This post is part of an ongoing series. Meet Skillpoint, where you will hear from the people behind our work to build human capital in Central Texas.
Skillpoint is happy to introduce the newest member to our board of directors, Alessandro Piovacarri. Alessandro currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Engineering and CTO at Silicon Labs. After joining the company in 2003, he successfully designed the company’s single-chip FM radio products, as well as co-created the single-chip TV Tuner IC, used by the world’s top ten TV makers. Previously, Alessandro worked as a research scientist to develop CMOS image scensors, and later worked in design, focusing on high speed SerDes IP development. Alessandro received Laurea and PhD degrees in electronic engineering and computer science from the University of Bologna in Italy and a Post-Master’s Certificate with Honors in electrical engineering from John Hopkins University. He currently holds 38 patents and is also a Senior Member of IEEE and a full member of AES. We are thrilled to add Alessandro’s technology experience and dedication to our board!
Recently, we asked Piovaccari what drives his passion to be involved with Skillpoint. Read more below:
What piqued your interest about Skillpoint?
I am an engineer and even before then I am a scientist. I come from a family of modest origins and I am the first person obtaining a graduate degree in my whole extended family. I worked very hard, but I also believe I owe a lot of my achievement to all the wonderful people I met in my path – both in Italy (my native country) and the US, and the great help and mentorship I received from them. I also think that this help and mentorship has been a privilege and it is not at the reach of everybody, and Skillpoint is trying to make a difference in this situation. That is why I decided to join this board. It is a very important matter to me.
In 2015, Austin was ranked the #2 fastest growing city in the U.S. We’re also ranked the #1 economically segregated city in the nation. For you personally, what are the most important issues we – as a community – need to focus on to close the gap in our city?
After I moved from my hometown, I lived in many cities before Austin, but I lived in Austin the longest and I consider it my home. It is my home because I love its mix of strong entrepreneurship with love for the humanities, from the engineering and science to the great music and the outdoors, and a great University. It is a city where it is easy to live in and find your true self. A mix of cultures that generally blend quite well, and that is really unique. I love the fact there are thousands of people moving in the city every month bringing something new. As any modern city we need to evolve in something but at the same time I wish we would not completely lose our identity-what made Austin so unique. That is why it is so important we keep closing the gap.
How have you seen increased opportunity to STEM education and/or workforce development positively affect people’s lives in your sphere of influence?
We live in an era of pervasive mobile computing, and increasingly many of the electronic “things” in our daily lives – thermostats, wearable tech, security sensors, smart meters, digital lights and more – are becoming connected to a growing web of intelligence known as the Internet of Things (IoT). At the heart of these IoT connected devices are advanced microelectronic components — microcontrollers, sensors and wireless chips — that are very complex but actually easy for today’s tech-savvy younger generation to understand and use. The IoT presents a unique opportunity for creative young minds to innovate and deliver breakthrough technologies that will transform our lives for the better. Our investments in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education are paying dividends by inspiring a new generation of “makers” and inventors.
How do you hope to make a positive impact in our city through your work on Skillpoint’s board?
As a member of the Skillpoint board, I believe I can help energize and inspire our community to be more entrepreneurial and take advantage of Austin’s incredible wealth of creativity and innovation. There is so much we can all do to enhance our quality of life, from STEM education to empowerment, from more efficient public transportation to improved livability. We have the homegrown talent and resources to address the challenges ahead, and I’m delighted to help play a role in Austin’s evolution as one of the great cities of the world.
If you would like to connect with Alessandro, you can find him on LinkedIn.