Why be a Member of the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Society of the IEEE?

Some People Make Things Happen, Some Watch Things Happen, While Others Wonder What Has Happened…

A boy asked once a wise man, “Is the butterfly I am holding in the palm of my hand alive or dead?" If the wise man said “alive”the boy would crush the butterfly and show it dead, but if the wise man said “dead”, the boy would laugh and let the butterfly fly away.
The wise man was cleaver enough to offer any of the above replies, answering the boy “as you will, my lad, as you will.”
Whenever I am asked “what is the advantage of IEEE membership?” I believe the wisest reply would be similar “as you will, my friend, as you will”… [1]


Advantages of IEEE Membership
In my many years of IEEE membership and professional career, spanning over almost three decades, I have learned that the benefits of belonging to a professional society, and to that effect – to any social group or association, vary from person to person. In general, the efforts an individual puts into society will amount ten-fold to the benefits that person will enjoy. Therefore, the value of the “membership benefits” is really determined by the individual member’s values, needs and particularly, his personal involvement.
The IEEE is a diverse organization, encompassing more than 360,000 members active in almost 40 technical societies. Therefore, the interests of our members are projected in a wide variety of technical issues and professional concerns that add value to each member’s membership.

Figure 1: Reasons for Members Joining the IEEE vs. Members Remaining in the IEEE
Source: Binder M., Gerstmann, E., “IEEE Membership Research”, a presentation made at the Membership Development Retreat, 30 April 2005, New Brunswick, NJ, USA [2]


In a presentation made during the IEEE Membership Development Retreat, which took place in April 2005, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, the reasons for joining and the reasons of members continuing their membership in the IEEE were presented (see Figure 1).
Interestingly, the “traditional” financial benefits are no longer the driving factor for IEEE membership.
Easy access to IEEE technical publications (the IEEE publishes more than 30% of all technical publications worldwide), which used to be a traditional reason for membership, still constitutes a major, if not the leading motivation for belonging to the IEEE. This should be of no surprise since in our digital age the IEEE digital libraries have become easily accessible to all at low cost through libraries in the universities and in the industry.
From Figure 1 it is evident that the key words are networking and professional advancement. Those include the ability to stay current in one’s profession and be competitive in the field, to network with colleagues and professionals and to find career opportunities.
It should be clear to each IEEE member that his or her personal advantages lie in their active professional involvement, development and growth, with outstanding opportunities for career satisfaction. Involvement can take many forms, and along the way you will build a worldwide community of colleagues with similar interests.
Attending one or more of the 300 annual IEEE major conferences or 3,000 IEEE major seminars, workshops and tutorials around the globe will, no doubt, keep you current in your profession. IEEE members also plan and organize conferences in their community – a rewarding experience of its own merit. In those conferences (which, by the way, you attend at a reduced rate as an IEEE member), not only will you have the opportunity to broaden your professional knowledge, but you will also have the opportunity to meet and interact directly with the leaders, the true “Cedars of Lebanon” in your field, who are always open to fellow attendees, novices and the experienced alike. Such meetings will allow you to share your opinion and insight, and help spur new ideas.
Involvement in IEEE standardization activities, through one or more of the working groups sponsored by your Society, is also a superb way to obtain the latest information in your field and allow you to influence the development of future standards. Currently, more than 15,000 IEEE members are involved in the work of hundreds of such working groups with topics ranging from radiation hazard safety to nanotechnology. As a result, many well-known IEEE standards are globally utilized, the most renowned probably being the IEEE 802.11 LAN standard. Imagine – you can personally contribute to the development of such standards? Would that not be a reward of its own merit?
Activity in your own region, through your local IEEE Section or Chapter will welcome and encourage your involvement in its activities, whether you want to actively serve on one of its committees, help in organizing a technical or social event, or mentoring a promising young engineer or student.
Even simply participating in regional and local activities (e.g., chapter meetings), offers an outstanding chance to exchange professional opinions. In those meetings, you will meet IEEE distinguished lecturers and other knowledgeable speakers from academia and industry who present high quality professional talks and socialize in a relaxed and friendly environment. You can even make a presentation of your own! You would not believe how a successful presentation satisfies the speaker himself.
All of the above activities will help in enhancing your career because through them you acquire vital skills that are not taught in the classroom but are essential for your professional advancement. These skills include leadership, finance, project planning and communications. Often, this will be your first opportunity to experience them. While you are at that, you will also gain access to individuals at all tiers of the profession and become a more valuable asset to yourself, your associates, and your employers.
Many IEEE members beginning their IEEE career in the local activities have finally found their way to the leadership positions, in their professional societies and in their personal careers.
But remember, as stated at the beginning of this article, the advantages you gain from your IEEE membership are “as you will…”
The benefits you may obtain from your membership will most probably vary along the different stages of your professional career, and hence you may find that the IEEE membership advantages encompass a wide variety of services that may not all seem of importance to you at first glance. Many of those benefits may be found on line, the most recent of all – the “My IEEE” members-only portal customized to your own interests and needs.
As an IEEE member you are entitled to your personalized your_name@ieee.org portable IEEE e-mail alias, providing you, free of charge, high-level computer security services including anti-virus and anti-spam protection. You will also gain access to more than 80 “virtual communities” dealing with technical and career issues, as well as to on-line continued education training programs available by several IEEE societies and educational partners.
But above all, there is one overarching member benefit – the respect and competitive edge associated with your belonging to a high-quality professional organization. Your access to the IEEE information resources and your affiliation with other members underscore the worldwide renown the IEEE has enjoyed for its vision, its leadership and its innovation for more than a century.


Advantages of Society Membership: Focus on Your Career!
IEEE membership is only the first and fundamental step in your profession. As a practitioner in your particular field, you should focus your career on those aspects which directly contribute to your technical interest. Society membership is the key! Society membership enhances the benefits you receive as an IEEE member, tailored to your discipline.
Through your Society, you will enjoy networking opportunities without equal, providing you with direct access to innovators and practitioners around the world – people you may have never otherwise met in the course of your daily practice. Through the Society’s activities, conferences, workshops and local chapter meetings, you will meet the top minds in your field “on the level” and broaden the support structure you need to succeed in your career development.
Your Society is, first and foremost, a source of information and professional know-how. This is where we learn our trade! Society technical and standards committees, who are open to all members, regardless of their experience and expertise, deal with the evolution of new aspects of the technology by helping document their characteristics and spread the information through education and training within the technical community. Through active participation in Technical and Standards Committees, not only will you be able to contribute to the evolution and advancement of your profession, but also of your own professional skills. Furthermore, those committees provide you easy access to the technical experts within the Society. These experts are often glad to provide guidance and consultation for individual questions. Seek them out when you need assistance.
The Society is also a place for professional education and advancement. In the Society you will find members who provide education and instruction in the elements of the Society’s technology. As a member of the Society you will learn who these valuable resources are and how to contact them.
And of course, the Society membership may create job opportunities. It enables you to become acquainted with other colleagues working in your, or in related, fields. This acquaintance may provide early information on new job opportunities as the industry grows and changes. It will also provide you with valuable insight when openings become available within your own organization that would be a good ‘fit’ for someone you have met and who’s skills you have come to know through the Society activities.
In summary, Society membership offers many opportunities to volunteer and grow. Whether you volunteer to serve on technical or standard committees, edit a journal or get involved in other ways, the experience you gain puts you on the career path for continued success in your particular discipline.


Introducing… the EMC Society of the IEEE
The EMC Society encompasses the design, integration, testing and analysis of electrotechnology products and systems to control radiated and conducted interference. It strives for EMC enhancement through the generation of engineering standards, measurement techniques and test procedures, measuring instruments, the study of equipment and systems characteristics, improved techniques and components for interference control, education in EMC and studies of the origins of interference.
The EMC Society promotes close cooperation and exchange of technical information among its members and other professional societies. To facilitate the exchange, local chapter and annual international symposia meetings are held for the presentation of papers, workshops and tutorial sessions and for the meeting of the EMC-S’s various committee meetings. More than 4,000 persons world-wide are active members of the Society in 60 chapters, while several new chapters are under construction. Although the majority of the members are still from the United States (55%, approximately), the remaining (45%) membership from outside of the United States is increasing fast, and is expected to surpass the US membership within the coming decade.
The EMC Society of the IEEE was founded on October 10, 1957, when the IRE approved the petition signed by 326 engineers wishing to form a Professional Group on Radio Frequency Interference. Since then, the contributions made by the EMC Society have been numerous. In 2007, the EMC Society will be celebrating its 50th anniversary at its Symposium in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Direct contributions of the EMC-S include the focus on education. Specifically, engineering education has the burden of keeping pace within the ever-changing electromagnetic environment. Indirect contributions include the many analytical and theoretical problems and solutions EMC engineers ponder daily. The projection of future scenarios which, when considered in advance, can save government and private industry millions of dollars. The EMC-S provides a forum for engineers, technicians and scientists to discuss their personal views, theories and solutions to this volatile and exciting environment.


What Does the EMC Society Offer its Members?
As a member of this distinguished Society of EMC professionals, you receive countless personal, career and business benefits. First and foremost, you have the opportunities to network with technical experts in your field of interest. Conferences, workshops, local chapters, technical and standards committees as well as on line services, provide you with numerous opportunities to work alongside the industry’s and academia’s top experts.
Much of the work of the EMC Society takes place locally in our chapters worldwide. A listing of the chapters and their chairpersons may be found on the EMC-S web site by clicking on the “Chapters” button. The chapters provide a local center for EMC activities by hosting presentation meetings, workshops, tutorials, colloquia and social gatherings. I strongly encourage you to contact your local Chapter Chair, and find out how you can participate. If no chapter exists in your local area, would you consider starting one?
The EMC-S sponsors the IEEE International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility giving you the opportunity to be part of the latest developments in your field and network with the leaders who are changing the world of EMI control. The upcoming Symposium will be held in Portland, Oregon, August 14-18, 2006. The Symposium will feature technical papers on current EMC topics, a series of progressive educational tutorials and workshops designed to introduce those new to EMC to the technical aspects of the discipline, physical demonstrations and computer simulations of EMC phenomena, and a large exhibition presenting a variety of EMC hardware, software and services. In addition, the EMC Society cooperates and co-sponsors a number of EMC conferences worldwide. You can attend the EMC Society symposia at a reduced member’s rate. If you cannot attend our symposium, you will receive your personal copy of the symposium record, mailed on a CD to you.
Each year, a limited number of travel grants are available to help disadvantaged engineers, members of the EMC Society, who contribute significantly to the technical program of the annual symposium, to attend the symposium.
Members of the EMC-S receive quarterly the IEEE Transactions on EMC, available in electronic format through your IEEE Web account, providing high-level research papers on EMC science and technology. In addition, the quarterly EMC Society Newsletter will help keep you abreast of technical, professional, and membership activities within the Society. The Newsletter provides current information on professional events, Society developments, product information, local activities and full text technical articles. Whenever you look for information on what is happening in the EMC-S, the Newsletter is the place to find it. The EMC Society also co-sponsors many other publications such as IEEE Press books.
The IEEE EMC Society sponsors a number of awards to recognize the efforts of its volunteers who have made significant contributions to the Society and/or the EMC profession. Each year, awards ranging from certificates of appreciation for outstanding service to the Society, whether at the local chapter or the Society level and local activities, up to awards for outstanding technical achievements in the field of EMC, serve as a token of appreciation and recognition by peers. The EMC Society awards are proudly presented and displayed by the members, and are well recognized by their employers.


Where Do YOU Fit In?

All professional activities of the EMC Society are performed by volunteers who are members like you, mostly on our committees. Meetings of the 10 Technical Committees, 3 Standards Committees (and more working groups) and the Education and Student Activity Committee take place in central locations, via teleconference calls, electronic communications, and through e-mail discussions. Distance is no longer a constraint in joining and benefiting from any of those activities.
Surely you can find interest in one or more of them. Those committees play an important role in the overall success of the EMC Society by promoting activities in their fields and providing expert knowledge and assistance to generate and review technical papers, organize and operate sessions at symposia, generate and develop standards and evaluate the “state of the art”technology and EMI control measures. These committees and their meetings are open to all members, the expert and the novice alike. Whether you come to contribute from your knowledge and experience, or to learn from the experience of others, you are welcome!
You can find information about each of the committees on our web site by clicking on the “Committees”button in the side bar and following the associated links. You are encouraged to investigate each of the committees listed there and to contact the chairman of any that interest you for a further explanation of the committee, its functions and options to participate in their activities.
Of course, the EMC Chapter in your area will always be glad to have you as an active member. You can give a talk, or actively participate in a discussion following a talk by others. If there is no chapter in your area – maybe you could start one yourself – you will receive all the support you need, and will find out how rewarding this can be.
And finally – you may wish to join the governance of the Society: You can “run” for a position on the Board of Directors of the EMC Society. The way is open to ANY member of the Society. Who knows, one day you may even be the President of the EMC Society. “The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself.”Please see page 42 of this Newsletter for the Board of Directors “Call for Nominations.”


Summary
In every stage of your professional career, explore your IEEE and EMC Society membership opportunities, make the best of it for your career advancement and make the world a better place to live in.


Where to Get More Information
For more information, please visit the IEEE EMC Society web site at: http://www.emcs.org.
You can also write to me, the VP for Member Services of the EMC Society, personally at: eb.joffe@ieee.org. You WILL receive a reply! Guaranteed!
Hope to see you among our active members! EMC


References:
[1] Anderson, C., “The Advantages of Membership”, The Institute, June 2005
[2] Binder M., Gerstmann, E., “IEEE Membership Research”, a presentation made at the Membership Development Retreat, 30 April 2005, New Brunswick, NJ, USA


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