Completed Careers
Well, summer is over and fall is definitely here in the North East. The trees are changing color and the region looks beautiful. I look forward to this time of year and before long, we will be mentioning the “s” word, but I don’t want to ruin anyone’s day so I won’t mention it now.
For those who attended the Awards Luncheon at the 2008 IEEE International Symposium on EMC, they experienced a difference from previous years. For the first time, we had “In Memoriam” posters with photos of members that had recently passed away. These posters were displayed at the entrance to the hall where the Awards Luncheon was held. Their names were also announced during the luncheon and a moment of silence was observed. As I mentioned in my Spring Newsletter article, the newly formed Completed Careers Committee planned on recognizing and honoring these members at the symposium. The “In Memoriam” posters honored the following: Fred Haber, Al Smith, John O’Neil, Ken Hall, John Osburn, Mike Hart, Norm Violette and Hank Knoller.
Since the 2008 Symposium in Detroit, Michigan, two additional members have passed away; Walt McKerchar and Professor Ban-Leong Ooi (of the Singapore EMC Chapter). Please take a few moments and read their biographies below. Both individuals were very active in the IEEE EMC Society and will be missed by those who knew them.
In closing, I would like to continue to solicit your support in sending me the names of members that have recently passed away. You can either forward them directly to your local Chapter Chair, or if you don’t know who that is, you can forward the names to me directly. Page 3 of the Newsletter has the list of Associate Editors with contact information.


Dr. Ban-Leong Ooi 1967-2008
Dr. Ooi was born in Taiping, Perak State, Malaysia on 17 Dec 1967. He received his B. Eng and Ph.D. degrees from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore, in 1992 and 1997, respectively.
He was an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the NUS. He was the past Director for the Centre of RF and Microwaves. He also served as the deputy director for the MMIC and Packaging Laboratory and was the Lab Supervisor for the Microwave Laboratory in the NUS. His main research interests included active antenna, microwave semiconductor device modeling and characterization, microwave and millimeter-wave circuits design, and novel electromagnetic numerical methods. He was the recipient of the 1993 URSI XXIV General Assembly’s Young Scientist Award. He published over 140 peer-reviewed international journals and conference papers and participated as either Principal Investigator or Collaborator of over S$14.5M research grants.
He was a Senior Member of the IEEE, a Member of URSI and a Member of IET. He served the Singapore IEEE MTT/EMC/AP Chapter as Secretary (2000-2001) and Vice-Chairman (2002-2003). His last held position in IEEE was as the Chairman of the Singapore IEEE MTT/AP and EMC Chapter. He was actively involved in organizing the 1999 Asia Pacific Microwave Conference, the 2003 Progress in Electromagnetic Research Symposium, the 2005 International Workshop on Antenna Theory, the 2006 EMC Zurich Symposium and the 2008 Asia Pacific EMC Conference.

Dr. Ban-Leong Ooi is survived by his eight year old son.

He also served as an EMC consultant for many private and government sectors, such as Hitachi Plant Engineering & Construction, ASCENDAS, Infotel Technologies, Singapore Telecommunications, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Bovis Land Lease, Trans Equatorial Engineering and DSO National Laboratories.
Dr. Ooi is survived by his wife, Qiu Youlin, and an 8-year old son.
The best person to summarize Professor Ooi’s attributes and accomplishments is Professor Mook-Seng Leong, his closest collaborator and friend, as well as former final year project, M. Eng and Ph.D. supervisor.
The following is input from Professor Leong:
I had known Dr. Ban-Leong Ooi since 1987 when I was teaching first year Physics (Electricity and Magnetism). I immediately noticed that this student had singular capabilities of reasoning and drive. He was always asking difficult questions that I did not expect at that level. He learned for the sake of learning. This enthusiastic thirst for knowledge was always in him right to 26 August 2008. We lost our colleague at the most productive age of 41.
I knew him as my undergraduate and postgraduate student who did an excellent Ph.D. thesis work on distributed amplifiers with over eight journal publications. The Ph.D. thesis work was very comprehensive, comprising analysis, simulations, hardware and experimental characterization. I still refer my students to his voluminous but excellent thesis.
He possessed a most likeable personality, always with a smiling face and infectious aura of being open and candid. For his age, he still looked youthful and ever friendly, traits that others take for granted that he can be hustled and bullied. Being a nice person by nature, he would just smile and say “Never mind. What’s important are my work and interests. Let others criticize.”
I rate him as the most productive member of my Microwave Group. He volunteered for almost anything and did the job admirably well because he cared about the task and could be depended on 100%. He was the staff member behind the sizable sponsorships from external companies for APMC 1999, PIERS 2003 and APMC 2009. Besides these three conferences, he was also actively involved in a host of other reputable international conferences such ISAP, ICCS, etc. We were supposed to meet on Friday, August 29, to finalize the exhibition package with the ADIC, and he was the engine who shortlisted this company and drafted some mutually beneficial agreement terms for the contract.

Dr. Ban-Leong Ooi with his wife, Qiu Youlin, and son on a recent family outing.

As a consultancy group for EMC, he was a valuable coordinator who did all the running and planning, though we gave inputs. We have successfully undertaken over 20 such projects during the past 15 years, and we (ourselves and the clients) all recognize his major contributions. His teaching/supervisory performance was beyond reproach, with students writing comments about his round-the-clock availability for consultation in particular. His mastery of the material and its constant upgrading were lauded.
He was the “de facto” computer whiz kid/geek who could troubleshoot any malfunctioning PC. And he would readily offer to come to his colleagues’ offices to fix the problems. Other colleagues can readily vouch for all this. His work rate was phenomenal, and his efficiency and efficacy were unquestionably first-rate. We have lost a most valuable staff member, colleague and friend. He was a most consultative type of person.
He was a lab supervisor/lecturer-in-charge not only in name, but kept in active interactions with the laboratory staff because he was a most responsible supervisor who cared for his subordinates. He had excellent contacts with outside companies. I believe he also contributed significantly to the various Faculty Committees and Programs. He was a humble person and never claimed credit for anything to which he contributed.
His absence will be sorely felt for many years to come. My strongest personal regret is that I will not see him promoted to Full Professor. “The presence of a person is never felt until he/she is gone.”
Mr. Davis would like to thank Professors Mook-Seng Leong and Kye Yak See for their contributions to this tribute to Ban-Leong Ooi.

Walter McKerchar 1929-2008
Walter D. McKerchar was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 8, 1929. He enlisted in the Coast Guard at the age of 15 to serve in WWII. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and became an electronic engineer, specializing in electromagnetics. After working for a number of aeronautical companies such as Grumman, Northrop, and General Dynamics as an EMI engineer, he went to work for Boeing Aerospace. Walt eventually went into the consulting business, working for himself, and traveling all over the world (including China, Taiwan, Korea, Europe, and the USSR). He developed an expertise in solving EMI problems on certain classified projects for the State Department in the U.S. and abroad. Another specialty was large anechoic chambers for EMC testing of aircraft, missile systems, automobiles and trucks. Examples include the large anechoic chamber for the Navy at Patuxent River, Maryland, and the large anechoic chamber for the Ford Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan. Notable was the project to help the Gostandart (USSR National Institute of Standards and Technology) develop an EMC test facility including a large anechoic chamber. This was prior to the breakup of the USSR and featured many political as well as technical challenges. Walt was renowned in his field and received many awards.

Walt McKerchar (center) is shown at a dB Society gathering with fellow members the late John Merrell (left) and Jack Moe.

Walt joined the SAE Committee AE-4 in 1963. At the time, there were only six members. Under Walt’s leadership, AE-4 grew to over 100 members. When MIL-STD-461 came up for review, his committee was responsible for recommending many specification and test methodology updates, which were later all incorporated.
In 1973, Walt conceived the dB Society. His nick-name (or handle) was the “Godfather”. He got this handle because they said he ruled his family with an iron hand. Walt also became the go-to-man for developing the “handles” of many of the existing society members, including this Newsletter Editor’s “handle” of Q T PI. Walt also served on the IEEE EMC Society Board of Directors for several terms and chaired the Publicity Committee.
Walt was the Publicity Chairman for the 1987 IEEE International Symposium on EMC in Seattle and wanted to spice up the Awards Luncheon which he deemed to be rather dull. He arranged to have a Saudi Prince as a speaker. His topic was loosely along the lines “How the Saudi’s were going to spend the money from the high oil prices due to a shortage in USA, i.e. buy the Empire State building.” Only the Symposium Chair and Walt knew that the prince was a Hollywood actor. Many attendees believed he was a real Prince until the very end when he admitted the charade. People who attended the 1987 EMC Symposium talked about the luncheon for many years.
After moving to Poulsbo, Washington, Walt attended clown school at the University of Minnesota and went on to become a Shrine Clown. Walt loved entertaining others. It is said that he was an engineer by vocation, but his avocation was as a “hobo” clown for the Nile Temple Shrine. His greatest reward was in the entertaining of children in the hospital and putting smiles on their faces.
Before his retirement, and for many years afterward, Walt was a docent at the Maritime Museum in Poulsbo.
Walt McKerchar died on August 12, 2008 and will be missed by many. He is survived by his wife Kaye, sons Jim and stepson Rick and daughters June and Kim. Walt had six grandchildren and many great grandchildren.
Mr. Davis would like to thank Don Weber, Jack Moe and Len Carlson for their contributions to this tribute to Walt McKerchar.

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