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For Marquette's First Innovator-In-Residence, The Phrase 'A Light Bulb Went On' Has Extra Meaning

Chuck Quirmbach
Chuck Swoboda, Marquette University's first Innovator-In-Residence, holds his new book, "The Innovator's Spirit."

If you use energy efficient LED light bulbs in your home, you partly have Chuck Swoboda to thank. He spent 16 years as CEO of Cree Inc., a company that helped bring LED lighting to the market.

Swoboda says he's not done exploring innovation. He recently became Marquette University's first Innovator-In-Residence. He has a book coming out titled The Innovator's Spirit. He also has a podcast at Marquette University called Innovators on Tap.

Swoboda says a Cree scientist kept encouraging him to OK the LED bulb. When Swoboda finally saw the prototype, he says he said yes right away.

"The big innovation, is that he made it look like a regular light bulb. So often we think of technology as complicated things. He had simplified it," Swoboda said.

Now at Marquette, Swoboda says he’s advising students and the local private sector about innovation.

"It’s really about the people and their mindset. And, if you get the right mindset, and the people to allow the right behaviors, you can do these amazing things," Swoboda said.

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Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018. He focuses his longform stories on health, innovation, science, technology, transportation, utilities and business.