November 10, 2009 — James Truchard, president, CEO, and co-founder of National Instruments delivered a Bradley Distinguished Lecture on Nov. 6. National Instruments, of Austin, Texas, is best known for pioneering technologies, such as LabVIEW, for measurement and automation applications. Truchard’s lecture was titled, “Graphical Systems Design: Innovative Technologies for Engineers and Scientists.”
Truchard co-founded National Instruments in 1976. Since then, the company has grown steadily from three to more than 4,500 employees worldwide. In recognition of National Instruments’ solid business strategy, steady growth, and relaxed workplace environment, Fortune magazine has named National Instruments as one of the “Top 100 Best Companies to Work For” in the United States for the past eight years. In 2009, Fortune cited one employee saying, “Flip-flops and shorts five days a week? Sure. Happy hour with cold beer on the deck? No problem.”
In 1986, Truchard invented LabVIEW with Jeff Kodosky. LabVIEW allows researchers to quickly and intuitively build custom solutions for measurement and automation. Odin, Virginia Tech’s entry in the DARPA Urban Challenge, was developed using LabVIEW and won third-place and $500,000.
LabVIEW is used extensively in Virginia Tech’s ECE research and teaching activities. For example, the Configurable Computing Laboratory and the CPES Living Lab for Future Energy Sustainable Home use LabVIEW, as do the department’s undergraduate electronics laboratories.
Truchard received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and his M.S. and B.S. in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. He is one of 156 Texans to have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, was named one of the best CEOs in Worth Magazine for three consecutive years, and has received countless other awards.
James Truchard (left front) visited with engineering education students to discuss their use of LabView in their studies.