IEEE Johnstown Section History

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IEEE Johnstown Section History
Established date 1955-04-14
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IEEE Johnstown Section History and Officers

Johnstown Section (USA, Pennsylvania) IEEE History

Compiled by M. Ed Brandau III, Johnstown Section Chair 1997-2000, 2004-2009, 2012-2014. February 20, 2014

Geography The Johnstown Section IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) comprises about 200 active members, students, and affiliates. Our members are scattered across Pennsylvania to Maryland from Brookville to Altoona Mount Union to Somerset in Pennsylvania, down to Cumberland Maryland. The Johnstown Section includes the counties of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, Indiana and Somerset (from Brookville to Altoona to Johnstown to Somerset) in Pennsylvania, to the counties of Allegany and Garrett (Cumberland to Accident) in Maryland.

The Section has about 100 members near Johnstown (159XX zips), 60 near Altoona (166XX zips), 20 near Brookville/Clearfield, and 26 near Cumberland. The other members are scattered throughout areas in the Brookville-Altoona-Bedford-Johnstown-Cumberland polygon.


The Section started in 1948 with members in the AIEE, the American Institute for Electrical Engineers.

"The American Institute of Electrical Engineers was a United States based organization of electrical engineers that existed between 1884 and 1963 (when it merged with the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE)). The 1884 founders of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) included some of the most prominent inventors and innovators in the then new field of electrical engineering, among them Thomas Alva Edison, Elihu Thomson, Edwin J. Houston, and Edward Weston. The purpose of the AIEE was stated "to promote the Arts and Sciences connected with the production and utilization of electricity and the welfare of those employed in these Industries: by means of social intercourse, the reading and discussion of professional papers and the circulation by means of publication among members and associates of information thus obtained." The first president of AIEE was Norvin Green, president of the Western Union Telegraph Company. Other notable AIEE presidents were Alexander Graham Bell (1891-1892), Charles Proteus Steinmetz (1901-1902), Schuyler S. Wheeler (1905-1906), Dugald C. Jackson (1910-1911), Michael I. Pupin (1925-1926), and Titus G. LeClair (1950-1951). 

The early technical areas of interest of AIEE were electric power, lighting, and wired communications. Radio and wireless communications became the major focus of a rival organization, the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE, established 1912). The dynamic growth of radio technology and the emergence of the new discipline of Electronics in the 1940s led to stiff competition between AIEE and IRE, with IRE showing faster growth in the 1950s and early 1960s, and attracting more students. In 1957, IRE, with approximately 55,500 members, surpassed AIEE in membership size; in 1962 IRE had 96,500 members to AIEE’s 57,000. AIEE and IRE merged in (July 11) 1963 to form the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)." (Direct quote from Wikipedia,

The Johnstown Section IEEE members from the IRE were originally part of the Pittsburgh IRE. The Section revised its By-Laws on August 22, 1968 to further reflect the changes from this merger.

Johnstown Section Challenges

The Johnstown Section was very active up through the 90’s, with active members from across industry, with a large participation from the local electric utility who employed many engineers, and heavy influence from academia. Chairmen included utility and heavy industry employees as well as professors from the local university. The Section had over a dozen Committee Chairman managing thriving areas of education, fellowship, programs, and student members.

In 1994, the local large steel mill finally closed its doors, resulting in the loss of many industry and mining members. The Johnstown Section’s Members, Directors, and Officers began to see a decline in participation.

The Section obtained a web presence in February 1998, with a web site announcing meetings, technical tidbits, job openings, lighter fare, and officer announcements. Student participation at the local university varied from year to year with the student officers and their interest, but efforts were made every year to support them financially at the school and at local meetings. Scholarships were given to deserving students to help encourage student involvement, awards were given for senior projects of merit, and funding was provided to student member activities. Budgeting made provisions to grow a reserve fund to help pay for a conference or training seminar.

As a result of a trend away from technical organizations, membership in IEEE declined, and local participation was tough to come by. Other local professional organizations also experienced dramatic reductions, partly due to a lack of interest in time away from families.

Johnstown Changes

Meetings were changed from a heavy business meeting or technical nature to one of more of a lighter nature with tours of local industry to help give members a break from the technical day to day work and encourage participation. Technical presentations were still held perhaps once or twice a year as well to help keep members informed.

In October 1997, The Allegheny Mountain Section IEEE was dissolved due to inactivity, with members from Jefferson and Clearfield counties merging into the Johnstown Section IEEE. The Section picked up a couple dozen members from this merger.

In 1999 electric deregulation resulted in the local utility selling its generating assets to another company who subsequently pulled operations from the Johnstown area. Additional Section officers and members discontinued their participation and or membership in the Section. This year an oil-filled equipment training program was sponsored by the Section in 1999 to help about 35 members comply with regulations and understand the issues with this type of equipment.

In 2013 government spending and the continued economic slump resulted in the loss of several officers, members, and supporting companies. The Section officers changed once again mid year, but remain committed to a survival instinct.

Setting a Course for the Future

On January 15, 2002, the Section Executive Committee had to review the By-Laws to comply with a corporate IEEE change. During this change, Johnstown streamlined Section management, including making Directors optional, allowing the Secretary and Treasurer to be combined, and allowing an officer to hold office for up to three consecutive years.

Members seemed to appreciate a lighter fare from the local Section, but most were still using membership more for the technical information provided by corporate. Local Section management continued to offer get-togethers and tours to help build a social event and bond the members, even if only a few attended. This networking proved to be a vital piece of the Section’s growth through years of waning corporate support.

This lighter management structure served the Section well for several years while industry in the area began to shift and diversify. The Johnstown area picked up employers from defense, electronics, and new heavy industry that began to improve the Section membership and attendance. New members were brought into the Section management and encouraged to try new things to remain an on-going asset. Members began to express an interest in Section management positions.


In 2008 the Section added a GOLD (Graduates Of the Last Decade) Chairman to help keep the recent graduate members, and again added a Student Liaison to enhance our student relationship. Work was also begun on a Chapter and an Affinity Group at a large local employer with many IEEE members. 2008 also was a year when the Section branched out to help with a Teacher In Service Program, developing engineering projects for the secondary classroom while hoping to spark an interest in engineering as a career. Over the years we continued to help the students in our nearby engineering school and in 2014 we added an officer who was a new graduate...a sign hopefully of new future growth!

Career positions are advertised in the Section newsletter to provide yet another IEEE member benefit during tough economic times. Section membership remains stable, and attendance is steady.

In 2014 the IEEE turned 130, and the Johnstown Section IEEE will celebrate its 65th birthday in 2015! The Johnstown Section is planning to reach out to the press and developing ways to help celebrate these anniversaries. The Section believes it has prepared a foundation to continue to grow into a vital tool for local engineers and their employers.

Johnstown Section Chairmen and Directors...

Chairman Director Term
A. M. Baker None 1948-1949
W. R. Wood None 1949-1950
B. H. Drum None 1950-1951
R. S. Bogar None 1951-1952
A. M. Dawson None 1952-1953
J. D. Pryce None 1953-1954
R. H. Barnes None 1954-1955
G. W. Murdock None 1955-1956
Alan E. Molinski None 1956-1957
G. T. Evans None 1957-1958
R. D. Good None 1958-1959
J. F. Worden None 1959-1960
T. C. Pitzer None 1960-1961
P. Pasternak None 1961-1962
M. L. Swanson None 1962-1963
G. F. Shumaker None 1963-1964
R. H. Ressey None 1964-1965
Ralph J. Bacha None 1965-1966
Herman W. Ober None 1966-1967
Charles H. McCullough None 1967-1968
Howard A. Hiltz None 1968-1969
Raymond M. Frank None 1969-1970
Charles E. Murphey None 1970-1971
Eugene F. Carter A. H. Baker, F. A. Bartlett, J. Robert Jones 1971-1972
Thomas J. Gallus A. M. Dawson, F. A. Bartlett, J. Robert Jones, Raymond M. Frank R. E. Shostek 1972-1973
Harry W. Donahue G. W. Murdock, Raymond M. Frank, R. E. Shostek, Ralph J. Bacha, Charles E. Murphey 1973-1974
Kenneth E. Johnson, Jr. Alan E. Molinski, Ralph J. Bacha, Charles E. Murphey, G. F. Shumaker, Charles H. Mccullough 1974-1975
Gerald I. Erway R. D. Good, G. F. Shumaker, Charles H. Mccullough, Thomas J. Gallus, W. W. Turner 1975-1976
J. Robert Jones T. C. Pitzer, Thomas J. Gallus, W. W. Turner, Kenneth E. Johnson Jr., M. L. Swanson 1976-1977
Thomas F. Kennedy P. Pasternak, Kenneth E. Johnson Jr., M. L. Swanson, Harry W. Donahue, Gerald I. Erway 1977-1978
Daniel A. Hydock M. L. Swanson, Harry W. Donahue, Gerald I. Erway, J. Robert Jones, Charles E. Murphey 1978-1979
Donald R. Boore G. F. Shumaker, J. Robert Jones, Charles E. Murphey, R. E. Shostek, R. M. Ressey 1979-1980
James V. Kopriva Ralph J. Bacha, R. E. Shostek, R. M. Ressey, Thomas F. Kennedy, George A. Mostoller 1980-1981
Stephen T. Jarabak Herman W. Ober, Thomas F. Kennedy, George A. Mostoller, Daniel A. Hydock, Kenneth E. Johnson, Jr. 1981-1982
James L. Hales Charles H. Mccullough, Daniel A. Hydock, Kenneth E. Johnson, Jr., M. L. Swanson, R. D. Good 1982-1983
Bruce R. Hulburt Howard A. Hiltz, M. L. Swanson, R. D. Good, Raymond M. Frank, Alan E. Molinski 1983-1984
J. E. Davidson Raymond M. Frank, Alan E. Molinski, James V. Kopriva, Harry W. Donahue 1984-1485
Raymond C. Himes Charles E. Murphey, James V. Kopriva, Harry W. Donahue, Stephen T. Jarabak, James L. Hales 1985-1986
Thomas R. Woleslagle Kenneth E. Johnson , Jr., Stephen T. Jarabak, James L. Hales, Bruce R. Hulburt, Charles J. Neuhoff 1986-1987
William P. Siska P. L. Lumnitzer, Bruce R. Hulburt, Charles J. Neuhoff, J. E. Davidson, Raymond C. Himes 1987-1988
David E. Watters David J. Bechtold, J. E. Davidson, Raymond C. Himes, Kenneth E. Johnson, Jr., Raymond M. Frank 1988-1989
John A. Cernetich R. E. Nevarre, Kenneth E. Johnson, Jr., Raymond M. Frank, Daniel A. Hydock, James V. Kopriva 1989-1990
Edward J. Gilles R. F. Pfister, Daniel A. Hydock, James V. Kopriva, James L. Hales, William P. Siska 1990-1991
Stephen T. Jarabak Charles J. Neuhoff, James L. Hales, William P. Siska, Bruce R. Hulburt, Harry W. Donahue 1991-1992
George A. Mostoller F. A. Bartlett, Bruce R. Hulburt, Harry W. Donahue, David E. Watters, Edward J. Gilles 1992-1993
Raymond C. Himes J. Robert Jones, David E. Watters, Edward J. Gilles, Daniel A. Hydock, James V. Kopriva, R. E. Shostek, G. J. Toth, D. G. Varmecky, J. Senuta 1993-1994
Terry L. Conrad Daniel A. Hydock, James V. Kopriva, Gregory M. Dick, Stanley J. Kieta Jr. 1994-1995
Robert G. Chumrik, Jr. None 1995-1997
M. Edward Brandau, III John Grumling, William R. Wieserman 1997-1999
M. Edward Brandau, III None 1999-2000
Terry L. Conrad None 2001-2005
M. Edward Brandau,III None 2006-2008
R. Dennis Molly None 2009-2010
Doug Atterbury M. Edward Brandau III, Edward Olshefski, William Wieserman 2010-2011
R. Dennis Molly M. Edward Brandau III, Edward Olshefski, William Wieserman 2011-2012
M. Edward Brandau, III Doug Atterbury, Edward Olshefski, William Wieserman 2012-2013
M. Edward Brandau, III Edward Olshefski, William Wieserman 2013-2014

Archival documents

Further Reading

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