Xerox chief engineer has passion for imaging

A summer evening’s waning sunbeams slant through the low-hanging branches of a willow tree, then suddenly their image is captured. A click brings natural beauty from the Mendon Ponds Park to the office walls of Len Parker ’76, ’78 (B.S. imaging science, M.S. printing technology), vice president and chief engineer of Xerox Corp.

“I have a passion for photography, especially nature and capturing sun at low angles in the sky,” he says.

Originally from Schenectedy, N.Y., Parker made the most of his time at RIT by taking advantage of the many professional work experiences available for RIT students. Job postings outside the department chair’s office led Parker to a part-time position with Dupont, a major film design and production plant.

In 1980, Parker joined the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where he worked on early network and laser printing innovations. During his 25 years in the Los Angeles area, Parker held positions as vice president and general manager of Xerox Office Solutions and Software Business, chief technology officer of the Xerox Global Services Group, and vice president and chief technology officer of the Production Systems Group.

Of his many projects at Xerox, he’s most proud of the work he did in the late 1990s while working with the Xerox software development team to create a platform or multiple products. The fruit of this labor was seen when, seven months after development, six printers were simultaneously launched throughout the world, all based off the one platform created by the development team.

“Regardless of what I’ve been asked to do, I’ve done as good a job as possible, Parker says. “I’ve been very methodical, taken a number of broad, challenging assignments and my current role at Xerox is a testament to that work.”

As Xerox’s vice president and chief engineer, Parker focuses on the interaction between Intellectual Property Operations, Docushare and the engineering center. “The engineering center deals with industrial design, working to enhance appearance, ease of use, and operability of our products,” says Parker.

Constantly interested in streamlining processes, Parker has also sought to improve institutional knowledge.

“Instead of an engineer working on a project and being the only one who knows what they did, we want to implement a way to make the knowledge more widely known and easier for new engineers to see what has already been documented about the process.”

Despite his many responsibilities at Xerox, Len Parker never loses sight of life outside of work. He spends time with his family canoeing and gardening. He’s also a mountaineering instructor at the Sierra Club in California.

“Balance is very important and I make sure other areas of my life outside work don’t get buried.”

Parker recognizes RIT’s contribution to all he has accomplished. “RIT’s combination of theoretical teaching and industry-rich professors prepares students for the real world. The practical instruction is a major pillar to complement the theory and I’m proud that RIT has continued to see the value of that.”

The University Magazine, Winter 2006-07