IEEE President-Elect Candidates Address Computer Society Concerns
As the largest IEEE Society, the IEEE Computer Society (CS) serves computing and IT professionals at all levels of their careers, through IEEE’s network of more than 400,000 members in 168 countries. The IEEE president and Board of Directors define a vision for the association, and therefore, the decisions they make and plans they put in place impact us as CS members and volunteers.
To ensure CS members are well informed about the candidates on the IEEE election slate, the CS asked the IEEE president-elect candidates for their responses to four important questions that affect our Society and membership. The questions and candidates’ responses (limited to 250 words each) are provided here.
Please take a few moments to read what these candidates have to say, and be sure to vote in the election, which opens on 15 August 2023 and closes at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time USA/16:00 UTC on 2 October 2023.
For full information on IEEE president-elect candidates, along with their personal statements and lists of accomplishments, please visit www.ieee.org/elections.
In addition, we encourage all members to participate in this important ballot process. We also remind and encourage you to cast your votes for the Computer Society Election by 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, 11 September 2023.
—Jyotika Athavale, IEEE Computer Society President-Elect
Below are the candidates for the 2024 IEEE President-Elect. The 2024 President-Elect will become President in 2025.
The sequence of candidates was determined by lottery and indicates no preference.
ROGER U. FUJII
(Nominated by IEEE Board of Directors)
Fujii Systems, Inc – Trusted Systems
Rancho Palos Verdes, California, USA
Meet Roger by watching a brief video.
Roger is an IEEE Fellow and served in elected positions including VP Technical Activities, Division VIII Director (Board), and President, Computer Society. He was a Vice President (retired) at Northrop Grumman who grew his division’s revenues to $1B and spearheaded the invention of an airborne communication system. Roger created the methodology for certifying critical systems codified in IEEE Standard 1012.
As chair of “IEEE in 2050 and Beyond,” Roger is leading vital changes to prepare IEEE for the future. Previously, Roger implemented improvements in financial transparency, service center efficiency, and membership engagement.
He was a Xiamen University guest professor and a UCLA and California State University lecturer. Roger authored numerous papers, many classified. He served on the National Academy of Sciences council (Space Shuttle).
Notable awards include Eta Kappa Nu and Richard Merwin Service Medallion. He holds degrees in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science from UC Berkeley and an MBA from UCLA.
KATHLEEN A. KRAMER, PhD
(Nominated by IEEE Board of Directors)
University of San Diego
San Diego, California, USA
Meet Kathleen by watching a brief video.
Kathleen A. Kramer is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of San Diego. She has also been a Member of Technical Staff at several companies, including ViaSat, HP, and Bell Communications Research. She served as Director of Engineering (2004-2013), providing academic leadership for all of the university’s engineering programs. She is a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE AESS and an officer of the society. She received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering with a second major in physics from Loyola Marymount University, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from CalTech. She has emphasized collaborative leadership to successfully advance the mission of IEEE by making high-level leadership contributions across a wide spectrum of IEEE activities and technical communities. Her board-level roles include service as IEEE Secretary and chair of Governance, IEEE Region 6 Director, and as chair of the 2023 IEEE Ad Hoc on Innovating Funding Models.
Question 1. What is IEEE’s value proposition for members after they graduate, and the majority go into careers in industry?
Fujii. The IEEE value proposition to recent graduates with careers in industry was to keep the graduate abreast of emerging technologies through IEEE award winning publications and conferences, provide professional education online courses to enhance their career paths, and provide networking channels with a global community of members. IEEE is excellent at publishing research papers from academia and industry members. However, IEEE has not achieved the lofty goals for the practicing industry engineer as evidenced by the low renewal rate because IEEE products are not relevant or useful to the industry engineer. We need to fulfill the value proposition that IEEE offered to these graduate engineers in industry.
The IEEE in 2050 and Beyond vision report acknowledges that IEEE’s portfolio falls short of addressing the needs of industry, government, entrepreneurs, young professionals, and students. As chair of the 2050 and Beyond subcommittee, I established a “Future Products and Services” subgroup to define the future requirements of IEEE’s value proposition to all IEEE global constituents and recommend how to reshape IEEE future portfolio of products and services including future delivery channels and methods (e.g., more visualization/AR/VR style).
Our new product requirements must be inclusive of all IEEE constituents and regional member needs so the subgroup has representatives from industry, government, academia, standards, young professionals, women in engineering, entrepreneurs, students, and regional representatives. Working together in an inclusive manner, we can reshape IEEE to increase our value proposition to graduate industry members and all other constituents.
Kramer. Those who are already working professionally know that, when it comes to their technical community, they are, “working in a small town.” This is true, even when you live or work in the biggest of cities, and drives IEEE’s practical value. As professionals (and future professionals) our success relies heavily upon our technical community and the meaningful bridges we build. IEEE membership provides a professional home with a foundation that both lasts and is built for change, one with room to grow and the opportunity build well beyond the limitations and interests of your current employer. IEEE offers new graduates an ability to grow beyond the limited professional awareness possessed by those looking to their first or second real opportunity beyond being a student. The value increases as the connections, particularly to industry, and members grow. That’s also why there is a value proposition that offers an advantage to large societies and large sections. This definitely made the case to me for membership in the IEEE Computer Society.
Membership seen as a passive exchange of money for benefits isn’t an economic model that works for either the member or the IEEE. Membership as active effort and opportunity to do the good, both for yourself and as part of the community that advances technology, skyrockets both value and the impact on humanity. For IEEE leadership, across different activities and interests, strategies for success must build on this awareness and what the IEEE uniquely can offer.
Question 2. What is IEEE’s competitive advantage over other similar professional organizations?
Fujii. IEEE is the largest professional organization with over 427,000 members worldwide. This size gives IEEE a significant competitive advantage over other similar organizations. However, the competitive advantages that members are most proud of are listed below.
- IEEE is the producer of trusted content in publications and standards. Of IEEE’s 265 journals, 15 of the top 20 rated electrical engineering journals are IEEE journals. IEEE standards are the most trusted and used standard globally. IEEE 802.11 Local Area Network (LAN), commonly known as WiFi, has reshaped the financial, technical, and internet world with its mobile connectivity features.
- IEEE is the most geographically inclusive professional organization with members engaged from 190 countries.
- IEEE Awards: IEEE Fellow grade status is a highly admired membership grade recognizing the unique technical contributions of a member. The IEEE Medal of Honor is IEEE most prestigious award and recognized by our competitors as a unique, highly admired award.
- IEEE Xplore is the world’s largest digital library containing over 6 million documents and includes research databases through IEEE DataPort.
- IEEE Technical Activities consists of 42 technical societies and councils addressing the largest fields of interest in electrical engineering from Computer, Communications, Signal Processing, Power and Energy to Electronic Devices.
- IEEE is a volunteer led organization. All leadership positions are volunteer members empowered to make strategic and financial decisions.
All volunteers provide their time and effort without compensation to advance the IEEE mission.
Kramer. While there is competition on particular fronts – particular student chapters, individual conferences or journals with over lapping fields of interest — I don’t see real competition at the organizational level. There are other organizations who also publish, who have membership near the IEEE scale, who do standards, but these differ too substantially in their scope and purpose or the technical interests they advance. At the micro-level, where there is real competition, there are choices among publications or conferences or events – we need to be constantly advancing excellence and through it value. In terms of competition for dues, we’re all against increases, but the question is much more whether individuals will choose to participate and contribute without joining at all – they need to see value in the participation, not in the relative dues. For students and those early in their career in particular, and also, frankly, for me, the choice much more one of how limited time and effort will be spent –my time is the most valuable thing I have to give you. IEEE, and the IEEE Computer Society membership, should represent an opportunity membership can bring to be a changemaker for yourself and others.
Question 3. What is your organizational leadership style?
Fujii. My organizational leadership style is strategic and transformational that engages all constituents to properly define the problem and evolve viable solutions for the greater good of all IEEE. By being total inclusive of all constituents, my IEEE and industry executive leadership experiences have consistently demonstrated that we can achieve a richer and more viable solution to any problem. This leadership style has been tested in my three leadership roles: 1) As TAB Vice President during the COVID pandemic, we pivoted from our traditional approach to create new approaches to still produce a net $70M profit; 2) As Computer Society President, I helped return the society to net positive profitability; and 3) As Vice President at Northrop Grumman, I grew a new engineering division to $1.086B annual revenues.
By being inclusive of all IEEE constituents in defining the problem, we can focus on real world solutions not nice slogan goals. Once the problem and viable solutions are defined, we will act quickly to fund the project. We need to be agile in execution, pivoting to alternative approaches if the solution is not evolving. I will engage in all phases and will resolve any procedural hurdles to keep moving forward.
The real power behind IEEE programs comes from the grassroots volunteer base. As we engage in mission-based programs (societal challenges that future generations desire engagement), we will turn to our grassroots leadership to manage a multi-disciplinary team to create solutions.
Working together in an inclusive approach, we can solve any problem.
Kramer. I am a transformational leader –this tells you both about my why and about my how. I see my leadership purpose as needing to advance both mission and values, and this needs to be with and for others. When leading, I look to inspire, motivate, and model the meaningful change we are working to accomplish. I am myself often inspired by others, and see in their different gifts an opportunity for me to grow and learn from their example. I enjoy working with many different kinds of people and personalities – I welcome this challenge of leadership. I admit to being an extrovert in that I typically find myself highly energized by working with and learning from others. My leadership style requires a joint investment of effort, and working towards shared sense of ownership in both the strategic outcomes and in the responsibilities as we advance change. I value my own time and assume others do as well. My work is not just for a short-term checking of a box or line on a resume. Instead, I strive always to make a meaningful difference. By contributing collaborative leadership, I work to avoid seeing a zero-sum game, and instead find a win in a whole that becomes much greater than the sum of the parts.