UW Professional & Continuing Education
Senior Program Manager, Microsoft

Steve Montgomery is a senior program manager in the Surface group at Microsoft, where’s responsible for power consumption, system performance and battery life for all Microsoft Surface devices. Since joining Microsoft in June 2014, he’s worked on the Surface 3, the Surface Pro4, the Surface Book and a variety of developmental programs. Prior to this, he worked at Intel for nearly 14 years in a variety of roles including research and development, pathfinding, management, program management and strategic analysis. He has 14 patents and has published technical articles on a variety of topics. Montgomery is a graduate of the technical management MBA program at the University of Washington and has a Ph.D. from Purdue University.

I take on risky, disruptive projects. One in particular, an ASIC, needed 50 people. I did it with 15. At Surface, I've put millions of devices on store shelves and have introduced features that have made hundreds of millions of PC's gain better battery life.

How? I'm a team builder. In my career I've put together teams big and small that operate as a unit greater than the sum of its parts.

It's simple: Provide the big picture, set the boundaries and give the team freedom to innovate and find solutions to problems. Operate like an entrepreneurial startup inside the confines a big company. Process is not a substitute for leadership, so timely and flexible decision-making is huge. Trust. It's everything. Because I've set the big picture and have empowered the team, they have the freedom to rapidly find solutions.

The results? Industry leading battery life. We took a negative and made it into a huge positive for Surface. Oh, and the innovations I helped drive are now in everyone's PC, everywhere.

I have broad skills in many areas: deep research experience, I've taken disruptive technologies through pathfinding and development, and have extensive business training. I speak electrical and software as well as mechanical:

  • High level software feature definition and program management
  • Platform silicon integration: power integrity, electronic cooling design/analysis, thermal management, system design, power architecture, packaging
  • Program management - silicon and platform integration
  • Thermal composites using carbon nanotubes
  • Data center analysis
  • Power electronics, including integrated silicon voltage regulators
  • IO, including specification development

Guess what? I also do business strategy. I've participated in corporate strategic discussions and prepared material for the CEO on our competitors' intentions. I've done estimates for licensing deals.

I also teach the lead course in a certificate degree program at the U. of Washington.

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