When James Elsner was a boy, the toys he received as presents were frequently mechanical or electrical in nature. As he discovered how they worked, he was getting his first glimpse at hands-on technology. His ability to work on electronics, engines, and furniture throughout high school kept him interested in a college experience that included applied learning. He found a perfect fit in Purdue’s electrical engineering technology program.
Elsner says his class with Professor Stephen Cheshire showed him how textbook examples had industry applications, which was helpful as he started his career at CTS Microelectronics. His 28 years at the company included positions of increasing responsibility, from project engineer to engineering manager. While there, he was awarded two patents in multi-layer ceramic packaging, and he has another one pending. Since 2006, Elsner has worked for Butler International, first as operations manager and now as a vice president for Butler America LLC in West Lafayette.
Elsner credits his supportive family and friends for this success. From his decision to attend Purdue to accepting a job in Lafayette instead of returning to the east coast, they have provided encouragement to achieve his dreams.
When he’s not working, Elsner can be found woodworking, golfing, traveling, or dabbling in photography and computers. He and his wife, Debbie, live in Lafayette, Indiana. They have one son and a former exchange student whom they consider a second son.
This was originally written for the Distinguished Technology Alumni Awards in 2010.