“The Next Generation Engineer”

John Volkman (Moderator)
Panelists: Allyson Peerman, Michael Webber, Melissa Lott

John Volkman

Tuesday, September 7, 2010
5:45 p.m. – Networking Reception
6:30 p.m. – Presentation

In the next 10-20 years, engineers around the world will be motivated and challenged to solve some of the world’s most significant social, environmental, and technological challenges. Challenges like curing disease; improving global safety and security; conserving energy resources; and resolving the world’s food and water crises. Undoubtedly, advances in these and other critical arenas will become the frontier for innovation in which all technology companies will compete in the future. Are we preparing our “next generation engineers” to adequately tackle these massive challenges?

Some experts in the field of education believe tomorrow’s engineers may not be well prepared for the tasks ahead. They are concerned that today’s engineers-in-training are primarily being taught to work in isolation to address “technology problems” without sufficient preparation for working in cross-disciplinary teams. In addition to strong STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills, they emphasize that next generation engineers across the globe will need—among other skills—to be multi-lingual, nimble and possess strong communications and advocacy skills to sell their ideas effectively.

The answer affects our future. These engineers represent the technology industry’s future labor force that will provide innovation, economic growth, and socio-political stability. As such, we have a vested interest in ensuring that our educational institutions, from middle schools upward, align classroom learning and real world situations by infusing 21st century skills. These include leadership, the ability to work collaboratively, strategic planning, communication proficiencies, critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and innovative thinking, languages, and a broad exposure to the world.


John Volkmann
John is AMD’s first Corporate Marketing Fellow. His responsibilities include advancing and coordinating the consistent execution of the company’s leadership agenda; defining and driving expanded executive communications programs; and participating in the positioning of strategic activities and announcements.

Melissa Lott

Michael Webber

Allyson Peerman








Melissa Lott, The University of Texas at Austin
Melissa is a dual-degree graduate student in Mechanical Engineering and Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. Her work includes a unique pairing of engineering and public policy in the field of energy systems research. Ms. Lott’s includes the development of Texas Interactive Power Simulator (TIPS), an interactive online teaching tool that illustrates the economic and environmental tradeoffs of electricity generation methods. Ms. Lott has worked for YarCom Inc. for six years as an engineer and consultant in energy systems and systems design. She previously worked for the Department of Energy and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Energy & Climate Change Team for the Obama Administration. She is a graduate of the University of California at Davis receiving a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biological Systems Engineering.

Michael Webber, The University of Texas at Austin
Michael is the Associate Director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy in the Jackson School of Geosciences, Fellow of the Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, where he trains a new generation of energy leaders through research and education.

Allyson Peerman, AMD
Allyson is AMD’s Global Vice President for Public Affairs responsible for government affairs, community affairs, and corporate responsibility efforts worldwide. Ms. Peerman oversees the company’s opinion matters, issues management, charitable giving, external affiliations, educational efforts, and corporate responsibility leadership. She is also president of the AMD Foundation.