IEEE USA News
 IEEE-USA
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CONTENTS

- ELECTION UPDATE

- CALL FOR NOMINATIONS FOR 2001 ELECTION

- SECOND-QUARTER ISSUE OF IEEE-USA's *TODAY'S ENGINEER* CONSIDERS 'THE DIVERSITY CHALLENGE'

- ENERGY SYMPOSIUM ON 'INSURING ELECTRIC POWER RELIABILITY' SLATED FOR 24 MAY IN WASHINGTON

- THIRD BIENNIAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INTERNET & SOCIETY SET FOR 31 MAY AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY

- DURRANI ACCEPTS GOVERNMENT FELLOWSHIP AT FCC

- IEEE-USA PLACES CONGRESSIONAL FELLOW AT CRS

- FIRST IEEE-USA MASS MEDIA FELLOW PLACED

- From The President: Age Discrimination

- HISSEY RECEIVES AAES ROE AWARD FOR PROMOTING ENGINEERING UNITY

- IEEE-USA OPPOSITION TO UCITA CITED IN RECENT *BUSINESS WEEK* ARTICLE

- CONSULTANTS WORKSHOP SET FOR 10 JUNE IN CALIFORNIA

- LEGISLATION TO INCREASE H-1B VISA CAPS MOVES FORWARD

- 'MACHINE DESIGN' PLUGS IEEE-USA DISCUSSION FORUMS

- IEEE-USA SYMPOSIUM RATES ELECTRIC POWER RELIABILITY

- 'WASHINGTON POST' EDITORIAL ECHOES IEEE-USA'S POSITION ON H-1B LEGISLATION

- IEEE ANNOUNCES NEW STAFF POLICY ON DIVERSITY

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ELECTION UPDATE
 
Mr. Michael R. Andrews has informed the IEEE Board of Directors of his
decision to withdraw his candidacy for the office of IEEE-USA
President-Elect 2001. With Mr. Andrews' withdrawal from the race, two
candidates remain on the 2000 IEEE Annual Election Bllot: Ms. LeEarl A.
Bryant and Mr. Robert P. Noberini.
 
Information on the 2000 IEEE Annual Election can be obtained from: Fern
Katronetsky - IEEE Corporate Activities +1 732 562 3932,
f.katronetsky@ieee.org or Angela Wyckoff - IEEE Corporate Activities +1 732
562 6526, a.wyckoff@ieee.org
 
 
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS FOR 2001 ELECTION
 
The slate is set for the 2000 Ballot, but the IEEE-USA Nominations and
Appointments Committee is asking your help in identifying IEEE U.S. members
who may be interested in, and well-qualified for, service in various 2001
IEEE-USA offices. This is great opportunity to contribute your talents to
promoting the professional interests of IEEE's U.S. members. For more
details, check out: http://www.ieeeusa.org/election/nominations.html
 
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SECOND-QUARTER ISSUE OF IEEE-USA's *TODAY'S ENGINEER*
CONSIDERS 'THE DIVERSITY CHALLENGE'
 
"Recruiting more women and minority group members for engineering positions
in industry, academia, and government" and "encouraging girls and minority
pupils in school to excel in math and science and to become familiar with
what engineers do" are just some of the challenges that engineering faces
today, according to an article in the second quarter 2000 issue of TODAY'S
ENGINEER to be mailed to subscribers at the end of May. As head of IBM's
Women in Technology Steering Committee, Linda Scherr is on the front lines.
Says Scherr: "In recognition of the shortage of technology skills,
a lot of corporations, including IBM, are trying to figure out ways to be
attractive to most of the available talent pool, including women and
minorities." For more information, go to www.todaysengineer.org.
 
 
ENERGY SYMPOSIUM ON 'INSURING ELECTRIC POWER RELIABILITY'
SLATED FOR 24 MAY IN WASHINGTON
 
IEEE-USA is one of several organizers for the energy symposium "Ensuring
Electric Power Reliability, The Challenges Ahead." The symposium seeks to
educate policymakers on key technology issues associated with the electric
power industry, and is scheduled for 24 May at the Hyatt Regency
Washington. Featured will be keynote addresses provided by Bill
Richardson, Secretary of Energy (invited); and Kurt Yeager, President and
CEO, Electric Power Research Institute. The program includes four panel
sessions that examine the interconnection between technical reliability
issues and policy impacts in reliability and markets, reliability
management, reliability oversight, and reliability research and development.
To register, go to http://ieeeusa.org/electricpower/register.html .
 
 
THIRD BIENNIAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INTERNET
& SOCIETY SET FOR 31 MAY AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY
 
The Third Biennial International Conference on Internet and Society is
scheduled at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, on 31 May - 2 June. The
theme is "The Power of Information: Opportunities & Ethical Dilemmas in the
Internet Age."
 
Representatives of IEEE-USA's Committee on Communications and Information
Policy (CCIP) will discuss the range of possibilities with respect to the
telecommunications infrastructure over the next decade. They are expected to
stress that the infrastructure must evolve to support ubiquitous, high bandwidth, digital
connectivity to end-users as the basis for high-speed, digital, interactive multimedia
services. IEEE-USA CCIP is chaired by Shastri Divakaruni, Director,
Engineering, Cisco Systems, Inc. The vice chair is Jean Camp, Assistant
Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University, Kennedy School of
Government.
Other topics for the meeting include e-commerce, health, ethics and
education.
 
Harvard's previous Internet conferences, held in 1996 and 1998,
have attracted audiences from all over the world and included leaders in
business, technology, academia, government and law.
 
To register: call +1 617 204 4234, go to www.is2k.harvard.edu, or e-mail
is2k@harvard.edu. Travel and accommodation information (including group
rates) is available online with group rates also available.
 
 
DURRANI ACCEPTS GOVERNMENT FELLOWSHIP AT FCC
 
Sajjad H. Durrani, Sc.D., has accepted a one year IEEE-USA Government
Fellowship beginning in June, to work as a special adviser to the Federal
Communication Commission's Office of Engineering and Technology.
During his fellowship, Dr. Durrani will address issues related to network
and wireless technologies, as well as interference issues involving
communications satellites in non-geostationary orbits. According to
Durrani, "the FCC is faced with many competing applications for new systems
and services, which have national and international implications. The
Fellowship will allow me to provide technical input to policymakers on
these issues."
 
Dr. Durrani retired from the Computer Sciences Corporation in 1998, where he
worked on NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) research and development
projects involving satellite communications and operations. Most recently,
he was a consultant under the U.N. Development Program, and in 1998 was a
guest lecturer at the International Space University (Strasbourg, France).
A Fellow of the Institute, Durrani is past chair of the Washington section,
a past president
of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society, and has served on
editorial boards
of IEEE SPECTRUM and the IEEE PROCEEDINGS.
 
IEEE-USA's Government Fellowship recruits qualified IEEE U.S. members to
spend a year in Washington serving as advisers to the U.S. Congress and key
Executive Branch decision-makers. For more information on Government
Fellowships, contact IEEE-USA Director of Government Relations, Chris
Brantley, at c.brantley@ieee.org, tel. +1 202 785 0017, ext. 8347; or
consult http://www.ieeeusa.org/forum/govfel.
 
 
IEEE-USA PLACES CONGRESSIONAL FELLOW AT CRS
 
Larry Chasteen begins his assignment this month as an IEEE-USA Congressional
Fellow with the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Chasteen,
a Senior Member of the IEEE, is the chair of the Dallas IEEE
Section. He also served as vice chair and held other Section offices, as
well as helped the Dallas Section win the 1997 Region 5 Membership Growth
Award.
>From 1996-98, Chasteen was a member of the Aerospace and Electronics System
Society (AESS) National Board of Governors. He served as chairman of the
Dallas AESS chapter from 1992-1993, vice chairman from 1991-1992, and
secretary/treasurer from 1990-1991
 
IEEE-USA's Congressional Fellowship program was created to further
effective use of scientific and technical knowledge in government, to
educate the scientific and engineering community on the public policy
process, and to broaden the perspectives of the science, engineering and
governmental communities on the value of such interactions.
Additional information is available from Chris Brantley at
c.brantley@ieee.org .
 
 
FIRST IEEE-USA MASS MEDIA FELLOW PLACED
 
IEEE-USA has placed its first Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellow,
Elan Ruskin, at the ST. LOUIS (MO) POST-DISPATCH. For 10 weeks
from 12 June to 18 August, the AAAS Mass Media Science
and Engineering Fellows Program places students in the natural and
social sciences and engineering at radio and television stations,
and newspapers and magazines throughout the country. Ruskin is currently
working towards his BSE in Computer Science Engineering at the University of
Pennsylvania. Additional information is available from Pender McCarter
at p.mccarter@ieee.org.
 
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From The President: Age Discrimination
By Merrill W. Buckley, Jr.
2000 President,
IEEE-United States of America
 
In this, the second of the monthly "From the President" series, I want to
focus on age discrimination.
 
Mark Twain said that when he was 15, he thought his father was the most
ignorant man on the face of the earth. So he ran away from home to work on
a Mississippi steamboat. He returned at 25, and was "amazed to find out how
much the old man had learned in 10 years."
 
Too much of the discussion about age discrimination in our profession misses
Twain's point. I hear it all the time -- older electrical engineers' skills
are out of date, their salary demands are too high, IT workers as young as
35 want a life outside the job so they are not as "reliable" as younger
workers.
 
As the U.S. career services and public policy arm of the IEEE, with 230,000
U.S. members to represent, we are working to counter these false
impressions. Our ongoing efforts on behalf of older members include:
IEEE-USA's Older Workers Initiative, begunby 1999 President Paul Kostek
http://www.ieeeusa.org/bod/kostek/opi/index.htm; the Age Discrimination page
on our Website http://www.ieeeusa.org/EMPLOYMENT/age.html; the Older Workers
Survey that is now in the field, with results due in June .
 
But why should younger IEEE members care about age discrimination? Consider
what those who deny the serious evidence of age discrimination, particularly
in IT, are really saying. I don't believe that as a group, older engineers
have failed to keep up their skills. We all know that, as Twain might have
put it, book learning isn't the same as job experience. Our profession
changes so fast that, because we are a profession, being an electrical
engineer means that you have to stay current to survive. What those who
claim that older workers must be out of touch are really saying, is that the
IT industries are a short career. Get in at 25, get out by 40, and do
something else for the rest of your life. If you can.
 
That is where the IEEE-USA, your advocate, comes in. We don't accept
that our profession is a throw-away career. We believe continual
improvement is vital. And we know that the value an engineer adds to our
economy and our society grows with experience.
 
Those who have now turned 40, 50or older have the immeasurable benefit of
keeping their skills current through one of the most profound periods of
accelerating technology in history. Those who are 29 today will be 39 and 49
a lot sooner than they might think. Programmers whose newly-minted skills
are in Java and Linux might keep in mind that, 20 years ago, the
newly-minted skills were C and C++. What happened to COBOL and Fortran will
happen to Java, too, and the same arguments might be heard again. "Y2K
graduates with computer degrees are out of date," someone may claim in 2020.
"Nobody does Java anymore, and Linux has moved parsecs since the invention
of Digital Oxygen. We need younger workers who can do voice-response
programming in Chinese..."
 
Twain was right, if these changes occur, some who deny the obvious evidence
of age discrimination now will be amazed to discover how far ahead of its
time IEEE-USA was. But we're not going to let that happen, because we're
already fighting for older workers -- and younger ones -- right now.
 
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HISSEY RECEIVES AAES ROE AWARD
FOR PROMOTING ENGINEERING UNITY
 
IEEE Director Emeritus Theodore W. Hissey, Jr. received the AAES Kenneth
Andrew Roe Award given "on behalf of the engineering community to
recognize an engineer who has been effective in promoting unity among the
engineering societies." Mrs. Hazel Roe presented the award during the 21st
annual awards ceremony held 8 May in the Great Hall of the National Academy
of Engineering in Washington, DC. In accepting, the IEEE Director
Emeritus noted the profession's laudable efforts in improving engineers'
collaborative business skills.
 
Hissey is an engineer, technical manager, and consultant in
electric power network automation and electric power sector
restructuring. He has been a longtime volunteer and corporate leader with
the IEEE and the Institute's Power Engineering Society. From 1997-98,
Hissey was president of the United Engineering Trustees, during its
transition to the current United Engineering Foundation. He worked for 43
years in engineering and management at Leeds and Northrop Co., a unit of
General Signal. Hissey is currently an executive consultant for KEMA
Consulting, based in Fairfax, VA, and Horsham, PA.
 
 
IEEE-USA OPPOSITION TO UCITA
CITED IN RECENT *BUSINESS WEEK* ARTICLE
 
According to a commentary by Neil Gross in the 17 April BUSINESS WEEK,
consideration of "the Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act (UCITA)
is setting
off alarms with many software users, consumer advocates, and technology
associations"
including the IEEE, ACM, the American Library Assn., and the Consumers
Union. Wrote Gross: "Most of these organizations have concluded that UCITA
will
dilute the warranty protection that customers receive under software
licenses. It will also weaken their ability to sue software vendors whose
programs are riddled with bugs."
 
The BUSINESS WEEK writer concludes: "Under current law, if you buy a
computer in a
store, you can insist on seeing the warranty before you hand over any money.
But with UCITA
in place, the store can treat the programs you buy for that PC differently.
You won't see the warranty or license until after you pay for the product
and start to install the program."
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CONSULTANTS WORKSHOP SET FOR 10 JUNE IN CALIFORNIA
 
Are you a new or practicing consultant living or working in the Los Angeles
area? If you are, you will want to make plans to attend the annual Alliance
of IEEE Consultants Networks (AICN) Consultants Workshop, to be held in
Universal City, CA, on 10 June. AICN's objectives include fostering the
growth of Consultants' Networks in the United States, encouraging
consultants to join existing networks or form new ones, promoting the use of
independent technical and engineering consultants by industry and business,
and providing educational activities for self-employed members. Speakers at
the workshop will cover such topics as:
 
- Mid-Career Changes
- How to Start Consulting
- Legal Issues: Intellectual Property and Incorporation
- Insurance Needs and Tax Issues
- Use of Web Sites for Consulting
 
For more details, read the May issue of the Engineering Independent, the
IEEE Los Angeles Consultants Network Newsletter or visit
http://www.ieeeusa.org/notable/aicnworkshop.htm. There is a
pre-registration form (13KB Adobe PDF file) that you can download, print,
fill out and send in to save $10 off the on-site registration fee. The
workshop will be held at the Universal City Hilton Hotel, 555 Universal
Terrace Parkway, Universal City, CA.
 
 
LEGISLATION TO INCREASE H-1B VISA CAPS MOVES FORWARD
 
The Senate is poised to vote this week on legislation (S.2045) by Senators
Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Spencer Abraham (R-MI), which would increase the
current caps on H-1B visas used to sponsor high-tech guestworkers from
107,500 to 195,000, with open-ended exemptions for guestworkers employed by
educational and research institutions and for research graduates with
Masters or Ph.D. degrees. Senate Republican leaders are negotiating with
key Democrats in hopes of securing a unanimous consent (UC) agreement, which
would allow the bill to pass quietly by voice vote without extensive debate.
If efforts to secure a UC are unsuccessful, it is expected that Senator Ted
Kennedy (D-Mass.) and others will offer floor amendments to add educational
funding and immigration reforms to the Hatch bill, which are likely to
prompt lively floor debate.
 
In the House, the Judiciary Committee began an acrimonious mark-up of the
Technology Worker Temporary Relief Act (H.R. 4227) on 9 May. Introduced by
Immigration Subcommittee Chair Lamar Smith (R-Texas), H.R. 4227 would
eliminate the current cap on H-1B visas used to sponsor foreign high-tech
guest-workers through FY 2002.
 
White House Letter
 
The White House put its oar in the water with a 10 May letter to
Congressional leaders endorsing a increase in the H-1B visa cap to 200,000.
The letter, from the President's Domestic Policy Adviser Gene Sperling, also
proposed a special visa set-aside for workers with Masters or higher degrees
and for higher education and research institutions, along with an increase
in visa filing fees from $500 to $2,000 for most companies, with additional
funds going to college scholarships and worker retraining. The Smith and
Dreier-Lofgren bills would boost the fee to $1,000, while S.2045 retains the
current $500 fee.
 
IEEE-USA's Continuing Efforts
 
IEEE-USA continues its efforts to promote permanent immigration reforms,
education, and workforce protections as an preferable alternative to
expanding reliance on temporary guestworkers to meet high-tech workforce
needs.
 
On 17 April, Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of
International Immigration released an IEEE-USA sponsored study on H-1B
Temporary Workers: Estimating the Population, which concludes that if
pending legislation passes and the H-1B ceiling is set at 195,000, the
population will peak at 710,000 in 2002. The report also forecasts that the
permanent immigration system will absorb only 25,000 H-1B workers and their
families each year, given historical trends, current caps on
employment-based visas, and per-country ceilings on admissions. Less than
25 percent of the H-1B workers admitted under are likely to be able to
adjust. (See the study and related press release at
http://www.ieeeusa.org/grassroots/immreform/ISIMh1brelease.html)
 
IEEE-USA President Merrill Buckley joined Linus Torvalds (Linux creator),
Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple Computer), Esther Dyson (EDventure
Holdings), and a long list of high tech entrepreneurs and IT professionals
in an Open Letter to Congress urging "Green Cards, Not Guest Workers," which
appeared as a full-page ad in the ROLL CALL congressional newspaper on 1
May. A copy of the ad and related press release by the Immigration Reform
Coalition can be reviewed at
http://www.immigrationreform.com/openletter.html.
 
AAES Policy Statement
 
The Engineers' Public Policy Council of the American Association of
Engineering Societies also recently joined IEEE-USA in promoting immigration
and education as an alternative to guestworkers. On 28 April, EPPC adopted
a position statement on "Ensuring a Strong High-Tech Workforce in the 21st
Century" and followed with a 10 May letter to the U.S.
Senate. You can view the statement on-line at
http://www.aaes.org/publicpolicy/statements/hightechwork.htm.
 
For more information on pending legislation and IEEE-USA's efforts, visit
the IEEE-USA Immigration Reform Network at
http://www.ieeeusa.org/grassroots/immreform.
 
 
'MACHINE DESIGN' PLUGS IEEE-USA DISCUSSION FORUMS
 
A brief announcement in the "Engineering Career Buzz" section of the 6 April
MACHINE DESIGN noted that IEEE-USA has launched a new Web site, the IEEE-USA
Discussion Forum, to give members a chance to participate directly in career
and policy programs and activities. The article noted that the current
forums focus on professional activities such as R&D, retirement security,
immigration reform, local outreach activities and the Government Fellows
program.
 
If you have not already, register now for the IEEE-USA Discussion Forums.
New forums will be added as new interest networks and audiences are
identified. Registered users can post messages and reply to the messages
posted by others. Sign up now at
http://www.ieeeusa.org/boards/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi.
 
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IEEE-USA SYMPOSIUM RATES ELECTRIC POWER RELIABILITY
 
More than 100 leaders in electric power from
industry, government and academia today contemplated a brave new world
for electrical consumers in the not too distant future -- a time when
citizens can call up the latest electric power rates on the Internet and
dispatch instructions to their home to turn smart appliances on or off
according to their price tolerances. IEEE-USA and the Consortium for
Electric Reliability Technology Solutions (CERTS) organized a one-day
symposium on "Ensuring Electric Power Reliability -- The Challenges Ahead."
 
In a morning panel session on reliability management, Paul McCoy, senior
vice president of Trans-Elect, observed that until recently electrical
reliability was ensured by the nation's top 25 public and private utilities.
However, since 1995, with deregulation of utilities in 23 states plus
Washington, DC, new
structures have not grown to fill the reliability gap, McCoy said. He added
that the transition will take longer and will cost more than
imagined. When these new structures are in place, McCoy indicated, they will
be doing a better job than the status quo.
 
In one of two morning keynote addresses at the IEEE-USA/CERTS symposium,
Craven Crowell, chair and CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority, stated that
a combination of quantity and quality electricity is required to bridge the
digital divide.
Crowell added that electricity is "fueling the Internet age," and that an
investment
of patient capital is essential for future successes.
 
In a luncheon keynote, Kurt Yeager, president and CEO of the Electric Power
Research Institute (EPRI), noted that electric power will accelerate the
digital revolution and help move the nation from an industrial to a network
economy. According to Yeager, electricity is the "lifeblood" of an adaptive
economy.
 
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'WASHINGTON POST' EDITORIAL ECHOES IEEE-USA'S POSITION ON H-1B LEGISLATION
 
As measures to increase the H-1B visa ceilings cruise through the House and
Senate with little opposition, IEEE-USA continues to seek alternative
legislative solutions, including additional safeguards and provisions for
American high-tech workers. On Monday, 22 May, a 'Washington Post'
editorial entitled "High-Tech Help Wanted" (p. A20) echoed critical parts of
IEEE-USA's position on the H-1B issue. Conceding that Congress will
"eventually agree to the high-tech industry's request for a boost in the
number of skilled workers that can be hired from overseas" the letter
contended that "data documenting a broad shortage of technology workers is
lacking" and that the legislation under current consideration is "a patch on
the problem, not a solution."
 
IEEE-USA continues to promote its "Green Cards, Not Guestworkers" proposal
as a better solution to the contentious issue. IEEE-USA's initiative
supports reforms to the permanent immigration system that would allow
industry to recruit needed high-tech workers using the currently
underutilized permanent immigration visa categories. For more on this,
visit IEEE-USA's Public Policy Forum at
http://www.ieeeusa.org/forum/index.html
 
 
PEC ANNOUNCES 2000 PACE PROJECT COMPETITION
 
The IEEE-USA Precollege Education Committee (PEC) is pleased to announce the
fourth annual competition to identify outstanding precollege education
activities conducted by IEEE U.S. sections. The competition recognizes
volunteer efforts to enhance the teaching of K-12 math, science, and
technology and gives these efforts visibility so that other IEEE sections
can emulate them.
 
One of the goals of the IEEE-USA Precollege Education Committee is to
increase the participation of IEEE members in K-12 education and related
activities at the local level. To recognize the most outstanding of these
activities, this competition will select three preeminent projects. The
reward for winning the competition will be participation for one of the
project leaders in the 2000 IEEE-USA Professional Development Conference
over Labor Day weekend, September 1-4, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
 
For more information on the PEC competition, visit
http://www.ieeeusa.org/notable/k12contest.htm
 
 
IEEE ANNOUNCES NEW STAFF POLICY ON DIVERSITY
 
The IEEE recently announced its new staff policy on diversity. Please see
text below:
 
"The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. has a vision
and mission for recognizing and fostering inclusiveness and diversity among
its staff. Because actions that benefit everyone are evolved from a
collaboration of many minds and disciplines, the IEEE vision is to ensure
that inclusiveness and diversity are part of the natural order of business
in the workplace.
 
"The IEEE's diversity mission is to support an environment that recognizes a
wide range of human experiences, similarities and differences -- including
race, gender, age, religion, culture, sexual orientation, ethnic and
national origin. By showing respect for each individual, as well as his or
her identity, customs and beliefs, the IEEE seeks to encourage a spirit of
camaraderie and cooperation that benefits the IEEE, the staff and the
communities we serve.
 
"Each employee is expected to support the vision and participate in the
mission to foster a workplace environment that treats everyone with respect
and dignity, as well as promotes teamwork, growth and development."
 
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Updated 06/019/2000