He’s received some of the industry’s highest technical honors (not to mention five broadcast patents and three more applications underway). Now Geoff Mendenhall can add another bauble to his trophy case, this one from his employer.
Harris Corp. named Mendenhall the recipient of its Harris Fellow Award, “the company’s highest recognition for achievement.” The company chooses one person per year.
“Hilmer Swanson is the last, and only other, Harris Broadcast scientist so chosen,” a Harris spokesman told RW Thursday. “Hilmer was chosen in 2000.”
Mendenhall is VP of research and technology with the Transmission Systems business unit at Harris Broadcast Communications. “Mendenhall has contributed to improvements in the technical quality of FM transmitters for more than 35 years,” the company stated. “Best known for his work with FM exciters, many of Mendenhall’s designs have become industry standards.” It said 10,000 FM exciters now on the air include his innovations.
He was also an engineering executive for a time with Harris competitor Broadcast Electronics, returning to Harris in 1993. Mendenhall was honored in 1999 with the NAB Radio Engineering Achievement Award.
He joined the Gates Radio Division of Harris as an electrical engineer designing directional antenna phasing equipment in 1973 after receiving his B.E.E. from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Notable product developments include the Harris Digit digital broadcast FM exciter; a 2 million-watt, solid-state AM transmitter; the CD-Link uncompressed digital studio transmitter link; the FlexStar FM/HD exciter, the Z-FM family of transmitters; and the Apex ATSC exciter.
Harris said recent product developments under his leadership have contributed more than $60 million a year in its revenue over several years. It said his work has led to “significantly reduced distortion and improved signal-to-noise ratio of FM transmitters, making FM broadcast quality comparable to digital compact discs” and that he has had a “major impact on the design of modern FM transmitter power amplifiers,” including breakthroughs in high-efficiency, high-power, single-tube RF amplifiers and solid-state RF systems.
The award was announced as part of the company’s celebration of National Engineers Week; it will be presented at a dinner at Harris corporate headquarters in March.