President’s Message

I must say that I am a big believer in the perpetual collapsing and expanding universe theory and making this belief a fundamental part of my basic set of principles that I live by. For instance, “beginnings are endings in reverse,” “what’s old is now new again,” “teaching is learning,” “one man’s refuse is another man’s treasure,” and so on. You get the picture. So I would like to begin my first message as your new President picking up where my predecessor, Kimball Williams, left off in his last Newsletter message to the Society. In his closing piece, Kimball stated that he would step back to aid me following his term as President to help achieve my set of goals and work on new initiatives for the benefit of the Society. He has already begun to do so in immeasurable ways. Kimball has taken the time especially over the past year to mentor me in the general handling of EMC Society business at many levels focusing on governance, leadership, teamwork, and the art of compromise. He has tirelessly taken the time to provide the initial guidance and ongoing support as I assume the duties as President. The lessons he has taught me in this regard have made me more aware of the importance of “paying it forward” in kind to the upcoming leaders of our Society when the time comes. This is an important and often overlooked aspect; that is, the duty of our leaders to teach and encourage others to follow in their footsteps for the greater good of the Society and our EMC profession at large. I think this was one of the subliminal messages imparted by Kimball in his last message as President. That brings me to my first item of business, so to speak, which is volunteerism - also a carryover from Kimball’s last message.

Membership, Chapter, and Professional Development
As he said, “Volunteering is for everyone.” Our Vice President of Member Services, Elya Joffe, is one of several Society leaders working with me on developing new plans and incentives for encouraging a fresh crop of volunteers from among our ranks, including volunteers at the grassroots EMC chapter level, to step up to the challenge of getting actively involved in committees and the Society’s work in general. This would even entail running for open positions on the Board of Directors. This effort will go hand in hand with cultivating new leaders who will eventually take up positions of responsibility within the EMC Society. As part of this grooming activity, we will continue to spur the growth of new chapters worldwide and open up opportunities for leadership positions wherever and whenever possible. We have already begun to take active steps on this path as evidenced by the rate of chapter growth from about 48 to nearly 60 in less than five years. We expect new chapters to develop in India, China, and Australia as well as other countries over the next several years. I have challenged our Member Services VP and his membership committees to undertake an aggressive campaign of establishing at least two new chapters per year and in parallel, grow our membership to at least 6,000 members within the next five years. Our membership peaked at/near 5,000 members during the 1999/2000 timeframe, but has steadily declined since then to approximately 4,200 members currently. This is due to a number of factors, which include, but are not limited to: worldwide economic conditions, job/career changes, escalating membership costs, lack of corporate support, and alternate access to EMC publications (via IEEE Xplore®, Digital Library, Electronic Library, Enterprise, or open access sources) among other reasons. We believe the time is here for us to rebuild our membership by instituting several new programs and initiatives designed to provide more tangible benefits to the members at large. I will periodically report on these new ideas and programs in the coming months. Again, my firm belief here is that if we can successfully continue to grow the membership and chapters worldwide, we will significantly increase the chances for volunteerism and the emergence of new leaders in greater numbers.
We have begun work on generating a membership mission statement that outlines the tenants and practical reasons for growing our membership. It begins with the premise that “a professional organization is very little without a healthy membership.” But what is a healthy membership and how do we maintain it? My apologies to the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius, but if posed with this question, he might have answered, “… a society without members is like a tree without branches.” In other words, we have deep roots (our Founders) and the (Society leaders) may be the trunk, but without branches and the leaves (our members at large) and the chlorophyll (life blood) the tree dries up and dies in time. In fact, my opening theme above can be replayed here in that the membership at large (branches and chlorophyll-loaded leaves) are just the other end of the roots of the same tree. I hope my point is clear. We should never think that we can run a Society without a healthy membership that consists of active volunteers and dedicated leaders, and we should continue to pursue membership development initiatives at any costs.
Clearly, the key words here are volunteerism, leadership, succession, membership development, new chapter development, and professional development. Some of the things we are exploring include revitalizing interest in corporate support of EMC membership, university programs aimed at encouraging advanced degrees in EMC, and continuing education incentives. Again, with increases in chapters and members come new volunteers, fresh ideas, and some interesting paths to follow. However, if we are to grow and sustain our Society, we must also keep pace with new technology trends. That brings me to my next talking point(s).

New Technology Frontiers
Someone once told me that we have essentially solved the shielding problem virtually across all fronts and we need to look ahead to new technological challenges. Although I don’t believe we will ever completely understand every ramification of electromagnetic theory, whether applied to shielding or some other EMI/C problem, I do subscribe to the notion that we need to adapt and remain relevant to new, emerging technologies. I have asked our Vice Presidents of Technical Services and Standards, John Norgard and Don Heirman, respectively, to look ahead to technologies that are up and coming and to help align us with respect to these new technology fronts. Efforts have already begun to assess our relevance to nanotechnology, intelligent transportation systems, multi-sensor systems, policy/software defined radios, broadband over power lines (BPL), new spectrum management and dynamic spectrum access paradigms, and future work to be pursued under the newly-formed IEEE Systems Technical Council. We remain vigilant of these and other technical fronts and we are even exploring the possibility of expanding our suite of technical committees (TCs) under the TAC to address emerging technologies in the context of EMC.

Expanding EMC Symposia Worldwide
We are more serious than ever to develop plans to host up to two symposia annually, where one could be held in Regions 1-7 and another in Regions 8-10 during any given calendar year. Under the leadership of our Vice President of Conferences, Barry Wallen, we are in the process of conducting a study to weigh the advantages and potential drawbacks of doing this, but on balance we feel this would be a good idea. Admittedly, with the increased visibility and presence of EMC conferences that are held worldwide by other groups external to the EMC Society, we need to be careful so that in the best of all worlds, we can complement and hopefully cooperate with these other groups and their individual EMC conference activities in some mutually acceptable manner.
We are also considering a new model for generating interest in local EMC chapters to submit proposals for holding future IEEE EMC symposia. More information on this will be made known in the near future. Suffice it to say that we will be approaching and actively soliciting existing chapters, chapters in formation as well as other groups that have a vested interest in EMC about holding a symposium in a specific region of the world.
Yet on another front and in an effort to further enhance the visibility of EMC in a “multi-disciplinary” context, we are investigating ways that EMC workshops and/or special sessions can be hosted at conferences and symposia by our sister societies such as the Antennas and Propagation Society, Microwave Theory and Techniques Society, Power Engineering Society, and Communications Society. Under an agreement, we would reciprocate and host workshops or special sessions on their topics of interest at our annual symposia. I think this would be a win-win situation for all of us.

Expanding Communications Services
Under the leadership of our Vice President of Communications, Ghery Pettit, we will begin to evolve some of our informational products and services to provide maximum benefit to our members. Some of the initiatives that we are working on include: a redesign of our web site to make it even more user oriented and updated with the very latest information, continuing our efforts to migrate the EMC Society Newsletter even closer to a true magazine format, and converting our EMC Transactions and symposia records into a much-improved and user-friendly CD/DVD format.

50th Anniversary Celebration
This one I am really looking forward to and I am humbled by the fact that my term as President coincides with the 50th anniversary date of the EMC Society. Under the leadership of Dan Hoolihan, one of our recent Past Presidents, plans are afoot to guarantee an outstanding technical and historical program, as well as an extremely enjoyable social program. What else would you expect given the EMC 2007 symposium locale (July 9-13, 2007 in Honolulu, HI)? This will be a wonderful time to look back at the past 50 years in the 50th state and to look ahead to the next 50 years and beyond. I think of this celebration as a milestone in our Society’s existence not only in the normal sense, but also in the sense that this marks a new beginning and a bright future for our Society.

Concluding a Beginning
In closing my first President’s Message, I want to say that I am very honored to be your President for the next two years. I wish to thank Kimball Williams and our other illustrious recent Past Presidents for the encouragement and support given to me over the years to help get me to this point in my IEEE service. I promise to work hard and pursue initiatives that will be of much benefit to the Society and its members. I briefly highlighted some of the things we will be focusing on and there is much more to come.
Indeed, the best is yet to come! In keeping with the philosophical theme of this article, remember that a sunrise is just a sunset in reverse!! EMC


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