For all the tech we have in our lives that we take for granted, we can easily overlook the pioneers behind them and the hip-hop stars in their own relative fields.
Before Dr. Dre and his pioneering approach to audio, we had Jesse Russell.
Jesse Eugene Russell is an American inventor known for pioneering the digital cellular base station and fiber optic microcell and has been at the forefront of innovation for cell phone users.
Born April 26, 1948, in Nashville, Tennessee, he spent his early childhood in the deprived neighborhoods of Nashville.
After attending a summer educational program at Fisk University, he began his academic and intellectual pursuits, going onto Tennessee State University, where he focused on electrical engineering.
After graduating, Russell became the first African American to be hired by AT&T Bell Laboratories directly from a Historically Black College or University.
Jesse Russell rose through the ranks at the company working in various roles, including Vice President of Advanced Communications Technologies, Vice President of Advanced Wireless Technology Laboratory, and the Chief Wireless Architect of AT&T.
In 1988, Russell created the concept for the wireless digital phone and communication after designing a cell phone that transmitted signals between handsets and cell phone towers rather than in-between cars, which was common practice at the time, making mobile phones more handy and affordable.
Russell’s team developed the technology that transformed communications and was dubbed as “2G” for the “second generation” of mobile phone systems, paving the way for the technology we all use today.
As Jesse Russell developed his expertise, he established and led an Innovation Center focused on Applied Research in Advanced Communication Technologies.
Russell was instrumental in the rapid realization of new access network platforms so AT&T could expand its broadband communication network options.
In addition to his work with AT&T, Russell’s other accomplishments include the Outstanding Young Electrical and Computer Engineer of the Year Award in 1980, U.S. Black Engineer of the Year in 1992, and in 1995, he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering.
Jesse Russell is also notable for dozens of patents of innovations in wireless technology, including “Base Station for Mobile Radio Telecommunications Systems” (1992) and the “Wireless Communication Base Station” (1998).
Russell is now CEO of incNETWORKS, a company specializing in 4G broadband wireless communications.
Furthermore, he has been innovative in many aspects of wireless communication systems, architectures, and technology which has shaken up the wireless communication industry.
As a pioneer in tech, Jesse Russell has done so much for how we communicate in the modern world.
Without his engineering aptitude and the ability to look at things differently, we would still be using cell phones in our cars and nowhere else!