwave technology. That is how he learned about NPU, explaining, "Dr. John knew Dr. Barbara Brown and the work she and Dr. Ramsey Carter did to get NPU launched. Thanks to Dr. John for encouraging me to pursue my MSEE at NPU." His previous roles and degree earned from NPU landed him a new career in networking at 3Com, Juniper Networks, and Infinera.


(May 1992: From right, Mr. Thomas Isenburg along with other graduates and Dr. George Hsieh)


The first of three people who have made a true and measurable impact in Tom’s life is his wife Linda: "She always pressed for education and growth in technology, but intended to succeed by working with and leading people.” The second is Dr. John Grigsby, founder and President of Applied Technology, who pressed for continuing education and the ability to work with technical and non-technical employees and customers to a successful design and sale. The third is Dr. George Hsieh, former president of NPU. Dr. Hsieh worked with Professor Wang and Dr. Bruce Sun to develop class instructions and handbooks for microwave and radar technologies. Tom recalls, "He would show up at our classes and always ask each student to explain how the class material would be applied to the students’ current or next job."


“Always move forward in life and work by expecting nothing and appreciating everything.”


Tom believes that leadership means "understanding the capability of employees and each team member." This helps employees to achieve organizational goals by guiding them with tasks that lead to success.


After almost 50 years in technology-based companies, Tom retired in 2017. He explains, "It might be the best time to retire and do woodworking. Have fun with the grandkids, as well as monthly meet-ups with former employees to talk over new technologies, just for fun."


So, where does Tom see himself in 10 years? To that question, he responds, "Attending grandkids’ college and high school graduations. Keeping up-to-date on technology and companies I worked with in the past, and staying mentally and physically active. Heck. I am only 75 years old."