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Dr. Robert Lucky

Interim Chairman & Public Member

The FMERA team sadly acknowledges the passing of our Chairman and friend, Dr. Robert Lucky.

Dr. Robert Lucky was the Chairman of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Authority (FMERPA), FMERA’s predecessor Authority from its inception in 2007 through 2010.  Subsequently, he served as a board member of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) from 2010 through March 2022.  In addition, he served as Vice-Chair and Interim Chair of FMERA since 2018.  He also Chaired the FMERA Real Estate Committee and the FMERA Audit Committee.

He was an engineer known worldwide for his writing and speaking about technology and society. He led premier research laboratories in telecommunications over the last several decades, first at Bell Labs and then at Telcordia Technologies, where he was Corporate Vice President, Applied Research. In October 2002 he retired from this position. Recently, in addition to his FMERA duties, he devoted much of his time to professional activities, including advisory boards, studies, consulting, bike-riding, and enjoying his family.

Early in his career he invented the adaptive equalizer, the key enabler for all high-speed modems today. He co-authored a textbook on data communications that was the most cited reference in the field over the period of a decade. He was the author of many technical papers and of several books, including Silicon Dreams and Lucky Strikes Again. He was the editor of a series of books in communications and of several technical journals. However, most engineers know him best because of the monthly columns he wrote for Spectrum Magazine over the last twenty years offering philosophical and sometimes humorous observations on engineering, life, and technology.

Dr. Lucky was a frequent speaker at technical, business, academic, and social occasions around the world. He often gave plenary and keynote addresses to conferences and was an invited speaker at more than one hundred different universities. He also appeared a number of times on network television, including two sessions with Bill Moyers on his “World of Ideas” public television show.

He was active throughout his career in professional, academic, and government roles. He was on the advisory boards of about a dozen universities and chaired the Scientific Advisory Board of the U.S. Air Force and the visiting board of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Recently, he was Chairman of the Technological Advisory Board of the Federal Communications Commission and a member of the Defense Science Board. Also, he was president of the Communications Society of the engineering institute (IEEE) and executive vice president of the IEEE.

He received his doctorate in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1961. He was honored with four honorary doctorates, and received a number of major awards, including the prestigious Marconi Prize and the IEEE Edison Medal. He was selected a fellow of the IEEE and to membership in the National Academy of Engineering, and to both the American and European Academies of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Lucky lived in Fair Haven, New Jersey on his beloved Navesink River. His wife, Joan predeceased him in 2015.  They had two children David and Karen and five grandchildren, and he also leaves behind his best pal, his dog Sunny, who always made his presence known at the FMERA Teams meetings.