Les Besser


  • 1983, Microwave Application Award, Past Awardees**
  • 2007, Distinguished Educator Award, Past Awardees**
  • 2024, Microwave Career Award, Past Awardees**


Les Besser received his BS from the University of Colorado, majoring in EE and Business Administration, where he was awarded the “Outstanding Engineering Student”. He also holds an MSEE degree from the University of Santa Clara and a PhDEE from the Technical University of Budapest.  From 1966 to 1970, he was with Hewlett Packard Company, working on the development of broadband thin-film microwave components and conducted seminars on scattering parameter design techniques. In 1970, he joined the Microwave Division of Fairchild where he became the Manager of Circuit Development, concentrating on MlC’s, CATV Systems and Low Noise GaAs FET Amplifiers. Between 1972 and 1976 he was directing the Microcircuit Development at Farinon Electric.

Dr. Besser is the author of the first commercially successful general-purpose microwave circuit optimization program, COMPACT, that became the industry-standard in the 1970s, and was the founder and President of Compact Software, a firm that provided software and seminars to microwave design engineers. . He initiated a one-week continuing educational seminar entitled Modern Microwave Circuit Design (later changed to RF/Wireless Circuit Design) at UCLA that expanded into a series of related courses and had been offered at major universities worldwide.

In 1980 Compact Software merged with Communication Satellite Corporation to form the foundation of Comsat General Integrated Systems.  Dr. Besser then became Senior Vice President and COO of the Palo Alto Operations. For personal reasons he stepped down from that position at the end of 1982 but remained with CGIS in a consultant capacity.  In 1985 he formed an educational institute, Besser Associates. Since then, with nearly 50 industry experts, his company has offered continuing education internationally at various levels to over 60,000 technical professional and managers.

During his career, he had published over sixty papers and articles on modern computer-aided circuit design and had been a contributing and co-author of several textbooks. He holds the basic patent for the first thin-film amplifier circuit used in the CATV industry and had also published his memoir, Hurdling to Freedom, that is available through the Internet.

Dr. Besser is a member of Sigma Tau, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu honorary societies, and a Life Fellow of the IEEE. He was listed in the “Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities” as well as in “Who’s Who in the World”. He was the past Chairman of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, as well as the MTT Society—organizing several weekend seminars within both societies. In 2003, he formed a successful IEEE Life Member Group in the San Francisco Bay Area to help middle-school math and science teachers with their curricula.

For his technical contributions, he has received numerous IEEE awards: In 1983 the IEEE MTT “Microwave Applications Award,” the IEEE RFTG “Career Award” in 1987, the IEEE Third Centennial Medal” in 2000, the IEEE Educational Activities Board’s “Meritorious Achievement Award in Continuing Education” in 2006 and the IEEE MTT “Distinguished Educator” award in 2007.

Dr. Besser and his wife now live in a retirement community in Carlsbad, CA., near their five grandchildren. He enjoys playing tennis, and has been involved in various volunteer activities, including high school track and field coaching, teaching AARP Safe Driver courses and giving lectures on sleep-related problems.

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