The University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering will honor the achievements of eight distinguished alumni during the 66th annual Engineers’ Day celebration on Friday, October 11, 2013. These honorees demonstrate the diverse and profound impact UW-Madison engineers have on industry and academia. In the lead-up to the event, Badger Engineers will be sharing bios of all the award recipients.
Engineers’ Day festivities will begin with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. in the lobby of Engineering Hall, 1415 Engineering Drive. Seminars will begin at 8:30 in Room 1610 of Engineering Hall. The evening banquet and awards ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Monona Terrace Convention Center, 1 John Nolen Drive.
Known for his infectious enthusiasm and passion for technology entrepreneurship, Roy Thiele-Sardiña has parlayed more than three decades of industry experience into helping young technology startup companies grow and thrive.
Thiele-Sardiña, a 1982 UW-Madison electrical and computer engineering graduate, launched the Palo Alto, California-based HighBAR Partners in 1995 with Sun Microsystems co-founders Bill Joy and Andreas Bechtolsheim (the name BAR is an acronym for Bill, Andy and Roy). HighBAR prides itself on hands-on management approach that recognizes companies require customized solutions on their path to growth. Tapping Thiele-Sardiña’s professional experience, HighBAR specializes in infrastructure investments in the computer storage and security industries.
From 2003 to 2007, Thiele-Sardiña was managing partner at Steelpoint Capital, an investment firm with assets exceeding $500 million that focused on investments in storage and data security.
Thiele-Sardiña’s leadership in the venture investment world draws from his success as an operating executive for a number of information technology companies. He co-founded Ingrian Networks, a major provider of network data privacy solutions. Its eventual acquisition by SafeNet helped propel that parent company to global leadership in data protection and software rights solutions.
Thiele-Sardiña was CEO and co-founder of Tasmania Networks, a successful network caching software company ultimately acquired by Cisco Systems. At that time, Tasmania Networks had 10 UW-Madison graduates among its 20 employees. Thiele-Sardiña also served on the founding management team for Brocade Communications, which is the leading supplier of backbone infrastructure for data center storage.
From 1985 to 1995, Thiele-Sardiña held a number of positions at Sun Microsystems, starting as an account executive and eventually rising to become director of international sales and later director of corporate development in the Office of the Chairman. Early in his Sun career he helped launch Sun’s telecommunications business and grew it to 10 percent of Sun’s global revenue.
Thiele-Sardiña is an enthusiastic supporter of his alma mater, especially around technology entrepreneurship. He has served as a judge for the annual NEST student software competition, and has provided valuable advice to students seeking to commercialize their ideas. He also led a panel of Silicon Valley UW-Madison alumni during the 2013 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. In 2013, he joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering advisory board.
Thiele-Sardiña has worked with entrepreneurs around the world, but remains very impressed by Wisconsin professionals. “I think in Wisconsin, the ethics of the people set them apart,” he says. “There’s a lot to be said for investing in the Midwest, in the sense that they have a work ethic that even by Silicon Valley standards is hard to replicate. The technical background and the hands-on engineering focus at UW-Madison is a real plus.”
ECE Professor and Chair John Booske says Thiele-Sardiña built on the core technical expertise gleaned from his ECE education to eventually become a national leader in technology entrepreneurship and venture investment. “Roy is a very positive and forward-thinking person and we value the insights he brings back to the university,” Booske says.
In addition to his 1982 bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UW-Madison, Thiele-Sardiña earned his MBA from New York University in 1989.