April 5-7, 2022|Santa Clara Convention Center| Santa Clara, CA

Vote for the 2021 Engineer of the Year

The time has come for the engineering community to cast your vote for the DesignCon 2021 Engineer of the Year. This award is given out each year during the DesignCon event and seeks to recognize the best of the best in engineering and new product advancements at the chip, board, or system level, with a special emphasis on signal integrity and power integrity.

For this year’s award, the winner (or his/her representative) will be able to direct a $1,000 donation to any secondary educational institution in the United States. The details on each nominee are below as provided in their published biographies and by the person/s who made the nomination.

Please cast your vote by following this link.

Voting closes at noon Pacific Time on Wednesday, June 30. The winner will be announced at DesignCon, August 16-18, 2021, at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, CA.

The four finalists for the 2021 DesignCon Engineer of the Year Award are:

Cathy Liu
Distinguished Engineer & Director, Broadcom

Dr. Cathy Ye Liu, distinguished engineer and director, currently heads up Broadcom SerDes architecture and modeling group. Previously she worked as R&D director and distinguished engineer in Avago/LSI which acquired Broadcom. Since 2002, she has been working on high-speed transceiver solutions. Prior to this, she developed read channel and mobile digital TV receiver solutions. Her technical interests are signal processing, FEC, and modeling in high-speed optical and electrical transceiver solutions. She has published many journal and conference papers and holds 20+ US patents.

Cathy is an active member of the DesignCon Technical Program Committee and has been a long-time co-chair for Track 09 “Measurement, Simulation & Optimization of Jitter, Noise & Timing to Minimize Errors.” Cathy has also been a member on the DesignCon Panel; "Case of the Closing Eye" for over 9 years in a row. She is very connected to the DesignCon community as an active presenter on many topics related to chip design.

This year at DesignCon, Cathy will be presenting her paper at the technical session, “Salz SNR & Shannon Limit Study for the Next Speed Node Beyond 112Gbps (& up to 224Gbps),” the tutorial “What is FEC & How Do I Use It?,” and on the panel “The Case of the Closing Eyes: Testing for 400G.


Casey Morrison
VP of Products, Astera Labs

Casey Morrison is an accomplished system engineer with a record of developing innovative products and system level improvements to advance the industry. He actively engages with customers, industry peers, and technologists to enable seamless adoption of next-generation technologies in hardware designs. Casey has been involved in work to guide the industry through the changes and progression from 10-Gbps Ethernet to 800-Gbps Ethernet and 8-Gbps PCI Express (PCIe) to 32-Gbps Compute Express Link (CXL).

Casey first presented at DesignCon in 2013 when he collaborated with early adopters of 25-Gbps Ethernet. Since then, he has authored multiple white papers on 50G/100G PAM-4 technologies that discuss practical aspects of Signal Integrity including AC coupling capacitors, end-to-end system simulations, EMI issues and real-life considerations of Link Training just to name a few. Casey is actively involved in facilitating the transition of evolving Ethernet standards into high volume products.

As with Ethernet, Casey is a leading authority on PCI Express and Compute Express Link. At DesignCon 2020, Casey presented a step-by-step “how-to” guide for defining, executing, and analyzing system level simulations for PCIe 5.0 Root Complex, Retimer and End point. Casey is actively working with the industry to deploy CXL 2.0 solutions at scale.

Casey has received various industry recognitions during his career and is a recipient of the Raj Gupta System/Marketing Excellence award for being the top-performing engineer when he worked at Texas Instruments.


Michael Schnecker
Business Development Manager, Rohde & Schwarz

Michael Schnecker’s experience in the test and measurement industry includes applications, sales and product development and specialization in signal integrity applications using oscilloscopes and other instruments. Prior to joining Rohde & Schwarz, Mike held positions at LeCroy and Tektronix. While at LeCroy, he was responsible for the deployment of the SDA series of serial data analyzers. Mike has more than two decades of experience working with oscilloscope measurements. His background in time and frequency domains provides him with unique insight into the challenges engineers face when testing high-speed systems for both power and signal integrity. Interacting with engineers in the industry daily has allowed Mike to master the ability to explain complex measurement science to engineers at any level. He also holds several patents, including methods and apparatus for analyzing serial data streams as well as coherent interleaved sampling. Thus, Mike is recognized as a thought leader and exceptional mentor in the signal and power integrity community.

Mike has a BS from Lehigh University and an MS from Georgia Tech, both in electrical engineering. His experience in the test and measurement industry includes applications, sales and product development and he has specialized in signal integrity applications using oscilloscopes and other instruments. Prior to joining Rohde & Schwarz, Mike held positions at LeCroy and Tektronix. While at LeCroy, he was responsible for the deployment of the SDA series of serial data analyzers.


Yuriy Shlepnev
President and Founder, Simberian

Yuriy Shlepnev is President and Founder of Simberian Inc., where he develops Simbeor electromagnetic signal integrity software. He received M.S. degree in radio engineering from Novosibirsk State Technical University in 1983, and the Ph.D. degree in computational electromagnetics from Siberian State University of Telecommunications and Informatics. He was principal developer of electromagnetic simulator for Eagleware Corporation and leading developer of electromagnetic software for simulation of signal and power distribution networks at Mentor Graphics. The results of his research are published in multiple papers and conference proceedings.

Yuriy conceived and brought to market a state-of-the art electromagnetic field solver tool suite and is considered an expert in his field and regularly posts teaching videos. He is a senior member of IEEE AP, MYY, EMC, and CPMT societies. He is also a Fellow of Kong’s Electromagnetics Academy and a member of the Applied Computational Electromagnetics Society (ACES).

Yuriy has been actively involved in the Technical Program Committee for DesignCon for many years and has served as track co-chair in the past.

Past Engineer of the Year Award Recipients

We have been pleased to honor these Engineer of the Year Award recipients

2020: Istvan Novak

Istvan Novak has single handedly helped the test and measurement industry develop completely new instruments and methods of measurement. A Life Fellow of the IEEE with 25 patents to his name, he has authored two books on power integrity, teaches signal and power integrity courses, and maintains a popular SI/PI website. He contributes to educating and helping engineers across the world with their SI/PI problems and actively mentors new engineers in his company. Istvan offers congratulations to all the finalists, saying that any one of them could have easily won the title.

Learn more about Istvan in an interview on DesignNews.com.

2019: Vishram Pandit

Vishram Pandit's goal is simple: Share knowledge with the technical community that will one day create the CPUs for next-generation cars, phones, and servers. He is well on his way to making that happen; to date he has co-authored a book on Power Integrity for I/O Interfaces, and is co-author of approximately 30 conference and journal publications, out of which 19 were presented at DesignCon. Those papers have received 3 best paper awards and 3 finalist awards. Vishram received the 2018 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the Signal and Power integrity field.

Learn more about Vishram in his interview with Design News.

2018: Dr. Mike Peng Li

After delivering 19 years’ worth of tutorials and technical papers at DesignCon, Mike Peng Li, Intel Corp. Fellow, says the conference has become part of him. Mike has published approximately 110 technical papers, has earned 30 patents, has been named an IEEE Fellow, and has guided thousands of engineers, scientists, and students with his books and tutorials, especially in the area of jitter.

Read an interview with Dr. Li to learn more about his exceptional career.

2017: Heidi Barnes

Heidi Barnes is well known for her ability to solve problems in the signal integrity (SI) and power integrity (PI) field for Fortune 500 companies. She was selected for the award, in part, because of her dedication to problem solving and enthusiasm for leading and collaborating with teams.

Read more about Heidi in an interview following the reception of her award.

2016: Dr. Eric Bogatin

Eric was invited to present at the first DesignCon back in 1991 and has been doing so ever since. He says that the two essential ingredients to effective teaching are understanding what is confusing to the student, and encouraging participation and engagement. To foster the latter, Eric is known, to everyone’s entertainment, for throwing chocolates out to students when they participate.

2015: Mike Steinberger

From communications analysis to IC design to microwave to software and more, Mike Steinberger has done a lot in his more than 30-year career. At the time of the award, Mike was responsible for leading SiSoft’s ongoing tool development effort for the design and analysis of serial links in the 5-30 Gbps range, and had been instrumental in the development of high speed digital backplanes at various industry leaders.