Alumni Stories: David Whitley

David Whitley had an interest in all things electronic from an early age, and now he’s giving back to the University where he got started.

“All of my professional success is completely attributable to the knowledge, experience and life-changing events which happened while at NC State. To be able to give back to my beloved university, after it has afforded me so much, is beyond satisfying for us both.”
—David Whitley

David Whitley had an interest in all things electronic from an early age.

“Whether it was the very first Atari game system, the first electronic calculator that my father brought home from work or my very first computer (a Radio Shack TRS-80), it completely fascinated me how these devices worked,” said Whitley, a 1992 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

Through a recruiting event held by Eta Kappa Nu electrical and computer engineering honor society, where Whitley served as recording secretary, he was offered a job as a consultant for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). It was here he worked with software development as a programmer on large-scale custom applications development programs.

Whitley left Andersen Consulting in the late 90s and worked at several different start-up companies that led to “fantastic technical and business experience — a real-life MBA.”

For the past 12 years, he has worked with private-equity software companies as the software development leader responsible for product development.

Thinking back on his time at NC State and how it affected his career, Whitley thought back to two main questions, why and how.

“My engineering degree has been fundamental to everything that I’ve achieved in my career. As an engineer, answering the two questions of “Why?” and “How?” forms the basis for learning and for solving problems,” said Whitley. “Being exposed to many different facets of the engineering field helped me to develop the confidence that I am able to learn anything. It also opened my mind to many different answers or possibilities, and that there may not always be one right answer.”

Early in 2017, Whitley and his wife, Karen, funded the David and Karen Whitley Engineering Scholarship and did not have plans of contributing toward Fitts-Woolard Hall. But after hearing Dean Louis Martin-Vega speak at a lunch event in Atlanta, the Whitleys felt the dean’s message really spoke to them and they wanted to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and came forward to contribute to the project.

Fitts-Woolard Hall— the crucial next step in unifying the College of Engineering on Centennial Campus — is a top-priority project for the University. The impactful donations from alumni like Whitley towards this project and others serve to provide excellence in engineering to students, faculty and the world.

Original article from College of Engineering Magazine (Spring 2018)

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