Marilyn Potes was born in Geneva, Nebraska, where she spent the early years of her life sharing responsibilities on the family farm. She proclaims that she is probably the only IEEE Computer Society employee who attended a one-room country school house. Adding to this Rockwellian pictures, she notes that she walked to school, often in the snow. When she was eight years old, she moved with her family to Washington State. She attended the University of Washington, Seattle, earning a bachelors degree in journalism and graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1956.
After graduating from college, she worked as an advertising copywriter for the Bon Marche, a Seattle department store. It was at this time that she met her husband Bob and soon returned with him to his native home in Southern California. She next worked for the Times-Mirrow (now the Los Angeles Times) conducting market research and preparing sales presentations. Marilyn later continued he education at California State University Long Beach, earning a teaching credential there in 1970. She subsequently taught elementary school in the Garden Grove and Ocean View districts in California.
Except for a year in Texas, she has lived in California since 1957. Now widowed, she still lives in the Huntington Beach home where she raised her daughter Karen. The IEEE Computer Society is very much a family affair for Marilyn. Her daughter, who in August 1980 came to work for the society at her mother’s admonishment that they needed her help for “just a few weeks,” is still here. April of 1994 marked Marilyn’s 20-year anniversary with the IEEE Computer Society. During two decades of services she has witnessed and participated in changing technologies and increase publishing activity. When she stared, the society published one magazine (Computer) and one transactions (IEEE Transactions on computers), and boasted a membership of 20,000. Our publications Office consisted of five staff members occupying rented office space in Long Beach. Marilyn led the production of two new magazines, IEEE Software and IEEE Design & Test, during their startup. She served as managing editor of both for about a year; then she returned to the position of managing editor of Computer.
During some 20 years of writing, editing and publishing, she has helped the society shift from pencils and paper to state-of-the-art desktop publishing. As the editorial director of magazines and managing editor of Computer she oversaw the publication of nearly 5,000 editorial pages a year.
Marilyn has received Meritorious Service Awards for leadership in launching IEEE Design & Test and IEEE Software magazines and for outstanding performance as managing editor of IEEE Design & Test, IEEE Software, and Computer.
1993 Harry Hayman Award
“For many years of inspirational leadership and sustained exemplary service as founding managing editor, production consultant, and editor for the IEEE Computer Society.” Learn more about the Harry Hayman Award