IEEE Canadian Foundation
Annual Meeting of the Members, April 5, 2005
Reorganizing our Foundation Structure
Last year I reported that three new directors were added to our previous complement of 9 to improve our representation across Canada and add French-speaking volunteers. This move also recognized the "merging" of MCI (IEEE Montreal Conferences Inc.) volunteer and financial resources with those of the former IEEC Inc. which evolved into our foundation in the early 1990's. We also expanded our committee structure and prepared bylaw changes to reflect our new structure. I am pleased to report that the IEEE Executive Committee approved our revised bylaws at their February 2005 meeting. The approved version was the one approved at the December 2004 meeting of the IEEE Canadian Foundation Board of Directors, and is currently posted on our web site at the bottom of the English version of the "Directors" page. One of the changes requested by IEEE and agreed to by your directors was to use the term "Member Emeritus" instead of "Honorary Member" because the latter term is in use by IEEE as a membership grade.
Growing as a Canada-wide Foundation
Directed donations from IEEE Canada-related organizations have increased our capital base from about $700,000 to just over $1,000,000. The new awards are posted on our web site, as is our new "Endowment Policy". Other awards are likely to be added in the future. I was recently invited to be the guest speaker at the IEEE Victoria Section and hold discussions with their executive committee about the possibility of a directed donation to endow several Scholarships at the University of Victoria. I have also held preliminary discussions with IEEE Canada President Bill Kennedy about ways to involve our foundation in the IEEE Canada McNaughton Medal. These developments bring increased complexity to our operations with some implications. Two of these are; a need to be visibly accountable with improved documentation of procedures and decisions, and a need to better involve IEEE volunteers in our governance and business activities.
Over the past few months, an ad-hoc team of Luc Matteau, Celia Desmond and myself, investigated an online service provided by Canada Helps (www.canadahelps.org), which is registered as a charitable organization in Canada, and offered only to Canadian charitable organizations. As a result, we are now using this service to accept online donations.
We have been successfully using online applications for several years. As a result of my serving as a director of the IEEE Foundation, and being involved with a project to apply our online forms for their use, and having the opportunity to access IEEE IT department staff expertise, there are now several improvements that we can apply to our own forms and the process to produce and store applications and reports in a convenient format in a web-based archive. This is a future activity that I hope we will work on the near future.
Proposed Future Actions
I am proposing two ways of improving how we conduct our business in order to meet the challenges resulting from our growth as a Canada-wide foundation and I ask for your feedback.
Volunteer Resources - with an increasing number of awards being associated with our foundation but having local interest, it will be helpful to invite volunteers from those Sections to become foundation members and provide communication in both directions. With the use of email to all foundation members and participation in our annual general meeting, we may be able to increase awareness of award opportunities and deadlines and encourage greater participation. It is my goal to move toward a situation where most Canadian Sections have at least one volunteer as a foundation member who will act as our champion within their Section (and a neighbouring Section who does not have a volunteer as a foundation member). We may find it useful to use 2-year terms in some cases where the normal 5-year term is not appropriate.
Improved Documentation - in addition to implementing improvements to our web forms and developing a Microsoft Access database for our web form output files (to produce formatted HTML pages), and storing these pages in a web-based archive, I believe we need to document all the processes we use so that new volunteer members and directors can easily and efficiently learn what needs to be done and how to do it - especially if we are successful in broadening and increasing our membership.
Promotion of the IEEE Canadian Foundation within IEEE Canada
IEEE Canada Board - For the past three years, I have participated in the semi-annual IEEE Canada Board meetings, with the intent of informing that board in general, and the Section chairs in particular, of the activities and capabilities of our foundation. The aim is to publicize our program of Scholarships and Grants, our expertise in fiduciary responsibility and prudent investment, and our need for donations - both general and directed. I believe that this is working well and should be continued.
Student Branch Workshops - Our treasurer, Luc Matteau, has attended the annual IEEE Canada Student Branch workshops for the past several years with a complementary goal of providing information about our Scholarships and Grants and the process for successful application directly to the Student Branch representatives who attend. All indications are that these activities are appreciated and are having the desired effects
Awards Presentations - At the 2003 Spring IEEE Canada Board Meeting, we started a new initiative where Scholarship Certificates were presented to the chairs of the winners= Section for subsequent local presentation (as this was an IEEE Canada regional awards event, it was publicized on the IEEE Canada Awards web site). This continued last year and will be repeated this year.
Linkages with the IEEE Foundation
We presently have two direct linkages:
- Wally Read is the chair of the Trustees of the IEEE History Center and an ex-officio member of the IEEE Foundation Board of Directors
- I am a director of the IEEE Foundation and serve on Project Review and Audit Committees
- To the directors of IEEE Montreal Conferences Inc. and the IEEE Montreal Section for their directed donation
- To IEEE Canada for their directed donation to establish the two Vehicular Technologies awards (research and travel grant)To the directors of IEEE Montreal Conferences Inc. and the IEEE Montreal Section for their directed donation
- To the trustees of the Alberta Power Quality Conference for their directed donation to establish the Power Quality Scholarship
Awards and Recognitions of Foundation Members
G.C. Eastwood, G.G. English, B. Hercus, L.C. Simmonds - are
honored as "members emeriti" of the IEEE Canadian Foundation as those
who no longer wish to remain active in the governance of the foundation
but whose past contributions were exceptional in quality and over an
extended period of time (change of designation in bylaw approval
Adam Skorek - was awarded the Government of Poland Gold Cross of the Order of Merit and was elected a 2004 Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada
Vijay Bhargava - was awarded the 2004 Thomas W. Eadie Medal of the Royal Society of Canada in recognition of major contributions to Engineering with an impact on communications.
Haran Karmaker - received the 2004 Outstanding Engineer Award from IEEE Canada for leadership and contributions towards advancing the electromagnetic analysis of large rotating electrical machines and development of their standards for modeling and test procedures
Wally Read - is the 2005 recipient of the IEEE Charles Proteus Steinmetz Award for sustained leadership in organizing IEEE standards activities to be responsive to industry and the global marketplace
Bob Alden - was elected a 2005 Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada and a 2005 Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for contributions to eigenvalue analysis of power system stability.
As I complete my third complete year as president, I am pleased with the progress our foundation is making and I look forward to us collectively meeting the challenges that our success brings as we continue to grow and mature. When I participate in the board meetings of the IEEE Foundation and we discuss the current president's thoughts of expanding IEEE foundation activity to include more countries, I am proud of the way we have set the precedent and are respected in the senior levels of the IEEE enterprise.
I thank all my fellow members of the IEEE Canadian Foundation, the volunteer leadership of both IEEE Canada and the IEEE Foundation, and associated staffs, for your inspiration, advice and support.
Robert T.H. (Bob) Alden, Ph.D., P.Eng., LSM IEEE