First-Hand:Norman Bleshman, Chairman of the Power and Industrial Division (NY)


Submitted by Norman A. Bleshman

In 1953, I faced my first professional organizational challenge serving as AIEE Student Branch chairman. I was responsible for organizing the first joint Student Branch activities among the three engineering schools in the area.

After graduation in 1947, I relocated to the New York City area where I soon joined a very active Power and Industrial Division, of the New York Section of AIEE. It is significant to remember that, unlike today, members worked competitively to achieve leadership roles in the Power and Industrial Division with hopes that some day one would become a Section officer.

To eventually achieve the position of Chairman of the Division, I labored long in the Education Committee (which I eventually chaired). During that time, I helped produce a large number of well attended educational programs focusing on the needs of the Power and Industrial Engineer These included courses that prepared engineers to pass the Professional Engineering licensing examinations.

We also held the first courses in atomic energy. In about four separate sessions, we served almost one thousand engineers. A byproduct of these courses was the funds they raised which allowed the Division to afford other programs and activities for the members. In the 1950s, the Division donated, I believe, about ten thousand dollars toward the construction of the Engineering Society Building. This was probably one of the largest donations of an arm of the AIEE or any of the Founder Societies.