View source for Oral-History:Judith Gorman ← Oral-History:Judith Gorman You do not have permission to edit this page, for the following reason: You are not allowed to execute the action you have requested. You can view and copy the source of this page. ==About Judith Gorman== Judith Gorman, Managing Director of the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) from 1998 to 2012, first joined the staff of the IEEE since 1984. Her educational background in the liberal arts prepared her for an early career in the publishing industry, migrating from the magazine industry, to educational publishing, and finally to the technical environment of the IEEE. She began her IEEE career directing Standards publishing and marketing. In 1991, she became Associate Staff Director of Standards, and in 1995, Staff Director. The 2004 establishment of the IEEE-SA Corporate Program, in which Gorman played a pivotal role, provided a turning point for IEEE standards strategy and development. The co-mingling of direct corporate participants and individual technical experts enabled the IEEE to have a comprehensive, authentic view of current and future standards challenges, and a dynamic industry engagement. In this interview she discusses her career working at Standards. Some of the highlights she discusses at length were the development of the IEEE 802 family of standards, transnational involvement of IEEE, and the creation of the Standards Association Board. ==About the Interview== JUDITH GORMAN: An interview conducted by Michael Geselowitz for the IEEE History Center, July 1, 2012. Interview #615 for the IEEE History, The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc. ==Copyright Statement== This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center. Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, IEEE History Center at Stevens Institute of Technology, Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030 USA or email@example.com. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user. It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows: Judith Gorman, an oral history conducted in 2012 by Michael Geselowitz, IEEE History Center, Hoboken, NJ, USA. ==Interview== INTERVIEW: Judith Gorman <br>INTERVIEWER: Michael Geslowitz<br>DATE:1 July, 2012<br> PLACE: Boston, MA ===Childhood and Education=== '''Geselowitz:''' This is Michael Geselowitz from the IEEE History Center. I’m in Boston with Judith Gorman, who recently retired as the Managing Director of the IEEE Standards Association, and we’re conducting an oral history interview. So, Judith, I’d like to start as background with your early life and your education, and then we’ll talk about how you got to IEEE. '''Gorman:''' Sure. I assume that early could begin as late as high school. '''Geselowitz:''' Well, where were you born? '''Gorman:''' I was born in New York City, in Manhattan. I’m very proud of that. And I grew up in New York City, lived there pretty much all my life, except for one year. I was part of the public school system, and from an early age was deeply interested and talented in music. And so I ended up attending the High School of Music and Art, which was, while a public school, was one for which you had to pass an entrance exam to attend. '''Geselowitz:''' Was that the one made famous in Fame? '''Gorman:''' Yes, that in combination with the High School of Performing Arts, which was at one time a vocational school. Music and Art was academic, while Performing Arts was vocational. They combined them to become LaGuardia High School. I majored in music, played in a symphony orchestra, and it was great fun. On graduating, I crossed the street and attended The City College (of the City University of New York), and received two degrees there – a bachelor’s and a master’s – both in music theory, which of course, is going to make for a very interesting discussion when we try to link it up to standards and consensus building and that universe. ===Early Career=== '''Geselowitz:''' Okay. And then— '''Gorman:''' My first career was in teaching. I was a music teacher and I taught, first at The City College, as a graduate teaching assistant, teaching music theory and ear training, and then as a part-time instructor of basic music appreciation to liberal art students. It was a great experience, requiring a lot of stretching of skills; that would prove to be very useful to me at the IEEE. I moved on to private school teaching at The Nightingale-Bamford School in Manhattan, where I taught seven different grades. The next migration became a turning point as I entered the world of publishing, which is at the root of how I got to IEEE. First, I worked in music publishing. I was an editor at the Saturday Review magazine, which is no longer in existence, but at the time – in the Sixties – it was a very highbrow literary magazine. SR had the franchise for all the program magazines at Lincoln Center, and subsequently, Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center. My job was to prepare the daily programs, and it was very helpful to have a master’s degree in music, because I knew what the program notes were trying to say and could contribute editorially to their accuracy. After four years I moved on to Scholastic Inc., which is a large, old, venerable education publishing company, today known for the Harry Potter series. I worked there for nine years. '''Geselowitz:''' Had you been doing any performing while you were doing teaching and editing? '''Gorman:''' I always did some piano and some choral work. I gave up the violin, which had been my instrument in high school, and refocused back on the piano, which is where I had started in the first place. I was always involved with singing. I was in a jazz chorus for about ten years, the New York Choral Society, and other small groups. Professionally, I ended up at the IEEE in a publishing context. At Scholastic I directed editorial production of their book club products. IEEE desperately needed a capable production person in the standards area to bring to market a major backlog of unpublished work. Production is production. '''Geselowitz:''' What year was that? '''Gorman:''' That was 1984 – April, 1984. '''Geselowitz:''' ===Early Years at IEEE=== And was IEEE – had they already moved their operations to Piscataway, New Jersey? '''Gorman:''' No, a significant part of IEEE was still in New York. '''Geselowitz:''' They were still in New York City? '''Gorman:''' Yes. IEEE had run out of space at the United Engineering Center on 47th Street and First Avenue, and had rented a couple of floors in a small, modest building on 43rd Street and 2nd Avenue. The publishing operation – transactions and journals, abstracts and indexing – was there along with the standards operation. The executive administration, technical activities, education, regional activities, etc. were at 47th Street, and there was a service center in Piscataway, NJ, where the warehouse, sales operations, and finance were located. '''Geselowitz:''' Okay. So you saw the job advertised and it seemed like a reasonable job? '''Gorman:''' Actually, I was looking for a job through an agency. '''Geselowitz:''' Was any relocation involved at that time? '''Gorman:''' No, and nor was there afterwards, by the way. You’ll hear that soon. I was located in New York City from 1984 to 1987, when we had a change of standards management. At the same time, more or less, the plans for moving a significant portion of the New York City operation out to Piscataway began to unfold. I would say 1988-1989 were the years of moving. My immediate reports and I were the last to move, and we did so in two phases to minimize work disruption. Naturally, we lost many staff and had to recruit early and overlap the experienced employees with the new arrivals. '''Geselowitz:''' And at that time, what was your operation? What exactly were you doing? '''Gorman:''' My first position was publications manager, and then I became the director of publications; and I think that was while I was still in New York. By then, I had a new boss, Andrew Salem, who was still called a staff director then. The title managing director had not come into being. ===Standards Board=== '''Geselowitz:''' And what was the standards department called at that point? '''Gorman:''' Standards Activities. '''Geselowitz:''' So the Standards Activities department and there was a Standard Activities Board? '''Gorman:''' It was simply called the Standards Board. '''Geselowitz:''' Standards Board. '''Gorman:''' Yes. That was the governing body. '''Geselowitz:''' And that was one of the major boards of the IEEE volunteer hierarchy. '''Gorman:''' Actually at that time, the Standards Board was not represented on the board of directors. We weren’t reporting to any entity in particular, any volunteer group, but neither were we on the Board of Directors. And it was only when Marco Migliaro became chair of the Standards Board that the board’s status began to change. It was an important step. By the summer of 1989, we had moved out of the New York office lock, stock, and barrel. I never relocated my home. I lived in Manhattan, and stayed there for the duration (until the last few years of my IEEE career). And in spite of my wishes to just keep on publishing – that was what I understood and knew – I became increasingly involved in the policy side of things, and eventually moved into the role of associate staff director. '''Geselowitz:''' Well, first let’s clarify, so a lot of the publications operations of IEEE, as a whole, stayed in Manhattan even when everybody else – like IEEE Spectrum magazine is still there to this day. '''Gorman:''' Spectrum is still there, but all of the magazines and journals, transactions, that whole operation moved out, though I don’t exactly remember when. '''Geselowitz:''' But standards publications stayed in New York? '''Gorman:''' Just temporarily, because I was concerned about having enough staff to keep the publishing pipeline moving. Given the history of serious backlogs, this was of paramount importance. '''Geselowitz:''' And did they move into the United Engineering Center? IEEE must not have needed the rented space anymore with everybody vacating— '''Gorman:''' No, eventually we emptied out to move to New Jersey. And I had this issue of needing to replace a lot of staff, so I had a period of time where they – kind of a grace period, if you will – where they let me hire and retain a double staff. Then began the attrition process because there were some people who had no intention of moving out to Piscataway in terms of their work lives. For me, when July 1989 arrived, I bought a car and that was it. Life changed dramatically. The commute was daunting, but the New Jersey facility was just extraordinary, especially when compared to what we had in New York. '''Geselowitz:''' Where were you living in New York at that time? '''Gorman:''' The Upper West Side and I stayed there. '''Geselowitz:''' You went down to the tunnel? Up to the bridge? '''Gorman:''' I went up to the bridge. [[Eric Herz]] assured me that it was only five miles from my house. I had measured it, believe me. '''Geselowitz:''' [Laughter] Can Eric still be trusted? '''Gorman:''' Yes. '''Geselowitz:''' Okay. So now because of your activity, it was decided that you needed to move up to be given more responsibility, so talk about that position as associate staff director— '''Gorman:''' It was a really interesting process because the person who enabled that and, kind of, groomed me and nurtured that process – Andrew Salem– had come to IEEE from the Society of Automotive Engineering. He had been a standards executive there. Very wise, astute individual who really understood the standards universe in a way that was foreign to most of us. We had not been trained well in terms of what our environment was really about Andy was a real pro, and because he was a person who needed and thrived on alliances with people, he built strong relationships with staff and volunteers. He liked to collaborate; to have somebody help him write things, think through challenges, and so on. And I was one of the people he sniffed out early on, and the more he wanted to work with me on issues, the less time, obviously, there was for deleting commas and—I don’t mean to diminish the importance of editorial work and in standards it is particularly important because you can’t really substantively change anything that you get as an editor. You have to be very, very cautious about your imprint on it because the work has been balloted and approved by a large group of stakeholders, and one innocent change could alter the meaning of something and create a liability for the IEEE. ===Governing Body of Standards=== '''Geselowitz:''' So just to understand the process, Standards is worked by a volunteer committee. When it’s got whatever approval process it needs, does it go to the Board of Directors? '''Gorman:''' No. '''Geselowitz:''' No? '''Gorman:''' The Standards Board is – and was at that time and continues to be today through the Standards Association Board of Governors – the authorized Institute-wide entity to oversee the process. The Board of Directors got involved in reputational and legal liability issues or a major high-level policy issue that had a broad [impact] on the IEEE; for example, how IEEE determines who can represent it externally. That’s an IEEE issue, not just a Standards issue. '''Geselowitz:''' So but then, it would be edited by staff after it was voted on? '''Gorman:''' Yes, although that has changed over the years as standards have become more closely aligned with product development – there was a time when standards were long-established practices representing 10-year or 20-year-old technology. That’s not the world we’re living in now, and so the speed to market for that standard is very important. Frequently, the standards are used before they are even finished. That’s a risk, but industry takes that risk sometimes. The important thing is to get the standard out quickly, so the earlier the editorial group can touch it –and the cleaner it is when it finally does get approved, the better it is for everyone concerned. So we try to have zero turnaround from approval to publication. I still say we. It’s a hard habit to lose. '''Geselowitz:''' So would you say that bringing in this individual from the SAE was a conscious effort by IEEE to move into the 20th century of standards or was it just luck that a position opened up and they brought in someone who was qualified— '''Gorman:''' No, it was an intentional move. I recall that the idea was to bring in somebody who would take an operation that, from a business perspective, was in failure mode, turn the business and the operation around. And Andy Salem really did it. He focused on applying the dynamics of the standards universe to running a good operation. It was really quite something. '''Geselowitz:''' And do you remember any particular standards that came out of that period that you were proud of? '''Gorman:''' Well, both prior to and during that period the whole IEEE 802 family of standards came into being, which has turned the world on its side and has generated many billions of dollars in the marketplace. '''Geselowitz:''' And when was the first? '''Gorman:''' The first ones came out in my first year, actually, 1984 They were under development prior, but started coming through the publishing line in 1984-’85, IEEE 802.2, 802.3, 802.4, and 802.5. '''Geselowitz:''' And how long, typically, does it take for a standard to get from the first idea of someone saying we need a standard in this area to getting into the publishing phase? '''Gorman:''' Again, the life cycle has changed, so back then, it would be anywhere from five to ten years. Now, we’re talking about an average of two, but there are many groups that want to accelerate their work and they take specific steps to ensure that they can move t as fast as they need to. That may mean that the group buys special services to manage the work through its entire cycle – from idea introduction through and beyond delivery of the standard to the market. '''Geselowitz:''' Okay. '''Gorman:''' It’s a different world. ===Time as Associate Staff Director=== '''Geselowitz:''' All right. So now let’s get back to you as associate— '''Gorman:''' Oh, associate staff director. '''Geselowitz:''' Yes. So what were some of the issues or challenges that happened in that period? '''Gorman:''' Let’s see if I can think back to that. Well, I think – if I remember correctly – we were trying to diversify the business somewhat. One of the key factors was that Standards – now the Standards Association – was always a self-contained business unit. There were some differences in the financial management earlier on, but let’s say today and looking back to the immediately past, IEEE Standards has had to generate its own revenue. It then provides all of its own money to support the infrastructure, which is rather complex, in terms of protecting the IEEE – governance, services, executing necessary marketing, growing the operation internationally, and so on. I would say that during the associate staff director period, we began this evolution to a healthier business, which meant we could begin to invest in ourselves to have better tools, better staff, more diverse meeting locations, things of that nature. And I think also that Andy – my then boss – was beginning to plan his retirement years and things began to – oh, I think I remember what happened now. Excuse me for fumbling a bit, but there’s a lot to remember – 28 years of it. The title managing director kicked in at some point in there, so Andy became managing director and I became staff director. I reported to him and everybody else reported to me. We began to look at some changing models for standards and that was probably the most significant thing. I don’t know if you remember this, Mike, but there was point in the late nineties when the IEEE had a volunteer group that was looking at reorganizing the entire volunteer structure. It used an exotic acronym, OIEX, or something close to that. '''Geselowitz:''' By the way, as the institutional historian I can tell you that it wasn’t the first such group and it wasn’t the last. '''Gorman:''' No, it’s true. '''Geselowitz:''' But I do remember that. I came onboard in ’97. '''Gorman:''' Okay. So that’s when it happened. And in ’97, I can remember we were in Monterrey, Mexico, at a Board of Directors meeting, and the lead people in that volunteer group approached the Standards folks and said if you don’t reinvent yourself, we’re going to do it for you. Well, we didn’t take that lightly, and we went out and brainstormed in a restaurant, and asked ourselves, what are the things that we’ve always wanted to do that we haven’t done? That’s when things really began to pop. The first realization was that we didn’t want Standards to continue to be was an entity governed out of the assembly at IEEE, which was primarily populated by people from academia, as distinct from industry. Setting standards is an industry activity. It’s funded by industry. It’s driven by industry. And industry uses the IEEE as their portal or as their nesting place. So we said how can we really begin to honor that and work that to the maximum organizationally? And one of the ways we decided to do it was to create the opportunity for our constituency to vote on our leadership, not the assembly. That’s a biggie. So we developed membership – Standards Association (SA) membership – and while we were at it, we instituted corporate membership as well as individual membership because we have lost many opportunities as a result of not being able to have a one company/one vote standards process. There’s a lot of illusion around standards in the IEEE. People say, I’m representing my society. Well, first of all, you’re only representing yourself when you’re a standards developer, but in most cases standards developers are funded by their employers. The company is there, but invisible. Let’s get them visible. So we now – looking back – have two methods of developing standards. One company, one vote; one individual, one vote. And we established that at that time in 1997, launching in 1998. '''Geselowitz:''' Now, that’s very interesting. So first of all, how do you decide in which standard uses which method? '''Gorman:''' We don’t decide. The stakeholder group decides. The group that says we want to do a standard on X subject and this group determines which methodology it wants to use. The essences of the methods are the same, but the representation has a different profile. '''Geselowitz:''' Now, would you like to say something about the role of associations in standards, versus government, versus the industry itself through some kind of industry organization, versus the VHS versus Betamax model – we’ll both put our standard out there and we’ll let the marketplace decide. Where do associations fit into that and how has that been changing? And how has that impacted IEEE? '''Gorman:''' That’s a 50,000-trillion-dollar question. '''Geselowitz:''' [Laughter] I ask the good questions. I don’t give the answers. '''Gorman:''' I may have to answer that piecemeal. First of all, the question has a different answer in each country or in each market, and I can say that now on reflection. In the EU, for example, the government (e.g., European Commission) has a much more visible directorial – sometimes dictatorial – role in what happens in the standards area. The commission will issue a directive. The directive spawns a standard. Only certain organizations are recognized to write those standards. The effort to control the shape and size and – what am I looking for – the perimeters of the market were defined early on, once EC-92 occurred. In other countries – I say countries, not markets, because they’re not always the same. China is a market. India is a market. Brazil is a market. But every single country is not, in and of itself, a market from an economic perspective. In China, there are many organizations developing standards, and the government is very visible. In the United States, there are probably more organizations developing standards than in any other country in the world and the government might be a participant, but they don’t have significant visibility or clout. There was a time, I should say – and it was a little bit before my time – when the Department of Defense had a much more active role – and maybe some of the other agencies did as well – and the famous body of work that came out of the DOD efforts were the mil specs. At some point – and it was probably in the nineties – an administrative circular, which became very famous, came out of the Office of Management and Budget. It’s called 0MB 119 and I still remember it. Basically it directed U.S. governmental agencies, bodies, etc., to work their standards in the private sector whenever possible, and that way, the government and the industry, theoretically, would come closer together. But there was nothing mandatory directed to the industry. It was mandatory within the government. I should say, though, that with the recent smart grid initiative, the dynamic has shifted and we’ll see where that goes over time. So that’s a little bit about the role of government. IEEE is a free agent. It’s considered part of the voluntary standard system, they are not regulations when they come out. Our standards are for use if chosen. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of pressure to use them, but they’re not mandated. If an agency in the government – of any country – decides to adopt an IEEE standard as regulation, that’s a different matter, but that’s independent of what the IEEE concerns itself with, so that’s a piece of your answer. Does that help? ===IEEE and Global Standards=== '''Geselowitz:''' Yes. So when did global acceptance of standards become more important? I assume that when IEEE started a standards operation in the sixties and seventies, that the U.S. market was so dominant it didn’t matter what these other people thought. '''Gorman:''' It was actually 128 years ago, but who’s counting, right? '''Geselowitz:''' Right. '''Gorman:''' I was there when the global acceptance issue started to rear its head. Now, let me just preface this by saying that over the years, we learned that IEEE standards, especially in the power industry, had been, essentially, lifted by other organizations and had been used as the basis for, or entirely as, International Standards – capital I – International Standards. So they’ve always been relevant, but IEEE had no visibility. When we finally understood that, it started to shift the dynamics somewhat, but IEEE volunteers who work on standards work in many organizations. IEEE is not the only one. They go where a need is fulfilled, and sometimes, their companies want them to work in the IEC, or in the Internet Engineering Task Force, or the Worldwide Web Consortium, or ITU, and so on and so forth. So they go wherever they want to go, based on the requirements of their professional mandates, if you will. '''Geselowitz:''' So then - '''Gorman:''' So the international thing started to get very visible when the 802 Standards came out because ISO wanted them, badly. '''Geselowitz:''' So is there a specific attraction? I mean, obviously, there must be pluses and minuses, challenges and opportunities for each of the different models. What is some of the thinking that drives companies to seek out an association like IEEE, instead of government directly saying we’re going to set up our own task force? '''Gorman:''' Do I have an answer for you? Let me give you an example. The second largest company in China is State Grid Corporation for China. We’ve spent a lot of time with some of their principals. Here’s what we learned. For the most part, they do their standards work in the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and they get the vote of China, one vote, so they’re a cog in the wheel. What does State Grid say? They say they come to IEEE for market visibility because IEEE has a much more open atmosphere, set of requirements, opportunity to engage, and so on and so forth, and a membership and an imprint that’s really global in nature from an industry perspective, not from a bureaucracy perspective. What we would call political. I’d like to quote my esteemed former partner, Steve Mills, who’s the current president of the SA. He says that if you want to understand something about standards or something about where technology is, look at it through a lens that examines how economics, politics, and technology are intersecting at any given point. The Chinese really get it. They’re much smarter than the folks in the United States about where to put themselves, and the industry is ahead of the government in a country like that. I would say the same is true in India. The industry is much wiser than the government about where they’re going to get their best impact. So they’re having their own struggles. That’s part of the maturing process as a key marketplace player. '''Geselowitz:''' But from a layperson’s perspective, there is an incredibly oversimplified idea that, essentially, an international engineering membership organization, like IEEE, represents, in a sense, a level playing field because you have members from all the countries, all the companies. We’ve set up a process – a transparent process – that everyone can feel, okay, we’re going to go into the process trying to favor ourselves – that’s why we’re in the process of our company, but the system is fair. '''Gorman:''' Oh, you mean as a member? '''Geselowitz:''' As a member. '''Gorman:''' Or an engaged party? '''Geselowitz:''' As an engaged party, we have our own self interests in mind, but we recognize that we’re agreeing to be refereed by this organization that is neutral and represents all engineers everywhere, so to speak. '''Gorman:''' Or technologists. '''Geselowitz:''' Right. Technologists. '''Gorman:''' Yes. And you know, there’s another aspect, an add-on to what you just said, which is that when people such as you describe, get together to work on a standard, they have a definite self-interest. And they know that when they go into the committee activity, they’re going to have to compromise. That’s part of the deal. It’s a negotiation amongst stakeholders. And one of the theories – not everyone agrees with this – is that a good standard is one that everyone who’s involved walks away from unhappy, but they can live with the results. It’s an extreme statement, but it gives you an idea of what probably had to go on during those sessions for them to come to conclusion. ===Promotion to Managing Director=== '''Geselowitz:''' Okay. So let’s get back to how you then rose from being the staff director reporting to a managing director to managing director. '''Gorman:''' Right. '''Geselowitz:''' And at some point, you were promoted to managing director, and at some point, they changed those titles to staff executive. '''Gorman:''' No, that’s not the case. '''Geselowitz:''' No? '''Gorman:''' No, there still are managing directors – there are a number of executive-level titles, and although the organizational chart that represents the executive staff group shows them all on a level playing field, there obviously must be differences. There are CIOs, CFO, CMO, staff executive, managing director, but we all have equal seats at the management council. We did. I did. '''Geselowitz:''' Right. ===Development of the Standards Association=== '''Gorman:''' I became – actually, this is ironic – I became Managing Director in the first year of the Standards Association, which was the expression of our reorganization. That was the first year in which we had a Board of Governors to which the Standards Board reported. So we had separated policy and financial management from the process. '''Geselowitz:''' And that year was… '''Gorman:''' ’98. '''Geselowitz:''' ’98, and your predecessor retired? '''Gorman:''' He retired and stayed close because we were beginning to develop the business plan for another organization that we wanted to present to the Board of Directors – a 501(c)(6) under U.S. tax law, so it would be a trade association type of organization that would enable “the IEEE” in this other corporate format to bring in consortia and provide services to them. That’s called the IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization. So in 1998, we wrote the business plan for the ISTO, which it’s called, and Andy stayed on to help and become its first staff president. So he didn’t really leave the scene for quite some time. '''Geselowitz:''' Now was there any precedent for that within IEEE to have a wholly-owned, sort of subsidiary? '''Gorman:''' It’s not a wholly-owned subsidiary. It’s a separate corporation that got attached to the IEEE through a suite of agreements. One was a license agreement to use the IEEE name. Another was a line of credit, so IEEE – at the beginning – was the bank. And the third was – I’m trying to remember what it was – it was an agreement to lease IEEE employees. So all of the employees of the ISTO, over the years, were always IEEE employees on loan to the ISTO, and I don’t think we ever had anything like that before. '''Geselowitz:''' Well, I was going to say if there was a model that was much smaller and simpler, it would be the IEEE Foundation, which was set up in the seventies as a fellow 501(c)3, but IEEE felt it wasn’t in a position to take philanthropic dollars and redistribute them, so they set up a separate foundation, which then had no staff and actually leased its staff from IEEE, but that was much smaller and simpler than a standards operation, which is a huge— '''Gorman:''' Yes. Well, this was standards and conformity assessment and marketing and education. This was an attempt to enable the IEEE to engage in the full life cycle of standards. IEEE had a predisposition to staying away from everything, except the development and delivery of the standard, and that’s just the beginning. In a product life cycle, that’s the beginning, not the end. The end is when the product is highly commoditized or obsoleted, and you’re starting off with some new technology or technology application, so it was an adventure. Interestingly now, the ISTO is still in existence, but the staff groups have merged, so the staff of the Standards Association consists of the former staff of the ISTO and the standards crew, so it’s more robust and its service business has an increased depth of resources. '''Geselowitz:''' So it simplifies and gives you more synergy to have the one staff group, but presumably then, people have to indicate on their time sheet when they’re being leased by ISTO and when— '''Gorman:''' Well, they’re not being leased anymore – ISTO. They’re fully IEEE staff. Where it’s interesting – and this may put some clarity on our dialog about this – is that, as I said earlier in our discussion, the relationship of standards to technology has changed dramatically over my lifetime at IEEE, say, a little less than 30 years. Today, the kind of work that the Standards Association is bringing in is very similar to the kind of work that the ISTO works in as well, so it seemed like a better proposition to bring the two groups together and not have any kind of friction, if possible, and keep the ISTO work, trade association-type work [on one side] and the IEEE work on the other side of the line. This is particularly true in areas when we’re trying to investigate, with a group, what its standards needs might be and we don’t always know that at the beginning. The IEEE is in a better position to invest. The ISTO needs to know from the beginning because its business model doesn’t provide extra money to invest in exploratory work. '''Geselowitz:''' Well, would you say that in the first roughly ten years or something of the IEEE-SA, ISTO that other than these frictions that you felt could be improved, that it was basically a success? That the reorganization was the correct thing to do? '''Gorman:''' We could really put the ISTO to the side and have this same discussion. Having a Standards Association with a constituency that voted in its leadership, having a Board of Governors, having corporate members and individual members, having a Standards Board whose sole focus was on the process – all of this was a brilliant move. I would say, for the most part, for the Standards Board, it became better and better and better at what it did. And it became – what I would regard as – the best-oiled and most responsible machine I could ever imagine for a board, and I’ve seen many, many boards. Many of us have. This is a board that beats records in how competent, efficient, committed, and reliable it is. It’s just an amazing board. It was not that way when I started. '''Geselowitz:''' And they are elected by the members of the system? '''Gorman:''' No. The slate for the Standards Board is determined and appointed by the Board of Governors, so in other words, it’s a committee of the Board of Governors. And there’s another group too, which I haven’t mentioned at all yet, which is called the Corporate Advisory Group. It’s also a committee of the Board of Governors. And they’re not a governance group, but they play a hefty role in bringing a corporate perspective into the mix. '''Geselowitz:''' And how is the president of the Standards Association determined? '''Gorman:''' Elected by the IEEE-SA members. That’s how it’s done. '''Geselowitz:''' But this person has a voting position on the IEEE Board of Directors? '''Gorman:''' Yes. '''Geselowitz:''' And it’s set up by the agreement that they have to accept this person? '''Gorman:''' No, the Board of Directors approves the results after the elections/appointments. '''Geselowitz:''' Has there ever been an issue where the IEEE Board of Directors hesitated at who was elected by the Board of Governors or the Standards— '''Gorman:''' Not to my knowledge, but I do know that before we had the Standards Association – remember it’s pre-’98 – there were a couple of instances when the Board of Directors managed to leverage its authority to get a Standards Board Chair out in one year, which was very unusual. They almost always stayed for two. '''Geselowitz:''' So since then, you feel it’s worked more smoothly, so— '''Gorman:''' I think so, because the Board of Governors is much closer to all the nuances of selection, election, potential conflicts, etc. They’re watching it like a hawk, and the Standards Board Chair sits on the Board of Governors, so there’s much more connection between the two groups also. '''Geselowitz:''' So in those, then, roughly 14 years as the managing director, are there any other reorganizations that were significant? You just mentioned the most recent reorganization which was, I guess, your last — '''Gorman:''' You mean the volunteer organization? '''Geselowitz:''' Well, no, I meant with the staff of ISTO— '''Gorman:''' Yes. '''Geselowitz:''' Okay. So you have done that. '''Gorman:''' Right. '''Geselowitz:''' Now, you can look on that. What other changes did you see happening in staff preparation over that time? '''Gorman:''' We began to change our business model and to focus more on diversifying ourselves to move away from reliance on just the sale of standards to increasing emphasis on the value-added business areas, which are part of the whole standards life cycle. As standards are actually moved into the marketplace, many related activities take place. Other organizations are fulfilling those roles. Why not us? So we’ve gotten into a lot of that, and also into a very, very intense and broad globalization effort. As we’ve changed our emphases, the staff and the governance groups have shifted their roles to go with the changes in our major strategies. Now, we have this group called the Portfolio Management Ad Hoc Committee. It’s an ad hoc committee of the Board of Governors. It looks at every line of business. It has formalities, a dashboard with key indicators and so on. It meets several times a year and everyone’s accountable. Ten years ago, you wouldn’t have imagined such a thing. And it’s interesting because, as I say that, I’m remembering now when George Arnold became President of the Standards Association – he right now is the head of the Smart Grid Initiative driven by NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology – George asked me what I thought the two most important areas were that the Board of Governors should focus on, because he wanted to create two ad hocs that report up to the board. I said business and he said international, so those became the two ad hocs, with one called the Business Development Ad Hoc and the other the International Ad Hoc. And they’ve evolved, but basically, they’re still there, in support of the Toverall environment in which the standards process resides: one that is moving and changing dramatically. And over the last 14 years, oh, my God. You wouldn’t recognize the organization. ===Setting the Standards for Smart Grid === '''Geselowitz:''' And are there any particular standards that have come out in the last 14 years that you’re particularly excited about? You’re really a lay person. I mean, you’re an operational person, but your background training is music, and you’re running this technical organization, so what really excited you? '''Gorman:''' I certainly got pulled into a lot of different things, some of which were quite amazing. One of the more was the whole area of EMF and our standards. What role they played, who were the players, and was it a good process and so on? I’m very excited about the horizontality that’s taking place of which the Smart Grid is a great example - a yet to be realized opportunity. I think you will see in the future – and my successor already sees this – that more and more of the great pieces of work that are going to come out of standards and other areas are going to be the result of horizontal work. '''Geselowitz:''' Could you explain that a little more? '''Gorman:''' Well, Smart Grid is not the power industry. Some people could get very angry at me for saying that, but I can remember hearing such an assertion when we first began working in this space. “It’s all about the grid.” Well, it’s all about everything and the grid is, obviously, a core piece of it, but it’s about telecommunications, information technology and all of its manifestations – broadband technology, narrowband technology. More and more of the IEEE groups writing standards are touching the Smart Grid space, and the opportunity to make something of that in the IEEE is – as far as I’m concerned – almost untouched. Only one person had the guts and the vision to really try it and his name is Richard DeBlasio. I am passionate about Dick DeBlasio. He works for the Department of Energy at the National Renewable Energy Labs, Colorado. And he had this vision to try to bring power, communication, and IT together to write a guide to lay out what the basic architecture could look like of a Smart Grid. He got every variation of resistance, but he also drew in some great leaders who were eager to take on the challenge of bridging the areas in some fundamental ways, and he did it. That’s the most exciting result. ===Evolution of the IEEE Standards Association=== '''Geselowitz:''' Now what was the role of IEEE in that? '''Gorman:''' When you say IEEE, exactly what do you mean by IEEE? '''Geselowitz:''' Well, actually, you can tell me. '''Gorman:''' Okay. Let me tell you, the role of IEEE was very complex. Let’s start in the narrow view. The Standards Board has a number of standards committees reporting to it that don’t map to any one society, and are not chosen by a society for sponsorship of standards work. One of these is the committee that Dick DeBlasio chairs, Standards Coordinating Committee 21 – Standards Coordinating Committee on Fuel Cells, Photovoltaics, Dispersed Generation, and Energy Storage. That committee was the sponsor of this standard, which by the way, has the name IEEE 2030. So you could say that at a local level, the Standards Board was the “parent.” There were people from the Power and Energy Society, the Computer Society, and the Communication Society who became engaged. There were people who tried to unravel it from those areas as well, so you had both the engagers and the ones who wanted to undo it, very interesting. IEEE’s role – the big IEEE – was to find a way, allowing this work to not be turned on its side because of other vested interests, such as the power equipment industries, which are very strong in the IEEE. You know, we – we meaning they – there’s a tendency to idealize IEEE. And it is a phenomenal organization, so I’m not knocking it in any way, shape, or form, but there’s a way that folks delude themselves into thinking that it’s innocent, technical, scientific, pure – it is not. It’s a nesting ground for a lot of things, some of which have huge impact – technologically, economically, and so on. This is one of those areas. '''Geselowitz:''' So— '''Gorman:''' And so we had a lot of issues in the IEEE containing some of that pressure. '''Geselowitz:''' Getting back to the IEEE and its relationship to the Standards Association, so you have this technical, scientific, whatever membership organization and it’s divided into very clear technical areas, and when you develop a standard, sometimes, but not always – you just pointed out an excellent example – sometimes, it’s pretty clear that a standard’s going to fall into a particular technical area. So the IEEE Technical Activities group – what is their role in helping the Standards Association develop standards? '''Gorman:''' Okay. So a lot of the standards are standards that get “born” from an administrative perspective in an IEEE Society, but the bottom line is that the society is the holding tank for industry interests in a given area and the society may play a role– we call it a sponsoring role – or a committee of the Society might have that job. It depends. They’re all organized differently. '''Geselowitz:''' Right. '''Gorman:''' But the net is that the society is the technical sponsor and the Standards Association oversees the process, okay? tThe technical idea gets born within a committee, within a Society somewhere – once the industry has decided it should get born – and then it comes through their process into the SA. '''Geselowitz:''' Are there other entities that could come directly to the SA? '''Gorman:''' Absolutely, and they do— '''Geselowitz:''' And bypass the societies? '''Gorman:''' Well, what’s interesting about that is that the SA has always been vigilant about giving the societies a chance to have the work first, and so the SA becomes the sponsor of last resort when the societies won’t/can’t/etc. We’ve had all kinds of instances. Some of them just fine, no problem. Something was too horizontal. We took it on and formed a committee under the Standards Board. Sometimes the society wasn’t living up to its ethical obligation to release technical work and was holding it back for not terribly good reasons. We took it. You know, I’ve said there were a few of those too, interesting. There’s always a vested interest behind every action or inaction. '''Geselowitz:''' Right. So now I understand a little better. Even as the IEEE standards operation became an association, rather than a board, the idea is still that in the ideal world, the technical societies are the sponsors, but if they can’t be the sponsors, there are mechanisms to move the standard forward. '''Gorman:''' Well, I would say that what you just articulated is more a reflective definition. I would say in an ideal world, we need something that’s much more flexible to capture today’s and tomorrow’s efforts. The societies are very vertical and they’re very competitive. So for example, the Communications Society and the Computer Society, they want each other’s work. That’s not healthy from our perspective. We would like to see something where the horizontality is maximized. It becomes a territorial war. It doesn’t fit the space in the world, so I don’t think it’s an ideal world. And I’m not trying to get rid of the societies. I want to see the societies transform themselves into something that’s going to fit today’s world and tomorrow’s world, which we haven’t necessarily imagined yet, and they seem to be resistant to doing that. This will be in the history books. '''Geselowitz:''' Right. We mentioned earlier that there have been various attempts to reorganize IEEE when various challenges have been seen. It’s interesting, I guess you don’t get to be 128 years old – as you have alluded to earlier – without doing things right, but at the same time, it gives you a certain inertia to make change when it’s needed. '''Gorman:''' And it’s really needed. If I can just insert an anecdote here, at that turning point of the Standards Board becoming a committee of this bigger organization – the Standards Association - there was a time right at the cusp of that when we had a group called the Standards Board Advisory Committee, which was a committee consisting of all the past chairs of the Standards Board willing to serve. They were trying to shepherd the organizational change. They voted themselves out of existence. How do you like that? Have you ever heard of any group at IEEE voting itself out of existence? '''Geselowitz:''' No. [Laughter] '''Gorman:''' Well, you have now. And I am so proud of them for doing that. They put the mission first and their egos second, and that took a lot. Some of them got reengaged, but there was no guarantee that they would because once there’s an election, there’s an election – the Nominations and Appointment process like we have at the big IEEE is unpredictable, so they might not have been reappointed. I just wanted to put that out there. '''Geselowitz:''' That’s great. '''Gorman:''' And it’s very exciting and that’s the kind of environment we need in standards. It’s the kind of environment, frankly, I think we need all over the IEEE. If we can’t keep pace with the pace of technology – you finish the sentence. '''Geselowitz:''' Again, I already asked this question another way. Just looking back over the past 14 years, what are the real highlights that you’d like to make sure get into the historical record? '''Gorman:''' Here’s a highlight for you. The Secretary General of a Chinese organization with the initials CCSA – it’s the Chinese Communications Standards Association– said, “IEEE, we are your Chinese home.” That’s a highlight. Getting from where we were to that is a volume unto itself. Obviously, I’m not going to try to articulate the whole story, but it’s the result of the way the Standards Association and the IEEE became more, and more, and more international in our profile. The technology led the way also, so you had industry, technology, and membership. All of them moving in that direction, such that an organization would say that to us. And then the previous quote from the State Grid Corporation; both quotes were great highlights for me because they were emblematic of how far we had come. When you’re running an operation – it was 60 staff for the most of the time; it ended up at about 80 – you’re dealing with a lot of management stuff, and we did a lot of reorganizing to try to go with where we needed to go. And while I would say that’s a highlight, it was also probably the hardest part of my job, but being able to take an organization and sort of morph it into something that’s going to fit tomorrow is no small thing. It’s not like you can wipe the slate clean and start over again. First of all, it’s not good to do that. You’ve got an investment and your staff is a big investment, but you’ve got to change people who are resistant to change, so those were both highlights and huge challenges. I did a few of those. ===Final Thoughts and Future Challenges for Standards=== '''Geselowitz:''' And what do you see now, as you hand off the baton, as the big challenges or opportunities going forward? '''Gorman:''' Okay. Oh, I will answer that in a second. One last highlight: Jim Prendergast, the current IEEE Executive Director, went to the last plenary meeting of the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) where you have country groups –– I don’t even know how many countries, 120 countries or 180 something like that, including the U.S. – and IEEE had its own table for the first time and I think that tells us something. We’re one of the “guys.” '''Geselowitz:''' How many non-country global organizations, would you say, get to have a seat at the table like that? '''Gorman:''' CIGRE (International Council of Large Electric Systems) is one that has a national committee, so it’s considered an international body. There’s a joint technical committee of the ISO (International Organization for Standards) and IEC called JTC1 that deals with information technology. I think they have their own table. '''Geselowitz:''' And then us. '''Gorman:''' And IEEE. There are very few! It’s quite something. I may have missed one, but ifI did, you could still count them all on less than one hand, so that’s a big thing. And Jim was invited to all the high-level presidential things while he was there, so it’s telling me that we’ve come a long way. And you know, we’re one of the first and only organizations to have formal agreements for collaborative work and for adoption with ISO and IEC. IEEE has been very gutsy about that kind of stuff and I’m very proud of that. '''Geselowitz:''' So you think that the gutsiness is a direct result of the essentially separate governance? In other words, if you had to use the old governance standard, would it have been very difficult, maybe, to make those kinds of calls? '''Gorman:''' I do. I do. I think being a business unit – self-contained business unit – gives us a certain amount of wiggle room and freedom that maybe some other units of the IEEE don’t have. I think if we were depending on subsidies from the IEEE, we would also be depending on direction much more than we do now. And the fact of the matter is – and this is not a criticism – most of the IEEE doesn’t understand what a standards organization has to deal with or does, and doesn’t necessarily understand what a standard is, when it actually is out in the marketplace. So I think that autonomy has been a huge advantage even though it’s also been an irritant within IEEE. It’s just one of those things. It’s an application-oriented, industry-driven activity that doesn’t map to anything else in this organization, and, yet, it feeds tremendously off the brand, the stature, the global membership, and the technical work done under the sponsorship of the societies. '''Geselowitz:''' So it’s an interesting relationship. '''Gorman:''' It’s an interesting balance. '''Geselowitz:''' And so presumably, that balance is also going to be one of the challenges going forward. '''Gorman:''' Absolutely. There’s all this stuff in IEEE. I’d like to put this in the record. IEEE spends a lot of time worrying about who gets the revenue, instead of worrying about what we are – how are we generating our information? And that’s a big problem and a constant problem for the SA because the societies have always wanted the standards revenue and have felt entitled to it. And if you went out to the industries that play in standards – when I say play, I put that in quotes – “play” in IEEE standards work, and you asked for a figure that would describe the impact of IEEE standards in the market globally, it would be so many billions of dollars – I don’t have the number – billions, and billions, and billions of dollars. And there’s one philosophy that asks why can’t IEEE have a piece of it? There’s another philosophy that says IEEE is lucky to have the privilege to be the holding tank for the process that allows those standards to get out to the marketplace. And the irritation there is so huge – intellectually, conceptually, and financially – that it'ss going to be the biggest challenge going forward – how to keep the IEEE irresistible to the industry and not suck the blood out of it because IEEE is always looking for revenue. '''Geselowitz:''' So now looking on a technical side – given your expertise as a musician, where should we be looking. So you mentioned Smart Grid, and that’s obviously a big push for other IEEE units, both on the technical side and the education side— '''Gorman:''' Everything. '''Geselowitz:''' —and the Foundation side. '''Gorman:''' Yes. '''Geselowitz:''' Any other areas that aren’t getting the play right now that you see in the next 13 years as being something that people should pay attention to in the standards space? '''Gorman:''' Well, probably, they’re being nurtured in our industry connections group. We have a staff-volunteer group that brings in communities that are exploring what they need to do; security is a biggie. We have the major players in the security industry working very well under the IEEE-SA umbrella and I think they have their first standard in the pipeline. This is an industry that was totally competitive and wouldn’t talk amongst themselves. When they could no longer deal with their challenged universe they had to come together. '''Geselowitz:''' And we were the place to do it. '''Gorman:''' We were the place. And we did it with a soft sell. The soft sell is providing a safe harbor. We will not try to force a program on the group; but after one year, the group has to decide that they will pay for the services, indicating the end of the free investment period. In fact, a number of businesses have spawned from that for the SA. There’s a lot of work being done in gaming and virtual reality. Some of the creative staff in the Standards Association are out nurturing these and looking at other areas for opportunities. The healthcare IT space, with respect to devices and information, interestingly enough, has been around since the late 1980’s. This is a strange way to put it, but at the time, it was, like, a want-to-be area and it’s finally, I think, getting its grip. We’re going to see some action there too, which is important for industry and society in general. '''Geselowitz:''' Right. '''Gorman:''' We’re spinning around different areas. Those are some of the big ones. There’s plenty more; I certainly haven’t touched them all. But I think I’ve given you enough of an idea. '''Geselowitz:''' Okay. Thank you for a fascinating interview. Before we end, is there anything we didn’t touch on that you think would be important to get on historical record about your career at IEEE? '''Gorman:''' Well, I guess one thing I have to say that’s somewhat aspirational/inspirational, which is that I was encouraged when I was being groomed to never be afraid to have an idea and never be afraid to talk about something, not letting what it might cost be an inhibitor to the idea itself and that’s a basic – what a testament to asserting the opportunity to be creative. And I think that it’s made a huge difference in my personal career development and to the whole operation because believe a lot of creativity and opportunity was nurtured as a result of having that viewpoint. And the volunteers with whom we’ve partnered – and I’ve partnered very tightly over the years – have felt enabled by it. You know, the interesting thing is they’re from industry and there were voices over the past that would say to me, Yeah, but you’ve got to watch what they do because they all have a vested interest. As I told you earlier, everyone in standards has vested interests. That’s the way it works – but it works! [[Category:Business|Gorman]] [[Category:Industrial relations|Gorman]] [[Category:International collaboration|Gorman]] [[Category:Governance|Gorman]] [[Category:Standardization|Gorman]] [[Category:IEEE|Gorman]] [[Category:Policies & procedures|Gorman]] [[Category:Staff|Gorman]] [[Category:Mission and vision|Gorman]] [[Category:Mission_and_vision]] Return to Oral-History:Judith Gorman. Retrieved from "https://ethw.org/Oral-History:Judith_Gorman"