John Olson began his relationship with SESHA in the spring of 1985 when he was contacted by Ted Bielli (then SSA President) to determine his interest in having his Masters Degree candidates participate in a fledgling scholarship program under development by the association. During the years that followed, students from Wisconsin-Stout, in competition with scholarship candidates from other Master’s programs, have received numerous scholarships from SESHA and have placed first in the scholarship paper presentations.
John’s engaging personality, straight out of the Midwest, endears him to students from all over the nation, an attribute that is evident whenever he has coordinated a student event at a SESHA function. His sincerity and willingness to help every student comes through loud and clear. John has always been ready to lend a helping hand with a student’s resume and to comfort a speaker who was experiencing their first case of stage fright.
During his tenure with SESHA, John has established a reputation as a man who is one hundred percent committed to the educational programs. He has never hesitated to volunteer his time and expertise to help promote the continued growth and development of the student activities. He served as the chair of the academic committee for over ten years and many of the SESHA academic programs that we may take for granted today were developed and nurtured during John Olson’s chairmanship. For example, SESHA embarked on lecture tours of college campuses to inform students of the challenges and opportunities awaiting them in the semiconductor industry. Under John’s leadership, Wisconsin-Stout was always well represented. The academic committee identified additional domestic colleges and universities to join the program and John helped to recruit professors to champion the process at their respective schools. When SESHA established an international outreach program to encourage students from around the world to join in the educational programs, John was the natural selection for an ambassador to spread the word about the association.
Although John justifiably considers the SESHA Academic program as “his baby,” he is the first one to emphasize that an academic undertaking of the magnitude of the SSA program takes support, cooperation and team work from every member of the academic committee. John is a true mentor who instills the “can-do” spirit into the minds of our industry’s future ESH leaders. John was elected to SESHA fellowship in 1998 and was the 2002 recipient of the SESHA Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication and service to the profession and association.