Global tech visionary to speak at Florida Poly’s 2022 commencement

Mar 01, 2022
The Honorable Zachary J. Lemnios

The Honorable Zachary J. Lemnios, a senior executive with experience as Assistant Secretary of Defense and vice president for IBM Research, has been named Florida Polytechnic University’s spring 2022 commencement speaker.

The Honorable Zachary J. Lemnios, a renowned thought leader in electrical engineering, former assistant secretary of defense, and former vice president of IBM Research, has been named speaker for Florida Polytechnic University’s spring 2022 commencement.

“I’m absolutely delighted because Florida Poly trains and encourages students in fields that are critical for our nation,” Lemnios said. “It’s exciting because as a newer campus you have the opportunity to shape it into something that matches students to the opportunities that await them – not too many places have that latitude.”

Currently, Lemnios is president of ZJL Consulting, LLC, based in Massachusetts. He is a senior executive with more than 40 years of experience in industry, government, and academia. Throughout his career, he has led the development and application of advanced technologies for national and global security.

Lemnios has served as Vice President of Research Strategy and Worldwide Operations, Vice President of Physical Sciences, and Vice President of Government Programs, globally across IBM Research. He also has served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering at the U.S. Department of Defense, and Chief Technology Officer for MIT Lincoln Laboratory, among other leadership positions.

“Zach has had a long and distinguished career, shepherding the development of many important technologies by leading the nation’s science and technology investments in defense,” said Dr. Randy K. Avent, Florida Poly’s president. “We are honored to have him speak at this year’s commencement and I’m sure our students will be inspired by his message.”

Lemnios said he is eager to get to know some of the University’s 2022 graduates and he is looking forward to providing inspiration and guidance in his address. 

“I want to deliver a message that encourages graduates to think big, think bold, and take on opportunities that even five years ago you wouldn’t have imagined,” he said. “I want to be thoughtful in providing maybe a little inspiration and a little experience.”

Lemnios is a life fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and holds patents related to monolithic microwave integrated circuits, GaAs (gallium arsenide) integrated circuits, and gallium arsenide structures. 

“Graduates should really spend their time imagining what’s possible, and today the field is wide open, whether it’s in science and engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, or even literature or other fields of study that have remarkable opportunities across the board,” Lemnios said.

Florida Poly’s 2022 commencement will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 8 at the RP Funding Center, 701 W. Lime St., in Lakeland, Fl. Visit the commencement webpage for more information. 


Lydia Guzmán
Director of Communications