January 2021 Newsletter

Madison Section Newsletter

Vol. 24, No. 1           Serving IEEE Members of South Central Wisconsin               January 2021
Newsletters are archived online at IEEE-Madison Web Site.


Upcoming Meetings

None Scheduled - Check back in February!


Election Results
IEEE Membership Update
Message from the Madison Section Chair

Volunteer Needed: Section Student Activities Coordinator

Past Meetings

2020 Life Member Affiliate Group  Meeting


Check back next month for future meetings!


IEEE-Madison Election Results

  • Officer/Volunteer Election Results:

    Chair - Hugh Schmidt
    Vice Chair - Mike Stemper
    Secretary - Open
    Treasurer - Matt Nowick
    Members at Large: Nate Toth, Clark Johnson, Craig Heilman, Dennis Bahr

    Congratulations to the new officers!

IEEE Membership Update

(From Scott Olsen): The overall US IEEE Membership trend is, not surprisingly, down with the largest declines in the student categories. IEEE leadership has responded  to this by reducing student membership rates by around 50%. This is for both the organization and society dues. For example, organizational professional dues are around $205.00 with student dues at $32.00 according to the IEEE web site. Society dues are similarly reduced. For example, the Power and Energy Society (PES) has standard professional dues at $35.00 and students are $.18.00. Take a few minutes and review the web site for more information here:  IEEE Web Site.

IEEE-Madison Message from the Chair, Hugh Schmidt

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, there is within me something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”

         Albert Camus in “Summer”.

Coping with adversity can be a seedbed for new ideas and methods that move organizations ahead.  Adapting to the pandemic has brought most people to be comfortable with online meetings as our Section does using Webex.  This flexibility can broaden the pool of participants in committee activity.  Everybody is now just down the hall from us.

To take advantage of this I hope to enlarge the role of Madison Executive Committee positions to chair committees of three to five members.  Currently officers represent two chapters (Engineering in Medicine and Biology, Power and Energy/Industrial Applications), two affinity groups (Young Professionals, Life Members), a society (Eta Kappa Nu honor) and four local working groups (Entrepreneurs and Consultants Network, Membership, Newsletter, Webmaster).

This fall we approved a position to chair a permanent Student Activities Committee.  I look forward also to adding a Women-In- Engineering affinity group.

The Madison Section has deep and diverse member resources to draw from.  We support 530 memberships in 35 societies.  Prominent among them are 129 members in Power and Energy, 78 in Industrial Applications and Power Electronics, 65 in the Computer Society and 30 in Engineering in Medicine and Biology.  124 members are in Antennas, Communications, Control Systems, Management, Nuclear, Robotics, and Signal Processing societies.  116 members subscribe to the remaining 22 societies.

I look forward also to our section leaders sharing with us their visions for IEEE contributions to science and industry for the welfare of our community and country.  Ezra Cornell abandoned underground insulated wires in piping for telegraph poles and glass insulators and created Western Union from the many of small firms he had sponsored from Western New York to Milwaukee.  At his insistence Cornell University was the world’s first to combine the medieval model of knowledge as contemplation in isolation with the practical application of grounded technological knowledge to life.

Today we find ourselves reflecting also on McLuhan’s “Medium is the Message” knowing from our experience that “Technology is the thread.”  IEEE resources are huge and best navigated through participation in activities with fellow members.  With important issues facing all of us like global warming this is a time for inquiry, dialogue and leadership among all of us.

IEEE-Madison Student Activities Coordinator

We are seeking a volunteer for the role of Section Student Activities Chair.  The main duty of this role will be to coordinate with the IEEE Student Branches at UW Madison and UW Platteville and encourage their development and growth. The Section Student Activities Chair will lead the Section Student Activities Committee, which will consist of the Student Branch Chairs and any other members appointed to the committee.  The Section Student Activities Chair will be a voting member of the Executive Committee.  If you are interested in this role, or have questions, please reach out to Hugh Schmidt, Section Chair (hfschmidt@wisc.edu).

  • News/Announcements

    • Volunteers:   Consider giving some time to the IEEE Madison community by volunteering. We need volunteers for:  YP, ECN, LMAG, PES/IAS, Section Officers, and EMB.  In particular we need a volunteer for Section Secretary and Student Activities Chair.  We also are looking for volunteers to start a Madison Section Women in Engineering Affinity Group.

    IEEE-Madison Slack Channel Established and Open to IEEE Members

    • What is Slack?: Slack is a messaging application that works on most modern computing platforms, including cell phones.  Many organizations use slack to quickly connect with people and conduct business. You can share files and create sub-channels for discussion. IEEE-Madison is using the free verison of slack that has limited features.
    • Executive Committee Presence: Members of the IEEE-Madison Executive Committee have joined a Slack Channel and will be available to discuss issues you might bring up.
    • For more:  See this YouTube Video on Slack.
      Also see this site: What is Slack?
    • Get an Invitation to Join the IEEE-Madison Slack Channel: at Slack Channel.
    • Access it here: IEEE Madison Slack Channel

Reviews of Past Meetings

2020 Life Member Affiliate Group Meetings (By Charles Cowie): Due to the pandemic, the Madison IEEE Life Member Affinity Group cancelled a scheduled meeting early in the year and held no further meetings until December. On December 17th LMAG hosted a virtual tour of the Wisconsin Science Museum. The tour, presented by Chuck Cowie, was a multi-graphic presentation providing an overview and summary of about sixteen exhibits.

The mission of the museum is to inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Volunteers are working to develop a viable business plan for the museum. The major emphasis will to serve a diverse population of middle school students in the community. Museum Board Chair, David Nelson and Volunteer, Beth Bollinger presented some aspects of the business plan. One aspect of that plan is to tell historic and ongoing stories of science, technology, engineering and mathematical innovation and entrepreneurship in Wisconsin.

On December 29th, LMAG held a virtual social event. We began be discussing our shared experiences of the pandemic. We talked about a local innovation to enhance the facial sealing of inexpensive masks. Chuck Cowie presented a spreadsheet summary of more than 160 notable Wisconsin Scientists, Engineers and Mathematicians. Members offered information about those and other that might serve as the basis for stories told by the Wisconsin Science Museum.

LMAG Needs Your Help: Sandy Rotter and Chuck Cowie have been alternately serving as LMAG chair and vice chair for three years.  Chuck Cowie and Chuck Kime served alternately as chair and vice chair for the three years before that. In 2017, Dave Jensen served as secretary. We need someone new to provide fresh ideas for LMAG activities.

IEEE Madison Leadership

  • Section Chair – Hugh Schmidt
  • Section Vice Chair – Mike Stemper
  • Section Treasurer – Matt Nowick
  • Section Secretary – <open>
  • Webmaster – Nate Toth
  • PES/IAS Chair – Mike Stemper
  • PES/IAS Vice Chair – Dan Ludois
  • PES/IAS Secretary/Treasurer- Don Neumeyer
  • EMB Chapter Chair – Dennis Bahr
  • Life Member Affinity Group Chair – San Rotter
  • Life Member Affinity Group Vice Chair – Charles Cowie
  • ECN Chair – Matt Nowick
  • Young Professionals Chair – Thomas Murphy
  • Members at Large: Nate Toth, Clark Johnson, Craig Heilman, Dennis Bahr

Membership Upgrades

Those interested in upgrading their IEEE membership level should send their resumes or other information showing five years of significant performance in an IEEE-designated field to Charles J Gervasi via email at cj(at)cgervasi.com. Madison Section Board will attempt to find Senior IEEE members knowledgeable in the applicant’s area of practice who may be able to provide references. You are invited to attend thinformal networking portion of the monthly Section meetings (starting at 11:30am) to meet the Section Board members and discuss intentions.


About IEEE

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE (read Eye-Triple-E) is an international non-profit, professional organization dedicated to advancing technology innovation and excellence for the betterment of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community through IEEE’s highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities. It has the most members of any technical professional organization in the world, with more than 300,000 members in around 150 countries. The IEEE consists of 38 societies, organized around specialized technical fields, with more than 300 local organizations that hold regular meetings. Discover what IEEE Member Discounts can offer you. The Member Discounts portfolio consists of insurance products and programs for the home, office and travel, all at excellent group rates and reduced pricing. Visit IEEE Member Discounts to see what’s available in your location and enjoy the savings. For more information, please visit: IEEE.ORG.