Time really does fly when you are having fun! It is hard to believe that my time as IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) president is winding down after two years. It has truly been a privilege and honor to have a chance to represent you at various PES and IEEE activities. But the best part of the position is meeting you face to face at PES events all around the world!
I have had a chance to meet PES volunteers and members in six continents. And we are working on a conference in Antarctica (just kidding). I have visited with our Chapter chair leaders, conference organizers, publication editors, Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) members, Women in Power, student members, and more. At our various PES activities we have had government officials, industry leaders, distinguished faculty, and IEEE staff and volunteers outside of PES.
I am totally amazed at the generosity of our PES members, volunteers, and leaders with their time and talents. IEEE and PES are volunteer led and driven organizations. We are only able to increase our activities and programming because volunteers step up to partner with IEEE and PES staff members and give of their time, energy, and enthusiasm to push forward, providing strategic and operational support.
In this column, I would like to cover a couple of items—recognizing our volunteer leaders and PES staff and reviewing activities accomplished by our volunteer leaders and members.
Recognizing Our Volunteer Leaders and PES Staff
The passion of your PES Governing Board is truly amazing. Each member puts in many, many hours of volunteer service and leadership to help advance our PES activities and initiatives. Most of them do this on top of their regular job as well as balancing their personal lives. This group has grown together in making a difference, and I salute and thank each one for their accomplishments and help over the last two years.
Our other PES volunteer leaders are remarkable as well. To really get the most out of an organization, it is important to be an active member, and PES volunteer leaders demonstrate that principle. These volunteers help our grassroots efforts through chapter leadership; they advance the dissemination of knowledge through reviewing and editing our publications and conference proceedings; they help write new standards and guides; they lead technical committees, subcommittees, working groups, and task forces to develop technical programs at conferences as well advance the state of the art in our field; they organize conferences and meetings for networking and the dissemination of information; they develop Webinars and tutorials to advance our professional development; and they work on membership activities to recruit and retain members across our profession. PES volunteer readers rock!
The last, but certainly not least, cog in the PES wheel is our outstanding PES Executive Office staff. They are the glue and consistency that holds together our activities and programs. They are often behind the scenes making a difference without being noticed or recognized. While they are paid by IEEE to work with PES members, they all go above and beyond in their activities and share the passion of PES volunteers. So if you e-mail, talk to, or meet one of our PES Executive Office staff, please say thank you for all they do to make PES the great organization that it is.
Review of 2012-2013 Activities
We have had a great two years with continued and new activities in PES. I could fill up this entire issue with updates on our accomplishments but I don’t think Editor-in-Chief Mel Olken will allow me to, so I will just highlight some of programs and activities as they relate to our goals. I encourage you to keep up with our e-newsletter that provides monthly updates on many of our activities.
In the March/April 2010 issue of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine, my “Leader’s Corner” column discussed some of my goals and proposed activities related to the other meaning of PES—Partnerships, Exchanges, and Society—and we have made excellent progress along these lines.
In the partnership area I would like to highlight four activities. First, within IEEE we continue to provide leadership as well as work with other groups on advancing our profession. The IEEE New Initiatives Committee originally funded the IEEE smart grid effort. PES volunteers have provided substantial leadership in many areas of the smart grid effort. So this effort graduated from its role as a “new initiative” and needed a new home within the IEEE structure. Working together with other operating units in IEEE, PES has stepped up to take the lead for supporting smart grid activities within IEEE. We have been working on a volunteer structure to help us move the program under our PES umbrella while partnering with other key entities such as the IEEE Standards Association and other technical Societies. We are excited that Massoud Amin has volunteered to be our smart grid program leader and is working with all groups on this transition for 2014.
Other partnerships in IEEE include our activities related to another new initiative, electrification of transportation. PES continues to be a major partner in this effort. Additionally, working with the IEEE Power Electronics and Industry Applications Societies, this fall we will launch IEEE Electrification Magazine to complement our award-winning IEEE Power & Energy Magazine. IEEE Electrification Magazine will focus on topics related to electric cars, trains, planes, and ships as well as remote power via microgrids.
Outside of IEEE we have worked to advance our relationships with other power and energy-related societies around the world. We have increased our interactions with CIGRE and have a new memo of understanding for collaboration. We have continued our efforts of collaboration with conferences and other activities with groups in China, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia.
Our fourth partnership hits the “betterment of society” part of our mission. Through our new initiatives and outreach activities, we have expanded our community solutions initiative activities for providing electricity and light around the world beyond Haiti to areas of Africa and Bangladesh. We are partnering with the IEEE Foundation, IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society, and non-government organizations worldwide to develop solutions that are sustainable within these communities.
The area of exchanges is where we have had the most progress and activities over the last two years. Two years ago we started with a member survey to better understand which PES benefits you use most as well as the different platforms where you get technical, IEEE, and PES information. During 2012, we did a communications audit to investigate how we communicate between PES volunteer leaders and how we communicate with our members. In focus groups at various venues, we learned about things we were doing well and things we could do better. The final report from our consultant identified opportunities for us to improve our communications to current and future PES members.
In the fall of 2012, the PES Governing Board embraced a new marketing and communications strategy to help us better coordinate our cross-area activities to disseminate information to our members about our programs and activities without overloading e-mail in-boxes. With the help of a marketing and communications consultant, working with PES volunteers and staff, we have made great strides in creating a common brand for our worldwide Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT) conferences; developing outlets to highlight our activities and accomplishments; and creating targeted messages at nonmember electric power professionals about the benefits of PES.
Our ability to connect with members 24 hours a day/seven days a week in any time zone has expanded through our updated Web site and new social media activities. Our membership and image volunteers and PES IT staff continue to advance our online presence by updating our Web page based on member use and needs. We now have a PES tweet, a Facebook page, LinkedIn group, and YouTube channel that highlight our PES activities across all our core areas and around the world. See http://www.ieee-pes.org/ to get connected. We will use all of these outlets to publicize our conferences, educational opportunities, publications, chapters, and other activities.
While we have made excellent strides in effective communication and marketing, it is an evolving area, and we will continue to seek member input on things we are doing well and things we could do better. Making sure our members understand and access all their benefits is essential to demonstrating the PES value proposition.
Our PES is growing and expanding with outstanding activities for a more diverse audience. In 2012, we pushed past the 30,000 member mark, and we continue to see healthy growth in our membership numbers and participation. Our Scholarship Plus Program has gained momentum over the last two years with over 100 PES volunteers helping with applicant recruitment, application review, fundraising, and mentoring. In 2013 we expanded this program to Region 7 and have efforts underway to develop pipeline programs in Regions 8–10.
Our number of PES Chapters and the level of activity within our Chapters has skyrocketed in the last several years. We have doubled the number of student Chapters and expanded the opportunities for Chapter leaders to network via online resources.
Our efforts to increase and retain our GOLD and women PES members have also made excellent strides the last several years. We have seen a steady increase in our GOLD membership, and networking activities continue to grow in participation. Volunteer leader Aaron St. Leger, PES GOLD chair, is working on new ideas and programs as well.
The Women in Power effort has made major advances over the last two years. We continue to collaborate with IEEE Women in Engineering and its activities but we have branded our own programs for the Women in Power. We are working to have Women in Power networking events at all PES financially sponsored events. Additionally, with the leadership of Shay Bahramirad, PES Women in Power chair, we developed our Women in Power website and Webinar series. In October, we worked on a Women in Power strategic plan, and you will see additional activities in 2014.
PES Future is Bright
I have stood on the shoulders of those excellent presidents who came before me, and I appreciate all their efforts to lay the groundwork for our many activities and accomplishments within PES over these last two years. The PES Governing Board has been an amazing team that worked diligently to incorporate feedback from members to make sure our programs were economically viable and provided additional benefits.
While I am excited about what we have accomplished, there are still great opportunities for PES to advance and continue its leadership within IEEE and in our profession. Incoming President Miroslav Begovic has led an 18-month effort to develop our next strategic plan and will be using this as a new roadmap for activities for 2014 and beyond. I will be supporting Miroslav and his goals for the next two years as the past president.
I hope you will give Miroslav as much support as you have provided me over the last 24 months. Our opportunities are enormous but they will require the help and support of PES members and volunteers across the world. It’s our time! Let’s continue to seize the opportunity and make a difference in the professional development of our members as well in making the world a better place.