Eric Herz


Eric Herz
Eric Herz
Associated organizations
Sperry Gyroscope Company, IEEE


Eric Herz received a B.E.E degree from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1952 He took additional undergraduate and graduate courses in applied mathematics, engineering, and business at Adelphi College, San Diego State, UCLA, and Pepperdine University.

He worked at Sperry Gyroscope Company in New York as a project engineer on the development and field tests of a military radio hyperbolic navigation system, predecessor to LORAN C/D. A significant contribution was the development of very high speed, electro-mechanical, dry circuit switches to work with tube-type circuits. In 1956 he was stationed in Maui, Hawai'i, USA, as lead engineer in a successful experimental system to detect and locate electromagnetic pulses from nuclear tests in the Pacific Ocean.

In 1957 he joined General Dynamics's Convair Division in San Diego. He was engineering supervisor of the development and implementation of Telemetering Data Processing Stations in San Diego and Cape Canaveral. The San Diego Station was the largest of its kind in the free world, with the capability to convert all telemetered launch and flight data from a missile test to readily readable engineering unitswithin 24 hours. Astronaut John Glenn's medical data was received from overhead passes for display in real time on CBS and NBC television networks in the United States. He also became responsible for the company's engineering of automated test equipment.

In 1965 Herz became chief engineer and deputy program manager for a U.S. Army digital position location and communication system for evaluating maneuvers using personnel, vehicles, and aircraft with two-meter accuracy. After its completion he worked on avionics studies and proposals of early concepts of a space shuttle using fly-back boosters, with responsibility for instrumentation, performance monitoring, displays, and timing. He became designated chief engineer of the Boeing/Convair team for the Space Shuttle External Tank Competition.

In 1974 Herz was assigned as a program manager for the proposal and subsequently for the fly-off competition of the Tomahawk cruise missile. He was responsible for systems engineering, and later for the radome competition. For the Air Launched Cruise Missile Program competition Herz was the program manager for all ground support equipment.

In 1976, Herz became a member of the IEEE Board of Directors. In 1979 He became the General Manager and Executive Director of IEEE. He retired in 1992, and since that time has been a Emeritus member of the IEEE Board of Directors.

Herz was a Fellow of IEEE, the Chinese Institute of Electronics, and previously of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served as governor of the American Association of Engineering Societies, president of Eta Kappa Nu, president of the Council of Engineering and Scientific Societies, executive director and treasurer of the IEEE Foundation, president of IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society, and IEEE vice president for Technical Activities. A member of HKN's Beta Beta chapter, he was awarded an Sc.D (h.c.) by Manhattan College in 1992. Eric Herz died on 5 December 2016.

Both before and after his years as IEEE Executive Director, Herz served as an active IEEE volunteer in a wide range of positions. The extensive list follows:

IEEE Activities

S’51 - M’56 - SM’69 - F’83


  • Board of Directors, 1976-1992
  • Division III Director, 1976-1977
  • Vice President, Technical Activities, 1978
  • Executive Director, 1979-1992
  • Director Emeritus, 1993-2016
  • IEEE Foundation Board of Directors, Executive Director 1979-1995; Treasurer 1994-1996; Director Emeritus, 2003-2016.

Committee Boards

  • Ad Hoc on HQ Facilities, 1977-78
  • Alexander Bell Medal selection committee, 1978
  • Credentials, 1994-2003
  • Energy, 1975
  • Executive, 1978-1992
  • Fault Tolerant Computing, 1971-75
  • Finance, 1978-92
  • IEEE Employee Benefits, 1979-1992
  • IEEE Facilities, 1983-1992
  • Governance, 2007-2016
  • History, 1996
  • Individual Benefits & Services, Chairman, 1993-1994
  • Life Members, Member, 1996-1999
  • Nominations and Appointments, 1976
  • RAB Member Services, Chairman, 1974
  • Strategic Planning, 1990-92
  • Technical Activities Board, 1971-72, 1976-78, Chairman, 1978
  • TAB OpCom, 1976-78, Chairman, 1978
  • Telemetry & Data Communications, Chairman, 1967-69
  • United States Activities Board, 1976-77
  • USAB/U.S. Energy Program, 1981, USAB Technology Transfer, 1991.


Region 6: Secretary, 1974, Treasurer, 1973, Southwest Area Chairman, 1971-72, Meetings Committee, 1973-74, Publications Chairman, 1972.


  • Aerospace and Electronic Systems: Board of Governors, 1965-1978; Vice Chairman, 1969-70; Chairman, 1971-72.
  • Space Electronics and Telemetry: AdCom, 1963-64; Vice Chairman, 1964.
  • Engineering in the Ocean Environment: AdCom, 1972-75.

Related Materials

IEEE Overview - A general overview video of IEEE, presented by Eric Herz, IEEE General Manager & Executive Director. Produced by IEEE Technical Activities Department, 1987.