Humans of IEEE PES refers to a dedicated PES volunteer who is well known for his notable contribution to IEEE PES. In this issue of IEEE PES Enews Update, Juan Carlos Montero Q., Vice-President Membership & Image, IEEE PES is selected as the Humans of IEEE PES. We are very pleased to include an exclusive interview of Juan Carlos Montero Q.
Enews: Would you tell us briefly about yourself?
Juan Carlos Montero: Hello my dear friends. Thank you for this honour. I am from the Republic of Costa Rica. I graduated from the University of Costa Rica. I am an electrical engineer and currently working at the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad which is the government run utility in Costa Rica. I have always been living and working here in Costa Rica.
I started IEEE at a very young age. Even though I was familiar with the term IEEE in my college life, I was not really involved with it until I was in university. During my second year in university, I had the opportunity to research more about IEEE and eventually I got involved with this community. I am currently a senior member of IEEE.
Enews: When and why did you decide to start your career in the areas of power and energy?
Juan Carlos Montero: Back when I joined IEEE, I was a member of IEEE Circuits and Systems society and IEEE Control Systems Society. However, after going through a few IEEE journals and magazines in those areas, I changed my mind. While I was exploring my options, I was interested in power system as well and I got involved in PES (Power and Energy Society). It was a long time ago and I have been a member of the PES society since then.
I got a technical degree in Electro-mechanical in my college and started learning about electronic devices. After that, as an undergraduate student, I learnt more about big power systems, generators and power stations. I discovered my fascination about working with large equipment. At the same time, I wanted to play a role in bringing energy to our society. That is when I chose to get specialization on power system. I wanted to make an impact to the society through something I was so passionate about. IEEE PES gave me the opportunity to do that.
Enews: We would like to know about your professional career and current responsibilities.
Juan Carlos Montero: After graduating from university, I started working in research and development in my current company. Initially, I found my interest in research and simulation related work. After a while, I wanted to see the exact result of those simulations. I wanted to see the real world, I wanted to see the effects of my work, so I changed my work to the National Energy Control Center of Costa Rica. There my position was very important where any choice I made had an immediate reaction. Once again, I fell in love with power systems and my responsibility to bring energy to our society.
Enews: Would you briefly tell us about your journey in IEEE?
Juan Carlos Montero: I started IEEE as a student member and I became the Vice Chair of our IEEE student branch. Eventually, I became a Student Representative in our Chapter. Then I had the privilege to be the Chapter Chair. After that, I was central America Chapters’ Representative, and finally got involved in the Marketing and Membership Committee in the IEEE.
Enews: We all know that you are very popular among the young PES volunteers as well as professionals. What is the key factor behind this success?
Juan Carlos Montero: Through my entire journey in IEEE, I discovered a few things about myself. Firstly, I think I am very passionate about working with students and young professionals. Next, I like to work through social media because it is the platform that enables me to reach the members all over the world.
Social media has been a channel for me to know about all our volunteers and their great ideas, initiatives and structured jobs. Moreover, the social media serves as a window through which I am able to see their work and passion from any corner of the world, which is a key aspect of my current position as a Vice President Membership and Image. I am very proud that as a society PES is very focused, dynamic and valuable to IEEE.
Another factor that makes me very happy is to be able to share the great things that our volunteers do within the society. We feel very happy to disseminate necessary information through PES to many people who are looking for that information.
It makes me delighted when society gets to know about the unique information through our members. There are a lot of engineering organizations who are always being benefited through information from us. I love it when I see a student or a young professional is looking to improve themselves by using IEEE PES as a source of valuable knowledge and information.
Enews: We would love to know more about your experience in dealing with IEEE PES Awards.
Juan Carlos Montero: Not too long ago, I got the opportunity to manage the IEEE PES Awards and it gave me a wonderful opportunity to connect with personalities I deeply admire. I was very excited for getting the chance to go through the reports and works of applicants I love and respect. I got the chance to meet them and shake hands with them. To me, all my volunteering experience was worth it. In fact, I remember very clearly when I participated in my 1st ever PES Awards Gala. I was so excited to see the people I have been reading about, authors of important papers that I used in my works and whose works inspired me. I remember, I was practically running to them for their autographs. At that moment, it felt like I have become a successful volunteer. Really I feel proud being involved in PES award process.
Enews: You are now holding a key position in IEEE PES ExCom (VP Membership and Image). Tell us about some new initiatives taken by you as VP Membership and Image.
Juan Carlos Montero: One particular initiative I would like to mention is the Member Driven Initiative (MDI) as it has been very successful. Given the opportunity and support, our members can be very inventive and innovative. Volunteers are the core of PES. So, we are trying to support them through Member Driven Initiative, sending them funding and materials. I am always eager to know about the members’ need in their chapters and PES is always ready to support them with its utmost capability.
Another major thing that makes me feel proud and successful is how PES is involved with the students. We provide them all the educational support they need through several conferences and PES scholarships. Also, we have a 1st year free membership for the students. We take special care of the PES student branch chapters since they are one of our valuable assets. Therefore, the way this society takes care of the students makes me very proud of PES.
Enews: As a VP Membership and Image what are the biggest challenges you are facing to retain/enhance the PES membership?
Juan Carlos Montero: In my current position as VP Membership and Image, I do face several challenges. First of all, even though we have over 38000 members all over the world, a lot of them still do not know about all the benefits for the members of PES, for example, PES Resource Center. This is one of the challenges that we are working on relentlessly. PES Resource Center is a valuable asset to the members because they can get very deep information through it for absolutely free of cost. It is also accessible from all over the world. Members do not even have to depend on their local chapters in this case. Even if the local chapters are not very active, members can advance themselves and get 1st hand information from the best engineers of the world.
Another challenge is to be able to reach the members outside the USA. More than 50% of the members are outside the USA and we are looking for channels, for instance, social media, emails, advertisements and magazines, to reach them. My biggest goal is to reach all the members and show them all the benefits they can avail as a PES member.
Enews: In the next 30 years, that is by 2050, where do you see IEEE PES? What major changes are expected and to withstand those changes what additional efforts are required?
Juan Carlos Montero: My vision for PES is that we have to continue our contribution as a leader for the creation of standards within IEEE. I feel that we need to improve our membership and work more in those parts of the world where PES is not that much active yet. As more than 50% of our members are outside USA, we need to spread PES activities in that direction as well. I wish to see more high quality PES conferences being organized all over the world. We have the intellectual people, we have the standards, all we have to do is to work in an organized way to reach the goal. PES, as I see it, is a society working for a leading field like energy. Our work will lead the world towards improvement and we are pretty proud of what we are doing.
Enews: Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
Juan Carlos Montero: This is my 4th year as VP Membership and Image. It has been one of the biggest honors that I have received in my life and it has been a great pleasure to be able to serve all the members. I still have some time left to create new benefits for our members and we are constantly working for improving our offers to them. Hence, if you want to share any idea about how we can provide more services to you, please feel free to contact with me. Also if you want to work with me, I will be very happy as I am always looking for new people and fresh ideas. Thank you once again for the honor of this interview.
Interview Coordination and Transcription
Dr. Shaikh Fattah, Editor, PES Enews Update
Sadiah Ahmed Moon, BUET