STEM Professional of the week

Randal Sylvester, Ph.D.      
L-3 Communications

Randal Sylvester is no stranger to adversity. Having grown up with a young mother, who did her best to remain a strong figure in the household, Randal developed a strong work ethic from a young age. He began working at the dairy farm next to his home when he was 11 years old, waking up at three in the morning to milk cows for three hours then shower and catch the bus to school.

This prepared Randal to work hard to excel in school. Save for a few minor hiccups along the way, Randal continued to do everything he could to stay on top his schooling. He took advanced placement courses and still found the time to letter in football and in wrestling. And although he knew he had to go to college, he didn’t know what exactly he was going to study. Randal chose the University of Utah and received a full-tuition Honors at Entrance Scholarship that would require him to maintain a 3.6 grade point average. His freshman quarter proved to be a difficult one. Due to lack of confidence and other personal issue, Randal ended up with a 3.0 GPA, which led him to reevaluate his life and reignite the hard work ethic he once knew. Since that moment, Randal never dropped below a 3.6 GPA again and graduate Summa Cum Laude with a degree in electrical engineering. What followed next was Randal’s determination to continue his education at the University of Utah, eventually earning both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in the same discipline.

Dr. Sylvester is currently the Division Chief Technologist and Senior Fellow for L-3 Communications, a prime contractor in aerospace systems, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dr. Sylvester started his career at our company in 1985 after graduating with his bachelor’s degree. This last year, marked 30 years of leadership and technical contribution culminating in his very well-respected leadership and management of L-3’s yearly Internal Research and Development Program, which tallies a budget of $25M per year.  He has held his current position within the organization for over 10 years, and since he is a communications engineering specialist, they can simply turn over project ideas and the budget and allow Dr. Sylvester and their technical staff to conceive, design, build, test, and deliver new products as well as product improvements to our predominantly US Military Clients.  

Dr. Sylvester has provided free tutoring in math and science for many years. A recent experience that he had reinforces the need for good role models in STEM. He is very involved in the Salt Lake City academic community and is state-wide leader on matters of STEM employee shortages and University Engineering Curriculum Evolution and Funding.  

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