Fellow Grade

Marie Cole

IBM (Retired)

For decades of contributions to electronics hardware technologies; for tireless dedication to mentoring women engineers; and for generously extending her talents in service of SWE’s mission.

Marie Cole, a distinguished engineer in supply chain engineering, retired from IBM in 2021 after 37 years with IBM Systems and IBM Microelectronics. She joined IBM after earning a B.S. in chemical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and later earned an M.S. in materials engineering at Columbia University.

Cole led the introduction of many technical innovations in collaboration with IBM suppliers and clients, including electronics assembly techniques and microelectronic packaging technologies. Her expertise in developing environmentally friendly materials and improving hardware quality and reliability has continuously shown benefits throughout the supply chain.

As a recognized technical expert in the electronics industry, Cole holds several U.S. patents and has published more than 100 technical papers. Her contributions earned IBM Systems one of the company’s most prestigious honors: the 2020 IBM Chairman’s Environmental Award. Throughout her career, IBM has recognized Cole with technical awards, as have others within the industry; notably, Cole received ASM International’s Engineering Materials Achievement Award in 2014.

Serving on the boards of several industry organizations, Cole is a longtime volunteer for the Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA). She was pivotal in launching the SMTA women’s leadership program and continues to serve on several of its committees, including the Charles Hutchins Educational Grant committee for graduate students. She also established a teaching fellowship for mechanical engineering students at the University of Maryland in memory of her father, a former professor.

Cole was a champion for women throughout her career, especially to those in technical career paths. Her dedicated mentorship and coaching have led to many mentees reaching senior and executive positions. Her personal sponsorship of special project initiatives to provide broadening experiences for technical women at all levels has had a lasting impact on IBM’s technical community. Cole provided significant leadership to several IBM women’s employee resource groups and has been active in STEM outreach for students from elementary school through college.

A Society of Women Engineers life member for more than two decades, she received SWE’s Spark Award for mentoring in 2017. She has been active with the Mid Hudson Section in New York, especially as a Dutchess County science fair judge. At the Society level, she has served as an awards judge and conference presenter.

A breast cancer survivor, Cole is involved with community organizations supporting those undergoing cancer treatment. She assists one such group — Sparrow’s Nest — by organizing, volunteering, and participating in events, and she was recognized as a Sparrow’s Nest Volunteer of the Year in 2020. An avid volunteer for the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation, she joined its board of directors in 2021.

Cole and her husband, Dave, perform with several Hudson Valley music organizations for community and school musical theater productions. The couple can often be found on the ice in the local adult ice hockey league. Cole also enjoys swimming in pools and lakes throughout Dutchess County, New York.