The Michigan Engineer News Center

ECE Alumnus Kevin Johnson receives IEEE-USA Award

This award is given to those for Distinguished Public Service that is expected to help tech employees| Short Read
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Kevin Johnson (BSE EE) received the IEEE-USA Award for Distinguished Public Service “For sustained leadership in furthering reform of noncompete agreements in employment contracts.”

The IEEE-USA award honors individuals not currently in the practice of engineering for contributions to furthering the professional goals of IEEE in the United States.

Kevin is working along with the New England Venture Capital Association on legislation to help employees and the Massachusetts economy by banning noncompete agreements. He says that these agreements reduce Massachusetts employee job mobility and income.

To put this work in perspective, California’s ban on noncompetes helped that state increase its share of U.S. VC investment to almost 50% from about 30% in 1995.

A New York Times article that describes Kevin’s efforts says “an estimated 30 million Americans – nearly one fifth of the nation’s work force – are hobbled by so-called noncompete agreements, fine print in their employment contracts that keeps them from working for corporate rivals in their next job.”1

He became involved in the cause of combatting noncompete agreements after his child was required to sign a 1-year noncompete agreement in order to take a 3-month college summer job.

With his MBA from Harvard, Kevin has worked at several tech companies in sales, and founded three companies. The most recent is called Common Commute, which he says “makes commute sharing stupid simple.”

Read more about Kevin Johnson’s role in taking down noncompete pacts in Massachusetts:

1 To Compete Better, States Are Trying to Curb Noncompete Pacts, by Steve Lohr, The New York Times, June 28, 2016.

Laid-off with a non-compete? Bill would guarantee salary, by Patrick Thibodeau, Computerworld, June 15, 2016.

Why EMC Employees Are Forming a ‘Pop-Up’ Union to Take Down Noncompetes, by Dylan Martin,BostInno, June 16, 2016.


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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

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