Chairs, Professorships, and Faculty Scholars

Professorship: Fox Family Professor in
Electrical and Computer Engineering

Peter B. Fox is founder of Fox Development Corporation (FDC), a real estate development and investment firm. FDC develops, manages, and leases more than one million square feet of office and retail space in Champaign and via it's subsidiary, Fox Ventures, has provided startup capital for technology firms including iCyt, Illinois VENTURES, Intersymbol Communications, Nanodisc, Nextumi, RiverGlass, Strata Decision Technology, and Tekion. Mr. Fox and his companies are focused on creating and retaining jobs associated with technology and the service sector. Mr. Fox also serves as manager of Fox/Atkins Development, LLC, developer and manager of the University of Illinois Research Park in Champaign.

Together, Mr. Fox and his wife, Kim, have devoted themselves to improving the quality of life within Champaign County. Mr. Fox has endeavored to promote economic development through his companies, forming partnerships that foster growth and opportunity. Likewise, Mrs. Fox has actively worked to improve the community via her involvement in numerous causes. Together Mr. and Mrs. Fox have supported the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Habitat for Humanity, Canaan Academy, Parkland College, Crisis Nursery, several local elementary schools, and many other valued organizations within Champaign County via their generous philanthropy.

Through the Fox Family Professorships Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Fox wish to help business ideas blossom and flourish. In the selection of the Fox Family Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, special consideration is given to senior faculty members whose corporate or business backgrounds add value to the department. By supporting University of Illinois faculty and research, Mr. and Mrs. Fox will also help to create job opportunities for the outstanding graduates the University produces. Ultimately, their support will have long-term impacton Champaign County's ability to remain productive and competitive.

Thomas J. Overbye

ECE Professor Thomas J. Overbye

Thomas J. Overbye is an expert in power system computational algorithms, operations, control, and visualization. He received his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining the University of Illinois in 1991, Professor Overbye was employed with Madison Gas and Electric Company where he developed real-time power system analysis software.

Professor Overbye is concerned with improving power system trustworthiness by better using information from the growing stream of data generated by the operation of the power grid. His goal is to better present this data in order to help human operators address and contain blackouts before they cascade out of control. Professor Overbye's work is part of the Effective Power System Control Center Visualization project, which is funded by the Power Systems Engineering Research Center, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC). Additionally, Professor Overbye is a member of the Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid NSF Cyber Trust Center, which is working to create an intelligent, adaptive power grid that can survive malicious adversaries, provide continuous delivery of power, and support dynamically varying trust requirements.

Professor Overbye was a member of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Power Outage Study Team in 1999. He also helped with development of the DOE's National Transmission Grid Study in 2001-2002 and led an onsite investigation of the northeastern United States blackout that occurred on August 14, 2003.

In addition to authoring a number of papers in the electric power systems area, Professor Overbye was the recipient of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Power Engineering Society Walter Fee Outstanding Young Engineer Award in 1993, IEEE Third Millennium Medal in 2000, IEEE Power Engineer Society Regional Outstanding Engineer Award in 2001, NSF I/UCRC Alexander Schwarzkopf Prize for Technological Innovation in 2005, and the University of Wisconsin College of Engineering Distinguished Achievement Award in 2005. Professor Overbye is also the original developer of PowerWorld Simulator, an innovative computer program for power system analysis and visualization, and a co-founder of PowerWorld Corporation.