Standing Amid Giants
Recognizing Our Colleagues in the Power Field
The IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) General Meeting (GM) is an amazing event for our Society and colleagues across the power and energy field. The PES GM is actually more than five different meetings colocated in the same place. These meetings provide opportunities for our members and other professionals in the power and energy field:
- to network with colleagues from around the world
- to introduce students and young engineers to opportunities in our discipline
- to present and discuss our work
- to learn about new areas in tutorials
- to develop standards
- to honor colleagues whom have been recognized for many different contributions in our technical field.
The 2012 GM in San Diego, where over 3,100 people attended various activities associated with the conference, continued our recent record-breaking trend. Many thanks are due to the Local Organizing Committee for providing the wherewithal to make the event the success it was.
Sunday night participants enjoyed an evening of visiting with friends and making new acquaintances aboard the USS Midway. On Monday morning the conference started with an outstanding plenary session featuring presenters from San Diego Gas & Electric, NERC, EPRI, and Qualcomm offering informative summaries of state of the art in our field and pressing technical and research issues that require our attention. If you missed the plenary at the conference, you can check out the video recordings of it here. At the beginning of this video there is an update of the “State of PES” as well.
For four days and nights we had numerous poster, panel and paper presentations; committees, subcommittees, task forces, and working groups met; and attendees took advantage of socials and breaks to discuss current events with each other. Five Super Sessions brought experts in renewable energy, energy storage, electric vehicles, nuclear energy, power system communications, and engineering in uncertain times together with a variety of issues and ideas for discussion. Videos of the Super Sessions are available here. Two late-breaking news sessions, “Potential Impacts of Geomagnetic Disturbances (GMD) on the Electric Power System” and “Impact of Significant Grid Changes and Other Factors on Power System Reliability,” debated several perspectives of these issues as well as different technical, economic, and political solutions to solve the challenges.
However, the event that was most special to me during the week was the PES Awards and Recognition Dinner on Tuesday night where we honored PES awardees as well as new IEEE Fellows for their contributions in service, leadership, and technical areas. From 2001 to 2003, I had the opportunity to oversee the event as the PES Awards and Recognition chair. During those years, I stood in awe as professional pillars in our field were recognized for their life achievements, technical accomplishments, and countless contributions to move the field of power and energy forward. This year was very special for me as it represented my 20th year as an active member of PES, and I had a chance, as the PES president, to rub elbows with the PES awardees and their families. Four of those awardees have been close mentors during my career and have provided support in my technical and career activities. Another colleague, Ramachandra Ramakumar, was honored for his philanthropic support of the IEEE Foundation including establishing a new PES Award. Dr. Ramakumar was recognized at the Alexander Graham Bell level of the IEEE Heritage Circle. To learn more about all of this year’s PES awardees, please see the 2012 Awards Booklet.
As a Society, PES has been working lately to increase our workforce pipeline by encouraging students and Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) to become active members of PES and the power and energy career field. We have made excellent progress in this area. This was evident at the GM as I looked over the crowd at the plenary session and faculty/student/industry luncheon. We have a strong influx of younger engineers taking advantage of PES and our activities.
At our PES Governing Board meeting at the end of the GM, we discussed another special group of PES members, our “Platinum” (age 55+) members. As a mid-career power engineer, I look around at the PES members who have come before and paved the way for today’s smart grid with their three, four, or more decades of professional contributions. These folks have built a strong foundation for those of us that follow and continue to provide support and insights in our field.
As Albert Einstein said, “If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.” We are all seeing farther into our technical field because we stand on the broad shoulders of our PES forefathers and foremothers, who made a difference and took the time to share it with us. We need to continue to embrace our future but also recognize our past and celebrate those accomplishments as well. So I encourage you to be part of the PES Platinum and GOLD activities. Thank a mentor for his/her contributions to your professional development and provide support to an engineer early in his/her career. With these activities you will recognize our professional pillars of today as well as develop tomorrow’s professional pillars along the way.