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Well-Rounded Education Leads to 30-Year Career in Startups

Mark Tubinis (EE ’81)

Mark Tubinis met some of his lifelong friends while living on the freshmen engineering floor of Boston University's Warren Towers. Pictured from left to right are Rich Crossan, Chuck Allen, Dr. Tahsin Ergin, and Tubinis.

Mark Tubinis (EE ’81) met some of his lifelong friends while living on the freshmen engineering floor of Boston University’s Warren Towers. Pictured from left to right in this graduation photo from 1981 are Rich Crossan (EE ’81), Chuck Allen (BME ’81), Dr. Tahsin Ergin (BME ’81), and Tubinis.

At the age of five, Mark Tubinis (EE ’81) knew he was going to be an engineer.

Growing up, Tubinis would watch his father – a nuclear physicist turned electrical engineer – as he tinkered in the basement.

“We were the first to have a color TV on our street,” he recalled. “My dad built it using a Heathkit.”

Tubinis was most recently the chief technology officer and vice president of engineering for Cedar Point Communications, Inc., a venture capital-backed startup recently acquired by Genband. Cedar Point is a leading provider of Voice over IP (VoIP) systems to cable operators like Comcast and Charter.

Tubinis started working for Cedar Point in 2007 and has spent 26 years out of his 30-year career at startups. This experience has taken him around the globe and led to a three-year expat assignment in Paris, France, from 2004 to 2007. Currently, he is consulting through Spinpass LLC and on the lookout for the next great startup idea.

“Being the progeny of an entrepreneur, I think I was genetically pre-disposed to the startup track,” he said. “While the startup environment is full of ups and downs, the excitement of building something new, growing your employee base, and passionately pursuing a leadership position in a market is invigorating.”

He took on several roles in his position with Cedar Point including making sure high quality products are delivered on time as the head of engineering; scouring the market for the latest technology trends and applying them to Cedar Point as their chief technologist; and promoting the company products inside and outside the company as the company’s chief evangelist.

Tubinis said that his education at Boston University prepared him to lead. He not only learned the engineering fundamentals before going on to earn his M.S. in computer science and electrical engineering from MIT; he also received a well-rounded education since the curriculum included writing and presentation skills.

Tubinis was most recently the chief technology officer and vice president of engineering for Cedar Point Communications, Inc., a venture capital-backed startup recently acquired by Genband.

Tubinis was most recently the chief technology officer and vice president of engineering for Cedar Point Communications, Inc., a venture capital-backed startup recently acquired by Genband.

“This is of vital importance in my day-to-day work,” he said. “In order to bring the best ideas to market you need to convince investors and prospective and current employees about the potential of these ideas.”

Tubinis dove into the BU experience from day one. During his freshman year, he lived on an engineering floor, where he met many of his lifelong friends. Not only did he join the crew team, play for the men’s varsity volleyball team, and play the trumpet in the pep band; he also attended every Terrier home hockey game that year. He went on to play rugby for two years and earned a Scarlet Key award during his senior year.

It may come as a surprise that Tubinis almost never applied to BU. That was until his guidance counselor told him about the university’s Trustee Scholarship and urged him to go after it.

“The day the Trustee Scholarhip offer letter arrived in April 1977 was one of the happiest days of my life,” he said.

Academically, Tubinis was a natural fit for BU’s electrical engineering program since he already had worked for his father’s company, Information Transfer Industrial (ITI), since he was just 14 years old. He studied closely with professors like Anton Mavretic (CAS), who served as Tubinis’s senior project advisor.

“His humor and generous sharing of his time helped me to achieve a lot at BU,” said Tubinis of Mavretic.

Added Mavretic: “Good students, we always remember. Mark was polite, always inquisitive in a broad sense, and determined to do well in his electronics courses. I had a feeling that he would be a very successful leader of a company someday.”

Tubinis also worked with Professor Mark Horenstein (ECE), who said that his student showed a lot of promise and possessed “a great deal of drive and focus.” Horenstein taught Tubinis about difficult concepts like waveguides and antennas through what his student described as a “Rembrandt-esque use of colored chalk.”

“Professor Horenstein also encouraged me to get an advanced degree and helped me pursue this goal at MIT,” said Tubinis.

Just as Tubinis pursued his father’s path toward engineering, his own son, Luke, now follows his father’s footsteps academically. Luke is a junior at BU and studying international relations.

-Rachel Harrington (rachelah@bu.edu)
June 2011

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