First-Hand:How I Became VP of IEEE Technical Activities

Submitted by John Vig

I had served as Division IX Director in 2002 and 2003. During the June 2003 TAB meeting, the TAB Nominations and Appointments Committee Chair presented the Committee’s recommendations for the slate of candidates for 2005 TAB VP-Elect. During the following coffee break, a fellow Division Director, Harold (Hal) Flescher, ran up to me and asked in an urgent manner, “Do you really want one of those turds to be VP?” I was a bit surprised by the question and told him that, had I been asked, I probably wouldn’t have picked those. He replied, “Good! So, if you were a candidate, would you be willing to run?” I asked why that made a difference. He said that he wants to start a petition to put me on the slate. I was surprised, amused, and skeptical, but, after thinking about it a few seconds, I said, “Sure.” By the next break, staff had prepared a petition form ready for signatures. Ten signatures were required for a successful petition. Before the break was over, Hal had collected 14 signatures. Attached is a copy of that petition. I was asked to prepare a 5-minute nomination speech.

Later during the meeting, the nominees were asked to leave the room and, one by one, each made a presentation to TAB. TAB then selected me to be one of the candidates. The rest, “as they say,” is history. I was elected, served as VP-elect in 2004, and as TAB Chair and VP in 2005.

Without this little episode, I would probably have never become IEEE president.