Technology professor wins commercialization award

October 10, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Lonnie Bentley, a professor of computer and information technology in the College of Technology, is the recipient of the 2011-2012 Outstanding Commercialization Award for Purdue University Faculty.

Lonnie Bentley

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The award is given annually to a faculty member in recognition of outstanding contributions to, and success with, commercializing Purdue research discoveries. It was established with an endowment gift from the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Foundation.

Bentley is co-founder, board member and vice president of business development for Broadband Antenna Tracking Systems Inc. (BATS). It is an Indiana company that provides automatic antenna aiming and tracking technology that Bentley co-developed at Purdue with Anthony Smith and Michael Kane, both in computer and information technology.

The development of the broadband communications infrastructure requires highly skilled technicians who can align antennas on towers that often are miles apart. This challenge becomes even more difficult when using directional antennas that project a beam width of less than four degrees and virtually impossible when an antenna is to be mounted on a mobile platform. The technology developed by Bentley, Smith and Kane addresses these challenges by enabling automatic aiming, alignment and tracking for broadband directional antennas.

Bentley has been a professor in the Department of Computer and Information Technology since 1981. From 2002-2010 he served as department head. During his tenure, he led the department's growth from $100,000 per year in total research funding to more than $7.2 million. The department became the first ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredited information technology program in the United Sates and was recognized as having the nation's top network engineering technology program.

Bentley has co-authored seven editions of the textbook "Systems Analysis and Design Methods."

"Professor Bentley is a leader in developing and bringing to market a technology that helps us enjoy the many benefits of broadband communications," said Suresh Garimella, Purdue's associate vice president for engagement. "He and his team did the research, saw the potential for commercialization and found a way to bring it to market. That is what this award is about."

Bentley is the ninth recipient of the Outstanding Commercialization Award, which includes a $5,000 stipend. Previous recipients are Stephen R. Byrn, Alok Chaturvedi, R. Graham Cooks, Philip Low, Karthik Ramani, Fred Regnier, George Wodicka and the late Leslie A. Geddes.

A reception for Bentley will begin at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 2 in the Purdue Memorial Union West Faculty Lounge. Bentley will discuss his work at 4 p.m. The event is open to the public.
      Bentley also will be honored that evening along with 59 other Purdue faculty, staff and students during the annual Inventors' Recognition Reception, sponsored by Purdue Research Foundation.

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu

Sources:  Suresh Garimella, 765-494-9095, garimell@purdue.edu
                   Lonnie Bentley, 765-494-4545, bentleyl@purdue.edu