PES Technical Council Retreat Initiatives

The membership of the PES Technical Council consists of the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Past-Chair; the Chairs of the seventeen PES Technical Committees; the Chairs of the four Coordinating Committees; and the chair of the Standards Coordination Committee. In general, the Technical Council is responsible for establishing policies which will stimulate among PES members the acquisition of new knowledge and technical expertise, the interchange of ideas and experiences, methods for appraising the performance of the Council’s committees, and the coordination and oversight of all PES technical activities.


Our industry has continued to experience exciting developments in recent years and our goal is to keep on benefiting from the strength of our diversity and wide variety of technical backgrounds including academics; research; utilities, municipalities and ISOs; equipment manufacturers; system suppliers; testing labs; government and regulatory, consulting, companies, and more. As our objective is to always do better, it is very important to continue using our members’ innovative ideas.

As a part of the above process, the IEEE Power & Energy Society Technical Council organized a strategy planning retreat on November 2-3, 2013, in Orlando, Florida, to review opportunities for the PES’ Technical Committees and members to better serve our membership. The key objective was to recommend solutions and priorities for the organization and develop an action plan. Twenty-five PES leaders, including sixteen representatives of the PES Technical Committees, two representatives of the Coordinating Committees, and region 8-10 representatives, participated in the retreat.

This meeting was very constructive, with participants generating improvement ideas and working as a team to provide priorities and initiate improvement plans.

This initiative began with a questionnaire on the PES’ strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities. The results were compiled and discussed at the meeting. The results of the survey were further analyzed and discussed as part of three case studies in three different breakout sessions.

Breakout Session 1:

  • What is working well? What are our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats?
  • What is needed to meeting the industry and society needs? What are the barriers to do so?
  • What technology needs to be improved and offered to help committees be more effective?

Breakout Session 2:

  • What are areas that we need to put additional focus on in next 5 years to best address emerging technologies? Does present organization support addressing emerging technologies?
  • What is needed to improve cross-committee initiatives and coordination to better serve industry needs?
  • What are the technical gaps and overlaps in our committee scopes? What changes may be needed?

Breakout Session 3:

  • How to improve international involvement in the committees, including participation in WG and tapping leadership from Regions 7-10.
  • How could technical committees better support international conference to foster cooperation? What is your feedback on introducing PES World General Meeting?
  • What are additional ways to attract new members? What are the barriers to do so?

Some of the general observations based on the questionnaire and discussions at the meetings are:

  • There is a strong IEEE-PES brand with reputation for technical quality. However, existing processes and resource limitations make us less responsive to emerging technologies.
  • Well-known, well-reputed, long-serving senior members are our great asset. However, they are retiring, resulting in a need to increase early-career members.
  • IEEE standards have application guides and technical training. This open and consensus-based process could be improved to better satisfy industry needs (e.g. developing selected standards on the fast track).
  • PES has wealth of resources, including Transactions, but needs to better market and advertise PES and its standards and technical work.
  • Many committees have overlapping scopes that may need to be reviewed and need continuing industry assure that the technical committees to remain relevant to the industry. We need a better process for recognizing contributors, assigning committee work, and notifying contributors about new standards work and which committees and contributors should be involved.
  • Although there are major international initiatives on-going, there are major opportunities for increased international growth and involvement, considering that PES is sometimes perceived as US-centric, not international.
  • Diverse membership that sometimes results in a non-productive split between industry and academia.
  • Additional focus should be put on computers, IT and communications and involvement of regional representation on technical committees

The group identified and discussed a broad set of issues above and using a voting process led by the facilitator identified the greatest impact opportunities. The team prioritized opportunities and developed an action plan for most important ones. Some of the key initiatives are presented below summarizing the discussion and identifying specific follow-up actions and assignments.

Priority Initiatives Plan

1. Tools to Enhance Effectiveness

The technical committees need additional tools and training to be more effective in managing all of the information available and communicate this information to the membership smoothly and quickly. PES needs to invest in both technical tools and training to enhance committees’ effectiveness. These would include:

  • Document sharing
  • Conference call system with central reservation and call set-up capability for virtual and remote meetings. Better microphones and conference call capability for face-to-face technical meetings.
  • Webinar system with central reservation and set-up capability
  • Full-time PES-provided technical support capability to trouble-shoot and facilitate use of these tools
  • Video or webex recording and posting of some meetings
  • Provide more meeting registration management options so committee technical leads don’t have to handle administrative issues as well.

Action Plan

A Task Force, consisting of Ron Hotchkiss (lead), Paula Traynor, Jeff Nelson, Dan Nordell, and Mick Maytum, will work on this item and coordinate with PES staff to identify the best ways to deliver the needed tools and cost out those measures for PES Board consideration. The group recognizes that execution of these measures will require additional financial and staff support from PES but believe that the benefits from smoother PES technical operation and enhanced volunteer member and leader effectiveness more than outweigh the costs.

We are pleased to report that the Task Force has developed a plan and provided their initial recommendations at the Technical Council meeting in January 2013.

2. Committee Structure and Coordination

Because of the proliferation of and overlap between existing PES technical committees, subcommittees, task forces, and the like, it is beneficial to review the scopes of the committees and how to improve communications and coordination between committees.

Action Plan:

1. A Technology Mapping Task Force, consisting of Bill Cassel (lead), Arun Phadke, Pala Traynor, Herman Koch, and Nelson Segoshi, will identify the relationships between committees:

  • o The mapping task force will begin the effort by developing the lists of technologies and issues that the committees will be mapped against, and bring those lists to the Technical Council meeting for review in July 2013.
  • o Using the catalog of committee scopes and the technology list, the mapping task force will map the committees to technologies and issues to identify overlaps between groups and gaps where key technologies or issues remain unaddressed.
  • o The mapping will begin in January 2013 and be completed in May or June 2013, offering specific conclusions on the appropriateness and shortcomings of the current committee structure for review by the Technical Council at the General Meeting in July 2013 at Vancouver, BC, Canada. Technology mapping status and findings will be shared with the PES Board during the GM in July 2013.

2. It is expected that the Technology Mapping Task Force recommendations will segue into a Committee Structure Task Force which will take a fresh look at the PES technical committees based on the mapping of current committees, and eventually recommend changes that could include elimination and/or combination of existing committees and/or creation of new committees. The Committee Structure Task Force could be, but need not be, the same group as the Technology Mapping Task Force. Its’ size should be optimized to communicate better and reach agreement quickly. This effort is expected to begin in July 2013 and should identify specific problems with the existing committee structure by fall 2013 for broader PES consideration and discussion. The Committee Structure Task Force should be able to offer a recommendation to the Technical Council in late 2013 with a final Technical Council decision on committee structure in 2014, with final recommendations presented to the PES Board.

It will be a goal of Technical Council to develop briefing packages and newsletter articles throughout this process to describe what these task forces are doing and why. Communication early and often is needed with all technical committee members and leaders, and with the PES staff and board, to assure early, clear, common understanding of the goals, progress and timeline for this effort.

3. Improving International Involvement & Presence

The desired outcome of this strategic objective is to gain more international awareness of PES technical committee efforts and recruit more international participants to the technical committee work. Some recommendations for how to accomplish this are:

  • Hold more technical committee meetings abroad, and encourage local PES chapter and local student participation in the meetings.
  • Publicize technical committee work at international meetings. Have representatives from technical committees presenting work.
  • Support in holding PES World Meetings every two years (in the winter) with an international focus.

Action Plan

A Task Force, consisting of Satish Aggarwal (lead), Juan Carlos Montero, Bill Chiu, Sandoval Carneiro Jr., Nelson Segoshi, and Damir Novosel, will develop an action plan and report status to the Technical Council. As a related action, the Task Force will explore having technical committee members serve as reviewers for PES co-sponsored international conferences.

4. Strengthening PES Technical Committee Awareness and Participation

a) PES Technical Committee Membership and Recruiting

As older members of the PES ranks retire, there are fewer new members coming in to work in technical committees, with the result that more work falls to the remaining members. We need to recruit younger members (early- and mid-career) and keep young students as working participants. Specific recommendations include:

  • Reach out to younger members (especially mid-career members) and their employers about specific opportunities to participate in and contribute to technical committee work.
  • Make the benefits of participation in PES technical committee work obvious.
  • Demonstrate and market the value of PES technical committee participation to employers.
  • Create a visible career growth path within the technical committees and PES leadership.
  • Share and spread technical work across more PES members.
  • Court company execs to appreciate and support technical committee work.
  • Create better marketing and messaging of PES technical committees to younger members – use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other communications media, improve committee websites, and invite local students to meetings.
  • Attract more practitioners into the technical committees.
  • Promote management participation and support. Use IEEE management membership to encourage membership for IEEE and PES.
  • Recruit younger members into technical committee standards drafting and guidelines development efforts.Remove “member” restrictions on high-value technical committee work products.

Action Plan

Juan Carlos Montero and Jeff Nelson are the leads on this effort. Implementation of many of the measures will require PES resource support.

b) Articulate Benefits of PES Participation to Professionals

The benefits of PES and technical committee participation are not clear to many PES members. Measures discussed to help convince industry executives why their staff benefits from participation in IEEE technical committee work are as follows:

  • Participation in standards development helps the company drive and understand key technical issues and protects and enhances its current and future investments in key technologies
  • The company benefits by helping to shape industry practices, gains a voice at the technology table, and influences new developments.
  • Technical committee participation improves technology understanding and allows collection of technology intelligence.
  • Allows members to learn new technical information, anticipate up-coming issues, and gain information and insight from others.
  • Technical committee participants learn new skills and technologies through meeting attendance and committee participation. PES general meetings and technical committee meetings are cost-effective workforce training.
  • Technical committees accelerate identification of best practices. These should be distilled into application guides.
  • Technical committee participation allows the participant to build a network of professional colleagues for fast access, advice and problem-solving.
  • Technical committee participants can gain mentoring and management skills.

Action Plan

A Task Force, consisting of Jeff Nelson (lead), Bob Pettigrew, Ken Edwards, Ron Hotchkiss and Satish Ranade, will develop a formal document that can be used specifically for technical committee participation, and feed these ideas back into the existing, more general, PES benefits statement.

c) Improve Branding

This branding needs to be done with the PES Governing Board, PES members, and the outside world. There needs to be better awareness of the technical committees and their work, and of the Technical Council; this will help attract new members to the technical committees and enhance the rewards for member participation.

  • Desired measures for this branding include:
  • Present technical committee work at conferences
  • Put more information about technical committee work in PES’ annual report and newsletters
  • Improve the quality of technical committee websites
  • Put more information on technical committees in PES general membership training.

Action Plan

Paula Traynor (lead), Jeff Nelson, Henry Louie, and Erich Gunther are tasked to develop a plan.

5. Publications and Access

Following issues to be addressed:

  • Transactions papers may have good archival quality, but they don’t necessarily make for a good presentation that contributes to a good conference.
  • Explore low cost fees for university to access to IEEE resources as a PES marketing and recruiting opportunity.
  • Harmonize technical committees’ document access policies.
  • There are imbalances between PES and IEEE resource access policies.
  • Improve access, retrieval, and thematic organization for PES Transactions, white papers and conference materials. Better association with specific technical committees is also recommended.
  • Develop “pre-fab” searches on the websites to help visitors find important sources and “greatest hits” material on important topics.

Action Plan

This is an on-going effort by the IEEE PES Executive Committee and Technical Council.

6. IEC, CIGRE and PES Cooperation

IEEE has significant international influence. The cooperation and “rules of engagement” between IEC and IEEE should be addressed.

Action Plan

Joint effort among IEC, CIGRE and PES is planned. It will start with inviting CIGRE and IEC representatives to Technical Council meetings.

7. Addressing Emerging Technologies

Action Plan

Technical Committees need to be more effectively engaged in working with Emerging Technology Coordinating Committee and Intelligent Grid Coordinating Committee to accomplish it.


In summary, we were extremely pleased with the results of the meeting and cooperative spirit. As feedback from our membership is very important for continuous improvement, please let us know your ideas and comments on our initiatives. Please e-mail them to

Damir Novosel, Technical Council Immediate Past Chair, and Jeffrey Nelson, Technical Council Chair