Photo provided by Troy Stockstad
At North Dakota State, Troy Stockstad was a defensive back for three years before leading the team in receptions in his final season. His transition to post-athletic life has been equally successful.
After graduating from NDSU in 1989, Stockstad went to graduate school at the University of Hawaii until May 1991, earning a Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering. From there, Stockstad started his career as an analog integrated circuit design engineer at Motorola in Tempe, AZ. During seven years at Motorola, Stockstad earned his Ph.D. from Arizona State University, taking classes part-time and graduated in 1998.
Since leaving Motorola, Stockstad worked for a power amplifier company called RFMD, and a couple of startup companies, the second of which was acquired by Qualcomm 15 years ago and he has been at Qualcomm ever since.
Stockstad married another engineer from Motorola in 1995 named Lisa, and they have three children: Sonja (21), Luke (18) and Cole (16).
What are you currently doing?
I lead a team of design engineers working on power management products for Qualcomm, which is known for mobile communications products. Our designs are in the vast majority of cell phones on the market. More recently, we have been branching out into other markets also, like computing, IoT, and automotive. It’s a satisfying feeling knowing that the majority of cell phones in use today have components in them that I have contributed to.
What are some valuable things you’ve learned along the way?
Always continue to learn and grow through your career. Embrace the uncertainty of trying something you have not done before, it keeps work fresh and interesting.
What gives you purpose?
I really enjoy problem-solving. This is the essence of engineering, in my opinion. I get a lot of satisfaction from finding the root cause of a tough problem and coming up with creative solutions. I also enjoy helping other engineers I am working with to meet their goals, and learning from them as well.
What are some hobbies you’ve picked up along the way?
I used to play a lot of basketball, up until the pandemic hit. Since then, I have ramped up my mountain biking (there’s lots of great biking around Phoenix), and I still work out at the gym regularly. I spend a lot of time with my kids, especially my daughter, who became disabled with cerebral palsy as an infant from a serious illness. Her smiles bring me a lot of joy.
What are some of the highlights? What accomplishments are you most proud of?
I have authored or co-authored over 40 patents during my career. My design work has made it into cell phones that nearly everyone has used at some point—Motorola early in my career, Samsung, Apple, and many others. And I still enjoy the work.
How do you think your time in Bison Athletics prepared you for this?
The hard work and preparation, working within a team, achieving the goal and putting the team ahead of the individual all prepared me. Perseverance is very important even when your individual situation not be what you hoped, but keeping at it and giving it your best is important. I still count my roommates and teammates from NDSU as my closest friends, we still get together often.
Do you have any advice for any current athletes out there looking to take the next step in life?
Try to determine what your interests are and what gives you satisfaction and pursue a degree program, training and internships to confirm your thoughts. It’s a lot easier to be successful if you are doing something you enjoy and get satisfaction from.