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Francis B. Grosz, Jr.

Candidate for 2022 IEEE President-Elect 

We can build a better, stronger
IEEE by working together.

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed herein are the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of IEEE.

Dear friends and fellow IEEE Members,

I am sincerely honored to have been nominated as a candidate for 2022 IEEE President-Elect by the IEEE Board of Directors.  IEEE is my professional organization and its success is important to me.  I have been an IEEE volunteer for 40 years with a diverse background in IEEE and we have an impressive list of accomplishments.  Yet many potential members, especially in industry, do not find value with us.  I believe we can do more for our members and potential members while overcoming the challenges presented by the changing landscape of the world today.  I appreciate your visiting my Web site today and hope you find answers to any questions you might have.  But if not, feel free to send me an e-mail at f.b.grosz@ieee.org; I shall do my best to answer it promptly.  And with your strong support, I hope we can all continue working together to make IEEE better and stronger and to continue to fulfill our shared mission of Advancing Technology for Humanity.

              Francis

Why am I seeking this position now?

Even before the pandemic, IEEE faced challenges.  Open Access mandates threatened our traditional publications model, which is IEEE's largest revenue stream.  We have been dealing with that very successfully with open and hybrid publications, but this is going to continue to evolve.  There is both internal and external pressure to reduce dues.  And the membership mix is changing, with higher grade membership declining in many Regions and student member membership growing rapidly in Regions 8, 9, and 10.  Then CoVID struck.  This forced major changes in our conference model.  We had to pivot rapidly to virtual or hybrid conferences, which we did very well thanks to a lot of hard work by volunteers and staff, but some of these changes will linger after the pandemic.  And of course other meetings had to become virtual as well.

But while IEEE is facing significant challenges, we are not without resources.  We are the world's largest professional technical organization, with around 400,000 members.  We have financial reserves to help carry us through this time.  We have an incredible corps of volunteers, tens of thousands of volunteers who devote their time and talents to making IEEE the outstanding organization that is is.  And we have an amazing professional staff who regards IEEE as more than just a job and is dedicated to our mission and vision.

I believe we have the resources to not only meet but to surmount these challenges and emerge a better, stronger, bigger IEEE, one better able to engage the public, better able to provide service and value to our members, and better able to fulfill our mission of Advancing Technology for Humanity.  I would sincerely appreciate the chance to be part of the team that leads IEEE through these next several years.

Position Statement

Let's keep what we do well and improve what we can.

IEEE is a large, complex organization and we do many things well.  We need to keep and support those activities where we excel.  At the same time, we must continue to improve in those areas where we are not as effective.  For example, I believe that we must increase support for local Organizational Units and increase Industry Engagement, and I think that there is a natural synergy there.  I will work to:

Provide support and tools for increased Local OU activity.

​I believe that the local Organizational Units (Sections, Chapters, Affinity Groups, and Student Branches) offer IEEE a tremendous opportunity for increasing engagement and value for our members and prospective members, and increased public recognition of our profession.  We need to continue and increase our support for the local OU activities.  The current MGA Local Groups pilot offers a tremendous opportunity for local OUs to increase engagement with their members and non-members and also increase industry engagement.  A Local Group may be formed by a Section with minimal overhead to meet the needs of the local community and may bridge the current IEEE technical structure.  When I talk with Section and Chapter Leaders around the world I often hear that their biggest problem is arranging interesting meetings with engaging speakers; we need a workable tool to help them with this process.  Chapters are often the primary means of delivering technical content in an area; we should continue to support the joint TA/MGA Ad Hoc Committee on Chapter Support.  And we should continue to seek ways in which the IEEE can offer increased and effective support for the local OUs.

Increase Industry Engagement.

​IEEE has been working for years to increase our engagement with industry.  We need to continue those efforts and find ways in which we can be more effective.  There is an old adage that all politics is local.  I believe that effective industry engagement, especially for smaller and medium-sized companies, can and must be done at the local level.  The local OUs should be given the support and tools to do this.  The Local Groups pilot mentioned above is, I believe, one effective way to do this in many cases.  Local OU leaders should be encouraged to talk with local industry and discuss their needs.  For example, perhaps local OUs can arrange seminars or short courses appropriate to the company.  (This can also be a source of revenue to the local OU.)  If additional resources are needed, there should be some mechanism for them to reach out to the higher levels of IEEE and some way for the necessary support to be provided.  Societies can also be encouraged to provide conferences oriented toward industry practitioners or to to provide an industry track, where a program oriented toward their needs is available.

Support our global efforts in Diversity, Inclusion, and Ethics.

​We should work to reduce barriers to full participation in IEEE wherever they exist.  We are bound to observe the laws of the countries in which we operate, but should always be a champion of diversity and inclusion and work to remove any impediments to equal opportunity for all of our members.  IEEE is also a leader in ethics, both for our members and in the ethical use of technology.  As the world becomes increasingly driven by technology, keeping a strong focus on the ethical constraints of technology will be critical for humanity.

We must continue to work together to build IEEE, and for IEEE to build the world we want for ourselves and our children.

We must continue to work together if we are to accomplish all that we are capable of doing.  This means several things.  We must continue to break down silos.  For example, joint committees of the major OUs such as the joint TA/MGA committee on Chapter Support allow us to be more effective.  Financial transparency, such as that which will be provided by the NextGen financial system, builds trust and confidence in teamwork.  We must work together to provide the personalized experience that people expect today.  If we can develop a set pf common goals and align all of our resources toward fulfilling our vision, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.


IEEE Activities and Achievements

I joined IEEE as a sophomore in college, have been an IEEE volunteer for 40 years, and am currently a Life Senior member. As a graduate student I joined Eta Kappa Nu. I am a member of the New Orleans Section and have held every Section office except Treasurer and was a member of the Region 5 Executive Committee for about 20 years. I am a past Region 5 Director and a past IEEE Vice-President for Member & Geographic Activities and served on the IEEE Board of Directors for three years. On the Society side I have been active in a number of conferences including serving as General Vice-Chair of the 1990 International Symposium on Circuits and Systems and as Technical Program Co-Chair of the Communications Society’s 2008 Globecom Conference and of the 2010 PES Transmission & Distribution Conference and Exhibition. I have been a member of the conference committees of five PES T&D Conferences and am currently a member of the local organizing committee for the 2022 Transmission and Distribution Conference in New Orleans.

 

My original Society was the Circuits and Systems Society, of which I am still a member. Since I have a variety of interests, I am a member of CAS; Power & Energy Society; Computer Society; Communications Society; Industry Applications Society; Solid-State Circuits Society; Broadcast Technology Society; Consumer Electronics Society; Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society; and the Society on the Social Implications of Technology. I am also a member of the Life Members and Women in Engineering groups.

 

Since joining the University of New Orleans Student Branch as a sophomore, I served as the UNO Student Branch Counselor for three years and received the Outstanding Electrical Engineering Teacher Award from the Branch in 1985. I was the Region 5 Student Activities Coordinator for four years. I also served a two year term as a member of the Young Professionals Committee.

 

I served the New Orleans Section in every office except Treasurer, including three years as Chair, and still attend Section Executive Committee meetings. I received a Third Millenium Medal, in 2007 the Section’s Edward R, Freitag Award and recently received the very first Section Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

For Region 5 I served as Awards Chair, East Area Chair, Student Activities Coordinator, a member of the Education Committee, Conference Committee Vice-Chair, and Region Director-Elect, Director, and Past Director. I received the Region 5 Outstanding Member Award in 2008.

 

I served five years on the Member and Geographic Activities Board; two years as Region 5 Director and one year each as V-P-Elect, Vice President and Board Chair, and as Past V-P. I also served on the MGA Nominations & Appointments Committee, the Geographic Unit Operations Support Committee, the Operations Committee, and the Strategic Planning Committee. As V-P for MGA, then Vice-President for Technical Activities Ray Liu and I started the Joint TA/MGA Committee on Section/Chapter Support which continues as the Joint Chapter Support Committee and is seeking to become a standing TA/MGA Committee. I also served on the TA/MGA Ad Hoc Committee for Local Groups.

 

I was a member of the IEEE Board of Directors for three years, two as Region Director and one as Vice-President for MGA. I served on the Student Activities Committee for four years; on the Audit Committee for two years, one as Chair; and on the Governance Committee. With Ray Liu, I Co-Chaired the 2019 Ad Hoc Committee on Member Engagement which had three sub-committees working on various aspects of increasing membership and member engagement.

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About Me

Career: The majority of my career has been in industry, although I did teach for several years as an Assistant Professor at the University of New Orleans and as Adjunct Faculty at UNO and Tulane University.  Employers included WWL-AM/FM/TV, Litton Data Systems (twice), and the Naval Research Laboratory.  I was also a co-founder of Omni Technologies, Inc., an advanced technology/R&D consulting engineering firm.  Our clients included Federal and local government agencies, primarily the Navy and NASA, as well as commercial clients and we usually built the custom instrumentation, SONAR and acoustic, fiber optic and communications systems we designed.
 
Education:  I have a B.S in Physics, a B.S. in Engineering Sciences, and an M.S. in Engineering, all from Louisiana State University in New Orleans (now the University of New Orleans).  I also hold a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  I am an Eta Kappa Nu member and a registered Professional Engineer and I served on two NCEES committees.

Personal:  I am retired from full-time employment, although I occasionally do some consulting.  I read extensively in a wide variety of areas, including technology, history, biography, and science fiction.  Like most of us, I work around the house and I grow roses.  My principal hobby is designing and building custom electronics for my interests, which in particular include high-precision time and frequency sources.  I am an Extra class Amateur Radio Operator callsign K5FBG.  I also have a General Radiotelephone Operator license (formerly First-Class license) with Ship Radar endorsement and between degrees was a broadcast engineer for WWL-AM/FM/TV in New Orleans.  In 2001 I was recognized by the University of New Orleans as an Outstanding Engineering Alumnus.  I hold two U.S. Patents and received a NASA Spact Act Award.  And I volunteer with IEEE.