Distinguished Alumni Awards

James J. Mikulski

James J. Mikulski
To James J. Milulski for his outstanding contributions to wireless communication systems.

Corporate Vice President, Senior Director, Corporate Research Laboratories, Motorola, Inc., Schaumburg, Illinois

  • BS, 1955, Fournier Institute of Technology
  • MS, 1956, California Institute of Technology
  • PhD, 1959, Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois

No individual has had more impact than James Mikulski on today's private cellular and public land mobile radio systems, which represents one of the great engineering achievements of the late 20th century. Having seen very early the potential of cellular technology, he was a major influence in Motorola's decision to enter this business. He invented key components and led the development of the overall system architecture of the DynaTAC Technology embodied in the first widely used hand-held cellular radiotelephone systems, which are now commonplace. Cellular use continues to grow 30% to 50% per year in the United States and many other countries throughout the world. He also led the development of Motorola's pioneering trunked multichannel radio systems, which have revolutionized the private land mobile radio service. In the past two decades, he has contributed to the building of a central corporate research laboratory that has made important contributions not only to Motorola's wireless products and systems but also to numerous national and international standards. Like those visionaries of early times who developed the world's power systems and telephone networks, Mikulski is a person whose pioneering technological contributions have changed our lives.

After graduating, he was a member of the technical staff at M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory for six years, working in the areas of radar systems and ballistic missile detection. Joining Motorola in 1965, his early assignments were senior technical positions in the Government Electronics Division and in the research laboratory of the Communications Division. Twenty years ago he was part of the group that was assigned to form a Corporate Research Laboratory at Motorola having specific responsibility for the formation of a corporate systems research laboratory. He was an important contributor to the development of the 800-MHz radio spectrum for land mobile and cellular radio systems, to Motorola's proposal for and implementation of portable cellular radiotelephone systems, and to the implementation of trunked radio systems for the specialized mobile radio service in private land mobile radio. He contributed to the development of standards for cellular systems in the United Kingdom and Japan based upon the U.S. standard, which was especially significant in opening the Japanese market to U.S. products. Mikulski was instrumental in Motorola's development of systems and equipment for the European cellular system and in having Motorola's speech compression technology accepted as the standard in that system.

Now serving Motorola as corporate vice president and senior director, Corporate Research Laboratories, Mikulski is responsible for all Midwest-based corporate research and for the development of new research labs in Sydney, Australia, and Paris, France. Mikulski is a fellow member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a Dan Noble Fellow of Motorola, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Current as of 1998.