Humans of IEEE PES: Wayne Bishop Jr., Vice President Meetings, IEEE PES

Humans of IEEE PES refers to a dedicated PES volunteer who is well known for his/her notable contribution to IEEE PES. In this issue of IEEE PES Enews, Wayne Bishop Jr., Vice President Meetings, IEEE PES has been selected as the Humans of IEEE PES. We are very pleased to include an exclusive interview of Wayne Bishop Jr.

Wayne Bishop Jr.

Wayne Bishop Jr., Vice President Meetings, IEEE PES

PES eNews: Thank you Wayne for giving us time from your busy schedule. Please at first tell us about your grew up, undergraduate and graduate study and about your family.

Wayne Bishop Jr.: I am a graduate of Merrimack College, Harvard University, and I completed my Executive MBA Program from Suffolk University in Boston, graduating with honors. I am a recipient of the Suffolk Executive MBA Great Leaders Executive Excellence Award and was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma—the National Honor Society of Business Schools. I am also an Eagle Scout. I grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts which is about 25 miles south of Boston. My wife, Dr. Cherie Bishop, and I currently reside in the town of Wellesley, Massachusetts with our daughter Hathaway.

PES eNews: Please give us a brief introduction about your current affiliation (professional and IEEE).

Wayne Bishop Jr.: I am currently working for OMICRON where I am the Head of Marketing for North America. Prior to OMICRON, I was employed at Doble Engineering for more than 16 years in several senior management positions. I am a Senior Member of the IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES), where I serve on the IEEE PES Long Range Planning Committee, the Finance Committee, and the IEEE PES Governing Board. I am currently the Vice President of Meetings and Conferences for IEEE PES where I am responsible for oversight of all IEEE PES Meetings and Conferences worldwide. From 2012-2017, I served as the Marketing Chair of IEEE PES and an active member of the Membership and Image Committee. During that time period, several marketing membership campaigns were launched including a video series promoting the benefits of PES membership. The video series included numerous interviews with PES members about the value of PES membership. My proudest moment as a PES volunteer during this period was watching the increase of PES membership from 30,479 to over 38,500. This represented a 26% increase in membership. While many volunteer organizations and societies have flat or struggling membership, IEEE PES is growing.

PES eNews: Please share something interesting about your student life, maybe school, college or even university that reflects your inherent leadership and volunteer qualities. 

Wayne Bishop Jr.: Let me start my story from my teen age when I first got involved into volunteering and leadership. As a teenager I earned the rank of Eagle Scout from the Boy Scouts of America.  The ideals and skills taught in scouting enabled me to be a better leader later in life.  Things like teamwork and good communication skills, came second nature to me because of my training in the Boy Scouts. My “Public Speaking Merit Badge” is one of the many skills that I attained and I still use it regularly at OMICRON and PES. I still volunteer with the Boy Scouts. Volunteering and “giving back” have always been important to me. For 15 years, I chaired the Annual Corporate Invitational Golf Tournament to benefit the Boy Scouts, along with serving on the Executive Board for the Old Colony Council Boy Scouts of America.

When I was an undergraduate student at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA, I served as President of my Class. I served as President of Junior and Senior Year. In this position, I was able to put into action several leadership skills including good communication, planning meetings and budgets, and learning to work with “all walks of life.” He also currently serves on the College Leadership Council at Merrimack College.

PES eNews: It is found that you served one company for 16 years and now for the last 10 years you are serving OMICRON electronics. However, there are some people who switch their job very frequently to reach higher positions or to gain more facilities. What is your suggestion to the young PES members about job switching. In your opinion, what is the most important factor to a person to remain working in one company for a longer period?

Wayne Bishop Jr.: I think it’s very important to stay with an employer for a longer period of time. Including my current employer, I have only worked for two companies and this is for a total span of 28 years. Being loyal to an employer also in turn makes the employer loyal to its employees. That being said, you have to feel that you are always learning something new, that you are valued by your employer, and that you are challenged. If this isn’t the case, then perhaps, you should find a new employer. Perhaps, I’ve just been lucky working for two great companies in our industry.

My biggest advice to young PES members would be to be patient, you won’t be made a manager right out of school, and always be in communication with your Supervisor. At OMICRON, we don’t have managers or bosses but rather “coaches.” This in turn creates an environment without a hierarchy and encourages empowerment and team members to contribute to the organization’s success.

PES eNews: What is your evaluation about your job or profession at this stage? 

Wayne Bishop Jr.: I really enjoy what I’m doing at OMICRON because of the wide variety of tasks. As the Head of Marketing for North America at OMICRON I oversee all aspects of Marketing including events and trade shows, marketing communications, advertising, digital media, and all communications going to our customers. I’m supported by a wonderful and passionate team at OMICRON. OMICRON is a global company with customers in more than 160 different countries and offices worldwide. Being global, this enables me to work with many cultures and diverse workforce. This has also better prepared me with my volunteer job at IEEE PES. OMICRON has also been very supportive of me taking on this additional responsibility as VP of Meetings for IEEE PES. Without OMICRON’s support, I would never be able to do this work.

PES eNews: In your opinion, what are the most important factors to become a successful volunteer and which things should be avoided by a good volunteer?  

Wayne Bishop Jr.: Very simply: “Treat others how you would like to be treated”, and treat others with respect and dignity.

PES eNews: You are now holding a key position in IEEE PES ExeCom (VP Meetings). Tell us about some new initiatives taken by you as VP Meetings. What are your goals to achieve them? How would you measure your successes or achievements?

Wayne Bishop Jr.: Our flagship event held every two years is the IEEE PES T&D Conference and Expo. I’m proud to announce that we have launched 4 new initiatives as part of this event:

  1. Bundled Price Package for Utility attendees. For the next T&D in Chicago, utilities can pay a flat bundled rate of $1,000 and bring 10 utility engineers. Our strategy is to increase more attendance from utility engineers. The reduced price will make the utilities happy and with more utility engineers on the expo floor, the exhibitors will be happy. It is really a “win-win” for everyone!
  2. New Executive Summit for Utility CEOs and top management. This is being spearheaded by Shay Bahramirad and Damir Novosel.
  3. A “Smart Cities Pavilion on the Expo Floor. Smart Cities is the future of our industry and IEEE Smart Cities is at the forefront of this discussion and implementation. Come visit this special part of the expo floor and experience for yourself what smart cities is all about.
  4. Innovation Stages on T&D Expo Floor. The strategy for this new initiative is to position IEEE PES as the facilitator for the presentation and exchange of information pertaining to all of the new emerging technologies and knowledge happening in our industry. Come to the “Innovation Stages” at T&D in Chicago and hear presentations on such topics as Distributed Energy Resources (DER’s), electrification of the transportation system, digital substations, cybersecurity, microgrids, energy storage, etc.

Another new initiative we embarked on in the Meetings and Conferences team is to widen our attendance at events like ISGT and Power Africa to include more industry and more companies that are involved in new emerging technologies. ISGT for example covers a lot of the “futuristic aspects” of our industry and some of the challenges such as electrification of the transportation system and cybersecurity. ISGT in DC is one of our fastest growing conferences for PES and one event that I have been very focused on since becoming Vice President.

And last but certainly not least, we are focusing our efforts on the subject of diversity. We want to include more women engineers on our panels and as presenters. We also want to ensure that regions from around the world are represented on conference panels and discussions. After all, PES is a global society and our presenters should be representative of our membership.

PES eNews: Do you feel the necessity of launching new conferences so frequently? What should be the new mode of meetings/conferences [e.g. virtual conference]? Do you think the necessity of high registration fees taken by a conference? Do you want to bring any change in the traditional mode of conference? 

Wayne Bishop Jr.: Face to face conferences are still most popular because it is in the discussions before and after the presentations that learning still takes place. There is also tremendous value in the networking and learning that take place throughout coffee breaks and even during lunches and dinners. Many of our conference formats have changed to be more panel focused with less PowerPoint and more Q&A. Compared to other conferences and events in our industry, I feel very confident that our pricing is still a tremendous value. The registration fee that we charge does not cover all of the actual costs, just a portion. We also have industry supporters to help defray the costs of an event. Webinars and more local conferences will continue to grow in the future; however, our flagship events such as T&D, ISGT, and the Annual General Meeting have continued to grow in attendance.

Today, more than ever, it is an exciting time to be part of the electric power industry. All of our events touch on these changes and challenges for our industry. Coming to an IEEE PES event, you will be assured that the topics are unbiased and kept strictly technical. The later is our differentiator from many other industry conferences and events. You will not get a “product sales pitch” at an IEEE PES conference.

PES eNews: Thank you for your valuable insights and also your time.

Wayne Bishop Jr.: You are welcome.

Interview Coordination
Dr. Shaikh Fattah, Editor, PES Enews Update