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Leader’s Corner

Leading the Way

PES Best Practices Leveraged by IEEE

As one of ten division directors representing the Technical Activities Board (TAB) of the IEEE Board of Directors (BoD), I am honored to write this column. The IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) and its 32,000+ members elected me as the Division VII director. In addition to the ten Division directors, the IEEE BoD is comprised of the “three Ps” (IEEE past president, president, and president-elect), vice presidents, the presidents of the six major boards, ten Region directors, and two directors emeriti. Of TAB’s 39 Societies and six Councils, PES is the third-largest Society and has enjoyed strong membership growth in recent years compared to IEEE overall and our peers within TAB.

This role provides a unique opportunity to have visibility of IEEE activities and the global growth that we are promoting across the enterprise. Among these, PES is a crown jewel that truly shines as a leader using new approaches to engage volunteers, embrace new technologies, and invite those with diverse backgrounds to collaborate in the emerging field of power and energy. This article showcases examples of PES leadership and best practices that are being further leveraged by IEEE to bring members value-added products and services.


In 2013, IEEE sponsored over 1,466 conferences in 92 countries. The number of financially sponsored and technically cosponsored conferences continues to grow year after year throughout the world, with three-fourths of the conferences held ­outside of the United States, in Regions 7–10.

PES has done its part to hold more conferences throughout the world and delivers with impact. In February, PES held its Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT)-North America Conference in Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The feedback from panels, which featured the lessons learned from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Smart Grid grant winners, was overwhelmingly positive. Other ISGT conferences have been scheduled in Istanbul and Kuala Lumpur this year. In addition, PES held its Transmission & Distribution (T&D) Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, 14–17 April. As one of the largest IEEE conferences, T&D was named one of the top 50 fastest-growing conferences in the world by Trade Show Executive and the only conference to be recognized in two of the three award categories.


IEEE publishes 161 journals, transactions, and magazines, representing more than 30% of the world’s annually published literature in electrotechnology, computing, and related fields. Each year, the Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports (JCR) examines the influence and impact of scholarly research journals. The 2012 JCR study revealed that IEEE journals retained their status as premier scholarly publications, with more than 7 million articles downloaded per month from IEEE Xplore. New in IEEE publications are three options for open access publishing to help authors gain maximum exposure for their groundbreaking research and application-oriented articles.

In November 2013, PES sponsored the launch of a new quarterly publication, IEEE Electrification Magazine, with the IEEE Industry Applications and Power Electronics Societies. It is dedicated to microgrids on board electric vehicles, ships, trains, and planes and in off-grid applications. The magazine features articles with graphics to enhance the content, which covers a technical perspective in synergy with nontechnical areas such as business, environmental, and social concerns.

Innovative Projects

The IEEE Future Directions Committee sponsors initiatives to facilitate exchange and incubate collaborations across IEEE that focus on large emerging multidisciplinary topics such as the smart grid, cloud computing, electric vehicles, green ICT, Internet of Things, and life sciences. In 2010, I launched IEEE Smart Grid as a front-running Future Directions initiative. Since its inception, the IEEE Smart Grid community has grown into a very active and engaged audience consisting of 5,100+ technical community members, 20,000+ LinkedIn group members, 5,700+ Twitter followers, and 11,000+ opt-in newsletter recipients.

Because of its maturity, IEEE Smart Grid transitioned into PES operations this year, under the very capable leadership of Massoud Amin. IEEE Smart Grid uses social media as a mechanism to engage the community, and new metrics are used to understand its effectiveness. The project’s Klout score of 58.86 recognizes PES as an influencer across multiple social media platforms and its Tweet level score of 58.7 identifies PES as a Twitter “IdeaStarter.” The lessons learned from using social media in IEEE Smart Grid are being closely watched, and the methods are increasingly being used by IEEE to connect those with like interests.


Another creative program that evolved under the PES umbrella in collaboration with the IEEE Foundation is the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative. The goal of this initiative is to provide scholarships and hands-on career experiences to undergraduate students pursuing a career in power engineering, in an effort to address anticipated industry attrition. A US$10 million philanthropic campaign was embarked upon to fund scholarships that would attract the best and brightest to the field. To date, US$5.2 million has been raised through industry, foundation, individual, and IEEE Member support. Since 2011, over US$1.1 million has been distributed via 549 scholarships to 364 students attending 137 universities within the United States and Canada. Over 160 companies have hired a PES scholar as an intern or a full-time employee. A preliminary report of the PES Power & Energy Education Committee Survey shows that this initiative is working! The survey indicates enrollment in power engineering electives across the United States has increased 20–50% since the program’s inception.

Soliciting philanthropic contributions from external sources was unique to the IEEE Foundation when the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative was launched. Now, after gaining experience, the IEEE Foundation Board of Directors endorsed a new plan featuring its Future Structure of Philanthropy that identifies signature programs as a focus for IEEE strategically aligned philanthropic campaigns. In addition to the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative, the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) and the IEEE History Center were endorsed as signature programs using elements of the model that was initially created by the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative.


Standards are important to achieve interoperability and are critical as new technologies are applied to modernize the grid; however, using a process that takes several years to complete can be a detriment to an industry in transition. PES collaborated with the IEEE Standards Association (SA) to accelerate standards development, in cooperation with the DOE, NIST, IEC, and other organizations, to develop required smart grid interoperability standards. Within this context, PES worked with the SA to fast track the development of synchrophasor standards. This effort proved that industry needs could be satisfied more quickly while assuring a quality review process. Some key success factors were involving users in identifying needs and requirements, engaging top experts to develop documents on the fast track, and ensuring that testing is done using appropriate facilities. The process will continue to be used as necessary to support industry-driven schedules that require expedited standards making.

In summary, I congratulate PES for its ability to innovate and meet the emerging needs of an industry in transition. The PES successes, collaborations, and lessons that have been learned are being further leveraged to build products and services to meet the needs of IEEE Members and provide recognized importance for the broader technical community. I am very proud to call PES my home Society and wish for continued success. Thanks for the confidence you have placed in me as your Division VII director. I look forward to serving in this capacity through 2015 and welcome your comments as I seek to make a difference. Please send your suggestions to w.reder@ieee.org.

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