John S Thode

John S Thode
John S Thode
Clinical Professor for Innovation, Leadership, & Engineering Entrepreneurship

John Thode is a successful intra/entrepreneur. He has built profitable businesses ranging from startups to multi-billion dollar companies in the mobility, computing, security, and imaging sectors. John has joined TEC as Clinical Professor for Innovation, Leadership and Engineering Entrepreneurship, and is also Founder & Chairman of Thode Residential Rental Properties, LLC.

Previously, he was president of DigitalOptics Corp., where he led a significant turnaround by leading the development of a highly differentiated imaging products portfolio using computational optics and MEMS actuators. The company’s customers included Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, and Oppo, to name a few. Over his 35-year career, John has been a significant leader in technology innovation. As a young engineer, he was an early and significant contributor in the development of the first cellular system (AMPS) that included the commercial launch of the original Motorola Dyna TAC “Brick Phone.” Subsequently, he led the development of Motorola’s first smartphone, the world’s first 3G cellphone with video chat, and the world’s first touchscreen-only smartphone, the Motorola A1000. At Dell, John led teams that developed the world’s first phablet, first 2-in-1 PC, and countless other innovations in tablets and convertibles. John has also served on several boards of directors including Illinois Super Conductor where he was President and CEO, Symbian Ltd., and Ancient Oaks Foundation, a nonprofit he and his wife founded in 2014.


Clinical Professor

Recent Courses Taught

  • TE 250 - From Idea to Enterprise
  • TE 398 CNV - Special Topics II
  • TE 398 CNV - Startup City Scholars (CNVC)
  • TE 398 IED - Innovation and Engr Design
  • TE 401 A (TE 401 G, TE 401 IND) - Develop Breakthrough Projects
  • TE 441 - Engineering City Scholars NVC
  • TE 498 AL1 - Alchemy Project Laboratory 1
  • TE 498 DT1 (TE 498 DTO) - Illinois Deep Tech Accelerator