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Fujita '92 reveals 'equation for life' during Whiteman Lecture

Barry McNamara
03/20/2013
Hiroyuki Fujita, a 1992 graduate of Monmouth College, delivers the Whiteman Lecture at his alma mater on March 20. Fujita is founder, president and CEO of Quality Electrodynamics, a fast-rising company based in Cleveland, Ohio.
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During his Whiteman Lecture at Monmouth College on March 20, Hiroyuki Fujita didn’t touch on the meaning of life. But the fast-rising entrepreneur, who is  founder, president and CEO of Quality Electrodynamics (QED) in Cleveland, Ohio, did reveal his “equation of life.”
 
Speaking to a large Dahl Chapel audience of students, faculty members, college staff and local business leaders, the 1992 MC graduate said his equation factors in ability, effort and attitude, which are multiplied together to reach an outcome. While he gives ability and effort possible scores of 0 to 100, he considers attitude the most important and therefore gives it a larger range – from minus 100 to 100.
 
“This means that an ordinary person who makes a great effort with a positive attitude can outperform a genius with a negative attitude,” said Fujita. “I was very happy yesterday when I was speaking to one of the college’s business classes. I asked the students, ‘What is the most important thing?’ One of them replied, ‘Attitude,’ and that’s exactly what I was looking for.”
 
During his lecture, which was titled “A Passion for Success: The QED Story,” attitude also appeared in another list of valuable qualities.
 
“How can we be united in business?” read one of Fujita’s final slides. The answers included ethical leadership, the purpose and impact of the company and teamwork. He also touched on “simplicity,” using an example from physics. When doing a physics problem, he explained, it is helpful to simplify, and the simplest form for most problems is a sphere.
 
That “assume the cow is a sphere” mentality – boiling an issue down to the essential problem – is a product of his Monmouth College physics education, he said.
 
Rounding out the list were being optimistic with a positive attitude and completion and determination, which he summarized with the quotation, “End with a period, not a comma.”
 
On another slide, Fujita listed his goals for QED, which included “create a company that makes a positive difference in the world; is respected and loved by employees, customers and the local and global community; and keeps our philosophy and belief in doing the right thing as a human being.”
 
The final goal was borrowed from the words of one of his mentors, Kyocera founder Kazuo Inamori, who said, “People have no higher calling than to serve the greater good of humankind and society, and the future of humanity can be assured only through the balance of scientific progress and spiritual maturity.”
 
Another mentor who has Fujita’s trust is legendary Cleveland developer Albert Ratner, who teams with Michael Esposito, a veteran in the banking and insurance industries, on a regular basis to provide valuable advice for Fujita and his company. Ratner is fond of saying “When you go through life, keep your eyes on the doughnut, not upon the hole.”
 
In other words, said Fujita, “What are you complaining about? Don’t focus on what you don’t have, celebrate what you do.”
 
Fujita spoke for several minutes attempting to answer the question some audience members might have been wondering – “What is this guy making?”
 
The answer is a key device to the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) process. QED’s customers are among the largest companies in the world, including Toshiba and Siemens. In response to an audience question, Fujita said he branched out on his own rather than stay at an established job he had at GE because “I knew we could do more and improve the device, providing clearer pictures. The speed of change is not that fast at a big company.”
 
Fujita’s instincts were correct, and his company has increased its revenue 3,350 percent since it was started in 2006. His pool of employees has grown from seven to 130.
 
Through the development and manufacturing of state-of-the-art radiofrequency antennas, QED has emerged as one of the most promising and fastest-growing companies in America. The White House took notice last year, inviting Fujita to be a guest of President Obama and the First Lady at the State of the Union Address. There, the Japanese native was recognized as an outstanding example of an individual who came to the U.S. as a student and stayed to build companies. 
 
Fujita said he made the decision to attend college in the U.S. because of “all the different things” he saw students doing during an exchange program at the University of California-San Diego. That was a refreshing change from the structured “status quo” approach that he expected to find in higher education in Japan.
 
At Monmouth, he said he appreciated the way “everybody tries to help each other. I’m very grateful to this institution.”
 
He added, “I am overwhelmed today. I never imagined a day when I would come back like this. It is very special to me and to my family. I am immensely honored to speak with you.”
 
Named in memory of the late Wendell F. Whiteman ’27, a Monmouth banking executive, the Whiteman Lecture series has been bringing leaders in business, finance and industry to the Monmouth campus since its inception in 1992.