IEEE Region 3 (Southeastern U.S.) History
- 1963 – 1993, Wilbert L. Sullivan, Delegate/Director, 1974 – 1975
- 1993 – 2015, Charles E. Hickman
- 2016 – present, David G. Green, Delegate/Director, 2012 – 2013
A Special Project of the Region 3 Strategic Planning Committee
It has been more than fifty years since the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers was founded by the merger of its predecessor societies, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) and the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) in 1963. This seems an appropriate time to look back over this period and document those events and trends that have brought us to where we are today. That is the purpose of this history.
IEEE is a member-oriented technical and professional society. The organization exists for the purpose of delivering various services in its fields of interest to its members. For management and administrative purposes the membership units, Sections, Subsections, Society Chapters, and Student Branches, are grouped into geographical Regions to best fulfill the needs of the members and the missions of the IEEE.
Initially, the Regional organization consisted essentially of the Region Director. Subsequently, the organization evolved, step by step, into the comprehensive Regional structure that exists today. This is the story of how multitudes of dedicated volunteers have worked together to build a Regional organization that can more effectively serve the needs of more than 33,000 members who reside in the geographic area of Region 3, essentially the Southeastern United States and the island of Jamaica.
It is hoped that this history of Region 3 will be more than a nostalgic record of past events for those who were part of the process, that it will motivate and encourage those who serve in any of the organizational units of the Region, and that they may benefit from these past experiences and dedicate themselves to further improvement in services rendered by IEEE to its members.
This history is dedicated to the memory of three distinguished leaders whose deaths occurred during the period under review. Dr. Joseph Weil, already at retirement age, was the first Regional Director elected by the membership. Dr. Weil added a spark of enthusiasm to the early years of the Region and served in several positions on the Region 3 Committee following his term of Directorship. Dr. Larry Wilson served as Director with distinction and then went on to serve as an officer of the Institute. The Regional Activities Board has given his name to two special awards in recognition of his work in transnational and student activities. Dr. Joseph Biedenbach served as chairman of the Region 3 Educational Activities Committee for a period of thirteen years. His energetic commitment to this task made the Region a leader in the delivery of both technical and leadership education to its members. The Region 3 award for Outstanding Engineering Educator has been named for him.
Upon the merger of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) and the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) on January 1, 1963, Region 3 in the Southeastern U.S. became one of the ten Regions of the new transnational society. The Regions were established for administration of the local membership units. In Region 3 there were approximately 13,000 members in 33 Sections, 16 Subsections, and 30 Student Branches.
Like its predecessor societies IEEE was structured so as to best serve the needs of its members. Although addressing only a portion of these needs, regional activities are directed toward developing and maintaining, through sound administrative practices, an organization of geographically defined member units committed to the advancement of electrical and electronics engineering. These units afford on a local basis a common forum for the members to meet and exchange views on technical, educational, professional or other areas of interest.
To facilitate this process the regional organization serves a group of Councils, Sections, Subsections, and Student Branches to assist them in carrying out this charter. The Region Director, as a member of the Board of Directors, is responsible for the management of these functions within a Region.
For most of Region 3's 13,000 members in 1963 IEEE consisted of the local Section, Subsection, or Student Branch, one or more publications from "Headquarters", and an occasional technical conference. Local officers were elected by the local membership and, to learn the ropes and gain experience, traditionally progressed from one office to another until reaching the position of Chairman. These volunteer leaders, even at that time, were the backbone and strength of the organization. This history will show how this strength and the dedication of such volunteers has been utilized to vastly increase and improve the delivery of IEEE services to the members of Region 3 over the past thirty years.
As had been the practice under AIEE and IRE, the local units looked almost exclusively to the IEEE Headquarters staff for assistance and guidance with any organizational or membership problems. The Regional Director served as a member of the Board of Directors and was available to assist the local units as necessary, to present awards,and to encourage the Sections and Student Branches with regular visits where possible.
The Regional Committee, consisting of the Regional Director and the Section Chairmen, met once a year to review the state of the Region, and in alternate years, to nominate candidates for Regional Director. There was no Region staff, no Region treasury, and no operating guidelines other than the IEEE Bylaws and Policy and Procedures Manual. At the outset Region 3 was no different from the other IEEE Regions in these characteristics.
Contrast this with the situation thirty years later when the Region 3 Director has a Regional staff of 15 plus 9 Area or Council Chairmen, an annual budget approaching $100,000, and numbers of detailed operating manuals and guides for the various aspects of operations. Of course, the growth of the organizational structure, the expenditures, and the documentation are not a measure of success. These are merely the tools used in maximizing the delivery of IEEE services to the individual members of Region 3, whether the 13,000 of 1963, or the approximately 33,000 today.
The constant progress toward that goal, in many small steps, is recorded in this history. Hundreds of volunteers from Region Director to the officers in Sections, Subsections, and Student Branches, committee members at all levels, Student Counselors, and others have made their contributions.
Region 3 began , as did most of the Regions, with only the Region Director ( and perhaps a Secretary or Secretary-Treasurer) serving at the regional level. The Director's efforts were primarily devoted to assisting the geographical units with organizational problems, facilitating communications between these units and IEEE Headquarters, and motivating and encouraging local officers in their responsibilities. This pattern continued for several years.
By 1970 it became clear that the sheer number of geographical units involved coupled with the diverse interests of the membership demanded an organization at the regional level that could better serve the needs of the members in the region. This led to the establishment of six Area Chairmen responsible for portions of the Region and several Committees responsible for certain specialized activities. None of this relieved the Director from his ultimate responsibility but was of great assistance to him and proved to be a valuable service to the local units and their members.
The Area concept originated in Region 3 as a means of improving the communication and management/administrative missions of the Region. Of the original six Areas some were single state and some multi-state. Boundary adjustments have been made from time to time to accommodate the formation of five state Councils, each of which constitutes a single Area. The use of Areas prior to and in conjunction with the formation of Councils appears to have been a significant benefit to the Region over the years.
Two other elements of IEEE activity which have especially characterized Region 3 had their genesis during the early years -- 1) the prominence given to Student Activities, and 2) the employment of an annual technical conference/student conference and prize paper contest/Regional Committee meeting to bring together all the diverse interests and activities of the Region at one place at one time each year. In fact, these two elements to a large extent define the character of Region 3.
The expansion of the Regional staff in 1970 included, in addition to the six Area Chairmen, committees responsible for Student Activities, Membership Development, Awards, Conferences, and a Nominating Committee.
As the need for them arose committees were later established for Professional Activities, Educational Activities, Strategic Planning, and Public Relations. Ad hoc committees have been employed from time to time for certain tasks, but from the early 1970s until the present time, these nine committees, and, especially, their chairmen have been the strength of Region 3's operations.
The establishment of Councils in five of the states served by Region 3 has significantly improved the services rendered to members in those states. Unlike the Area, which is a top-down structure imposed on the Sections for administrative purposes, the Council is a creation of its constituent Sections and over which they have control.
In 1977, the Sections in Florida formed Region 3's first Council. By 1981 Councils also had been formed in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. North and South Carolina had previously organized an "Affiliation of Sections" for much the same purpose, making the transition an easy one for them. Under the Council umbrella the Sections were able to cooperate in educational programs, Section officer workshops, Student Activities, and especially, Professional Activities. In fact, the ability to present a state-wide interface to governmental agencies and other professional organizations was one of the prime motivations for the state-wide Councils.
The chronology of Region 3's history falls naturally into four periods of time approximating the four decades in which it has existed, the sixties, seventies, eighties,and nineties, and this document is organized accordingly. The chapter headings, IN THE BEGINNING, BUILDING THE FOUNDATION, EXPANDING THE SERVICES, and INTO THE FUTURE are generally descriptive of the activities during those periods.
In each of these periods except the first activities represented by the nine committees named above moved in parallel toward the maturity that exists today. As this history of Region 3 proceeds through these periods events are generally described in a context related to these activities.
Prior to 1970 the Region Directors were occupied in finding their way through largely uncharted waters and insuring that the local units were operating in accordance with appropriate Bylaws and policies and were providing for the needs of their members. This was the beginning. (CHAPTER I)
With the expansion of the Regional staff and its responsibilities it became possible to enlarge the scope of the Region's services to the membership at the time, and, also, to build a foundation for the future. (CHAPTER II)
In the 1980s a broad range of new services was available to the members of Region 3 and actively promoted at the Regional level. Professional activities had mushroomed and were actively promoted at the Region, Council/Area, and Section level; four Region 3 awards were being made annually to highly qualified recipients; new Educational programs were being made available using satellite technology and a video tape library; student conferences each year vied for "best ever" status and a "hardware contest" became a highly acclaimed feature of the annual student conference. Across the board services to the members were expanding. (CHAPTER III)
By 1990,the regional organization was poised to accommodate whatever the membership's needs were perceived to include. The management of the Region was becoming more sophisticated. With annual budgets in the $100,000 range fiscal accountability was an imperative. E-mail and facsimile were replacing paper as the medium of choice for correspondence between organizations and individuals. In 1993, as an experiment, a Region Executive Committee meeting was held by video with the members at six locations in six cities. Consideration is being given to the use of laptop computers by the Executive Committee in a true "paperless" environment. Into the future is a reality. (CHAPTER IV)
During the thirty year period the Region 3 membership grew from 13,217 to 32,829, a gain of approximately 150%. By contrast the total growth in Regions 1-6 was just under 70%. Student membership in Region 3 ran well ahead of the other U.S. regions throughout the period, increasing from 2,951 to a peak of 6,280 in 1984. It then declined, as did student membership throughout the U.S., to 4,389 at the end of 1993. This represented a net gain for the period of almost 50% in Region 3 , whereas the Region 1-6 membership was relatively flat with a growth over thirty years of less than 1%.
As the membership of the Region grew many Sections benefited from transitory shifts in the geographical distribution of engineering employment which automatically brought members into the Sections. Also, the large number of electrical engineering programs in colleges and universities in Region 3 increased the student population available for recruitment. However, this does not fully account for the substantially higher rate of growth in Region 3 compared with other U.S.Regions.
It seems reasonable to assume that the aggressive membership development efforts to enlist and retain members and the active support of the Student Branches by their parent Sections and by the leadership in the Region had a salutary effect on these results.
As this record closes the Region 3 leadership under its current Director is demonstrating a vision for the future. Work is underway on a Strategic Plan which will chart the way into the twenty-first century, setting forth a set of long range goals, objectives, and strategy by which Region 3 will direct its efforts to improve IEEE's service to its members and to the profession.
In the Beginning: 1963-1969
Region 3 of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), consisting of all or portions of the ten Southeastern states plus small areas of Arkansas, Indiana, and Illinois, and the Island of Jamaica (Jamaica joined Region 3 in 1985), came into existence on 1 January 1963, at the time IEEE was created by the merger of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) and the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE).
Initially, the field units (Sections, Subsections, Student Branches) followed the practices and traditions of their predecessors under a new constitution, and quickly learned to live and operate under the new environment. Both of the former societies were member oriented, but with slightly different emphases. AIEE, in general, delivered its member services through strong local Sections and national or regional technical conferences sponsored by technical committees at the national level. IRE, on the other hand, while local Sections were organized, delivered its services mainly through its technical Groups, which represented the various technical disciplines. In the new organization the Section became the primary focus of local interaction between members, while the Groups (later designated "Societies") provided the primary technical services.
Student Branches of both predecessor societies existed in many colleges, with both separate and joint Branches, depending on the extent of interest. These also were merged where necessary.
In 1962, there were approximately 15,000 memberships in AIEE and IRE in the area of what is now Region 3. The term "memberships" is used as many individuals were members of both societies. This fact and the increasing overlap in fields of interest were among the compelling arguments for the merger. There were 24 AIEE Sections and 15 IRE Sections existing at that time as well as 32 AIEE, IRE, and joint Student Branches. At the end of the first year following the merger, 1963, total membership in IEEE was 13,217 in 33 Sections, 16 Subsections, and 30 Student Branches. Complete membership details are included in Appendix A.
The year 1963 was a time of reorganization throughout the Region. At the local level this required anything from a change in name of the Section, acquisition of new members from the other society, and adoption of new Section bylaws, to a combination of these actions plus the complete merger of two local units and the blending of what may have been two entirely different methods of operating at the local level. It is to the lasting credit of all the local leadership then in place that the transition was relatively smooth.
On college and university campuses the changes were much easier. Little more than a name change and a broadening in the fields of interest were required. Approximately one third of the Student Branches were already operating as joint Branches prior to the merger. At the Regional level the change was not so dramatic. John W. Davis, who had served on the merger committee and had been actively involved in planning the merger, was appointed to serve as Regional Director for the initial year until the membership could nominate and elect its Director under the new Constitution. Director Davis spent much of his time visiting the local Sections and assisting them in reorganizing and operating in the new environment. His only formal helper was Ben V. Martin whom he asked to serve as awards chairman. Ben Martin had served as a Vice President of AIEE. Both of these men recognized the need for continuity in the awards process during the transition and sought to ensure that pending awards for deserving members of Region 3 would not be lost in the process of change.
The Student Branches, particularly in the AIEE, had a history of prize paper preparation and competition, with the winner in each Branch invited to participate in the District competition. The Branch Counselors were especially concerned that this tradition be continued. During a Region meeting at Richmond in 1963 Dr. Charles Weaver of Auburn University was elected Region 3 Student Activities Chairman by the Counselors. This was their practice at the time and was continued for several years until the occupant of this office was made an appointee of the Regional Director.
Also in 1963, the Florida West Coast Section offered to host the first Region 3 Technical Conference in May, 1964, at Clearwater, FL. In the course of their planning the conference Steering Committee decided to invite student participation and appointed a Student Activities Chairman to coordinate this activity. This decision was made without any discussion with the Counselors, who had planned to hold the 1964 meeting at the University of Miami. The invitation included an offer to provide, at conference expense, the housing costs plus two meals for up to 100 students. Needless to say, the offer was accepted. This early instance of Region 3 support for student activities is mentioned here to underscore the priority attached to this aspect of Region 3 operations at the very start - a priority that still exists after thirty years and of which Region 3 can be quite proud.
In the course of planning this first student conference and paper contest, Dr. Weaver discovered there was no consensus among the Counselors regarding the contest rules, such as number of papers to be orally presented, format of written paper, and weight to be given to oral and written elements. Philip Morgan, of Christian Brothers College, was asked to prepare the rules to be used, based primarily on the practices followed by the old AIEE Districts 4 and 13. Agreements were reached, and the practices established have generally been followed since that time. Morgan, who was especially active in Region 3 student affairs dring those early years became the first Director appointed Student Activity Chairman in 1970.
The new IEEE Bylaws provided for the election of the Regional Director by the Region membership following nomination by the Region 3 Committee, which at that time consisted of the Director and the Section Chairmen of all Region 3 Sections. This was accomplished under the leadership of Director Davis, and on Jan 1, 1964, Dr. Joseph Weil, of Florida, became the first elected Director of Region 3 for the two year period, 1964-1965. The Regional Director becomes a member of the IEEE Board of Directors and, additionally, is responsible for all matters involving Region 3.
Under Director Weil's leadership the local units began to feel more comfortable in their new role and organization. Local Bylaws were prepared and submitted for approval, and Section and Subsection officers began to function much as they had in the past. There were few written guidelines, and in the absence of much direction from above, their effectiveness varied widely with the quality of leadership. Like John Davis before him, Director Weil spent much of his time assisting these local units in their activities and their relations with IEEE Headquarters.
The first Region 3 Technical Conference at Clearwater was a success and set a pattern for those which followed. The three principal elements - (1) technical conference, (2) Region Committee meeting, and (3) Student Conference with Prize Paper competition - were all a part of this first conference. Fifty-seven professional papers were presented. There is no record of exhibits or of the financial results, but the student support promised was delivered, ensuring a successful Student Conference.
In 1965 the Region 3 Committee met in Raleigh, NC, in conjunction with the North Carolina Symposium. This technical conference with exhibits had been a part of AIEE activity in the state for a number of years, and the Region was invited to participate. At the Region 3 Committee meeting nominations were made from the floor for Regional Director. In the ensuing election by the membership later that year Dr. Rufus Fellers, of South Carolina, was elected to serve for the 1966-67 term.
The 1965 Student Prize Paper contest and the student conference were held at Coral Gables, FL, at the University of Miami. No policy had yet been established to combine the student conference with the regional technical conference.
Moderate growth of less than 800 members had occurred during 1964-1965. Region 3 was the only U.S. Region to experience any growth during this period. One new Section was established, and the five Subsections in North Carolina were elevated to Section status, giving the Region a total of 38 Sections at the end of 1965. The five new Sections in North Carolina had functioned well over the years in joint activities, such as the annual Symposium and support of student activities. Not wishing to give up that advantage, after studying their needs and resources, they petitioned to establish an "Affiliation of Sections" through which they could voluntarily carry out joint activities. This was a new type of organization for IEEE, but, with help from Dr. Fellers, permission was granted and the Affiliation of North Carolina Sections was established during 1966.
The desirability of scheduling the annual Region 3 Committee meeting jointly with the technical and student conferences was evident. The locations for such meetings were being selected from invitations of the local Sections. All planning was in the hands of the host Section and Student Branch, and all financial risk was theirs. Partial travel reimbursement was provided by IEEE Headquarters for members of the Region 3 Committee and for the Counselor, Student Branch Chairman, and Branch Prize Paper winner. The Student Activities Committee provided additional support for the student conference from a special fund solicited from the Sections for this purpose. This had been a longstanding AIEE practice and was continued for several years under Region 3. The Region had no funds of its own. In this environment the meetings for 1966 and 1967 were scheduled for Atlanta, GA, and Jackson, MS, respectively, at the invitation of the |Atlanta and Mississippi Sections.
The Atlanta Section was enjoying significant corporate support from the major engineering employers in the area, including Georgia Power, Southern Bell, Lockheed, and Georgia Tech. R.S. Duggan, who later served as Regional Director and Vice President of the Regional Activities Board was instrumental in bringing the conference to Atlanta. A Lockheed Vice President served as Conference Chairman. By the end of the first day of the meeting it was apparent that registrations were falling far short of estimates, and a financial disaster could be in the making. Word went out to the local employers (especially Lockheed), and, suddenly large numbers of local registrants began arriving, salvaging the remainder of the meeting and its financial integrity. This detail is included here, not because it is of major historical importance, but as an illustration of the ever present application of Murphy's Law in the holding of regional conferences and the ingenuity of Region 3 members in solving the problems that arise.
The 1967 conference in Jackson, Mississippi, is historically noteworthy due to actions taken in the Region 3 Committee meeting. IEEE Bylaws included a provision that the Regional Committee could nominate and submit to the membership for vote a single candidate, rather than two or more, only upon a UNANIMOUS vote by the Committee. In the early years of IEEE few representatives of industry, as opposed to academia, were widely known to local members throughout the Region. In view of these facts certain Atlanta telephone company employees began to suggest to their coordinates around the Region the desirability of choosing Mr. R.G. Elliott, corporate Vice President - Engineering, as the next Region 3 Director. This was not done at Elliott's request, or even, in the early stages, with his knowledge. However, the political winds reached out to enough Section chairmen or their representatives to invoke a unanimous nomination. Although the individual members of the Region were deprived of a choice on the ballot, the Region and its members were well served by this Director as he began to put into place concepts and policies for managing the Region which have stood the test of time.
A short time later the Bylaws were amended to require that two or more candidates be nominated for submission to the membership for a vote. Bob Elliott always referred to this as the "Elliott Amendment".
Like his predecessors Director Elliott began his term of service with only a Secretary-Treasurer to assist him. He quickly realized that he could not, by himself, give adequate attention to the needs of nearly forty Sections. He discussed some ideas for better managing the affairs of the Region with Dr. James Mulligan, Vice President, Regional Affairs (later the Regional Activities Board) who was sympathetic to some of these suggestions and agreed to come to Atlanta for a meeting and further discussion. Elliott assembled a group of people, all of whom had extensive experience in Section activity, to address the question "what do you as Section officers and your members need from a regional organization and how can we best go about providing it?" Out of this discussion came the idea of an "Area Chairman" with responsibility for a group of adjacent Sections. He would serve, not as another level of bureaucracy, but as a spokesman, a representative, an expediter, a motivator, or what have you, for the Regional Director, to bring about improvement in the delivery of services to the membership.
Dr. Mulligan suggested a trial of this concept for a single Area to determine how it might work. Recognizing that there would be some travel costs involved he agreed that Headquarters would pick up these costs for the first year. R.S. Duggan, who had recently served as Atlanta Section Chairman, was tapped for the job. The Sections and Subsections in Georgia and South Carolina would constitute the trial Area. Thus was born an organizational concept that has been critical to the development and expansion of a management plan for the delivery of member services to the members of Region 3.
The 1968 Regional Conference, including technical program, Student Conference, and Region 3 Committee meeting was held in New Orleans in April. Except for student activities this was almost a washout. A widespread telephone strike had begun just prior to the meeting. Many IEEE members, who otherwise would have been present, found themselves maintaining central offices, operating switchboards, or performing other essential services for their employer. Many of the Local Arrangements Committee members were involved, as were members of the Region 3 Committee and some speakers and session chairmen. The New Orleans Section took a financial beating as a result.
The IEEE Bylaws, at that time, authorized Regional Committee members to attend two meetings of the committee each year. Because of the low attendance at New Orleans arrangements were made for a second meeting of the committee at Cocoa Beach, FL, coincident with a technical conference hosted by the local Section. At this meeting there was opportunity to report on the trial of the Area concept and discuss with all Section representatives how this might benefit them. Two other actions were taken at this meeting. The Region 3 Committee adopted a proposal for a Region 3 Award for "Outstanding Engineer" in the Region, to be selected by an Awards Committee from nominations made by the Sections. Also, the first Region 3 budget was adopted, based upon limited funds now being disbursed by IEEE Headquarters, primarily for travel within the Region.
The idea of a single, annual meeting for both professional and student members and the business needs of the Regional Committee had not yet solidified. Few Sections were eager to take on the responsibility of planning and financing a large conference. Also, it was necessary that the Student Prize Paper Contest be held in the late Spring, leaving less flexibility in scheduling. Due to these factors separate conferences were again held in 1969. The student conference and Prize Paper Contest were held in Raleigh, NC,in the spring, while a technical conference was held in the fall at Huntsville, AL. The Region 3 Committee met at each location.
Parenthetically, it may be of interest here to touch on the matter of travel expense to attend authorized meetings. The subject will arise not infrequently in the course of this story, and knowledge of the policies in place during the early days of IEEE will be useful.Bylaws provided for the partial reimbursement of the necessary expense of travel on authorized IEEE business. Within the Region such authorized business was limited to members of the Region 3 Committee attending no more than two committee meetings each year, and, for students, attendance by the Counselor, the Student Branch Chairman, and the Student Prize Paper winner, if any, from each Branch to the Student Conference and Prize Paper Contest each year.
The amount of the partial reimbursement was computed, in the late 1960's at 17 1/2 cents per mile, one way, from the home location to the point of the meeting, total. No hotel, no per diem, and the one way distance was not the distance traveled but the straight line measurement determined on an appropriate map by IEEE Headquarters. Over the years many IEEE members have been fortunate to have their expense to professional meetings reimbursed by their employers. Those who have not, in those days, traveled at considerable personal expense.
Now, back to our story. Throughout Director Elliott's term of office, Dr. Mulligan had taken a keen interest in not only the Area concept and its trial, but other opportunities to strengthen the regional organization. He held several more meetings in Atlanta with a representative group of people to discuss these ideas. One immediate result was the establishment of a new committee of the Regional Activities Board, initially designated the Policy and Planning Committee. This committee absorbed the activities of the ad hoc Atlanta group, which, in effect, moved the forum for these discussions from Region 3 to the Institute level and broadened the input. As might be expected, the committee was heavily populated by members from Region 3. Two early actions of the Policy and Planning Committee were of immediate benefit to Region 3. A typical structure for a Regional Committee was proposed, and a Section Management Guide was developed and distributed for trial use. A measure of the success of the two years of discussions is the Regional organization put into place by Elliott's successor, Seymour Cambias Jr., immediately upon taking office. Cambias was elected Director of Region 3 in the Fall of 1969, and having had a part in much of the planning, was able to quickly assemble a Regional staff and take off running.
BUILDING THE FOUNDATION 1970-1979
Acting upon the recommendations of the Policy and Planning Committee of RAB, Director Cambias established six Areas and six committees to assist him in the management of the Region. The Areas initially represented a compromise between geographical areas of common interest, travel distances, and numbers of Sections. Only two were coterminous with the borders of a single state.
The initial committees were Awards, Career Guidance, Meetings, Membership, Student Activities, and Newsletter. Initially IEEE referred to the Membership Committee as "Membership and Transfers". This was later changed to "Membership Development". For simplicity, throughout this document the committee will be referred to simply as "Membership". Except for Membership and Student Activities there were few guidelines, and the committees were asked to develop their own agenda and objectives.
Plans were already in place for the 1970 student meeting and Prize Paper Contest at the University of Florida in Gainesville, in late April. A meeting of the Region 3 Committee, now enlarged to include the Area and committee chairmen, was therefore scheduled for the same location.
The Region 3 officers: Director, Vice Chairman, Secretary-Treasurer, and Past Region 3 Director, met during the afternoon of the first day of a two day meeting with the Area and Committee Chairmen. At this meeting the duties of the Area Chairmen were defined for the first time. The Section Chairmen joined this group for dinner, after which each Area Chairman met with his own Section Chairmen, following a scripted agenda developed during the afternoon. The formal meeting of the Region 3 Committee took place on the morning of the second day, and included reports of the discussions of the previous night.
This expansion of the Region 3 organization was received with enthusiasm by all the participants. There seemed to be general agreement that the Area concept and the specialized committees would be of benefit to the Sections and, through them, the general membership. Communications channels, upward and downward, would be improved, and the Director would be better able to represent his constituents.
It is important to note that although the evolving organization gave the appearance of a top-down decision making process, its purpose was to enhance the value of the IEEE to the individual members and to assist the Section organization in that process. To that end every effort was made to obtain feedback and suggestions on every proposal. The various meetings at Panama City were particularly effective in that process.
At the Gainesville meeting the Region 3 Committee had its first opportunity to demonstrate it commitment to student support. Due to financial constraints the 1970 Institute budget had eliminated the travel allowance for the Student Branch Chairman to the Student Conference. Travel for the Counselor and Prize Paper winner were left intact. The student community was considerably upset. Director Cambius had already agreed to cover the shortfall at Gainesville from his very limited Region 3 fund, but Philip Morgan, Chairman of the Student Activities Committee, persuaded the Region 3 Committee to bring pressure to bear at the Institute level to reverse this decision.The Committee agreed that the Student Branch Chairmen were key players among the IEEE members of the future and should be afforded this conference experience. Enough pressure was brought to bear that the SBC travel allowance was reinstated in the 1971 budget.
Also out of this meeting came an agreement to form a Region Executive Committee, consisting of the Region 3 Officers, the Area Chairmen, and the Region 3 Committee Chairmen. The first meeting of the Committee was held in July of 1970 in New Orleans. By this time the Awards Committee had developed a plan for selecting the recipient of the Outstanding Engineer Award and had solicited nominations from the Sections. It was proposed that the initial award be made at the 1971 Regional Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Meetings Committee was still groping for its mission since none had been assigned. The Section Management Guide mentioned earlier was made available at this meeting for distribution by the Area Chairmen. This was the first written instruction for operating the local Section, and the Region 3 Area Chairmen were selected to be the bearers of such good tidings. This guide and its subsequent revisions became the centerpiece of early Section management training.
Also during this period the RAB Policy and Planning Committee suggested a trial of a Regional Newsletter and provided $3000 to cover the estimated cost of two issues. The idea was to provide news and information of Region 3, the purpose of the Areas, the Region Awards Program, etc. directly to each member, information which might not reach him any other way. The initial issue of the REGION REASONATOR consisted of eight pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches, offset printed. Over twelve thousand copies were mailed in September at a cost of $1272 for printing and mailing.
In September the full Region 3 Committee met for the second time that year at Panama City, FL, concurrently with a technical conference on Engineering in the Ocean Environment. The format of the meeting was similar to that at Gainesville with ample time for the Area Chairmen to hold discussions with their Section Chairmen. The financial report at this time showed a small balance after funding travel for two Region 3 Committee meetings and one separate Executive Committee meeting. This was the last year, however, that two Region 3 Committee meetings were held.
The Region Executive Committee met in Atlanta in February, 1971, primarily to review plans for the Regional Conference and Region 3 Committee meeting scheduled for April in Charlottesville, VA. It was reported at this meeting that the second issue of the REGION REASONATOR had been mailed. Total costs for printing and mailing approximately 15,000 copies was $1405. Students were included in this mailing, although their copies were shipped in bulk to each Student Branch . The general consensus was that the newsletter was a good product and served a good purpose but, since there was no source of funding for future issues, no plans would be made to continue publication. The Newsletter Committee would direct its effort to assisting the Sections in publishing Newsletters for their members. It was reported that ten Sections were publishing newsletters at that time.
The Membership Committee during 1971 was working with the Sections and Areas to establish effective Membership Committees in every Section. A goal of 10% increase in membership was established for the Region. The Institute Membership Committee had instituted a new program for following up at the local level those members who were in dues arrears. Region 3 was aggressively participating in this program with considerable success. By the end of the year membership growth for the Region was well under the 10% goal although a number of Sections had achieved this level of growth locally.
The Region 3 meeting at Charlottesville in April 1971, could be considered the first full blown Region 3 Conference, including all the elements that now are expected to be part of a "SoutheastCon". The local committee billed the meeting as the "9th Annual IEEE Region 3 Convention". This was, in fact, the ninth year of Region 3 operation, but this nomenclature took liberties with other facts. This is in no way to disparage the efforts put forth in prior years by local committees to host the meetings, but some of these were "regional" only because the Region 3 Committee was meeting there at the time. At Charlottesville there was a Technical Conference, the Student Prize Paper Contest, a Student Conference, the Region 3 Committee and Executive Committee meetings, a workshop for Section officers, and an Awards Banquet highlighted by the presentation of.the first Region 3 Outstanding Engineer Award. Total registration was 320. Twenty-four of the thirty-nine Sections and twenty Student Branches were represented.
The Awards Committee received twelve nominations for the Outstanding Engineer Award. Of these, the committee felt that the top two nominees were so nearly equal that both should receive the award. The recipients were William R. Brownlee of the Alabama Section and Dr. John E. Pippin of the Atlanta Section. This is the only instance of dual awards for this honor in Region 3 history.
The Nominations Committee presented the names of two nominees for Regional Director from a field of twenty names which were considered. In the ensuing election the members of Region 3 chose Grover F. Dausmann of the Huntsville Section as Director for the years 1972-73.
Financial results from the conference showed a surplus of $932 which was just over 10% of gross receipts. Region 3 received one half of this amount in recognition of a $1000 advance provided to the local committee. This was based on an ad hoc agreement made at the time of the advance since there were no standing policies or procedures in place at the time. The results were gratifying in view of the then current downturn in the economy, especially in the aerospace and defense industries.
Financial reimbursement from IEEE Headquarters for 1971 totaled $8000. Most of this was disbursed for travel to the Region 3 Committee meeting, Executive Committee meetings, and the Student Conference. For the first time, although not the last, the travel expense for students exceeded that for other members. This is not necessarily bad, but as will be seen, student travel expense has been a cause for concern over the years.
Large scale reductions in the aerospace and defense industries and the associated engineering unemployment were becoming a major concern for IEEE and other professional organizations at this time. IEEE Headquarters was taking the initiative in such areas as employment seminars, "skills banks" and other programs that might benefit its members. Grover Dausmann, who would be elected the next Regional Director, was serving as Region 3 representative in these activities.
Invitations had been accepted for Region 3 Conferences in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1972, and in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1973. The Meetings Committee had been working with the local committees on the format and the requirements for these conferences. The Student Activities Committee was also coordinating its plans with the local Student Branch. There was still a lack of written material which could be placed in the hands of the local sponsors, saying "this is what you must do for a Region 3 Conference".
By the end of 1971, the framework for the organizational structure that would serve Region 3 for the next twenty years was essentially in place. The Area concept had proved its case. The Section leaders were pleased with the additional attention and help they were receiving, and the Director had six additional hands to carry out his responsibilities. The initial committees were hampered by lack of guidelines and, sometimes, unsure of their jurisdiction, but were getting the job done in their respective fields.
The recessionary economy, with the accompanying unemployment, had a dramatic impact upon IEEE during the next two years and served as a catalyst for major changes in the society and its organizational structure. This did not occur immediately, but there was much unrest among the members. Questions were being raised such as "why doesn't IEEE do something?" about such serious issues as members who were unemployed or facing unemployment, portable pensions, retraining in new fields, advocacy of government programs to relieve these problems, and a host of economic, societal, and political issues. While IEEE could do and was already gearing up to do something for its unemployed members, there were legal questions as to how far it could go under its charter as a technical and educational society and its classification under Section 501(c)3 of the tax codes. There was also the question of whether a majority of the membership really wanted a substantial amount of IEEE resources allocated to these "professional" activities. And, to top this off, the Institute was facing a deficit budget for 1972, even with stand still assumptions.
Under these conditions Director Dausmann took office. The Region 3 Committee Chairmen were beginning to get their feet on the ground, develop guidelines for their operations, and acquire some expertise in their fields. These were all retained by the new Director. However, five of the six Area Chairmen were new.
In Region 3 there were pockets of severe unemployment, such as at Huntsville, Canaveral, and Orlando, but, in general, the region was not suffering as much as some other areas of the country, and the clamor for action was not as strong. Director Dausmann, himself, although a past Chairman of the Huntsville Section, had very strong reservations about the wisdom of IEEE broadening its field from that of a preeminent technical society to a combination of technical and professional interests with a possible dilution of the technical. He was also concerned about a possible dues increase to pay for the expanded services during a period of recession.
A membership survey at this time, while not conclusive, seemed to indicate substantial support for changes, and for an accompanying dues increase sufficient to continue existing services at their present level and provide some funding for the new services. It did not indicate an overwhelming support for change, however.Much of the Region 3 Executive Committee discussion during 1972 was focused on these matters. Dausmann, notwithstanding his personal convictions, made every effort to develop a representative Region 3 position on the controversy, working through the Area Chairmen and directly with the Section leadership. The survey results did show Region 3 to be more conservative in its view toward change than the other U.S. Regions.
The end result of all the meetings, discussions, surveys, and studies was a constitutional amendment submitted to the membership late in the year which would forever change the character of the Institute by broadening its purposes to include "professional" activities, along with the traditional technical and educational. The amendment received a favorable vote, although considerably less than a mandate.
In this climate of change the routine activity of Region 3 was continuing. Much of the first Executive Committee meeting in February, 1972, was devoted to discussion of the possible changes in direction for IEEE, and there was no consensus on the wisdom of some of the proposals. Planning appeared to be proceeding well for the 1972 Regional Conference in Knoxville.
The conference in Knoxville was the first to officially use the terminology "SoutheastCon", the term by which these annual conferences have been referred to since that time. The conference followed closely the pattern which had been set at Charlottesville the year before.
At the Regional Committee meeting the Membership Committee reported on a new program to retain more student members upon graduation. One of the major factors that contribute to these graduates falling through the cracks is the difficulty of obtaining address information. The proposed actions outlined to the Region 3 Committee would not completely solve this problem , but would alleviate it. The Sections and Student Branches were asked to cooperate in carrying out the program. A comprehensive Section leadership workshop was held but was poorly attended with less than half the Sections represented. The Meetings Committee presented proposed guidelines for the conduct of future Southeastcons. While not a complete "how to" manual, this was the first printed instructions offered the local committees.
Dr. Rufus Fellers, former Director of Region 3 received the Outstanding Engineer Award for 1972. A list of all Regional Awards recipients is included in Appendix C.
Students were housed in University of Tennessee dormitories, reducing the costs considerably. Twenty-one student papers were presented, the largest number ever in a Region 3 contest. With such a large number it was necessary to hold a "finals" competition. The top five were selected by the judges for a second presentation before selection of the first, second, and third place winners.
During 1972 the Institute Student Activities Committee organized the Student Policy and Planning Committee with student representatives from each Region. The purpose of the SPPC was to provide a channel for direct student input at the Institute level. In Region 3 the student was also given a major role in the planning of the Regional Student Conference. William T Hurley, of the University of Louisville, was the first Region 3 representative.
During 1972, the four Subsections of the South Carolina Section were upgraded to Section status. Following the example of their colleagues in North Carolina they preserved the benefits of their former joint operations by simultaneously forming an Affiliation of South Carolina Sections.
IEEE began the year 1973 governed by the newly amended Constitution and with a small dues increase. In addition to the general dues increase for all members, members of Regions 1-6 were assessed an additional amount to fund professional activities within the U.S. The United States Activities Board (USAB) was formed to oversee these activities. The prevailing economic climate and the desire within IEEE to "get something done" imposed new demands for their time on the Regional Directors, all of whom were members of USAB. Although Region 3 was slow to get involved in many of the new initiatives, simply because there still was not a groundswell of demand by the membership, Director Dausmann found himself devoting much more time to Board level activity than to the affairs of the Region. The maturity of the Regional staff (Area and Committee Chairmen and the other officers) which had been developed over the past three years began to pay off.
In 1973 the RAB Member Services Committee conducted a Section Leadership workshop during INTERCON at its New York meeting. This was the first attempt to provide this service at the Institute level.All Region 3 Sections were urged to have any of their members who would be attending INTERCON arrange their schedule to attend this activity. Also, rooms were set aside for each Region during one afternoon for an informal Region Committee meeting. Relatively few Region 3 members showed up for either of these activities.
The 1973 Regional Conference was held at Louisville, KY, in April. The Region 3 Committee members were asked by the Director to express themselves on local needs in the new areas of interest, and, again, little enthusiasm was indicated. A proposal by the Awards Committee for a Regional award for Outstanding Service to the IEEE was approved with the first award to be made at SoutheastCon in 1974.
The Region 3 Committee approved the report of the Nominating Committee for the two candidates for Regional Director. In the membership election later that year W.L. Sullivan, of Atlanta was elected Regional Director for 1974-1975.
A complete turnover took place in the Regional staff at the start of the new term of office. Six new Area Chairmen and five new Region Committee Chairmen took office. A new Committee, Professional Activities, was established to implement some of the new non-technical activities.
The responsibility and status of the Area Chairmen were enhanced with the initiation of Area workshops for Section officers. Travel and incidental expense for these was included in the Region 3 budget, and by reducing the travel requirements it was possible to bring several officers from each Section to the workshops. During 1975 120 officers from 40 of the 42 Sections attended one of these workshops. Recognizing the value of the leadership training, the Regional Activities Board provided $3000 for the cost of travel.
There was slowly growing (very slowly in most locations) interest in non-technical or professional activities. In fact, in some Sections there was still opposition to the new IEEE programs. There were still diverse views on this at the Board level also, and Director Sullivan attempted to reflect the general viewpoint of the regional membership in these discussions. Although professional support was low key within the Region, those Sections which desired to get involved were fully supported in their efforts.
As an example, the first local project in the Region, and one of the first in IEEE, to be funded from the Regional Assessment (USAB funds) was originated by the Canaveral Section. This was a study of the potential for a solar energy project in the Cape area which would be supported by State of Florida and Federal funds, utilizing unemployed and underemployed engineers who were already in the area. IEEE funds of less than $100 were used for printing, postage, and publication of the finished document for presentation to State government. A modification of the proposal was eventually adopted.
Another example of what even a small Section can accomplish with determined leadership was provided during this period by the Central Savannah River Section with only 70 members. Using $500 seed money, advanced by the Region, for texts, materials, and instructors, they successfully conducted a two day course on the 1975 National Electrical Code. In attendance were 6 members, 3 students, and 52 non-members. A community need was served and the Section obtained a $1700 surplus.
SoutheastCon was held in Orlando in 1974 and in Charlotte in 1975. Both meetings were successful, although there was great concern prior to the Orlando meeting about the impact a current gasoline shortage might have on attendance. This concern was unfounded as the conference was attended by 445 professional members and 145 students. The program included 180 professional papers, there were 47 exhibitors, and a small surplus was generated, figures comparing favorably with most SoutheastCons conducted 20 years later.
At the awards banquet at Orlando Mr. George Pierce, of the New Orleans Section, was presented the first award for Outstanding Service to IEEE. As the affairs of the Region became more complex and began to involve many more individuals, documented guidelines were needed to provide continuity from one administration to the next. Up to this point each Director was essentially on his own as to how he would manage the affairs of the Region. It was fortunate that the three most recent Directors had all served in various capacities at the regional level prior to assuming office, and were prepared to carry on in much the same manner as their predecessors. To correct this deficiency the Region 3 Executive Committee proposed a set of operating guidelines.
Roy Harris, who had recently served as Area 2 Chairman and would later serve as Region 3 Director, was asked to head a small group to develop such guidelines. These original Operating Guidelines were adopted by the Executive Committee in October, 1974, and, although not binding on any future administration, carried an implicit understanding that they would be used by the Regional Director and other officers from year to year to provide efficiency and continuity. This may have been one of the most significant actions taken by the Region 3 Committee during these early years. These guidelines were later expanded and adopted by the membership as the Region 3 Bylaws.
Student support was further expanded during Director Sullivan's term of office. The special fund for student support contributed by the Sections was merged with the other Region funds. In 1975 all student travel expense was included in the Region budget. Student travel, which had been computed under a different formula, would henceforth be computed as for other members, except that each Student Branch would be allowed to combine the amounts due its three authorized travellers in such a way as to maximize the number of students able to attend. This policy has been more or less followed since that time.
Dr. Larry K. Wilson, of Nashville, TN, who had served as Chairman of Area 5 for the past two years was elected Region 3 Director for the 1976-1977 term. Again there was a turnover in Area and committee chairmen, and one new committee, Educational Activities, was established. The financial status of the Region was much improved due to substantially greater rebates from Headquarters. For 1976 the Region 3 rebate, based on a budget submitted, was $15,800 plus $9,500 in USAB funds to be used for professional activities.
SoutheastCon '76 was held at Clemson University. The Technical Conference, the Student Conference, and the Region 3 Committee meeting were exceptionally well attended. At the Awards Banquet Robert S. Duggan was presented the Outstanding Engineer Award and Ben V. Martin the Award for Outstanding Service. An unusual aspect of Mr. Martin's award was that this occurred on the fiftieth anniversary of his service as Chairman of the Student Branch at Clemson. The Student Branch presented Mr. Martin with a plaque commemorating this event.
Thirty-one Student Branches out of fifty-four were represented at the Student Conference and Prize Paper Contest. An improved formula for student travel reimbursement was partially responsible. Also, the Region for the first time supplemented the Life Member Fund monetary prizes for prize paper winners by $175, bringing the totals to $300 (1st), $200 (2nd), and $75 (3rd) for the three winners.
Plans were announced by the new Educational Activities Committee for a five day microprocessor design course to be held in Atlanta later in the year. This was a joint effort with the Educational Activities Board, with Headquarters providing the materials, instructors, and publicity, and some financial help. It was later announced that twenty-eight students attended, not quite enough to cover the costs. This humble beginning in sponsoring technical education at the Regional level was to grow in the years to come.
Section management workshops were becoming more popular in the Areas as the value of this training was demonstrated. Areas 1 and 2 (Virginia and North Carolina) experimented with a joint workshop which was very successful as travel distances were still held to a minimum and broader discussions were possible. Area 4(Florida) held a combined Section management and Professional Activities workshop. Professional Activities finally seemed to be catching on within Region 3. A National PAC workshop held in Washington, DC, was attended by four representatives from the Region. Information received on various PAC programs and personal contacts made at this conference helped stimulate additional activity in Region 3. Among the active programs reported by the end of 1976 were: Middle Tennessee, participating in the Tennessee Joint Engineering Action Group in supporting various legislative initiatives; Canaveral, generating support for recent legislation to extend coverage of the Service Contract Act to professionals; Huntsville, continuing operation of the Huntsville Employment Assistance Office; and the Florida Area ( soon to become the Florida Council), representation on the Florida Council of Engineering Societies.
A new major technical conference and exhibition, similar to ELECTRO and WESCON was being discussed at this time by representatives of Regions 3,4,and 5. To be called MIDCON, it would alternate between Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta and be professionally managed. While these discussions continued for more than a year, the leadership of Region 3 seemed to feel that SoutheastCon was meeting the needs of its members, including students, in a way that MIDCON would not, and withdrew from further consideration of this joint effort. In retrospect, this appears to have been a wise decision, as SoutheastCon continues to be the glue that holds it all together in Region 3. Even the major conference SOUTHCON established several years later has not provided the benefits to the rank and file membership that have accrued from SoutheastCon.
SoutheastCon '77 was held in Williamsburg, VA. One notable addition at this conference was a full day Professional Activities Workshop. USAB funds were available for travel support for attendees, and every Section was encouraged to send a representative, even if they had not yet appointed a PAC Chairman. Attendance was less than expected, but the first Region 3 PAC Workshop was well organized and included several participants from USAB and the Headquarters staff. This could be considered the real beginning of a concerted effort at the Regional level to bring Professional Activities services to Region 3 members.
The Regional Student Representative on the RAB Student Policy and Planning Committee was added to the Region 3 Committee and Executive Committee. The Executive Committee also authorized the preparation of initial Bylaws for the Region, to be based on the Regional Guidelines. In the Fall election, Mr. R.H. Harris, of North Carolina, who was currently serving as Region 3 Vice Chairman, was elected Director for the 1978-1979 term.
SoutheastCon was held in Atlanta in 1978 and Roanoke, VA, in 1979. By this time competition for future conferences was beginning to build, as more Sections began to recognize the benefits arising from this activity. The existing guidelines allowed selection of conference sites only three years ahead. At each Region 3 Committee meeting there were usually two or more Sections competing for the third year out. The format of activities was much the same each year, but each new local committee seemed to come up with attractive innovations to increase the value of the conference to Region 3 members. This was particularly true of the Student Conference.
Several significant actions took place during Director Harris' term of office: the initial Region 3 Bylaws were adopted; planning for SOUTHCON, a major convention and exhibit, co-sponsored by IEEE and the Electronic Representatives Association (ERA), was initiated; and the first student conference on professionalism was held.
The initial Region 3 Bylaws, based largely upon the Operating Guide then in use, were approved by the Region 3 Committee at its April, 1978, meeting in Atlanta. The initial Bylaws included provision for the nomination of either one or two candidates for Regional Director and two or three candidates for Vice Chairman. The intent of this was to permit the uncontested election of a Director who had previously served as Vice Chairman as a result of a contested election. This was not made explicit in the initial wording, but was consistent with provisions of the IEEE Bylaws. Region 3 Bylaws were later amended to include this and other requirements which must be met for an uncontested election.
This nominations and elections procedure has provided the Region membership with outstanding leadership at the top levels of its management structure. The Area structure provided broader recognition of outstanding leadership at the Section level. The Area and Council leadership roles opened additional avenues of service for capable members who were willing to work. The Regional committees offered additional opportunities for service at the Regional level. Truly, an extensive talent pool was being discovered and developed for volunteer service to the IEEE. The elections process put into place in 1978, along with the philosophy of selecting candidates who have put in their time in a variety of voluntary assignments and done well at it, insures the members of Region 3 that their top leadership will be the best of the best.
One small glitch that appeared in 1979, was a change in the elections schedule by IEEE which required that the names of Regional nominees be received at Headquarters by March 1 of the year of the election. This had previously been required at a later date. With the Region 3 Committee not meeting until late April each year this new schedule forced the Region Executive Committee to decide either to separate the Region 3 Committee from SoutheastCon or use a mail ballot to the committee members. This decision was not made lightly. The Executive Committee felt that with all the screening that was done by the Nominating Committee, and the care with which the candidates were selected, a mail ballot would not be objectionable to the Region 3 Committee. This feeling was strengthened by the fact that during the ten years of nominating by committee there had never been a proposal from the floor at the Region 3 Committee meeting. As a result the mail ballot was instituted and is still being used.
During this period a major new technical conference and exhibit was being planned for the Southeast. Similar to the long established ELECTRO and WESCON and in view of the recently successful MIDCON, there was reason to believe that a such a major electronics show and conference, called SOUTHCON, would be successful if rotated between Atlanta and Orlando. Dr. Joseph Pettit, president of Georgia Tech, was largely responsible for initiating the activity to bring this conference about. As with MIDCON,SOUTHCON was to be jointly sponsored by IEEE and the Electronic Representatives Association (ERA) with members of the local units in the Southeast constituting the Board of Directors. Financial responsibility and participation in any surplus was apportioned to the Atlanta and Orlando Sections of IEEE, Region 3, and three Chapters of ERA. The show would be professionally managed by the Electronic Conventions, Inc.(ECI). The first show was scheduled for January, 1981, in Atlanta. Director Harris played a major role in obtaining IEEE approval of the concept and the implementing Bylaws and served on the initial Board of Directors.
IEEE had made provision in the organizational structure for an entity between the Region and the Sections called a " Council". Unlike the "Area", the Council was a formally constituted body, voluntarily agreed to by its constituent Sections, with a Chairman elected by its membership under governing Bylaws. During 1978 and 1979 the Florida Sections were busily engaged in organizing such a Council. By 1979 the Sections in Tennessee were also circulating proposed Bylaws for such an organization, and North and South Carolina were converting Affiliations to Councils. The Region Bylaws were amended again to provide that in Areas where Councils had been duly organized, the elected Chairman would replace the Area Chairman on the Region 3 Executive Committee.
Except for North and South Carolina, where the transition from Affiliation to Council was mostly a matter of nomenclature, the formation of Councils was not an easy task. Many Sections saw this as giving up a bit of their sovereignty for uncertain benefits. In addition, no new funding was in the picture to support the costs of Council operation. State-wide cooperation in professional activities was the most obvious advantage initially, but over time there proved to be many others.
In Florida, this was the driving force behind the formation of the Florida Council. In the middle 1970's many engineers, including many IEEE members, had experienced or were facing loss of employment due to the poor economy and reductions in the aerospace program. The coordinated effort of all the Sections through a statewide organization had much appeal. In 1978 the Florida Council was fully operative, with only one Section declining to participate. Professional issues, including wage busting at Kennedy Space Center, engineering registration, the energy crisis, and legislative liaison were dealt with directly by the Council or in concert with the Florida Council of Engineers.
With no financial support available from the Region or elsewhere the Sections grudgingly agreed to assessments by the Council, but most of them were not in position to continue this for any length of time. Another temporary source of funds was derived from a technical conference, Florida Eclectic, held in March, 1979, at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne. This conference, with 400 registrants, generated about $2,000, from tutorials and exhibits, which served to keep the Council solvent for a time. Financing continued to be a critical problem until the advent of SOUTHCON in 1981 , and that conference has been a major financial resource since that time. Also, USAB funding of PACE projects was of some help during these lean days. As will be covered later, once the Florida Council was on a sound financial footing, it was able to be of real help to its constituent Sections in their times of trouble.
Professional Activities were finally catching on in most of the Sections of Region 3. Area Chairmen were encouraging this and where Councils were formed PAC Committees were active at the Council level. RAB and USAB had recently developed the new orientation program, "Professional Awareness Among Students" (later referred to as "S-PAC"), designed to introduce the student to the professional, as opposed to technical, side of his career. The first trial run of this program was organized in Region 3 and conducted in a student conference held at Vanderbilt University in Nashville in March, 1979.
SoutheastCon '79 at Roanoke, VA, was one of the most successful overall during the decade. Registrations totaled 764, including professional members, students, and spouses. There were a record 408 students present. There was an outstanding technical program, 28 exhibits, and excellent industry support reported. A surplus of over $8000 was generated which was divided equally between the Virginia Mountain Section and Region 3.
In 1978 Dr. Joseph Biedenbach, of the University of South Carolina, began his long tenure as Chairman of the Region 3 Educational Activities Committee. Having been active on the Educational Activities Board Dr. Biedenbach demonstrated his expertise in and enthusiasm for continuing education to the benefit of the members in Region 3 for the next thirteen years.
At the end of the decade, the Region 3 Committee and Executive Committee were smoothly functioning management teams. Constitutional Bylaws were in place to govern the operations. Region committees had established their agenda and , in most cases, had written guidelines under which to operate. Section management workshops were providing valuable leadership training at the Section level. Appointed Area Chairmen and elected Council Chairmen all had come up through the ranks of Section activity. Region Committee Chairmen had experience in the fields for which they were responsible and has demonstrated their willingness to work. If the Region could be considered successful at this point it was the dedication of these volunteers throughout the Region at every level that had made it so.
After a slow start Professional Activities now had a prominent place in the Region. Student Activity was continuing to be of high priority, with a student sitting on the Regional executive Committee. SoutheastCon continued to serve as the vehicle which could tie together all the disparate elements of Regional activity.
Membership growth, which had been slow in the early years was beginning to accelerate, increasing from 14,482 in 1969 to 20,344 at the end of 1979. Thirty-eight Sections had increased to forty-two, one Affiliation to three Affiliations or Councils, and thirty-seven Student Branches to fifty-six. Either somebody was doing something right or the Region was mighty lucky.
EXPANDING THE SERVICES 1980-1989
As IEEE moved into the new decade the Regional organization seemed well positioned to deliver the services which its members were expecting and for which they were paying their dues. There had been several dues increases since the 1963 merger, both in the general membership dues and the regional assessment which supported professional activities, although the aggregate increase was less than the rate of inflation.
MEMBERSHIP GROWTH 1963-1979
The factors influencing growth in student membership differ from those which influence growth in the higher levels. For this reason it is necessary to make a distinction in the growth rates for the two grades of members.It can be seen that the percentage growth in total members was significantly higher in Region 3 than that for the U.S. as a whole. Actually, only Region 5 had a rate of growth approaching Region 3. For students, Region 3 was the only U.S.Region with a positive rate of growth during the period.In all of the other Regions the growth in higher grades was offset by a loss in student membership.
Regional differences in membership growth for higher grade members can be attributed largely to demographics and the economics of the period under study. There is considerable movement of the engineering community, and the membership figures each month in every Section reflect the net effect of gains and losses. Region 3 has undoubtedly benefited from such movement. A look at the growth patterns of Sections such as Atlanta, Eastern North Carolina, and several of the Florida Sections illustrates this. However, aggressive membership development in many Region 3 Sections also contributed to these results.
Student membership is more fluid and varies along with the level of engineering enrollment. Region 3 is blessed with a large number of colleges and universities with engineering programs. It seems unlikely that this variable alone could account for the Region 3 student membership increase of 28 percent during a period in which the other five Regions were each contributing to an overall loss of 12 percent of the total student membership. One can safely postulate that the dedication and energy of the Student Branch Counselors, the favorable attitude of Department Heads, and the active support of local Sections, aided and abetted by the continuing policy of student activity promotion at the Regional level were somehow more effective than elsewhere. The comparison of quantitative results attests to the success of Region 3 in membership development for all grades of membership.
In the fall of 1979, David McLaren was elected Director of Region 3 for the years 1980-1981. At the same time K. Reed Thompson was elected Vice Chairman of Region 3 in the first contested election for this office. Both these men had served in a number of appointive and elective offices at various levels within Region 3.
In 1980, the Affiliation of Sections in South Carolina assumed Council status. As such, under the Bylaws the Sections involved became a separate Area, Area 7, leaving only the two remaining Sections, Atlanta and Savannah, in Area 3. Also in 1980, both Virginia and Tennessee were pursuing Council status, reaching agreements among the Sections involved and preparing By-laws. A major consideration in the planning for Councils and for early years of operation was the question of financing. Obviously, for effectiveness some level of financing was necessary. With no outside support available initially, the only recourse was to turn to the constituent Sections for voluntary or prescribed contributions to the Council treasury. This did not come easily as most Sections were already strapped financially to meet their own needs.
Two distinct advantages of the state Council over either a multi-state or single-state Area were becoming obvious. The most obvious is that the Council is of bottom-up design, organized by and controlled by its constituent Sections, whereas the Area is imposed upon the Sections from above, even though it is intended for their benefit. The second advantage is that the Council is an entity which can participate in inter-society professional activity, especially at the State level. This was becoming more important with the increased emphasis on professional activity within IEEE.
By 1981, five state-wide Councils were active in Region 3: Virginia (Area 1), North Carolina (Area 2), South Carolina (Area 7), Florida (Area 4), and Tennessee (Area 5). In subsequent years the Sections in most of the remaining states considered Council formation but concluded that there were not sufficient advantages for them.
SoutheastCon '80 was held in Nashville at the Opryland Hotel with the now more or less standard agenda of Region 3 Committee meeting, high quality technical program, Section leadership workshop, and a PAC workshop. The Student Conference and Prize Paper Contest was supported by three local Student Branches of the Nashville Section, and included a solar car contest, which was becoming a fixture on the student program. Unfortunately, this was the first SoutheastCon since 1968 to run a deficit. A series of problems beset the conference early on, including unexpected delays in printing the initial call for papers and mailing delays for the initial call as well as subsequent notices.
This resulted in lower than anticipated attendance. Some expenses were higher than anticipated. Altogether these factors resulted in a deficit of approximately $6,000 which was shared equally by the Region and the Nashville Section. In addition, the Region Executive Committee agreed to advance the Section the full amount of their portion of the loss in order that all bills might be paid. This experience underscored the need for an improved conference manual specifically designed for SoutheastCon to aid the local committees, some of which were putting together a large conference for the first time.
At the 1980 Awards Banquet, R.S. Duggan Jr.,of the Atlanta Section, received the Outstanding Service award. thereby becoming the first member of Region 3 to have received both the engineering and service awards. Such achievement has been repeated only once since that time, by J.C. Wiltse, also of the Atlanta Section, in 1989.
With the Regional structure now firmly established and the Area and Council organizations functioning well more attention could be given to improving the delivery of services to the membership. Two areas to which special attention would be directed during this period were Educational Activities and Professional Activities. In the field of Educational Activities, much interest was being shown by local Sections in continuing education, but there was a real need for course material and instructors, especially in the smaller Sections. Dr. Joe Biedenbach, Chairman of the Educational Activities Committee proposed the establishment of a continuing education center for Region 3 at the University of South Carolina, at no cost to the Region, for developing and conducting short courses. This generous offer was accepted.
Soon thereafter the Educational Activities Board announced a new satellite program to deliver technical short courses throughout the nation. Dr. Biedenbach, as a member of the Board, had a primary role in this development. The initial program would originate in the Region 3 educational center at the University of South Carolina as a trial of the concept.
Professional Activities were also building a head of steam with strong leadership from Ron Wojtasinski, Chairman of the Region 3 Professional Activities Committee. PAC workshops were held by the North Carolina Council and Florida Councils in 1980, and at SoutheastCon '80. The State Intersociety Legislative Advisory (SILA) activity, which had not been fully supported throughout Region 3 was made a responsibility of PAC for better coordination with other professional matters. A By-law change was made in 1981 to strengthen the work of the PAC Committee. The word "operations" was inserted into the title of the committee to make it clear that their function was more than policy making or advisory. The new Professional Activities Operation Committee would be responsible for planning, organizing, implementing, and monitoring professional activities within the Region. Generally, from this point on what had been called "PAC" would now be called PACE for Professional Activities Council for Engineers. In October, 1981, the Region 3 PAOC distributed its first PACE Newsletter to all PACE chairmen in the Region. This newsletter was made possible under USAB funding and was used as a means of keeping the membership informed on PACE activities.
Another area which had been given little attention in the past was that of Public Relations. A few of the larger Sections were able to publicize their activities locally, but there was general recognition that more effort and better methods were needed to tell the public the story of the engineering profession generally. and of the IEEE in particular. Region 3 was fortunate that, at this time, Mr. R.H.Tanner, a former president of the Institute, moved his residence to South Florida and was willing to serve the IEEE in any way he could be useful. After having served as Director of Region 7 (Canada), Vice President of RAB, and President he accepted the office of Chairman of the Region 3 Public Relations Committee and worked tirelessly for eight years encouraging the various entities of Region 3 to aggressively promote Public Information about IEEE and the electrical engineering profession.
In January 1981, the first SOUTHCON was held in Atlanta. This was deemed a huge success with over 10,000 attendees visiting the 500 booths. A surplus of $34,000 was generated with Region 3 receiving $1700 as its first share from this new conference.
SoutheastCon '81 was held in Huntsville, AL with the usual technical program, student program, and exhibits. The number and quality of papers presented was outstanding, and there were more exhibitors and of higher quality than at any previous conference. However, the local arrangements committee was concerned about what they perceived to be a considerably lower attendance than expected. At the Region 3 Committee meeting the point was made that although the student registration was very good, there were few professional registrants other than those presenting papers. This was disappointing to the exhibitors as well as having an impact on the financial health of the conference.
Although nearly three months separated the two events, competition from SOUTHCON was blamed for the reduced attendance. After considerable discussion at the Region 3 committee meeting, the Long Range Planning Committee was asked to study the question of conflict between the two conferences and bring back a report and recommendation at a later date.
Although the attendance was lower than had been anticipated it was not significantly out of line with prior SoutheastCons. Also, when the financial results were complete, the conference showed a surplus of approximately $1,000.
At the Region 3 Committee meeting K.Reed Thompson was nominated as the single candidate for Director, 1982-1983, under the new By-law provision permitting this if the candidate had been previously elected Vice Chairman in a contested election. He thus became the first Region 3 Director elected without opposition since Bob Elliott in 1967. R.S. Duggan was elected Vice Chairman 1982-1983.
When the Ft. Walton Section bid on the 1982 SoutheastCon in 1979, the Region Executive Committee had some doubt about the wisdom of accepting the invitation. Ft. Walton was one of the smaller Sections in the Region, with about 150 members and no student Branch in its territory. Few of its members had any experience in organizing a large conference. There was little industry in the area from which to draw support or exhibits, meeting space was marginal, and transportation was minimal. Nevertheless, the invitation was accepted. During the planning and organizing phase, the University of Florida Student Branch offered to serve as host for the Student Conference, the Panama City and Pensacola Sections offered support, the Florida Council provided counsel and financial assistance, and the Region Executive Committee made its advisory functions available. The result of all this was an unusually successful conference, with a strong technical program for the 250 professional attendees, twenty-two exhibitors, and over 500 student participants. For the latter, the University of Florida Student Branch deserves much of the credit.In spite of the early concerns the conference generated a surplus of nearly $6,000.
The overall success of the 1982 conference is a classic example of what a dedicated group of volunteers, in even a very small Section, can accomplish in IEEE. It is also a tribute to the vision, determination, and professional ability of Section Chairman Carolyn Schauble, who believed it could be done and who later served as General Chairman of the Conference.
In October,1981, the Region 3 Executive Committee received the report of the Long Range Planning Committee regarding the perceived conflict between SoutheastCon and SOUTHCON. In effect, the report stated that it was too early to determine with any certainty that a conflict did, in fact, exist. The conferences served different objectives and, to a great extent, different audiences. SoutheastCon was peculiarly related to the Region 3 IEEE structure and its members, both professional and student, whereas SOUTHCON had a wide appeal to a much broader audience within the profession.There was reason to think that the two conferences could co-exist. The report recommended that every effort be made to strengthen SoutheastCon and to separate the dates to the extent possible. The Executive Committee accepted the report and directed that the actions recommended be implemented so far as possible by all those entities involved with future SoutheastCons.
SOUTHCON 1982, in Orlando, was held in three separate locations due to construction delays in a new convention facility.Despite this set-back, the more than 500 booths available were sold out and over 12,000 attendees were shuttled back and forth between venues. Only a small surplus was generated by this conference.
The basic organizational structure of the Region continued to change in order to better serve the needs of the membership. A new Section was established in Central Georgia in 1982. The Panama City Section and Tallahassee Subsection merged to form a new Tallahassee Area Section in 1983.. Additional Student Branches were established as were numerous Society Chapters in existing Sections and Branches. An additional Area was established, Area 8, for the three Sections in Kentucky which had been left somewhat out on a limb with the formation of the Tennessee Council.
The five Councils in the Region were growing stronger and becoming of greater service to their constituent Sections. Financing continued to be a problem, but the Region was now in position to help through the needy Section funds available from Headquarters. Virginia's biennial VACON was generating some surplus for them. North Carolina, with some established income from the annual Symposium, was seeking to increase advertising revenue from the NORTH CAROLINA BULLETIN and from other conference activity. South Carolina also was working to increase revenue from their paper, THE CORONA.
Florida's financial needs are intensified by the travel distances for statewide meetings, and anticipated income from SOUTHCON '82 was less than expected, but with some help from the Region they were working to become financially independent. The Gainesville Section, which at the time the Council was organized had elected not to join, had recently become a member, and this was expected to add strength. Tennessee, with funds from the Region had established a quarterly newsletter and was getting involved in state political activity through the Tennessee Joint Engineering Action Group.
Interest and support of Professional Activities continued to broaden. Evidence of this is the fact that of a total of 17 USAB awards in 1982, eight were to Region 3 recipients, including the highest award for Professionalism presented to Larry Dwon of the Eastern North Carolina Section. Thirteen Region 3 members attended a national PACE conference and five members an IEEE Careers Conference. The PAOC and the Student Activities Committee jointly conducted SPAC's at six universities during 1982 and 1983. In every instance the interest in IEEE generated by these conferences resulted in a substantial increase in Branch membership.
Under the leadership of Vernon Powers the Region 3 awards program was maturing. A third major Region 3 award, the "Outstanding Engineering Educator Award" was introduced with the first recipient to be recognized in 1984. Also, the "Exemplary Section Award" was created to recognize those Sections that achieve administrative excellence significantly above the ordinary. In addition, the Awards and Recognition Committee introduced the first Operations Guide for the awards process to add formality and continuity to the nomination and evaluation of candidates. Dr. George P. Rodrigue, of the Atlanta Section was the first recipient in 1984 of the Outstanding Engineering Educator Award. Two Sections, Alabama and Orlando, were the first to be recognized as Exemplary Sections, in 1983.
In the educational field the major development during these years was the IEEE satellite program for delivering short courses to groups of members at various sites throughout the nation. The first program originated in November, 1982, at the Region 3 educational center established earlier by Joe Biedenbach, Chairman of the Region 3 Educational Activities Committee, at the University of South Carolina. A second program was originated at the same location in early December and, partially due to the good reports of the first, was an overwhelming success. Approximately 2500 engineers at 96 sites participated. Members of the Columbia Section served as a studio audience, adding a distinctly Region 3 flavor to the program. In Region 3 there were 140 participants at 7 sites. More courses were in the planning stage with four already scheduled for 1983.
The high regard within IEEE for Region 3 Student Activities was further demonstrated by the receipt of three Bendix Awards for student projects in 1981-82 and by three "Outstanding Counselor" awards in 1982 and two in 1983, out of the ten awarded by IEEE each year. Of greater significance, perhaps, was the adoption of the Region 3 rules for the Student Paper Contest as part of a student paper manual being prepared by the Institute Student Activities Committee for use throughout the institute.
In preparation for recognition of the IEEE Centennial in 1984 all units of the Institute were asked to develop plans, programs, and activities in support of the celebration. Director Thompson and the Executive Committee had emphasized this, and there was much planning activity underway throughout the Region. One special item developed at the Regional level was the "Region 3 Centennial Compendium", a publication documenting the organizational growth, the persons who had served, conferences held, and awards received. The personal memoirs of most of the directors who had served since the formation of Region 3 were included as was a one hundred year historical events chronology of electrical engineering in the geographical area served by Region 3. Vice Chairman Duggan was responsible for the compilation and production of this document, which provided a foundation for this present history.
SOUTHCON '83 in Atlanta was attended by more than 12,000 registrants even though the third day of the show was impacted by a snow and ice storm which brought Atlanta traffic to a standstill. The trend for SOUTHCON at this point seemed to indicate that it was still being nurtured, and, while it was successfully delivering valuable service to vendors and buyers in the Region, it had not yet matured into a consistently successful financial operation. Neither was it clear that it was performing a significant service to the general IEEE membership of the Region.
SoutheastCon '83 at Orlando also had mixed results. Professional registration was lower than anticipated, but as in the two previous years there were almost 500 students present. The high cost of student travel which had been lurking in the shadows when the last several budgets were prepared came to the forefront as a result of this conference. The combination of the large numbers of students and less than adequate control of travel expense resulted in substantial overexpenditures. Expenditures for the Student Conference (primarily travel) by the Region, not including that expended by the Conference Committee, amounted to approximately $25,000. This was about 46% of the total 1983 disbursements for the Region.
All of this, together with a shortfall from conferences, resulted in a total deficit for the year of approximately $5,000. Region 3 entered 1984 solvent, but barely so. As a result tighter controls were put on all expenditures, and a new formula for student travel was put in place which limited the total reimbursement to any one school and gave priority to those schools which had one or more papers being presented.
In the Fall 1983 elections Bob Duggan, incumbent Vice Chairman, defeated a petition candidate in an unplanned contested election for 1984-1985 Director, and G.F.Abbott was elected Vice-Chairman, in a contested election which made him eligible as a single candidate for Director in 1986-1987.
In 1984 IEEE celebrated its 100th birthday, and organizational units and individuals throughout Region 3 took part in many of the activities. The Region 3 Centennial Compendium mentioned earlier was distributed as a historical record of the Region's past. Local meetings, programs, or activities took place in Sections and Councils. For example, the South Carolina Council hosted a reception for legislators during the legislative session, geared to the centennial celebration. In Louisville Southeastcon '84 used the theme "A Century of Electrical Progress" and provided a historical exhibit in addition to the technical exhibit.
A number of representatives from Region 3 attended the Sections Congress held in Boston. Director Duggan had established a goal of 15 sites receiving a satellite broadcast of the Centennial Convocation in Philadelphia. Region 3 did better than this with 25 sites (out of a total of 125), with at least one site in each Region 3 state. There were an estimated 675 viewers at the 25 sites, making this by far the largest satellite audience in Region 3 at that date. A beautiful bronze commemorative Centennial Medal for outstanding service to IEEE was awarded to individuals throughout the Institute, and Region 3 received its share of these. 1984 was an exciting year.
Region 3 continued its participation in the satellite short course program. For the four programs in 1984 Region 3 employed a total of forty two sites ranging from 8 to 14 per program. Many Sections were finding it difficult to obtain down link facilities at a convenient location. The Educational Activities Board reported that the program was breaking even, but was not the money maker that they had hoped it would be. Video tapes of the programs were being made available for use by local Sections, and some Region 3 Sections were beginning to make use of this part of the program. The South Carolina Council was looking at the possibility of making use of the South Carolina ETV network to distribute the programs statewide, either live or from video tape. Continuing education was alive and well.
With the maturing of the awards program at the Regional level, Councils and Sections were developing or expanding awards programs of their own. The Florida Council had duplicated the Region 3 awards at the Council level, using the same format for recommendations. This simplified the nominating process for a Section by allowing a single nomination to serve either purpose.
More Sections were applying for recognition as "Exemplary Sections". Since this is a self nominating award, with recognition based on documented performance, successful nomination requires a self evaluation that convinces the Section leaders that, in fact, they have been performing well above the norm, and then documenting that fact to the satisfaction of the Awards and Recognition Committee. Four Sections were recognized for this achievement in 1984 and nine in 1985.
To ensure the continuity of the Awards program the Bylaws were amended in 1984 to make reference to the Awards and Recognition Manual as being an appendix to the Bylaws.
Southeastcons '84 and "85 were held in Louisville and Raleigh, respectively, with the high quality programs for both professionals and students that the members had now come to expect. Although efforts had been made over the years to develop an operations guide uniquely tailored to SoutheastCon, such a guide still did not exist. The meetings committee proposed that an outside consultant be engaged to produce such a guide, at a cost of only $1,000. The Region 3 Executive Committee gave approval, and such a guide was produced in time to be used for the 1985 conference.
SOUTHCONS '84 and '85 were held in Orlando and Atlanta, respectively, with attendance still increasing, reaching 16,479 in 1985.
In 1984, the Long Range Planning Committee was again asked to review the question of conflict between SOUTHCON and SoutheastCon with particular attention to the possibility or desirability of merging the two conferences. Again, after study, the answer was the same. There really was no significant conflict. As for merger, no advantage could be seen from this. As the earlier report had made clear, the two conferences were distinctly different in purpose and objective. The student involvement alone was sufficient argument against this step.
The LRP Committee also examined the current leadership training activity and reported that in its opinion a very good job was being done in this area. Most leadership training was by this time being conducted on a Council or Area level, which seemed to be the most efficient and effective manner. John Miller, who had led in the establishment of the Tri-Cities Section in Tennessee and was currently Professional Activities Chairman for the Region, had developed considerable material for use in leadership training and had volunteered his services to organize and/or conduct leadership training along with PACE workshops wherever he could be used. His work was highly praised by those who had taken advantage of his volunteer efforts. The only suggestion the LRP Committee offered was that this activity be formally assigned to the Educational Activities Committee for supervision.
PACE activities continued to expand with more Sections getting involved. Strong leadership at the Region and Council levels was a factor as was the availability of funding for these activities from USAB. At the National PACE Conference in 1984 16 Region 3 Sections were represented by 22 attendees, each of whom returned fired up to take new initiatives in his organization. The 1985 National PACE Conference was held at Seabrook Island, SC, making it possible for even more Region 3 people to participate. An interesting initiative reported by the Virginia Council was a cooperative arrangement with the Northern Virginia Section (Region 2) to form the IEEE Virginia Activities Committee for joint legislative effort in the State. Mr. K.P.Lau of Charlotte was chosen an IEEE Congressional Fellow for 1984-85.
IEEE Bylaws were amended in 1984 to permit, but not require, the elective office of a Director-Elect for a Region. Such officer would succeed to the office of Director without further vote by the members.Adoption of this provision was considered by the Region 3 Executive Committee during 1985 as an alternative to the elected Vice Chairman who may succeed to the Directorship without a contested vote. The latter had been in effect in Region 3 for the last three elections and seemed to be working. It has the advantage of permitting, but not requiring, the succession of the Vice Chairman. It was the decision of the Executive Committee to continue the current arrangement on the basis of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
All leadership in IEEE is voluntary. In most instances there is more than an adequate supply. Sometimes in smaller Sections, problems arise in obtaining the necessary officers with the will and dedication necessary to carry out their responsibilities. The required reports may not be made, and the Section may for a time be considered "delinquent". Several Region Sections found themselves in this condition during the period covered by this history. An example is the Jacksonville Section. In one year this Section lost its entire officer cadre, mostly due to transfer out of the Section area. No members were willing or able to step forward to keep the machinery going. After two or three years of inactivity, with the help of the Florida Council, the Section was able to get on its feet again.
The opposite of this is the situation in which the Section finds it can more effectively serve its members in two locations rather than one. It can then either establish a Subsection in a new location or can actually divide itself into two Sections provided there are enough active members to support the two. The Canaveral Section successfully did the latter in 1984, with its new offspring becoming the South Brevard/Indian River Section, bringing the total number of Sections in the Region to 45.
In 1983 the Jamaica Section had indicated its desire to be assigned to Region 3 rather than to Region 9. Both Regions agreed to the change, but obtaining IEEE Board of Directors approval and accomplishing all the necessary paper work took time, and it was not until the end of 1985, and with much effort on the part of Director Duggan, that the transfer was actually consummated. In view of the impending transfer and to welcome the Jamaicans into Region 3, the Region 3 Executive Committee held its meeting in November, 1985, in Jamaica. This meeting served a dual purpose of getting acquainted with the leaders of the Jamaica Section and providing a learning session for them. In addition to the regular business of the Committee, several presentations were made for purposes of orientation by Director Duggan, representatives of RAB and others. G.F.Abbott and Charles Alexander were elected by the membership to serve as Director and Vice Chairman of Region 3 for the 1986-1987 term.
The new administration entered 1986 in an improved financial position, but with a continuing need for tight fiscal controls. A small surplus had been generated in both 1984 and 1985; however, there was still no significant reserve. The Jamaica Section became a textbook example of how a small Section, in the doldrums, can, with determination and leadership and a little help and guidance from the Regional or Council level be turned around. In early 1986 membership was at low ebb, and minimum requirements for meetings had not been met in 1985, resulting in withholding of funds. New officers had been elected and were scheduled to attend a Section Officers Workshop with the Florida Council in June if travel expense could be funded. Funds for this and other necessary Section expenses was made available from the Region 3 "needy Section" account until the Section could get on its feet. The training session in Florida, help from the Region, and the local enthusiasm all had an immediate impact. By the end of the year the Section reported, in addition to regular meetings, a video conference, a technical seminar, and a training course for its members. It soon became one of the fastest growing Sections (proportionally) in the Region, and took steps to organize a student branch. At about this same time the Jacksonville Section which had, effectively, been out of business for some time was able to elect a slate of officers and begin operations again.
More members of Region 3 were asked to serve on boards and committees at the Institute level. In 1986 five of twenty-three positions on RAB were filled by members of Region 3 as were many offices on other boards. In 1987 Bob Duggan, senior Past Director would be elected Vice President of Regional Activities, and the current Director, George Abbott, would later serve as Executive Vice-President.
In 1985 R.W. Russell II, of the Richmond Section, was awarded the RAB Innovation Award for a special project conceived and carried out by the Richmond Section and Virginia Council. At the national Boy Scouts of America Jubilee, held in Richmond, the Section provided a booth, equipped and staffed by over 100 volunteers during the course of the event, at which the scouts received an introduction to the field of electrical engineering.
Although some short courses by satellite were still being offered, a trend toward video tape was beginning. The high cost of production and marginal offsetting revenue was a factor as was the logistical problem of establishing down links in most locations. The Regional Education Committee was doing all it could to stimulate continuing education using whatever means were available and was looking at the production of video courses within the Region. Most successful satellite programs still active were cooperative ventures with industry or colleges. The Atlanta Section had an arrangement with Lockheed- Georgia to share the costs. The Paducah Sub-section had an agreement with Martin-Marietta and the Paducah Junior College for at least one program.
On 1 July 1986, the newly elected Vice-Chairman of Region 3, C.K. Alexander resigned his position due to his move out of the Region 3 area. Vernon B. Powers, who had been the unsuccessful candidate for this office in the last election and was now serving as Secretary, was appointed Vice Chairman by Director Abbott for the remainder of the term.
Region 3 had not consistently published a Newsletter since the two trial issues which were sent to all members in the Region in the early seventies. In the past couple of years efforts had been made to produce a newsletter for distribution primarily to Section officers to keep them up to date. The new Vice Chairman made this a priority, establishing a definite schedule and distribution list to Section and Sub-section officers and committee chairman, and members of the regional committees. One issue was mailed during the last half of 1986 and quarterly thereafter. Branch chairmen and counselors were later added to the distribution.
It was finally recognized that production of a quality newsletter is a full time job for a volunteer, not an "additional duty". It was only when a full time editor was enlisted to take on this job that the Region 3 Newsletter reached the stature that it has today. Although the newsletter continued to be produced and published as a responsibility of the Vice Chairman through 1987, effort was being made to identify a person who was willing and able to undertake this imposing task.
SoutheastCon '86 in Richmond was pronounced a success, financially and from the viewpoint of students. There were the usual reservations about the number of participants in the technical program sessions. Excellent cost containment, especially in the area of printing and publishing and for social functions, without reducing quality of either resulted in a surplus of over $7000 to be shared by the Richmond Section and Region 3.
Notwithstanding the success of most SoutheastCons, such as that described above, it was recognized that there was still not sufficient continuity and consistency in the planning process for these conferences and that the host Section for each conference was still being left largely to its own resources. A SoutheastCon Board of Directors was proposed, to include the General Chairmen of the three most recent conferences and the two succeeding conferences, the Meetings Committee Chairman, and the Region Vice Chairman, who would chair the BOD.The Board would oversee the planning process for future meetings and guide and monitor the local committees. A Bylaw change was made to incorporate such an entity into the Region 3 structure.
SoutheastCon '87 was held in Tampa, hosted by the Florida West Coast Section. The leadership workshop during this conference included Chapter officers and was attended by 50 representatives of various units throughout the Region. This was by far the largest workshop of this type held up to that time. The SoutheastCon BOD made its first report at the Regional Committee meeting. The Board committed to produce a conference manual specifically for use by SoutheastCon planners. Recognizing that this conference is the single most important activity which affects the entire membership, both professional and student, it also recommended certain actions to make the conference even more valuable to Region 3 members. Noting the declining interest in the professional program it suggested narrowing the broad horizontal program, targeting it to the interests of local industry, increased peer review to ensure the highest standards and appropriateness of papers, and developing a marketing strategy for each hosting location that would target local interest for both the program and the exhibits. It once again reaffirmed a commitment to incorporating the student activities into the overall conference plans, yet allowing the student community to plan and conduct its portion of the conference separately.
Somewhat as an aside, it is worth noting here, that for many years the student program had included a hardware contest for the Branches to design and build a device which would then compete during the conference. Design criteria differed each year. Originally, this was called a solar car contest, then a "seeker" car, then finally just a "device contest". The Region 3 Student Activities Committee reported during this period that the Region 3 Device Contest had become a very serious project in the Electrical Engineering Departments of several schools and was being assigned as a Senior Project at some.
In 1987 the RAB Innovation Award again came to Region 3. Dr.R.T.Nash, of Vanderbilt University and Vice-Chairman of the Tennessee Council, was the recipient of this award for developing a model study of the quality of engineering education related to the industrial needs of the State of Tennessee.
During this period professional activities continued to expand, aided by the availability of special funding from USAB. Several S-PACS were held each year, A PACE Newsletter was published to keep all units of Region 3 aware of what was happening in the field of professional activities, a PACE workshop was held at SoutheastCon, every state was active in SILA (State Intersociety Legislative Activity), and work was progressing on a COMPMAIL+ network for all PACE representatives. At the 1986 national PACE conference in Phoenix there were 20 Region 3 attendees representing 15 Sections and 5 Councils in seven of the nine Region 3 states.
Tight financial controls during 1986 again produced a surplus for the Region and an addition to the reserve fund. In anticipation of reduced income during 1987 and the healthy reserve after three good years a deficit budget was planned for 1987 rather than reduce the level of services to the members. This allowed some travel reimbursement for attendance at the Sections Congress for Sections not having sufficient funds of their own. However, not only did the income shortfall occur, but expenses mushroomed, resulting in the largest annual deficit ever incurred by Region 3, with an accompanying wipe out of the reserve. Because the Vice Chairman had been appointed rather than elected by the membership a contested election was held for both Director and Vice Chairman in 1987. As a result, Vernon B. Powers, the incumbent Vice Chairman was elected Director, and D. W. Jackson was elected Vice Chairman for 1988-1989.
Restoration of the financial integrity of the Region was the first order of business for the new administration. Reed Thompson, Regional Director 1982-1983, was appointed Secretary /Treasurer, and charged with overseeing this task. IEEE Headquarters agreed to provide the entire annual rebate as early in the year as possible to provide the Region with operating funds. Both the Florida West Coast Section and the Florida Council offered to loan surplus funds to the Region should this be necessary, but the action was not required. The Region 3 Executive Committee meeting normally held in January was canceled.
A Region Finance Committee was created consisting of the Treasurer, the Director, and the Vice Chairman. The committee was responsible for preparing the Region budget prior to Executive Committee review, providing feedback on expenditures to committee chairmen and special project chairmen, and exercising financial risk management for the Director.
In January, an audit of the Region books by the new administration brought to light two major problems contributing to the financial debacle. With Executive Committee approval, the Student Activities budget was more than doubled after the original budget was prepared. Also, there was no financial reporting of PACE activity in 1987, and many PACE activities which should have been funded by USAB were absorbed by the Region general fund. Prompt action was taken to fix these problems. A travel policy was defined for students which regained control of student expenditures while emphasizing Region support rather than 100% funding, and which placed responsibility on the Student Branches to make the best use of the funds available. A unique "Student Travel Voucher" was designed to replace the standard member travel voucher. Both the policy statement and the voucher were included in the Region Operations Manual and in next revision of the Region Bylaws. The problem with PACE financial reporting was corrected by placing more stringent controls on USAB allocations by the Region Finance Committee.
The Finance Committee, under Chairman Reed Thompson's guidance, eliminated the written Annual Geographic Unit Financial Report and replaced it with a PC based computer program which greatly simplified financial reporting. This work was funded and completed in 1989 as a Region 3/RAB Special Project and was made available to all RAB entities. All Region 3 Section and Area/Council Chairmen received the program on diskette, thereby standardizing financial reporting within the Region. This program (revised) is still used by RAB and its entities today.
Region 3 Councils either cost shared or totally absorbed travel expense to Region 3 Excom and Committee meetings during 1988, contributing to reduced meeting expense and the turn around of Region 3's financial position by the end of the year. This policy was continued through 1989.
Under these conditions the new Region 3 Executive Committee held its first face to face meeting in April during SoutheastCon '88 at Knoxville. One or two of the members continued in the same position as previously, a few incumbents took on a new assignment, but the majority of the committee found themselves serving at the Regional level for the first time.
One new position had been added, that of Newsletter Editor. This would no longer be just an additional duty for the Vice Chairman. Ms. Deborah H. Powers, who had served as Chairperson of the Florida Council, took on this job which had languished for want of full time responsibility. This was the beginning of a regularly published, quality publication to serve the entire Region 3 leadership. Printed on 8 1/2 x 11 heavy stock, 20 pages, including pictures, the Region 3 Newsletter was mailed to all officers and committee chairmen in all units within the Region, about 500 copies. It was soon recognized as one of the premier publications of its kind within the Institute.
Previous Directors and many committee chairman had established annual goals and objectives which they hoped to accomplish. All too often these were stated in such broad or general terms that evaluation of the outcomes was difficult. Director Powers set forth immediately a list of goals and objectives for the Region and for each area of responsibility at the Regional level that was specific and measurable. A new era of management by objectives had begun and would continue on into the future.
SoutheastCon '88 in Knoxville was a successful conference although attendance was less than expected. Student attendance was down substantially from the last few conferences due to the limitations placed on support for student travel. It was not down sufficiently to detract from its value or its intended purposes to support the student work within the Region. The student attendance at Knoxville could probably be viewed as a more realistic match between the results to be achieved and what the Region could afford.
The North Carolina Council had been discussing with members of the Electronic Representatives Association (ERA) for some time the possible joint sponsorship of the North Carolina Symposium and Exhibition (NCSE) with professional management similar to that for SOUTHCON. The Council's NCSE was not held in 1987 in anticipation of the start of this new arrangement in 1988. The first joint NCSE-ELTECH was held in the Spring of 1988 in Charlotte and was very successful from both attendance and financial perspectives. Planning was going forward for the 1989 conference in Raleigh. Following another successful conference in 1989 a new contract was negotiated with ERA to continue the joint arrangement an additional two years.
There were also rumblings at this time about the management of SOUTHCON under Electronic Conventions Management, Inc. The IEEE objectives for the convention and exhibition were not always the same as those of partner ERA. The division of surplus among the IEEE entities involved was also questioned. Attendance seemed to have peaked, and along with this, the income from what amounted to a substantial investment of manpower. While the immediate questions of management were resolved, the broader questions of value to the membership continued and would result eventually in the withdrawal of the Atlanta Section as a partner and SOUTHCON becoming an all Florida activity, with Regional support.
Two long service members of the Region 3 Executive Committee gave up their positions at the end of 1988. Bob Tanner, Public Relations Committee Chairman, and Charles Rodgers, Chairman of Area 6, who had held their respective offices since 1980 asked to be allowed to step down. Tanner had worked untiringly to create an awareness of the importance of public relations and public information to the engineering profession and to stimulate and assist all entities within the Region to establish a viable PR program. Rogers, responsible for a large geographic Area covering three States, and without a mandate from the subordinate Sections, had performed a valuable service to the members of his Area and to the five Regional Directors under whom he had served. Both men were praised for their long service and were presented certificates of appreciation at SoutheastCon '89.
By the end of 1988 the stringent controls and financial austerity imposed early in the year were seen to produce real dividends. The total expenditures of under $40,000 (down from $80,000 in 1987) along with increased income from conferences and other sources resulted in a surplus for the year of almost $60,000. Much of the success on the income side was due to the ability of Director Powers to obtain Headquarters funding for a number of special projects so that they might go forward without cost to the Region. Also SOUTHCON income was greater than expected. On the expense side, control of travel expense was the primary factor.
In his year end report Treasurer Thompson stated "We will enter 1989 with sufficient resources to vigorously pursue the needed activities to support our member needs". The 1989 budget was planned accordingly, even to include a slight deficit, if necessary. By any standard this was a remarkable one year turn around.
Two former Region 3 Directors, Bob Duggan and George Abbott, were candidates for Executive Vice President of the Institute for the year 1989. George Abbott was the successful candidate and joined the list of other members from Region 3 who had served the IEEE at the highest level.
During 1988 and 1989 there was a significant increase in the use of Special Projects to accomplish many of the Regional objectives. Most of these projects required financial support beyond the resources of the committee or entity charged with the project. A formal proposal was required outlining the project, its proposed result, its cost, and its date of completion. Approval by the Director authorized the expenditure. For some projects partial or full funding was available from RAB or USAB if the project was expected to result in a product that had usefulness beyond the Region. Internal assistance in funding was also provided by some Region 3 Sections, Councils, and Society Chapters. This method of operation sped up much of the volunteer effort and also established financial accountability for the use of IEEE resources.
In early 1989 there were 25 special projects in progress by nine different committees of the Region. These included a Regional Awards and Recognition Manual, a Regional Operations Manual, a Leadership Training video, a Student Conference Guide, an Educational Products Lending Library, and others. At the local level the East Tennessee Section was producing a Section Yearbook primarily with their own funds, but supplemented by the Region. The Tennessee Council was working on a Sample Section Profile with PACE funding. This is an indication of the massive volunteer effort that was underway to develop additional resource material to enhance the Institute services to members of Region 3.
Student membership after peaking at over 6200 in 1984 had lost some ground or remained relatively flat for the last several years. To assist the Counselors and the Branches with their work the Region Student Activities Committee had under development a Region 3 SAC Operations Manual, a Region 3 Regional Student Representative Manual, and a Region 3 Student Conference Manual. These three documents would provide greater continuity in the student activities in the years ahead.
Membership development committees over the years have faced the problem of students not retaining their membership upon graduation.This results in a significant loss of potential members. A major impediment to continuity of membership is the difficulty of determining the former students' permanent addresses after they leave college.
To deal with this problem the Region 3 SAC developed a special project which it proposed to test for the first time at the 1989 Student Conference. An attractive custom designed portfolio style binder was given to each senior student attending the conference in exchange for his expected permanent mailing address following graduation. This was complemented by another Special Project under the Region 3 Membership Development Committee. Under this project the MDC received the graduate's permanent address from SAC, determined his Section, then contacted the Section Chairman and asked him to contact the recent graduate personally. This was all good theory, but insufficient data was collected to determine the project's effectiveness.
Another special project initiated and carried out by the Region 3 Student Activities Committee was the development of an information card describing the IEEE and the history of its symbol. The card would be used as the carrier for the student membership pin given to all new student members. The card was adopted by the transnational SAC for use throughout the Institute. A brochure encouraging student membership for networking purposes developed by the Region 3 Membership Development Committee was also adopted for use throughout IEEE and distributed to all Student Branches.
The RAB Larry K. Wilson Regional Student Activities Award for 1989 was presented to Manuel I. Rodrigues, of the Florida West Coast Section, for his outstanding performance as Chairman of the Region 3 Student Conference at Tampa in 1987 and for other meritorious leadership.
SoutheastCon '89 in Columbia was an outstanding success. The local committee under Dr. Joe Biedenbach's aggressive leadership introduced a marketing strategy of selling the value of the conference to local industry management and obtaining both financial support and widespread participation of engineering employees. Local companies contributed as much as $10,000 to be listed as "sponsors". Many high quality exhibits were also obtained. The technical program was especially tailored to local interests with more papers from industry than in the past. Total attendance was almost 1000, a high for SoutheastCon. A surplus of approximately $9,000 was generated to be shared by the Columbia Section, the Region, and the local Student Branch. The Corporate Sponsor feature of this conference was followed by subsequent SoutheastCon committees with equal success.
Another management initiative taken by Director Powers was an audit program for the Sections with an objective of auditing all Sections over a five year period. The auditors were appointed by the Director from Council or Area level. The first candidate for the program was the Miami Section which was experiencing some post conference financial problems from a major conference they had sponsored. The audit identified a number of discrepancies and a Conference/Section deficit of $8,000. The Section was helped in regaining solvency by use of the Region "Needy Section Fund". The audits were continued into 1989 but were discontinued in 1990.
In 1989 the Ft. Walton Beach Section and the Pensacola Sections were merged to form a new Northwest Florida Section based in Pensacola.
A total of 23 special projects were completed during 1988 and 1989. Several operations manuals were among the end products. The most significant of these was a comprehensive Region 3 Operations Manual. The Regional Activities Board made copies available to other Regions as a model. An improved Awards and Recognition Manual, including RAB awards, was produced in 1988 and modified in 1989 to include USAB awards. A Leadership Training Manual, and the Student Conference Guide added to the library of "How-to" manuals now available for the many volunteers working at all levels of the Region 3 structure.
Truly this decade had been one of "Expanding the Services" for the members of Region 3. Membership itself had undergone considerable expansion as 13,113 members were added during the years 1980-1989. This represents a 64% growth or an average of 6.4% per year, well above any other U.S. Region. The chart on the next page illustrates the relative growth of Region 3 and the total IEEE membership.
Growth of student members was almost as great, increasing by 58%, although the student membership topped out in 1984, and there was an actual loss of student members during three of the last five years.
Membership dues increased substantially during the period, so it may be inferred that the increased services available and the method of delivery by the "activist " leadership of Region 3 had a salutary effect on the cost/benefit relationship for an increasing number of members.
The number of Sections in the Region increased from 42 to 45 as four new Sections were added and one was lost due to merger. Student Branches increased from 56 to 78 as efforts were made to meet the needs of electrical engineering students in more and more schools. Another facet of growth that basically represents increased service to the membership is the growth in numbers of Society Chapters during the period. Chapter formation is a product of a sufficient concentration of a particular Society's members in a local Section and the initiative of the Section leadership in taking the necessary steps to organize the Chapter. The number of Chapters in Region 3 grew from 59 to 80 in the ten year period. Chapter meetings are not as consistent from year to year as are Section meetings, but, in general, the meeting activity of the Chapters increased by roughly 25% during this time.
In the 1989 elections, D. W. Jackson, the incumbent Vice Chairman, was elected without opposition to serve as Region 3 Director, and J. Cullen Wright, who was serving as Secretary, was elected in a competitive election to serve as Vice Chairman for the 1990-1991 term.
Into the Future, 1990-1993
Upon assuming office Director Jackson stated that his two primary goals would be improving service to the members and giving greater recognition for individual and group accomplishments. The first of these had been at the forefront of the Region organization's whole purpose for existing from the outset, but with each new administration new opportunities were being discovered and new initiatives taken toward further improvement. Recently completed revisions of the Awards and Recognition Manual, which included RAB and EAB awards, provided the foundation for the second goal.
The new director also set forth a number of specific and measurable objectives for all committees and entities. Completion of all projects currently in the pipeline was to be given priority along with the identification of new initiatives. Volunteers at all levels, profiting from the leadership training which had been provided, and equipped with a number of new manuals now available, seemed poised to move their organizations to new levels of accomplishment.
A significant Bylaw change made during 1989 gave the Region Vice Chairman responsibility for supervising the internal affairs of the Region, including oversight of all Region committees and the Councils and Areas. In effect, the Vice Chairman became the Director's "Executive Assistant", relieving him of much of the routine business and freeing him to attend to the ever growing responsibilities at the Board of Directors level. This not only proved to be a good management arrangement but provided more in-depth experience for the Vice Chairman for his presumed subsequent elevation to the Director's job.
The 1989 financial results produced a modest surplus although the budget had assumed a small deficit. This resulted primarily from a number of funded projects not having used their budgeted funds. With these unspent funds now in reserve a deficit budget was felt to be prudent for 1990 in order to complete these projects without additional new funding, leaving 1990 funds available for new projects or other needs. However, Director Jackson made clear his intention to return to a balanced budget by 1991.
SoutheastCon '90 in New Orleans built on the experience of the previous year at Columbia by enlisting four substantial corporate sponsors to defray much of the cost. These and other companies also provided exhibits, and six companies participated in a Jobs Fair. Attendance of both students and professionals was higher than usual and a small surplus was generated. The highlight of the year for many Region 3 members was the Sections Congress held in Toronto. For months the Sections were encouraged to plan for the attendance of at least one representative. Travel expense subsidies were provided by RAB for Sections which did not have the resources to support their representative. Twenty-three Sections in Region 3 were so identified. A total of 60 members from Region 3 attended the Congress with a number of them having a part on the program.
PACE activity continued to accelerate in Region 3. Several Region 3 people were actively involved in IEEE-USA. Dave McLaren was serving as chairman of the Employment Assistance Committee and Adeeb Hamzey as chairman of the Career Development Committee. Regional PACE projects underway representing considerable diversity included S-PACS, employment assistance seminars, Careers Phase II workshops, seminars on professional engineering registration, establishing liaison with local industries, legislative advisory committees, and others.
The usual Fall Executive Committee meeting was omitted in 1990 in the interest of economy.This and other stringent expense controls, under-runs on some active projects, and better then expected return from SOUTHCON transformed an anticipated deficit for the year into a surplus of over $10,000. The cash reserve at the end of 1990 stood at $92,775.
The declining trend of membership growth which began in the late 1980's continued, with a further decline in 1990, although Region 3 still reported the best performance among the U.S. Regions. The total growth in Region 3 was affected by a loss of student members for the first time in several years. The adverse employment situation seemed to be the primary factor in the loss of professional members. Director Jackson called on the Membership Development Committee to emphasize personal networking opportunities and IEEE's technical and professional educational programs in their membership promotion.
In January, 1991, J. Cullen Wright, the elected Vice Chairman of Region 3 announced his resignation for personal reasons. He acted at this time to take himself out of consideration for the 1992-93 Regional Director office and to permit the appointment of a Vice Chairman who would have a full year of experience prior to a possible election to Director. David A. Conner, who had served as Chairman of Area 6 and was one of the unsuccessful candidates for Vice Chairman in the previous election was appointed Vice Chairman for the balance of the term.
The IEEE's own use of available technology which began with the satellite short courses a few years earlier was accelerating. E-Mail was rapidly becoming the preferred method of communicating between individuals and entities. Some Sections and Councils had established E-Mail capability as had some members of the Region 3 Executive Committee. Sixteen Student Branches, including the Branches hosting SoutheastCon '91 and '92 were using E-Mail as was the Region Student Activity Chairman. This greatly aided the preparations for the future student conferences.
In April, 1990, two experiments using video conferencing were conducted by the Alabama Section with the cooperation of the University of Alabama System and South Central Bell. In the first, the Communications Society Chapter conducted two meetings connecting three sites in two different Sections. The objective was to determine if membership attendance and involvement in Chapter meetings can be increased using video conferencing. In the other, three Student Branches in different cities conducted a joint meeting in which they discussed recent experiences at SoutheastCon '91 and the hardware contest plans for SoutheastCon '92.
The Education Committee's Video library was now up and running, and reservation forms for the three initial courses were distributed at SoutheastCon '91. It was expected at that time that ten video courses would be available by the end of 1991. The video library promised to be an effective tool for use by the individual Sections in their educational programs.
The student Portfolio Project, initiated in 1989, was continued for the third year during the Student Conference at SoutheastCon '91. Nearly 200 portfolios were distributed to students from 34 different Sections in exchange for their permanent mailing addresses following graduation. The addresses were then given to the Membership Development Committee for follow-up and for referral to Headquarters. The effect of this effort to increase the retention of student graduates was still inconclusive.
SoutheastCon '91 felt the effects of a declining economic climate in lower than expected attendance and an inability to attract corporate sponsors and exhibitors. This was unfortunate since the services provided attendees were in keeping with the high standards set by previous conferences. In addition to the professional program several tutorials and workshops and a Jobs Fair were available, a Leadership Workshop for Section officers, and the full program of student activities were held.Under these circumstances a deficit of $5700 was experienced which was shared by the Hampton Roads Section, Old Dominion University, and Region 3.
Director Jackson was appointed to head an IEEE ad hoc committee for the promotion of National Engineers Week, in which a number of technical and professional societies and corporations participate. Historically, most local IEEE Sections have been involved in their communities. Looking ahead, Dan announced that in 1993 IEEE would be the lead Society in the arrangements, and asked that Region 3 entities begin then to involve themselves in these annual events to a greater extent than in the past. At the Region level the Public Information Committee was charged with developing programs and assisting all units in carrying out this activity to increase public awareness of the importance of engineering to society.
At the 1991 Region 3 Committee meeting the Outstanding Engineering Educator Award was renamed the Joseph M. Biedenbach Outstanding Engineering Educator Award in honor of Dr. Biedenbach, who, until his untimely death in 1990, had served as Region 3 Educational Committee Chairman for a period of thirteen years.
Region conference issues, including the extent of Region level involvement, financial risks, and how to best serve the needs of members in the Region, occupied considerable time of the Region leadership during 1991. An ad hoc committee of past Directors was asked to examine the charter of the Region 3 conference Committee to determine if it was adequate to provide "operational oversight" to SoutheastCon. As a result of this review it was determined that the present charter was adequate for the desired level of oversight, but that representation of members with technical society conference experience should be included on the committee.
Related but separate considerations took place regarding SOUTHCON. The Atlanta Section and its associated ERA Chapters had decided to withdraw from further participation due to declining interest of the Atlanta show. On the other hand, the Florida Council and the ERA Sunshine Chapter desired to continue, with the possibility of shows in alternating years at Florida locations other than Orlando. Another ad hoc committee was appointed to develop a specific proposal for a restructured SOUTHCON, and the Region representatives on the SOUTHCON Board were instructed to aggressively represent the interest of Region 3 in the development of any revisions.
In North Carolina, similar revisions were taking place in the Council's long established annual Symposium and Exhibition which originated in the Piedmont Subsection, IRE, in the middle 1950s. Following the merger of IRE and AIEE in 1963, this became a statewide activity and rotated among several locations in the northern part of the State. This has been a very successful conference which serves to bind the Council elements together much as SoutheastCon does for Region 3. It has also provided financial resources for funding the North Carolina Bulletin, published by the N.C. Council, and for other Council needs.
In 1987, the N.C. Council reached an agreement with the Piedmont Chapter of the Electronic Representatives Association to combine NCSE with an ERA sponsored professionally managed exhibition which would be called NCSE-ELTECH. It was hoped that this would result in a larger symposium and show that would better serve the members and also be more profitable. As was the case with SOUTHCON it was found that the objectives of IEEE and ERA were not always compatible, and, after four year of the joint NCSE-ELTECH, it was decided the IEEE membership would be better served by dissolving this arrangement and returning to the original concept of NCSE in 1992. As a result, a successful NCSE was held in Greensboro in 1992, although the attendance was below expectations.
In addition to the Leadership Training Workshop at SoutheastCon '91, three other Workshops were held during 1991 at locations where several Sections could readily assemble. A total of 61 Section and Chapter officers were provided training in these Region sponsored sessions.It was now well established that the formal leadership training of Section and Chapter officers was an essential ingredient for developing volunteer leadership at the grassroots level.
In the Fall elections of 1991, David A. Conner was elected Director and Deborah M. Powers Vice Chairman for the years 1992-1993.
In these first two years of the new decade Region 3 encountered new problems and new opportunities. Significant issues were being dealt with that would affect the future of the membership. New technology was being exploited to make Regional activities more efficient. Policies and procedures were available covering all aspects of the Regional management plan, and the supporting documentation was being continually updated. The levels of the annual budgets for the Region and for each SoutheastCon were now such that there was no margin for error. The "seat of the pants" operations of 25-30 years earlier were truly things of the past.
Best of all, looking "into the future", many new volunteers were becoming involved at all levels, Region, Council and Area, Section and Chapter. When the new Region 3 Executive Committee assembled for its first meeting in early 1992 under Director Conner, each of the officers was new to his position, but all had prior Executive Committee experience in other assignments. Seven of the nine Council chairmen were new. Most of the committee chairmen were in new assignments although several had served previously in other EXCOM positions. All, of course, were dedicated volunteers, representing many years of IEEE experience.
Under these circumstances the new leadership took off running. Goals and objectives were established for all officers and committees. The Vice Chairman was given full responsibility for supervising the internal affairs. Emphasis was placed on completing assigned tasks on schedule. Director Conner indicated that establishing and maintaining the financial integrity of the Region would be a major objective for all.
Aided by a healthy distribution of surplus from SOUTHCON, Region 3 completed 1991 $6,816 under budget without any reduction in services to members, . Reserves stood at almost $100,000 or about one year's operating expense. Approximately one half of these reserve funds were invested in the IEEE's Investment account.
For the first time since 1976 and only the third time since the merger of AIEE and IRE, the 1991 total membership in the Region registered a net loss. This reflected a small gain in higher grades offset by a significant loss of students. Although this trend was consistent throughout the U.S. Regions the Membership Development Committee was asked to take aggressive steps to remedy the situation.
Substantial revisions were made in the Region Operations Manual and the Region Awards and Recognition Manual during 1991 with publication dates in early 1992. Both documents were made more comprehensive and helpful and have since become, in all likelihood, the two most useful guides in the administration of Region 3. They have also served as models for other Regions.
The Awards and Recognition Manual was once again revised to add the Exemplary Student Branch Award and USAB awards, and to better define the evaluation procedures for selecting winners from the nominations for each award. The need for standardization of procedures is evident in the report of the ARC Chairman regarding the 1992 awards. Received by the committee were 7 nominees for Outstanding Engineer, 6 for Outstanding Engineering Educator, 6 for Outstanding Service, and nine for Exemplary Sections. For this there were 330 pages of documentation.
SoutheastCon '92, in Birmingham, may have been one of the best planned and managed ever. Large numbers of dedicated volunteers were enlisted early in the process. Corporate support for the volunteers as well as for the conference was insured. Nine corporate sponsors were secured with contributions totaling $50,000. For the technical program, emphasis was placed on quality rather than quantity, and the majority of papers accepted were full length (refereed) papers. Local attendance was encouraged by emphasis on program content useful to local companies.
High priority was given to the student conference. The usual paper contest, hardware and software contests, a dinner dance, and tours were conducted. To improve the viewing of the hardware contest large screen video was provided.
Approximately 300 professional and 312 student members were registered prior to the start of the conference. Outstanding management of the entire process, excellent expense control, and the unusual level of corporate support resulted in a superior conference experience for all attendees and a surplus of nearly $26,000.
The Strategic Planning Committee since its inception had consisted of the Past Regional Directors who were able and willing to serve. Its tasks were usually assigned by the Director. In recent years this committee began to develop an agenda of its own in keeping with the Director's goals and objectives. During the 1988-1990 period the committee was involved in or responsible for several of the special projects conceived and carried out during that period.
In 1992, eight Past Directors were serving on this committee under the leadership of Chairman Dan Jackson.Among the assigned or self generated tasks during that period were preparation of Bylaw revisions, counseling the Region 3 SOUTHCON representatives on new agreements for the restructured SOUTHCON, review of the new SOUTHCON Bylaws, consideration of a Region 3 Director-Elect office as an alternative to the elected Vice-Chairman, inauguration of a project to document the history of Region 3, and beginning the preparation of a long range strategic plan for the Region. To utilize the experience of the SPC Committee members more widely Vice Chairman Deborah Powers assigned each member as a mentor to one of the standing committees to provide advice and guidance as required.
The volume of business being transacted at the Region 3 Executive Committee meetings had increased dramatically in recent years. Committees were more active, Councils were involved in many more activities, conference activities were more complex. Much time was taken up at the meetings simply reporting on these activities. Some matters required action by the committee. Many did not. There was little separation in the order of business between the two. Hence a new meeting strategy was put into place.
The new meeting format actually evolved over the course of several meetings. Basically, it involved separating those matters requiring action from those which were primarily informative, and, for the action items, allowing time for reaching agreements prior to bringing the matter to a vote. Following the necessary housekeeping remarks and reports by the executive officers, any old business action items were disposed of. Members of the committee who proposed to offer motions for consideration were then recognized to describe such motions and their purpose. The meeting then adjourned for a period of caucus by committees or individuals to discuss the relative interests and viewpoints on each motion. Formal written motions were developed during the caucus.The committee reconvened to consider each motion and act upon it. Following this the full reports of the committee and Area/Council chairmen were received.
Later, the format was further refined by the use of two separate meetings. The first was an informal Caucus of the entire body with adequate time for discussion of all matters needing consideration. The second, formal meeting followed, after allowing time for the framing of written motions. This worked well. The caucus is allowed to proceed until all members are satisfied with the results, then the formal meeting of the EXCOM goes more smoothly and with greater efficiency as priority is placed on matters requiring action by the entire committee.
The Region 3 Committee meeting during SoutheastCon '92 was well attended. Thirty-one Sections submitted written reports which, for the most part, were up-beat, and encouraging. Typical local activities reported included strengthening relationship with the Student Branches, participation in National Engineers Week, increased participation in PACE, developing corporate support, providing quality technical programs at Section meetings, assisting with S-PACS and student paper contests, etc. On the negative side were mentioned low attendance at meetings,lack of volunteers, high newsletter costs versus benefit, and the effect of the current economy on membership. Most Sections appeared to be financially healthy. This seems to represent a good cross section of the attitude of the volunteer leadership at the local level at that time.
Periodically, over the years, one or more Sections were in a delinquent status due to failure to submit to IEEE Headquarters their annual financial and activity reports or to conduct the required minimum number of meetings. During 1992-93, there were four delinquent Sections in Region 3. In each case the respective Council leaders were working with the Sections to bring them back on line. This help would not have been available in the absence of the Council/Area organizational structure.
Perhaps the best example is the Gainesville Section which had not been able to obtain officers for some time and was completely out of business, leaving some 400 plus members without a local organization. The Florida Council, with additional help from the Florida West Coast Section, was able to restore the Section to vitality. The Florida West Coast Section voluntarily produced and mailed newsletters and meeting notices to the membership until the Section could get on its feet.
The Strategic Planning Committee, the Conference Committee, and the Florida Council all participated in a restructuring of SOUTHCON to recognize the withdrawal of the Atlanta Section. New Bylaws were drafted and agreements reached for shows in Orlando in even numbered years and elsewhere in Florida in odd numbered years. Financial ownership was adjusted to 25 percent Region 3, 25 percent Florida Council, and 50 percent ERA. The Region would continue to have two representatives on the SOUTHCON Board of Directors. The 1993 show had already been scheduled for Ft. Lauderdale under ERA sponsorship during a period of uncertainty about IEEE's future participation. Thus there would be no financial impact on the Region or the Florida Council from this show.
On 23 January 1993, new ground was broken in the use of electro-technology for carrying out IEEE's own business. With the cooperation of BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc., Region 3 was allowed to use BellSouth's corporate teleconferencing system to conduct its January Executive Committee meeting. This would be IEEE's first experience (and experiment) with the use of full video and audio connections for a multiple-site meeting. Members of the EXCOM and a number of guests would gather at six BellSouth corporate sites in six cities for a four hour meeting.
The disciplined decorum for such a meeting is severe. Director Conner went to great lengths in preparation for the meeting. The agenda included strict timing for each item. All handouts were distributed in advance. Each site was under control of a coordinator/moderator to recognize speakers, announce votes, and distribute information items at the site. There were detailed instructions regarding the protocol for speaking which gave each person at each site equal opportunity but recognized the severity of time constraints. A BellSouth representative who was also a member of IEEE was in place at each site for assistance.
There were varied reactions to the effectiveness of the video conference as an alternative. Some participants felt that debate might be stifled by the strict decorum, The "one on one"interaction normally encountered at these meetings was missing. There was a "TV intimidation factor" that reduced participation in debate, although it was felt that this would be overcome with more exposure to this medium. On the cost side, travel and lodging expense was reduced to about one seventh the average cost for an EXCOM meeting. The requirement on participants' time away from home was one half to a full day compared to two to two and a half days for the usual meeting. The cost of the facilities donated by BellSouth are not available, but are probably considerably more than these savings. Later in the year Director Conner and Treasurer David Green presented a joint paper, "IEEE Business Meeting Experiment with Video Teleconferencing", at the 1993 International Professional Communication Conference.
The Regional Activities Board awarded Dr. Conner the 1993 RAB Innovation Award " for initiating and developing the first multiple site video conferencing of an IEEE Region Executive Committee meeting."
An archival video tape of the entire conference was made and donated to the IEEE Center for the History of Electrical Engineering. Looking into the future, experience with video conferencing will improve its effectiveness. Facilities costs will decrease. IEEE will undoubtedly see more of this.
In early March, Dave Conner was suddenly hospitalized with an attack of acute pancreatitis and confined there until mid-April. As a result, he was unable to participate in SoutheastCon '93, scheduled for the first week of April. In late March his condition required several operations. This was followed by a period of recuperation and by July Dave was able to resume responsibility for the Region. Many prayers had been offered in his behalf, and the people of Region 3 gave thanks and breathed a sigh of relief.
These circumstances could have posed some real problems were it not for the way in which Region 3 affairs were being managed. As Vice Chair of the Region, Deborah Powers had been responsible for the internal operations of the Region for nearly fifteen months. Also, Director Conner had arranged for her to receive copies of all communications relating to Region 3 from the IEEE Service Center.In addition, Ms. Powers had served on RAB as Chair of the RAB Awards and Recognition Committee, thereby gaining insight and experience in RAB operations.She was well equipped to carry on.
At SoutheastCon '93, in Charlotte, for the first time in their 30 year history the EXCOM and Region 3 Committee convened without the Director being present. Deborah Powers just kept on doing what she had been doing and ran both meetings using the agenda originally developed by Dave Conner. During the conference she presented awards and performed whatever formal duties were expected from the Director. It was not until late April that Dave had recovered enough to formally put her in charge of the Region.
Although under IEEE Bylaws Deborah had no legal authority as Director, she was able to attend the RAB meeting and other Directors' forums during the Sections Congress held in San Juan the first week of July. Dave had formally requested that she be seated and given the respect normally accorded the Director. Later in the year Debora attended a USAB meeting along with Dave , and during his temporary absence in the course of the meeting, was even allowed to vote. In July Dave again assumed the reigns of Region 3 and was able to attend the Board of Directors meetings in August.
SoutheastCon '93, as other recent conferences, obtained substantial corporate financial support. The entire conference was managed efficiently and reported 259 professionals and 349 students from 39 Student Branches registered by the first morning. In addition to the usual elements, the Student program included a Small Design Contest in which the students exhibited learned skills to solve a problem without prior preparation. No S-PAC was held, but an S-PAC information workshop was held giving an opportunity for students to learn more about the S-PAC program and its benefits.
At the Charlotte meeting the EXCOM approved the establishment of a special, set-aside, "Conference Fund" from surplus generated by Region Conferences, primarily SoutheastCon and SOUTHCON, which would be used as seed money for future conferences. Later in the year provision was made to "cap" the fund at $50,000.
The Region 3 Committee approved a major overhaul of the Region Bylaws, the first revision since 1989. Included in the revisions were provisions for amending the Bylaws by mail ballot, references to the Region Operations Manual for additional details not covered in the Bylaws, requirements to be met by Sections desiring to bid on hosting SoutheastCon more than three years in advance, and a multitude of changes to clarify meaning and to provide consistency in language usage.
Of major interest at the Region 3 Committee meeting was the plan for funding attendance at the Sections Congress to be held in San Juan in July 1993. This conference, held every third year, had proved to be extremely valuable, especially for Section leaders.
It was estimated that average cost per attendee from Region 3 would be $880. Every Section was encouraged to send a delegate. The Regional Activities Board provided a travel subsidy of $8,415 which was half the estimated air fare for the 44 Sections in Region 3. The Region Finance Committee developed an algorithm to fairly distribute this subsidy and the additional Region funds required while bounding the maximum exposure for the Region. Under the formula most Sections, in addition to the RAB subsidy, would receive a fixed amount of about half the balance with the remainder coming from the Section or other local sources. Those Sections which could demonstrate that their resources were not adequate would receive additional Region funds as required. Provisions were made for partial funding for the Area/Council Chairmen and the 1993 candidates for Director and Vice Chairmen. Maximum exposure for the Region was estimated to be $25,275. As it turned out, due to lower attendance than expected, only about $15,000 was required.
SOUTHCON '93 in Ft. Lauderdale was a success. Exhibitors were enthusiastic about the 6800 participants. There was good rapport between ERA and IEEE. A new five year contract which encouraged booth sales was signed with the show management. The 1994 show was already scheduled for Orlando, and plans were now in place for returning to Ft. Lauderdale in 1995 with full participation of both IEEE and ERA.
With student membership continuing to drop, and with 50 % of the graduating students allowing their membership to lapse, it was clear that more attention must be given to student activities in the Region. The annual Student Conference was still the focal point of student activity, but much more was needed. The decline in the number of S-PACS held each year must be turned around. Sections were asked to strengthen the interaction with their related Student Branches. The concept of Branch Mentor was developed to assist the Branches in developing effective programs with the cooperation of the Branch Counselor, to give graduating students a Section contact, and to provide information to the students about IEEE services and activities.
A new program, Student Professional Awareness Ventures (S-PAVe), was introduced by the Professional Activities Committee in a workshop during the Student Conference at Charlotte. S-PAVe is designed to allow Student Branches to develop their own ideas for successful professional (i.e., non-technical) awareness activities. Student Branches are encouraged to develop proposals and submit them to Headquarters where they will be evaluated and funding decisions made. The new Exemplary Student Branch Award, introduced in 1992 was already stimulating interest in improving Student Branch operations, with four awards made in 1992 and seven in 1993.
The Professional Activities Operations Committee, along with the Public Information Committee, placed much emphasis on National Engineers Week to stimulate and encourage all Sections in the Region to be involved in this important event. Further cooperation between these committees took place at the PACE workshop during SoutheastCon '93 in a joint training session. The PAOC also was cooperating with the Student Activities Committee in the introduction of the new S-PAVe program for students. Engineering unemployment continued to be the number one concern for PACE at this time. A new initiative was a project to generate a guide listing the employers of engineers in Region 3 with the name of the person to contact in each company.
The Special Review Committee, established to audit the operations of each of the Region Committees, completed its review of the Awards and Recognition Committee in 1992 and the Student Activities Committee and Professional Activities Operations Committee in 1993. The committee also supported the Strategic Planning Committee in formalizing a standing committee review procedure. This procedure was incorporated in the April, 1994, Revision C of the Region 3 Operations Manual. The review process disclosed a serious administrative problem in several of the committees which made thorough review of the committee's effectiveness difficult. The administrative deficiency was in the area of committee records which were not being archived and passed on from one administration to the next. This appeared to be a pervasive condition throughout the Region 3 organization which has existed to some extent even at the Directorate level. In the process of producing this history it was found that there was no established plan for passing archival information on to successive administrations.
This history, as its title indicates, is a record of events taking place in Region 3 of IEEE, particularly the actions of its leaders and of the many committees and organizational units which serve the individual members. For that reason little mention has been made of the contributions made by the Directors and other Region 3 members who have performed significant service at the transnational level of the Institute. Such service also benefits Region 3 and its members, but it is generally outside the scope of this document. It is considered appropriate, however, to mention the substantial impact that Director Conner had on the financial affairs of IEEE at the BOD level, since this ultimately affects every dues paying member of the Institute.
First, Conner "led the charge" to increase the Institute's Finance Committee to include one Regional and one Divisional Director, and then served as the first Regional Director so appointed. This was followed by (a) initiating a Budget Development and Liaison Committee that brought together leaders of all entity Boards for involvement in the budget process (as opposed to previous involvement of only Headquarters staff and certain officers); (b)instituting a RAB reserve account; (c) initiating an EAB allotment and an EAB reserve account; (d) changing the structure of allotments; (e) Instituting a new, easier to read and understand, reporting format for the General Fund budget, (f) attempting, without success, to have the Institute's budgeting managed on a cost center basis rather than an Institute-wide basis; and (f) demanding the release to members of the Board of Directors full information on the compensation packages for the General Manager and Staff Executives. Prior to this the members of the Board, although fiduciaries of the IEEE, were not provided such information. All of this may seem far removed from the problems of the Chairman of a small Section who is concerned about the low attendance at his monthly meetings and, perhaps, a continuing loss of members. These are, however, matters that affect the financial integrity and the efficiency of the entire Institute, which affect the bottom line, and, ultimately, the level of dues which the individual member must pay. And Dave Conner accomplished these things and others during a two year term in which he was hospitalized and recuperating for six months of his second year.
In the Fall 1993 elections, Deborah M. Powers was elected Director and James H. Beall was elected Vice Chairman for the 1994-1995 term of office. Ms. Powers thus became the first of her gender to hold the office of Director in Region 3. This was also a historic first for IEEE in that a husband and wife, Vernon Powers (1988-89) and Deborah Powers both were elected to the office of Regional Director.
The Region 3 Executive Committee met in early December with Director Conner again presiding. There was reason to look back with considerable pride on the accomplishments of the past two years. The membership appeared to have been well served by the many projects and programs made available. The financial situation was the best ever with a substantial surplus having been generated in 1993 due to increased conference income and lower than expected expense. Membership was still declining, however, with a loss of higher grade members as well as students. In the course of the meeting the Chairman's gavel was turned over to Ms. Powers for a second meeting looking ahead and planning for the new year.
This final chapter of Region 3's thirty year history, for purposes of identification, has been called "Into the Future". The accomplishments of these four years were made possible by the dedicated service of those who had a part "in the beginning"(Chapter I),those who "built the foundation" (Chapter II), and those who took part in "expanding the services" (Chapter III). The approximately 150 people who have served in positions of responsibility at the Region level during these periods are listed in Appendix B.
Many times that number have served just as faithfully in leadership positions in the Councils and Sections and Chapters and the Student Branches and as members of the multitude of committees involved. It is the high standards of professionalism demonstrated by this volunteer leadership that makes the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers the great organization that it is.
The history of Region 3 obviously does not end with 1993. Only this record does. Even as this record closes work is underway on a Strategic Plan which will chart the direction of Region 3 into the 21st century, a set of long range goals, objectives , and strategy by which Region 3 will direct its efforts to improve IEEE's service to its members and to the profession.
The History Continues, 1994 - 1999
Region 3 owes W. L. (Sully) Sullivan a debt of gratitude for writing a 30-year history beginning with the founding of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) on January 1, 1963 by the merger of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) and the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE). His documentation is well researched, and he describes many innovative activities that have made Region 3 a leader in the Institute. He was honored with a Special Award for his work in compiling “A History of Region 3.” As this history update is being written in mid-2010, Sully, who is 91 years old, lives with his wife “Pete” in Snellville, GA. Now it is time to continue the history.
For 1994-1995, Delegate/Director Deborah M. Powers focused on expanding electronic communications and electric dissemination of materials and services to all members. To assist in these efforts, the positions of e-mail coordinator and special projects coordinator were established. Emphases on professional activities, member employment opportunities, and strategic planning were continued. Assigned duties included presenting “concepts” and defining “opportunities” to the executive committee. ExCom was charged with assessing the concept, expanding it, and making it happen, or changing it to a more effective item. Goals and objectives were assigned to all standing committees, and the positions of E-mail coordinator and Special Projects coordinator were established. The Education Activity Committee (EAC) representative was a forcing function to develop a national job listing service. Phase I of the Electronic Bulletin Board System (BBS) funded a special project to make BBS available via an 800 number to all Region 3 members. The system provided an archive capability for Region 3 entities and the Institute. The Region 3 BBS was recognized as the premier BBS within IEEE at the 1995 National PACE Conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A new award, “Professional Leadership,” was approved. An award presented to the branch by Wally Read, 1995 IEEE President, recognized the Electro-Technology Industry (ETI) database developed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) student branch. A Mid-career Professional Awareness Conference (MPAC), an IEEE first, was held in conjunction with the North Carolina Symposium and Exhibition ’94. Another IEEE first was the appointment of a region web master, David Lee, RSAC, Virginia Tech, to improve communications with student branches. The Region finances were in sound condition, and SouteastCon and Southcon were successful financially and professionally in 1994 and 1995. The Strategic Planning Committee endorsed Region 3 participation in the IEEE concentration banking system. A Region 3 Bylaw revision changed the Vice Chairman title to Delegate/Director-Elect.
James H. Beall, 1996 – 1997 Delegate/Director, set objectives to increase total membership by increasing services to members, to boost membership retention, to continue employment assistance, and to improve delivery of educational materials to our members. Because of the sound financial condition of the Region, a deficit budget was approved with the intent of funding important projects to benefit all members. Actual results showed a surplus of over $20,000. IEEE-USA President Joel Snyder used the ETI database for a nationwide mailing to 1,600 CEO’s of high technology firms to promote the IEEE-USA job listing service. The BBS continued to be upgraded and expanded; average use was 100 calls per month, with 20% being outside Region 3. RAB initiated the GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) program to retain young members, and Region 3 has been an active participant. The first 1996 executive committee meeting scheduled for Memphis, TN, was a “cold and slippery” event (four degrees and an ice storm). However, a hearty group formed a quorum and essential business was conducted. Important and successful 1996 meetings included SoutheastCon (over 670 attendees and over 150 peer-reviewed papers presented) in Tampa, FL, Southcon (6,455 registrations) in Orlando, FL, and Sections Congress in Denver, CO (32 out of 43 region sections were represented). Attendees believed that valuable information was obtained that could benefit their Sections. At the spring Region 3 meeting, the first Leadership Development Training (LDT) class was held for committee chairs and vice-chairs. The 1997 executive committee meeting in Columbia, SC, had special meaning in that the four South Carolina Sections and the South Carolina Council were celebrating 25-year anniversaries; their banners were presented by IEEE Past President Wally Read, who is a dues paying honorary member of Region 3. In 1997 Southcon, sponsored jointly by Region 3, the Florida Council and ERA, was held in Raleigh, NC, for the first time. Attendance was down (4,146 registrations), but a surplus was reported. At SoutheastCon ‘97 held in Blacksburg, VA, IEEE President Charles Alexander spoke on “Vision 21” and assisted in presenting the awards. The Student Conference included a paper session, hardware and software contests, and a Web page contest. Region 3 hosted the PACE conference in St. Petersburg, FL. The Baton Rouge and New Orleans sections moved to Region 5.
Objectives cited by Dale C. Caston, 1998 – 1999 Delegate/Director, included encouraging formation of Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) groups in the sections, increasing awareness of educational activities and technical programs available in IEEE, and utilizing the Region 3 web site to assist in fulfilling these objectives. As a result, reports of region activities from 1998 to the present are available at http://ewh.ieee.org/reg/3/excom/meetings. Also, a GOLD representative was named to the Executive Committee. The ETI database has grown to over 47,000 high technology companies with over 150,000 points of contact. Bill Harrison led Region 3 efforts in a Corporate Relations Project with an emphasis to establish and maintain relationships among IEEE sections/technical society chapters and the organizations, executives and managers who employ IEEE members and prospective members. At SoutheastCon ’98, the Membership Development Committee presented a training session for section leaders. The IEEE-USA Operations Committee met in conjunction with this meeting, and its president John Rienert assisted with the presentation of Region 3 awards. Because of much lower attendance than forecast, SoutheastCon ’98 suffered a financial loss. Attendance at Southeast Con ’99, held in Lexington, KY, increased significantly from the previous year and a surplus was generated. Although attendance decreased, Southcons held in 1998 and 1999 were successful. Region 3 was well represented at Sections Congress 1999 held in Minneapolis, MN:
53 region attendees (34 primary delegates), 13 speakers, and a program track chaired by David G. Green. The Regional Activities Board (RAB) Vice President, Dan Benigni, commended the region for two projects that could be expanded Institute-wide: corporate relations and e-conferencing. Ralph Russell requested sponsorship of an Electricity and Electronics Merit Badge booth at the 2001 National Scout Jamboree to be held in Richmond, VA. Since the Jamboree is expected to have 35,000 scouts in attendance from Regions 1-10, RAB was requested to transfer $35,000 to Region 3 to be used to support the Jamboree. The transfer was made in December 1999. Another significant honor for the region was the selection of David A. Conner to serve as the 1999 IEEE Treasurer.
During 1994 – 1999, the region was in sound financial condition with sufficient funds to support activities that serve the needs of the members. At the end of 1999, total assets were $248,824 with $129,463 in the IEEE long-term investment account. At the end of 1999, total membership was 29,936 that included 26,087 higher-grade members and 3,849 student members.
The New Millenium, 2000 - 2009
In early 2000, the world survived the dire consequences predicted for Y2K, and Region 3 pioneered e-conferencing at the January Executive Committee meeting. The 2000 -2001 Delegate/Director Richard L. Riddle pledged to focus on the following: establishing a leadership environment that encourages working together, continuing the region history of implementing innovate ventures, and providing leadership in the reactivation of struggling sections and chapters. The e-conference Executive Committee meeting was a success for a number of reasons: reports were submitted by e-mail prior to the meeting, 31 members from 9 states participated, travel time and expense were significantly reduced, and the committee did not have to travel through a snow and ice storm to attend. The structure of the ExCom was changed to include the following ad hoc committees: E-conferencing, Corporate Relations and Section/Chapter Coordination. For the first time after Jamaica became a Region 3 Section, the fall Executive Committee was held in Jamaica. At SoutheastCon 2000, held in Nashville, TN, training workshops on Professional Development Activities (PACE) and e-conferencing were conducted. The technical program and the student conference were excellent. A number of Institute leaders attended SoutheastCon 2000 including Ken Laker, 1999 IEEE President, Robert (Bob) Noberini, IEEE-USA Member-at-Large and Sean Lockhead, EMS Board of Governors. Ken Laker and Bob Noberini were inducted as Region 3 honorary members. Southcon 2000 had a low attendance, and the Southcon board decided not to hold a show in 2001 and to consider dissolution of the conference. A major event in 2001 was the recognition of the Canaveral Historic Milestone. A ceremony honored the individuals involved in the development of electronic technology that enabled mankind to land on the moon and to return safely to earth, which was a goal set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. SoutheastCon 2001 also had a number of Institute attendees, including IEEE President Joel Snyder, RAB Vice President Maurice Papo and EAB representative Art Winston. Region 3 developed a web-based treasurer-training program, and approved the establishment of an IEEE conference reserve account with a cap of $100,000.
Prior to the 2001 Fall ExCom meeting Delegate/Director Riddle had a plaque made of walnut wood and a brass plate mounted with the following engraved inscription.
The Gavel The gavel is a small mallet used by a presiding officer to signal for attention to bring about order or to enforce a ruling. This gavel was handmade by Jim Joyner, Region 3 Awards and Recognition Chairman (1987 – 1989). Two different woods were used in the construction of the gavel. The head is made of dogwood and the handle is made of locust. Jesus was crucified on a cross that was made from dogwood. Therefore, think of this gavel in this manner – the head is the peacemaker, and the handle is to handle “thorny” issues that arise.
The plaque enhanced a long-standing Region 3 tradition. Jim Joyner presented the gavel to Vernon Powers, Region 3 Director, 1988 – 1989, at the November 1989 Region 3 Executive Committee meeting in Williamsburg, VA. The gavel has been passed on to each Region 3 Director since that time to maintain order. Delegate/Director Riddle presented the plaque and gavel to Jim Howard, the incoming Delegate/Director. The 2002 – 2003 Delegate/Director James M. Howard challenged the region to continue to initiate projects to meet the challenges facing Region 3 and the Institute and to increase communications with sections and chapters to define region resources available to them. A section survey was conducted to seek information relevant to this goal; results can be viewed at http://ewh.ieee.org/reg/3/excom/meetings under the (2002-09) link. Two Section mergers were completed: East Tennessee and Oak Ridge Sections became the East Tennessee Section and the Nashville and Middle Tennessee Sections became the Central Tennessee Section. Attendees at SoutheastCon 2002, held in Columbia, SC, provided positive comments about all areas of the conference. Peter Staeker, Division 4 Director, discussed IEEE financial issues and described how they intertwine with membership policies. Another first for the region was to schedule SoutheastCon 2003 in Ocho Rios, Jamaica; the Jamaica Section members are to be commended for hosting a successful conference. The 2002 June IEEE Board Series was held in Nashville. Sections Congress 2002 was held in Washington, DC, and 13 speakers and 66 participants, including 36 primary delegates, represented Region 3. A major goal of all Sections Congresses is to develop a list of recommendations that members believe need to be addressed. A number of Sections have been active in developing technical conferences. Of particular notice was the RADARCON hosted by the Huntsville Section in 2003 in conjunction with the AESS Society. A Daniel W. Jackson award was approved to recognize past directors who continue their IEEE and Region 3 service with great diligence and dedication after their service as directors; Daniel W. Jackson was selected as the first recipient. To ensure the continuation of essential member services, the Region 3 Finance Committee recommended that a $2.00 per member assessment be approved for implementation in 2005; this recommendation was approved.
A major goal for the 2004 – 2005 Delegate/Director William B. Harrison was to provide education and leadership skills for members. The Leadership by Developing Others (LDO) project, led by past director Richard L. Riddle, was established to build an environment of cooperative and supportive communication among IEEE leaders on all levels by focusing on the “art of mentoring.” Charles Lord developed training modules for LDO, pilot teams were trained, and future training sessions were scheduled. Employment assistance was enhanced by the coordination of the Membership Development, Public Information and Industry Relations committees. The IEEE Board appointed an Industry Advisory Committee to advise the Board on policy matters related to directing the development and maintenance of critical relationships with industry. Following the urging of Region 3 members, the Regional Activities Board (RAB) agreed to reestablish the IEEE membership directory in an on-line form with access limited to IEEE members only. SoutheastCons and Southcons were successful for both years. Region 3, particularly the Florida West Coast Section, participated in early pilot projects of the Teacher-in-Service Program (TISP). A number of IEEE dignitaries joined 40,000 scouts at the National Scout Jamboree in Richmond, VA. Other activities included the development of a trifold brochure that listed region initiatives and goals, and the presentation of the second Daniel W. Jackson award to Reed Thompson. Sections Congress 2005, hosted by the IEEE Florida West Coast Section and Region 3 in Tampa, FL, was a premier event that welcomed 745 delegates, 100 partners and 101 staff. Of the 745 delegates, 272 were primary Section delegates, resulting in 87% representation of the 310 invited Sections. Keynote speakers at the opening ceremony, plenary and closing ceremony addressed relevant issues; 15 core track speakers and 104 breakout sessions presented opportunities for growth based on topics selected by grass roots leadership. Region 3 members chaired major committees: Steering (James M. Howard), Local Organizing (Quang Tang) and Program (David G. Green). The top ten delegate recommendations, listed in priority order along with others listed in random order, were submitted to the IEEE Board of Directors for consideration and assignment of responsibilities.
A strategic planning retreat was held in January 2006 to develop initiatives for 2006 – 2007 that would form the groundwork for the term of Delegate/Director George F. McClure. These initiatives included the following: improve the use of existing capabilities to deliver services more effectively to members, provide tools and training to enhance volunteer recruitment, continue mentoring initiatives through LDO program, enhance member and employer relations, create a “Help Desk” that will respond to specific requests for information from Region 3 volunteers, continue the emphasis on the Teacher In-Service Program (TISP) that was initiated in Region 3, develop programs to encourage transnational exchanges, and enhance the region capability to increase income. Progress on meeting these initiatives was reported periodically by committee chairs. A TISP training session attended by 23 sections was conducted at SoutheastCon 2006. At SoutheastCon 2007, the membership development committee presented a training session for membership development chairs. SoutheastCons 2006 and 2007 were successful professionally and financially. Southcon 2006 was not a financial success and no show was planned for 2007. A second Region meeting was scheduled in October in Atlanta at the Georgia Power Company offices. The Public Information Committee developed exhibits highlighting Region 3 activities that continue to be displayed at numerous IEEE events. Webmaster Eric Ackerman applied a new and improved look to the Region 3 web site. A Finance Committee recommendation to add the region secretary and the conference committee chair to the committee was approved. David G. Green served as the IEEE Treasurer in 2007 and 2008.
On 1 January 2008, the Regional Activities Board (RAB) was transformed into the Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) Board. One of the leaders in this paradigm shift was the 2008 – 2009 Region 3 Delegate/Director William B. Ratcliff. The focus of this shift was to engage the members and to concentrate on their growth and development throughout their life cycles and to optimize those experiences throughout all of IEEE. Sections Congress 2008, held in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, offered an ideal setting to acquaint IEEE members with this new concept.
A Region 3 highlight at Sections Congress was the awarding of the MGA William W. Middleton Distinguished Service Award to Robert S. Duggan, Jr. for his lifetime of outstanding leadership that encouraged others to follow him in the spirit of service. Joe Lillie, MGA Vice President and William B. Ratcliff, Region 3 Delegate/Director are shown with Bob and his wife Kathleen.
To ensure that all Region 3 members consider IEEE as a professional home, an ad hoc committee was formed to build relations between MGA and the Technical Activities Board (TAB). Since a number of Region 3 members had been affected by the current economic issue, the region continued to support the economic assistance web site, and an ad hoc committee was formed to develop and implement measures to assist members. Another ad hoc committee was charged with identifying leadership skills training that could be used by the sections to enhance member engagement. SoutheastCons in Huntsville and Atlanta continued to provide opportunities for interactions among students and all other participants. In addition to the Emeritbadges scouting program conducted in 2008, a Girls Go Engineering program, which is a pre-university training project, was planned for future scout jamborees.
On the financial side, the long-term investment (LTI) account basically mirrored the stock market ups and downs: end-of-year values include a low of $105,700 in 2002; a high of $186,465 in 2007; and a recovery to $168,569 in 2009. Total assets ranged from a low of $223,394 in 2002 to a high of $523,365 in 2009. The region received the first receipts from the $2.00 per member assessment in 2004; total transferred to the region through 2009 is about $222,200.
A New Decade, 2010 - 2019
Lee Stogner, the 2010 -2011 Delegate/Director, established a number of goals, primarily related to building a better Region 3 in which members are united in a network of people, skills and shared communications. Members are encouraged to participate in local and national activities, volunteer to serve on IEEE committees, and provide engineering information to congressional representatives about the impacts of legislation so they can better serve their constituents.
Specific goals for sections include establishing a complete officer roster, focusing on membership development by identifying needs and providing appropriate training, and becoming involved with their student branches.
SoutheastCon 2010 was a success at all levels; technical program and exhibits, various meetings and student conference. Total attendance was 868, including 410 students. The student conference includes a prize paper contest, an ethics competition, tee shirt competition, a hardware competition and a software contest. Over 50 teams entered the hardware competition, and 15 teams participated in the software contest.
The IEEE Special Projects Initiative funded an Employment Assistance Project in Region 3. The purpose of the project was to train regional IEEE members to deliver employee career development services through companies that employ IEEE members. Two career and employment assistance workshops were conducted. The first was “Train the Trainer” conducted at the Region 3 fall meeting in Atlanta. The second was “Career Survival for Engineers and Scientists in the 21st Century” held in Cocoa Beach, Florida. This workshop attracted 48 local attendees and 12 sections via a webcast. At the beginning of 2011, Delegate/Director Stogner established a number of goals primarily related to Region 3 Sections with the idea of building a network and bringing value to our members. Membership development, including an inventory of member training needs, and employment assistance were major emphases.
SoutheastCon 2011, held in Nashville, Tennessee included 120 papers in the technical conference and a number of vendors and sponsors. More than 400 students participated in various activities such as the paper contest (9 schools), hardware competition (40 teams), software competition (20 teams) and ethics competition (12 teams). About 40 – 50 students attended a student leadership training session.
IEEEXtreme programming is a 24-hour competition across the globe. On 22 October 2011, over 1500 students participated in this on-line competition. In Region 3,17 out of 98 student branches participated, and the region had 12 teams in the top 100. The top team in Region 3 was the CutieMarkCrusaders from the University of Florida at rank 13. This project is growing rapidly, and IEEE believes it will become the world’s largest programming competition.
Sections Congress 2011 with the theme “Empowering Members to Create the Future” was held in San Francisco, California. Region 3 developed a process to submit recommendations to Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) for consideration. Details for the recommendations endorsed by the primary delegates can be obtained on the IEEE website. This conference provides region members with opportunities to network and to obtain valuable information that emphasizes the member and value of IEEE membership. Sharing this information at Section meetings should be quite beneficial. Region 3 attendees expressed positive comments about conference, and these attendees are shown in the following picture.
The Huntsville Section hosted a two-day IEEE Smart Tech: Metro Area Workshop on November 4-5, 2011.The event was a collaborative effort including societies, councils, regions, sections and IEEE-USA. IEEE-USA Employment and Career Services Committee volunteers presented a workshop designed to assist engineers and technology professionals to develop and maintain lifelong employment skills in continuously changing employment environments. Panelists discussed common gaps between company needs and job seekers skills and how to bridge these gaps.
David G. Green, the 2012 – 2013 Delegate/Director, established a philosophy to define the role of Region 3 as a leader in IEEE activities. Major objectives to achieve this role are listed.
- Represent the region and its members to the global IEEE
- Communicate with local leaders
- Promote member engagement and IEEE as the professional home for members of our technical community
- Find and promote tools and practices to improve the effectiveness of local volunteers in helping members engage with IEEE, the profession and the public
- Supply motivation, resources and collaboration to promote an environment to meet challenges and increase the relevancy of IEEE to present and future members
The Region 3 Executive Committee (ExCom) played a major role in meeting these objectives, particularly in the member engagement and life cycle of the member. Mary Ellen Randall, Delegate/Director-Elect, coordinated presentations related to STEM projects such as Best Robotics and encouraged section social events. A number of Senior Member Rodeos were conducted, where senior members provided guidance to their colleagues on creating applications and obtaining references to obtain the senior member grade in IEEE. The Strategic Planning Committee expanded its membership and the Nominations and Appointments Committee added the GOLD (now named the Young Professional) coordinator to its membership.
SoutheastCon 2012, held in Orlando, Florida, and SoutheastCon 2013, held in Jacksonville, Florida, were successful from both the participants’ and financial points of view. An additional day was added for volunteers to increase training and face-to-face project work. A separate Region 3 task force was charged to review conference operations and to make suggestions for improving the volunteer and student portions of these events.
The student conference held at each SoutheastCon is always a highlight of the event. In addition, Region 3 instituted distributed Fall training program for student leaders. The Student Activities Chair (Regina Hannemann), Student Representative (Josh Shank) and SPAC Coordinator (Mary Lynn Smith) along with local volunteers at each site held one day training events for student leaders who could travel to one of the five to eight sites. The Region 3 budget was modified to ensure this training effort will be an ongoing program.
Region 3 has been using electronic tools to increase the effectiveness of collaborations for quite some time. The IEEE WebEx was used for numerous meetings, training webinars and subcommittee work teams. The webinar topics were driven by survey responses from volunteer leaders. The voting tool and the financial tool, as well as others, were used to improve member interactions and opportunities to plan professional activities.
Region 3 continued its strong awards program by recognizing outstanding individuals and organizations within the region. Charles Hickman updated the Region 3 history document and initiated a practice of obtaining oral histories from some of the past region leaders. The oral histories were given to the Engineering and Technology History Wiki.
In addition to his service within the Region, Director Green also served on the IEEE Governance Committee, IEEE Strategic Planning Committee, IEEE IT Advisory Committee, vTools Committee, Professional Productivity and Collaboration Tools Committee and was selected as a IEEE Foundation Director in 2013. The vTools effort has already created and deployed many tools for Section volunteer use such as vTools Meetings, WebInABox, and Voting. A 2014 Sections Congress Rollout of Professional Productivity and Collaboration Tools is expected to have a similar impact for both volunteers and members.
Sadly, one of our ExCom members and past Region Director (2006-7), George McClure died during this time. He was serving the region as Professional Activities Operations chair and as co-chair of SoutheastCon 2012 when he passed away unexpectedly. The IEEE-USA George F. McClure citation of Honor was named in his memory. Three other past directors passed away during this period: James H. Beall (1996 - 97); Wilbert L. Sullivan (Sully)(1974 – 75); and Grover F. Dausmann (1972 – 73). Their directorships are summarized in the Region 3 history document at http://goo.gl/JFGp2r .
Mary Ellen Randall, the 2014 – 2015 Delegate/Director, had a philosophy that included an emphasis on engaging members, and recognition that the ways in which members want to engage with IEEE can be very different. She also believed that leaders should always leave a meeting with a written implementation plan in hand and that our global network is IEEE’s greatest value. Convening a group of region leaders in December 2013, three projects were initiated. They were:
A. Volunteer Integration Process (VIP) led by Jill Gostin: This project identified information which should be delivered “just in time” to new officers to guide them through their term. It also sought to provide mentors to new officers. This was piloted with a select number of sections. Further, Jill continues working with MGA to see if the materials and processes we are developing would be useful across the Institute. Implementation continued into 2016.
B. First Year member experience led by Lee Stogner: Lee and team developed recommendations for reaching out to first year members. Work to enlist local help in supporting the implementation of these recommendations by the sections remained a recurring challenge. As of November 2015, IEEE led the world regions in first year member retention. This focus was folded into Member Engagement and Life Cycle efforts in 2016.
C. MOVE (Mobile Outreach VEhicle for disaster relief) led by John Montague, Gregg Vaughn, Mary Ellen Randal, Grayson Randall, and James Conrad. MOVE can be described briefly (from the project’s Elevator Speech):
- For Disaster Survivors
- Who have survived the initial catastrophe,
- MOVE (Mobile Outreach VEhicle)
- Is an IEEE Project that creates and operates a vehicle for disaster relief
- That provides needed communications, light & power support to victims
- Unlike some First Responder Efforts (e.g., ARRL, RACES)
- Our project is intended to help the relief workers and disaster survivors by supplying valuable services until normal infrastructure is restored.
Move detail on the MOVE project is described in the next section.
In 2014, Region 3 reached 121% of its Senior Member elevation goal making it the top region in the world. In 2015, Region 3 achieved 155% of its goal, and again was the top region for senior member elevations in the world. Many IEEE volunteers reached out and assisted in this engagement effort.
Several Sections reported that the Senior Member Roundups were attended by members who do not traditionally attend meetings, enabling us to reach new potential volunteers and personally invite them to come back to participate in other IEEE events. Members were grateful for the help in completing their Senior Member application. In many cases, this recognition was well past due.
In 2015, the monthly Region metrics were changed to encourage and measure member engagement. The result is more commitment by sections to hold more diverse events and increase focus on engagement. This change in approach continued and was supported into 2016 by Director Conrad.
SoutheastCon was held March 13-16, 2014 at the Griffin Gate Marriot Resort & Spa in Lexington, KY. It was well and enthusiastically attended. Special thanks to Chair Don Hill and team for all their efforts in hosting SoutheastCon. The Region 3 meeting was held during this conference. It was here that the region leadership team developed a “How to” Cookbook containing micro-volunteering tasks. This was developed under the direction of Director-Elect Conrad. That cookbook is now in use by MGA and the Young Professionals in IEEE.
A second region meeting was held in conjunction with Sections Congress 2014 on August 22-24 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Approximately 60 region leaders actively participated. The enthusiasm displayed was contagious. We held a Senior Member Roundup there and many folks commented that this was a valuable experience. Leaders were armed with the latest tools to help them in their leadership roles.
SoutheastCon was held April 9-12, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was well and enthusiastically attended. Special thanks to Co-chair Eric Ackerman and Co-chair Carlos Cabrera and team for all their efforts in hosting SoutheastCon.
The Region 3 meeting was held during this conference. At this meeting, the region adopted the member engagement oriented goals and suggested how each section could actively contribute to those goals.
Other Director Responsibilities
During this period, Director Randall also served on the IEEE MGA Board of Directors, the IEEE-USA Board of Directors, IEEE Audit Committee Chair (2015) and member (2014), IEEE Ad Hoc Committee on Strategic Planning (2015), IEEE Ad Hoc Committee on Ideation (2015-2016), IEEE Ad Hoc Committee on Enhancing Financial Management (2015). In 2016, Past Director Randall served on the TAB/PSPB Products + Services Committee and was selected as Vice President of Member and Geographic Activities for 2017.
IEEE MOVE Vehicle
The IEEE MOVE Vehicle was conceived and designed during Director Randall’s term, and delivered and initially deployed during Director Conrad’s term. Because of its substantial impact to Region 3, this project warrants a separate section in its own accord.
The MOVE Vehicle is a part of larger emergency relief program committed to assisting victims of natural disasters with short-term communications, computer, and power solutions. These temporary emergency relief provisions help those affected stay connected and make sure they can access the help they need. Services include phone charging, internet & communications support, and lighting to disaster victims. When not deployed, the MOVE vehicle can be used for Community Outreach. It was taken to schools, fairs, and other venues to educate the public, showcase leading technologies, and to raise awareness about the social impact these technologies have on society, including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) education and outreach. Additionally, it energized the IEEE volunteer base, highlighted skills, promoted public awareness and more.
Funding for the initiative had to be secured. Director Randall convinced the IEEE-USA Board of Directors to utilize foundation funds they control to cover years 1 and 2 of operations. A Business Plan defining the long term program, its funding approach (a special Foundation fund), and yearly goals was developed and approved.
Working with multiple specialty vehicle vendors, the MOVE team designed the vehicle’s systems to meet the needs for Disaster Response as well as STEM education and Public visibility. Gregg Vaughn led the design team. The MOVE Oversight Committee approved this vehicle on November 9, 2015, the vehicle was ordered in December 2015, and delivered March 4, 2016.
A formal relationship with the American Red Cross was established. Volunteers who provide Disaster Relief will be housed and fed by the Red Cross. The IEEE provides communication connections for the Red Cross, as part of this partnership.
As an ongoing program, the MOVE team led by Past Director Randall continued in 2016. In 2016 alone, MOVE volunteers had served in 5 disaster relief efforts (2 floods, 2 hurricanes, and a wild fire, served as the command center in preventing home fires and installing smoke detectors, conducted numerous STEM and community outreach activities.
As part of a campaign to enable volunteers, members, and the public to learn more, donate, or volunteer, the site move.ieeeusa.org was established.
Director Randall went on to serve as the IEEE MOVE Community Outreach Program Director.
James M. (Jim) Conrad, the 2016 – 2017 Director/Delegate, took over the Director’s responsibilities in 2016 and carried on the same philosophy as his predecessor: member engagement, especially through projects. His term as director was noted by many activities in the Region and in all of IEEE.
The IEEE MOVE Vehicle was delivered in March 2016; driver training was immediately conducted, and the first vehicle systems training was held at the end of the month. Since delivered, the MOVE Vehicle was deployed to the following disasters in 2016 and 2017:
- West Virginia Flood Relief, 26 June to 12 July, 2016
- Louisiana Flood Relief, 15 to 23 August, 2016
- Hurricane Hermine, NC, 1 to 3 September 2016
- Hurricane Matthew, FL and NC, 6 to 21 October, 2016
- Tennessee Wildfires, 1 to 6 December 2016
- Missouri Flooding, 3 to 16 May, 2017
- Hurricane Harvey, TX, 25 August to 8 September, 2017
- Hurricane Irma, FL, 8 to 15 September, 2017
In addition, volunteers have taken the vehicle to many locations in Region 1, 2, and 3 for STEM Outreach. Such activities included:
- FL, SC, AL, NY schools
- Atlanta Science Festival
- Boy Scout Jamboree
- NC Science Festival
- NC Maker Faire
The vehicle was also used as a Command Center to assist the Red Cross during their Smoke Alarm Campaign and NC Full Eclipse of the Sun response. The vehicle has also been used to provide communications to keep an airport operational!
The Senior Member Elevation program was emphasized. Again in 2016 and 2017, Region 3 led the rest of the world in the number of elevations per eligible member. Like reported above, the Senior member elevation program (including roundups) continued to work well in engaging a new group of members.
In 2014 through 2016, IEEE Leadership worked to develop a fundamental change of the organization’s structure, including its leadership structure and the make-up of the IEEE Board of Directors. This change, represented in changes to the IEEE constitution, was envisioned to make the Board more nimble and able to respond to changes in the field quickly. In the annual election, the members of IEEE voted to reject the proposed constitutional changes.
The IEEE Board of Directors continued their visits to industry throughout the world to see how to better include industry needs in IEEE Products and services. Director Conrad visited South Korea in 2016 and Kenya in 2017 as a part of this outreach. As a result of these visits and other activities, IEEE established a standing committee of Industry Engagement.
IEEE SoutheastCon 2016 was held in Norfolk from April 1 to 3, with Sean Haynes as Conference Chair. The Region meeting included a new model of training and engagement on Friday and Saturday. Each day was split into six 1-hour segments, and participants could choose from three different parallel tracks centered on professional development, member engagement, and tools/processes. The sessions were introduced to members via quick, one-minute “Excite” sales pitches. The format and content was well received by region and section leaders. The Technical and Student components of the conference were well attended, and included a wonderful reception at the site of the USS Wisconsin Battleship. This Conference also included the first training session of the IEEE MOVE vehicle, which was held on Thursday, March 31.
IEEE SoutheastCon 2017 was held in Charlotte, NC from March 31 to April 2, with Charles Lord as Conference Chair. The theme was “The Internet of Smart Ideas”. Since this was a “Sections Congress year”, the Region meeting part of the conference started late Friday afternoon. Student participation was at an all-time high, and a healthy Technical Papers Conference ensured the conference was able to afford this large increase in student attendance. This was the first year where IEEE-USA presented their awards at regional conferences, and IEEE SoutheastCon 2017 led this effort with a fantastic combined awards program.
IEEE Sections Congress 2017 was held in Sydney, Australia from August 11 to 13. The theme of the event was “Brilliant Minds, Bright Futures”, and included many training opportunities for the attending Section leaders. Due to the large travel costs associated with this location, the Region 3 did not send Region officers and did not hold a Region meeting as it had in previous years.
The Congress started with an “Ignite” workshop, where members participated in hands-on activities that they could take back to their own sections. The Congress also had several keynote speakers who challenged attendees to “think outside the box” when addressing member needs. It is important to note that Past Director Randall, the sitting IEEE Vice-President, Member and Geographic Activities, was responsible for this Congress.
A New Decade With A Challenging Start 2020 – 2029
Jill I. Gostin became the Region 3 Director on January 1, 2020, as awareness of the COVID-19 virus was just beginning. As COVID began spreading around the globe, it quickly began impacting IEEE. The severity and longevity of the pandemic affected the entire two years of Director Gostin’s term, and drove the focus of Region 3 efforts. Due to ongoing surges of the virus and its variants, almost all meetings and events for Director Gostin’s term were held via web-based meetings.
Director Gostin’s plan had been to inspire the Sections to try new and different events, in order to bring in members who hadn’t been participating and to attract new members. At the Region 3 Committee meeting at SoutheastCon 2020, the plan was going to be presented to the volunteers along with a Challenge to hold at least one new type of event during the year, and report on the status at Sections Congress 2020. However, while several Region leaders and the SoutheastCon 2020 team were in Raleigh, NC, the day before SoutheastCon 2020 was to start, the Governor of NC canceled all meetings and events that included over 100 people. SoutheastCon was immediately shut down, and all participants were contacted to try to stop travel to the meeting. The SoutheastCon 2020 team made a quick pivot to host the technical paper conference as a web-based conference. They were able to transition in just a few weeks, and held a successful conference. The Region meetings were held at a later time, including a series of Wednesday evening training web-based meetings for the volunteers. The SoutheastCon 2021 team decided in late 2020 that they would also need to transition to a full web-based conference, and they held a very successful conference which included a technical conference, the Region 3 meetings, the Region 3 Awards Program, and Student Competitions.
While planning for new/different events was still encouraged during 2020-2021, the more important focus was to help the volunteers continue to find ways to hold meetings of any type and to find resources for meetings. We operated in a world of almost entirely online meetings for most of the two years. As it looked like the pandemic was waning, a few meetings were held – but then a new variant appeared and we locked down again. Region 3 volunteers worked to plan and offer web-based meetings that could be used as Section and Chapter meetings. Many volunteers at all levels became discouraged due to being locked-down, from minimal social interactions, and from having to do everything via web tools. It was a challenging time for all.
IEEE membership took a significant hit from the pandemic, especially with students. Many universities converted to full or partial virtual learning and reduced or eliminated activities like IEEE Student Branches. As students returned to campuses, Student Branches struggled to rebuild. An IEEE program called FUTURE50 was implemented to reduce student dues and encourage them to rejoin, and was fairly successful in working to rebuild student membership numbers.
Sections Congress 2020, which was supposed to be held in Ottawa, Canada, was converted to a series of web-based meetings, some held in 2020 and some in 2021. This also caused MGA to re-assess how Sections Congress operates, resulting in a new format which will continue a three-year cycle with web-based meetings in years 1 and 2, and a somewhat smaller face to face meeting in year 3.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, several activities were accomplished that impacted our volunteers, our members, and non-members.
- The Region expanded web-based offerings for both volunteers and members, including information about IEEE beyond Region 3 (Standards, Educational Activities, etc.), and made the recorded content available on two YouTube channels, one for volunteers and one for members (and non-members).
- The Region 3 website was fully updated to become more user friendly and to be a true resource for volunteers. Updates will continue, to ensure that members and non-members alike can use the site to find meetings of interest.
- Communications with members was improved through a monthly email containing information about meetings and events being held across the region (with links for more information and registration) and through a stronger social media presence.
- YP activities were expanded, new YP groups were formed, and a new YP award was created
- The Region funded “Pandemic Projects” for several Sections, reporting progress and outcomes at Sections Congress, in the Region 3 Newsletter, and through other Section sponsored events and Newsletters. The Jamaica Section’s WIE project “Pandemic Desk Shields” even received great media coverage for their project which impacted a local high school.
- A highly successful Senior Membership Elevation program was run and resulted in over 400 elevations in 2021 alone, almost double the goal for elevations!
Overall, in spite of the Pandemic, Region 3 continued to find new and improved ways to help volunteers in their positions and to provide value to our members. While across the US, IEEE membership continued to drop, Region 3 activities helped slow the decrease in membership. It is hoped that continued emphasis on offering new and different activities will continue to capture the interest of both non-members and existing members, to help them see the value of being an active member of IEEE.
Region 3 suffered a large loss in the passing of Jim Howard during this time. Jim was a dedicated volunteer in our Region and throughout IEEE. Jim served on the IEEE Board of Directors in 2002-2003 (Region 3 Director) and in 2012 (IEEE-USA President). He served as a Vice President for both the Aerospace and Electronics Systems Society and for the Power and Energy Society. Jim held many other roles in IEEE; his IEEE service was an example for all of us. Jim was to be presented the Region 3 Outstanding Service award at SoutheastCon 2020, but at that point was unable to travel (and then the conference was also cancelled due to the pandemic). Jim mentored, impacted, and inspired many people across our Region and throughout IEEE, and is greatly missed.
Region 3 Delegate/Directors
- 1963, John W. Davis, Atlanta
- 1964 – 65, Joseph Weil, Gainesville
- 1966 – 67, Rufus G. Fellers, South Carolina
- 1968 – 69, Robert G. Elliott, Columbia
- 1970 – 71, Seymour Cambias, Jr., New Orleans
- 1972 – 73, Grover F. Dausmann, Huntsville
- 1974 – 75, Wilbert L. Sullivan, Atlanta
- 1976 – 77, Larry K. Wilson, Nashville
- 1978 – 79, Roy H. Harris, Greensboro
- 1980 – 81, David C. McLaren, Florida West Coast
- 1982 – 83, K. Reed Thompson, Virginia Mountain
- 1984 – 85, Robert S. Duggan, Jr., Atlanta
- 1986 – 87, George F. Abbott, Eastern North Carolina
- 1988 – 89, Vernon B. Powers, Atlanta
- 1990 – 91, Dan W. Jackson, Virginia Mountain
- 1992 – 93, David A. Conner, Alabama
- 1994 – 95, Deborah M. Powers, Atlanta
- 1996 – 97, James H. Beall, Florida West Coast
- 1998 – 99, Dale C. Caston, Mississippi
- 2000 – 01, Richard L. Riddle, Winston-Salem
- 2002 – 03, James M. Howard, Florida West Coast
- 2004 – 05, William B. Harrison, Atlanta
- 2006 – 07, George F. McClure, Orlando
- 2008 – 09, William B. Ratcliff, Savannah
- 2010 – 11, C. Lee Stogner, Jr., Piedmont
- 2012 – 13, David G. Green, Alabama
- 2014 – 15, Mary Ellen Randall, Eastern North Carolina
- 2016 – 17, James M. Conrad, Charlotte
- 2018 – 19, Gregg L. Vaughn, Alabama
- 2020 – 21, Jill I. Gostin, Atlanta
- 2022 – 23, Theresa Brunasso, Atlanta
- 2024 – 25, Eric Grigorian, Huntsville
SoutheastCons involve region members at all levels by scheduling technical conferences and exhibits, area/council and region meetings, and student conferences. Workshops for section officers are often conducted. An awards banquet is held to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of members and organizational units. SoutheastCon is moved around the region to provide the opportunity for all region entities to serve as costs and co-hosts. SoutheastCon locations are listed in the following table.
- 1964, Clearwater, FL
- 1965, Raleigh, NC
- 1966, Atlanta, GA
- 1967, Jackson, MS
- 1968, New Orleans, LA
- 1969, Raleigh, NC
- 1970, Gainesville, FL
- 1971, Charlottesville, VA
- 1972, Knoxville, TN
- 1973, Louisville, KY
- 1974, Orlando, FL
- 1975, Charlotte, NC
- 1976, Clemson, SC
- 1977, Williamsburg, VA
- 1978, Atlanta, GA
- 1979, Roanoke, VA
- 1980, Nashville, TN
- 1981, Huntsville, AL
- 1982, Destin, FL
- 1983, Orlando, FL
- 1984, Louisville, KY
- 1985, Raleigh, NC
- 1986, Richmond, VA
- 1987, Tampa, FL
- 1988, Knoxville, TN
- 1989, Columbia, SC
- 1990, New Orleans, LA
- 1991, Williamsburg, VA
- 1992, Birmingham, AL
- 1993, Charlotte, NC
- 1994, Miami, FL
- 1995, Raleigh, NC
- 1996, Tampa, FL
- 1997, Blacksburg, VA
- 1998, Orlando, FL
- 1999, Lexington, KY
- 2000, Nashville, TN
- 2001, Clemson, SC
- 2002, Columbia, SC
- 2003, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
- 2004, Greensboro, NC
- 2005, Fort Lauderdale, FL
- 2006, Memphis, TN
- 2007, Richmond, VA
- 2008, Huntsville, AL
- 2009, Atlanta, GA
- 2010, Charlotte, NC
- 2011, Nashville, TN
- 2012, Orlando, FL
- 2013, Jacksonville, FL
- 2014, Lexington, KY
- 2015, Fort Lauderdale, FL
- 2016, Norfolk, VA
- 2017, Charlotte, NC
- 2018, St. Petersburg, FL
- 2019, Huntsville, AL
- 2020, Raleigh, NC (pandemic: web meetings)
- 2021, Atlanta, GA (pandemic: web meetings)
- 2022, Mobile, AL
Region 3 Milestones
Region 3 and Institute membership is shown in the following table and graphs. Higher grade members include Fellows, honorary members, senior members, members and associate members. Beginning in 2007, graduate student members became voting members, but are still classified as students in the overall membership.
|Year||R3 Higher Grades||R3 Students||R3 Total||IEEE Higher Grades||IEEE Students||IEEE Total|
The awards and recognition program is one of the most important of all Region 3 activities. The program provides the means to recognize those members or region organizational units that have brought improvement and recognition to our profession and to IEEE. Recognition of these accomplishments and contributions provides positive reinforcement to all awardees. In addition to the region awards, sections also recognize their members with appropriate awards.
Student Branch Establishment Dates
|University of Alabama||August 21, 1956|
|University of Alabama-Birmingham||April 17, 1973|
|Auburn University||February 3, 1948|
|Tuskegee Institute||June 17, 1966|
|Dekalb Community College||May 22, 1980|
|DeVry Institute of Technology-Atlanta||February 4, 1975|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||April 5, 1949|
|Southern Technical Institute||March 8, 1960|
|Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge||December 5, 1950|
|Southern University||January 5, 1968|
|Florida Institute of Technology||December 1, 1965|
|University of Virginia||October 19, 1948|
|University of Tennessee-Chattanooga||May 21, 1982|
|Chattanooga State Technical Institute||January 5, 1971|
|University of Tennessee-Knoxville||November 14, 1947|
|University of Evansville||May 23, 1962|
|Indiana State University-Evansville||December 22, 1975|
|Murray State University||December 5, 1979|
|University of South Florida||January 11, 1967|
|University of Florida||November 16, 1948|
|Old Dominion University||October 5, 1965|
|Tideater Community College||September 29, 1980|
|University of Alabama-Huntsville||September 11, 1974|
|University of Kentucky||May 3, 1949|
|University of Lousiville||March 28, 1949|
|Western Kentucky University||August 2, 1976|
|Christian Borthers College||March 24, 1961|
|Memphis State University||January 7, 1969|
|State Technical Institute-Memphis||December 6, 1974|
|University of Tennessee-Martin||December 15, 1978|
|Florida International University||December 15, 1978|
|University of Miami||January 31, 1950|
|University of Southern Mississippi||June 11, 1981|
|Mississippi State University||November 15, 1949|
|University of MIssissippi||May 23, 1962|
|University of South Alabama||September 26, 1969|
|Tennessee State University||April 7, 1958|
|Tennessee Technological University||September 9, 1960|
|Vanderbilt University||May 9, 1956|
|University of New Orleans||August 18, 1968|
|Tulane University||November 15, 1949|
|Florida Atlantic University||February 17, 1972|
|Florida State University||July 17, 1982|
|Flroida A and M University||July 17, 1982|
|Georgia Southern College||December 8, 1978|
|Savannah State College||July 16, 1974|
|Virginia Polytechnic Institute||June 7, 1949|
|Virginia Western Community College||November 26, 1962|
|North Carolina A and T State University||May 19, 1970|
|Central Piedmont Community College||February 19, 1971|
|Gaston College||May 3, 1962|
|University of North Carolina-Charlotte||December 17, 1971|
|Duke University||June 30, 1959|
|Fayetteville Technical Institute||March 21, 1970|
|North Carolina State University||June 4, 1947|
|Wake Technical College||February 8, 1973|
|University of South Carolina||February 3, 1948|
|Greenville Technical College||September 23, 1964|
|Clemson University||December 5, 1955|
|Tri-Cities Section Student Branch||March 8, 1982|
|University of Central Florida & Virginia Military Insitute||N/A|
- Region 3 Centennial Compendium 1984
- A History of Region 3, 1974
- Region 3 discontinued section documents (Fort Walton, Jackson, Oak Ridge sections)