By Nicole Capozziello
Published June 2, 2022
At last month’s commencement, computer science alumna Dinah Gueldenpfennig Weisberg returned to the University at Buffalo to accept the Dean’s Achievement Award and address the Class of 2022.
The Dean’s Award for Achievement is the highest honor presented by the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and recognizes one individual annually for their contributions to the practice of engineering and/or their outstanding professional career.
“Dinah is an exceptional strategic leader and visionary who is committed to creating effective corporate cultures as a catalyst for excellence,” says Kemper Lewis, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “I’m happy to be able to honor Dinah for her substantial and sustained contributions to the practice of engineering, most notably in secure and reliable communications technology.”
Weisberg earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science in 1987 from the University at Buffalo, and a Master of Science in software development and management and an executive MBA, both from Rochester Institute of Technology. During her speech, she said, “Through the computer science program, I developed strong critical thinking, analytical and development skills, which have formed the basis for much of what I’ve accomplished. I feel quite strongly that had I not had that initial focus on technology, I would not be where I am today.”
Weisberg is currently the chief executive officer and president of REDCOM Laboratories Inc., a developer of specialized communications software and hardware based outside of Rochester, N.Y.
Weisberg has spent her entire career at REDCOM, starting as a summer intern in 1986, then moving into the development group as a software engineer in 1988. She held several senior roles in the engineering department through 2004, when she was promoted to vice president of planning and government program administration, in which she led the group responsible for government and military engagement. In 2012, Weisberg was promoted to executive vice president, and in January 2017 she became the company’s president.
“The support of this college - the professors and my colleagues and friends - as I worked through this program so many years ago helped me get to this point,” said Weisberg, who since coming into the role of CEO and president has overseen instrumental changes at REDCOM, particularly around company culture and strategic vision.
When addressing the Class of 2022, Weisberg drew inspiration from one of her passions: race car driving. “Look to where you want to be, because that is where your car, and life, will go,” Weisberg told the audience. “If you focus on what went wrong in the past, you can’t set yourself up to do the best for what is facing you, and that comes up faster than you think.”
She also advised the graduates to hone their instincts and trust themselves, despite their highly analytical engineering minds. “Don’t let yourself get endlessly tied up in the process of trying to decide. In racing and in business, you often won’t have time. Sometimes you must make a split-second decision and go with it, because your instinct is often your strongest guiding principle, and the more you use it, the better it will get,” she said.
She told the audience, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. We can’t grow unless we challenge ourselves, make a few mistakes, learn from them, and move on.”
An experienced and natural leader, Weisberg also acknowledged the role of engineers as a collective in advancing society. “The world will not evolve without engineers of various disciplines to figure things out and solve problems.”