With all of his success on the PC, IBM tapped Dean to become Vice President of Performance for the RS/6000 Division in 1997. In his new role, he acted as an idea man, coming up with new products that would change how technology affected everyday life. One of his ideas was for the electronic tablet. Two years later, he became the director of IBM’s Austin Research Lab, where he developed the gigahertz chip. In the late 90s and 2000s, he served as vice president in several IBM departments.
In 1996, Dean was named an IBM Fellow, making him the only Black employee of the company to achieve the honor. For his incredible achievements, he also was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and awarded the the Black Engineer of the Year President’s Award in 1997. In 2001, he was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineers (NAE).