WSU Lecturer Credits Cisco’s Success to Listening

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s College of Engineering and Architecture presents its 1999 Lanning Lecture, delivered by Cisco Systems Senior Vice President Doug Allred at 4:10 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, in Todd Hall Auditorium.
The lecture augments professional preparation for students and is free and open to the public. It is part of the college’s National Engineers Week activities. Refreshments and a reception follow the lecture.
Allred’s topic, “Customer Advocacy in the Explosive Internet Revolution,” provides a case study of how the company became a worldwide leader in networking for the Internet since 1984. As head of its customer advocacy operations, Allred explains how Cisco Systems has leveraged “the art of listening to customers” to achieve unparalleled growth, profit and customer satisfaction. The essence of world-class engineering, he adds, is designing and implementing a rapid response to requirements learned through listening. In Cisco’s culture, “engineering an appropriate response is a more valuable core competency than invention,” says Allred. About 3,000 of Cisco’s 14,000 worldwide employees work in the Customer Advocacy organization in consultative services, professional or technical services, information technology, service sales and quality control.
Allred, a 1973 WSU alumnus of the computer science program and now a resident of Atherton, Calif., came to WSU in 1968 from his family home in Richland. His wife, Loretta, is an alumna of WSU’s human development program. The Allreds have established two endowed scholarships at WSU. Prior to joining Cisco, Allred was vice president of Oracle’s worldwide support group. Earlier, he was vice president of information services at a division of General Electric. He was featured in the May 1998 cover story of CIO Enterprise Magazine for his leadership in customer advocacy.
The Lanning Lecture, intended to add knowledge beyond the academic dimension, was established in 1988 by WSU alumnus Jack Dillon, a 1941 graduate now of Gig Harbor, in honor of his late wife, Frances Lanning Dillon, a 1942 graduate. Dillon is a retired engineer from Bechtel Inc., a former rear admiral in the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps, and recipient of a WSU Alumni Achievement Award in 1981 and a WSU Outstanding Service Award in 1994.


Join in other E-Week activities:
— Tuesday morning, Feb. 23, CEA students demonstrate engineering fun at Pullman High School.
— Thursday, Feb. 25, noon, Sloan 175, “Students, Sandwiches and Speaker” dialog with Doug Allred on how he rose to the top, and practical career readiness tips.
— Saturday, Feb. 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., college tour for kids, parents and others, visiting the Busting Lab, Virtual Reality Lab, Albrook Hydraulics Lab, Architecture Design Labs, among others.
— Wednesday, March 3, 5:15 p.m., U of I/WSU Egg Drop Competition, 125 EEME stairwell, WSU campus.