IEEE USA News
 IEEE-USA
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 1202 - Washington, DC 20036-5104
Tel: +1 202 785 0017 - Fax: +1 202 785 0835
Web: http://www.ieeeusa.org
 
Greg Hill, Member & Electronic Communications Coordinator
g.hill@ieee.org, 202-785-0017, ext. 8335 www.ieeeusa.org
 

CONTENTS
- VISIT THE NEW IEEE-USA CAREERCON PAGE; REGISTER EARLY!
- IEEE-USA PRESIDENT BUCKLEY STRESSES PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
- FALL ISSUE OF *TODAY'S ENGINEER* FOCUSES ON 'TOUGH' ISSUES
- IEEE-USA's FIRST MASS MEDIA FELLOW REPORTS IN FROM ST. LOUIS
- *PERSPECTIVES* EDITORIAL LOOKS AT BENEFITS AS A RETENTION CARROT
- PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES' Q&A FORUM TO APPEAR ONLINE
- IEEE-USA REMEMBERS LONGTIME VOLUNTEER AND FRIEND BILL MIDDLETON
- FINANCE COMMITTEE APPROVES PENSION REFORM/IRA EXPANSION,
GRASSROOTS COMMUNICATIONS ARE NEEDED NOW TO ENSURE FAVORABLE SENATE VOTE
- IEEE-USA OPPOSES POTENTIAL DROP IN CIVILIAN R&D EXPENDITURES
- HEAR THE IEEE AND IEEE-USA PRESIDENT-ELECT CANDIDATES
- THE INTERNET. . . WHAT'S NEXT
 
 
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VISIT THE NEW IEEE-USA CAREERCON PAGE; REGISTER EARLY!
http://www.ieeeusa.org/careercon
 
 
The 11th Biennial IEEE-USA Careers Conference will be held 2-3 November
2000 at the Wyndham Hotel-San Jose. The conference theme is "Utilizing and
Retaining Technical Professionals in Today's Marketplace." This unique
conference has been conducted for over 20 years and provides CEOs, human
resource professionals, engineering managers, engineers and academics with
the most up-to-date research and information about best practices for
employing technical professionals in the current work force. The conference
will have the following breakout sessions from which to choose: Alternative
Staffing Approaches; Career Development and Mentoring; Changing Workforce
Environments; Educational Opportunities; Enhancing Engineering Careers;
Maintaining the Vitality of Your Technical Professionals; Society's Role in
Career Development Needs; Tools For Retention; Using Technology.
 
 
Who Should Attend? CEOs, human resource professionals, engineering
managers, managers of technical professionals, academics, engineers will be
able to learn about current research regarding knowledge workers, distance
learning, and find out what skills and tools are needed for the new
millennium. Also come hear about different methods of mentoring, new
staffing alternatives, and how to maintain the vitality of your technical
professionals in a rapidly changing work force.
 
 
To register, visit our registration page at:
http://www.ieeeusa.org/careercon/registration/
 
 
 
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IEEE-USA PRESIDENT BUCKLEY STRESSES PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
 
In his July-August column, IEEE-USA President Merrill Buckley encourages
IEEE members to take advantage of IEEE-USA's numerous professional
development programs and urges them not to underestimate the importance of
developing their non-technical skills. In the workplace, it's easy to
spot employees in possession of good "soft" skills -- skills that often
distinguish the corporate climbers from those who get stuck on the career
merry-go-round.
 
Check out the IEEE-USA President's Column at
http://www.ieeeusa.org/intro/buckley/buckleyjulaug00.html.

 

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FALL ISSUE OF *TODAY'S ENGINEER* FOCUSES ON TOUGH ISSUES
 
The fall issue of *Today's Engineer* features tough, important issues
affecting today's practicing engineers, including the value of soft skills,
employee retention strategies, managing across generational gaps, and
developing effective delegation skills. You won't want to miss the guest
editorial from the incomparable Robert W. Lucky of Telcordia Technologies,
or the recurring "Short Circuits" that bring you trends, tips and other
thoughts from outside the cubicle.
 
Check out the news release at
http://www.ieeeusa.org/releases/000828pr.html; or email
(todaysengineer@ieee.org) for a copy of the fall issue.
 
 
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IEEE-USA's FIRST MASS MEDIA FELLOW REPORTS IN FROM ST. LOUIS
 
Helicopter rides, wild goose chases, spiked stories and other journalistic
rites of passage: The life of an IEEE-USA Science & Engineering Mass Media
Fellow is full of adventure. Just ask Elan Ruskin, who reports on the first
half of his 10-week fellowship as a reporter at the *St. Louis Post
Dispatch*. Find out how IEEE-USA's first Mass Media Fellow spent his
summer. Go to http://www.ieeeusa.org/features/ruskin.htm.
 
 
 
 
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*PERSPECTIVES* EDITORIAL LOOKS AT BENEFITS AS A RETENTION TOOL
 
As more and more human resources departments are discovering, today's
employees aren't just in it for the money. If you want to recruit and
retain the best, you will probably need to offer more than just a hefty
salary -- creative benefits packages are becoming the name of the game.
Check out George McClure's editorial from the September issue of *IEEE-USA
Perspectives* at http://www.ieeeusa.org/features/benefits.htm.
 
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PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES' Q&A FORUM TO APPEAR ONLINE
 
The candidates for 2001 IEEE President-elect and 2001 IEEE-USA
President-elect will participate in a question and answer session at this
year's Professional Development Conference (ProDevCon), to be held 1-4
September at Marriott's Camelback Inn Resort, Golf Club and Spa in
Scottsdale, AZ. Candidates for IEEE-USA President-elect, LeEarl A. Bryant
and Robert P. Noberini, will -- along with the IEEE Presidential hopefuls
Raymond D. Findlay, Lloyd A. Morley, and Arthur W. Winston -- make brief
opening and closing remarks and face questions from a moderator. The
session will be videotaped and subsequently made available for viewing on
the IEEE-USA home page. For more details, after ProDevCon, please check
http://www.ieeeusa.org.
 
** Don't miss the special election coverage in the September issue of
*IEEE-USA Perspectives*!
 

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IEEE-USA REMEMBERS LONGTIME VOLUNTEER, FRIEND BILL MIDDLETON
 
This month, IEEE-USA mourns the death of longtime IEEE leader William W.
(Bill) Middleton, after a lengthy battle with cancer. Bill's volunteer
contributions to IEEE were voluminous -- and he was held in great esteem by
staff and volunteers alike.
 
As an electrical engineering student at Penn State in 1942, Bill started
his long association with the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) and the
American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE). When the two merged to
form the IEEE in 1963, he went on to serve the IEEE for 35 years at all
levels of committee and board activities in awards, planning,
administration, ethics, engineering licensure, state government, chapters,
conferences, finance, intellectual property, training and other areas,
including IEEE-USA.
 
The scope of Bill's impact on IEEE-USA was remarkable. He served as
IEEE-USA's Controller, as well as Chair of multiple committees, including
Ethics, Opinion Survey, and Licensure & Registration. Bill was Chair of
the IEEE-USA Member Activities Council in 1993. In 1994, Bill continued to
share his talents with IEEE-USA as the liaison to the IEEE Strategic
Planning Committee; as liaison to the IEEE Publications Board; as Chair of
IEEE-USA's Communications Committee; and in other varied assignments.
 
Bill served as Editor-in-Chief of *IEEE-USA Professional Perspectives* from
1994-96. During his tenure as Editor, he collaborated with USA staff on
many of the format changes that led to the news insert's appearance today.
 
Bill's selfless contributions to the profession earned him numerous awards
and accolades, including the prestigious 1998 IEEE-USA Award for
Distinguished Contributions to Engineering Professionalism. He also held
the respect, admiration and gratitude of his peers. He was a truly beloved
IEEE-USA volunteer, and will always be remembered with the greatest of
affection.
 
Contributions in Bill's memory can be sent to: Bedford Historical Society;
242 East John Street; Bedford, PA 15522; tel. +1 814 623 2011.
 
 
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FINANCE COMMITTEE APPROVES PENSION REFORM/IRA EXPANSION,
GRASSROOTS COMMUNICATIONS ARE NEEDED NOW TO ENSURE FAVORABLE SENATE VOTE
 
On Sept. 7th, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved the
Retirement Savings and Security Act (H.R. 1102), which closely resembles
the pension reform/IRA expansion legislation passed by the House of
Representatives (401 to 25) on July 19th.
These measures enjoy broad bipartisan support in both houses of Congress.
 
Washington insiders say there's a reasonable probability that Congress will
pass this important legislation later this month and that President Clinton
will sign it. But strong grassroots expressions of support are critical.
Unless Senators and Representatives hear from their constituents, the bills
could simply fall between the cracks in the press of other urgent business
in the closing days of the 106th Congress.
 
ENGINEERING SOCIETIES EXPRESS STRONG SUPPORT FOR SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE
BILL
 
Here's a list of key provisions in the House and Senate bills that IEEE-USA
and other
Engineering and scientific organizations have endorsed in official letters
to members of the House of Representatives and the Senate:
 
· An increase in the annual limit on contributions to deductible and
non-deductible (Roth) IRAs from $2,000 to $5,000;
 
· Increases in contribution limits for defined contribution plans,
including 401(k), 403(b) and Section 457 plans, from $10,500 to $15,000 a
year;
 
· A special authorization for Baby Boomers (aged 50 and above) to make
"catch-up" contributions to IRAs and 401(k) type plans;
 
· A reduction in cliff vesting requirements for employer matching
contributions to defined contribution plans from 5 to 3 years;
 
· Portability improvement features that will facilitate transfers of
earned benefits among and between defined contribution plans and IRAs when
workers change jobs; and
 
· Administrative simplification provisions that will make it easier and
less expensive for small businesses to establish retirement savings plans
for all of their employees.
 
A more detailed description of selected IRA, pension coverage, equity,
portability, security and simplification provisions in the House and Senate
bills is available at http://www.ieeeusa.org/grassroots/pensions/hr1102.pdf
.
 
SENATE BILL INCLUDES NEW TAX INCENTIVES, CASH BALANCE CONVERSION PROVISIONS
 
As approved by the Finance Committee, the Senate bill also includes
important new provisions intended to increase savings by low and moderate
income Americans and establish new safeguards for long tenured participants
who may be adversely affected when their employers convert from defined
benefit plans to cash balance plans. More specifically, the Senate bill:
 
· Establishes a temporary, nonrefundable tax credit intended to
encourage low and moderate income savers to make first dollar contributions
to employer-sponsored defined contribution plans and Individual Retirement
Accounts; and
 
· Offers tax credits to help offset new plan start-up costs and
encourage small businesses to contribute to such plans on behalf of
non-highly compensated employees.
 
The Senate bill also mandates detailed disclosures and prohibits the
"wear-away" of normal retirement benefits (but not early retirement
benefits) when traditional defined benefit plans are converted to career
average cash balance plans.
 
Some Senate Democrats, including Tom Harkin of Iowa, don't think the cash
balance protections are strong enough (and plan to offer amendments when
the bill reaches the floor). IEEE-USA supports these "wear-away"
protections for early retirement benefits and will work for their addition
through the legislative process.
 
The next steps include a Senate vote (possibly as early as Friday,
September 22nd ), reconciliation of differences between the House and
Senate bills and approval by the President before Congress adjourns early
next month.
 
HOW YOU CAN HELP
 
IEEE-USA encourages all of its members to communicate their strong support
for the IRA and 401(k) type contribution limits, vesting reduction,
portability improvement, "catch-up" contribution, administrative
simplification, low income savings incentive and stronger cash balance
conversion safeguard provisions in the Roth-Baucus version of the
Retirement Savings and Security Act to their own United States Senators no
later than Thursday, September 21st. E-mail messages and telephone calls
are recommended.
 
Tell them that Senate approval of this important legislation is urgently
needed to strengthen employer-sponsored pension plans, increase individual
savings for retirement and, as a result, encourage more productive
investment in the national economy.
 
To reach your Senators by phone, call the Capitol Switchboard at
202-224-3121 and ask for them by name.
 
A model letter is attached for your use. To send this letter by e-mail, go
to IEEE-USA's Legislative Action Center (http://congress.nw.dc.us/ieeeusa)
or access this Alert directly at
http://congress.nw.dc.us/cgi-bin/alertpr.pl?dir=ieee&alert=136 and enter
your zip code to address a letter to your Senators . If you can, please
personalize the letter with your own situation and perspectives on the
importance of these pension/IRA reforms.
 
We also invite you to join IEEE-USA's Pensions Retirement Security
Grassroots Network and support IEEE-USA efforts to improve the portability
of health and pension benefits and expand tax-favored savings opportunities
for mobile engineers and scientists. For more information, go to
http://www.ieeeusa.org/grassroots/pensions/index.html.
 
Finally, please share a copy of your correspondence and any responses you
receive with the IEEE-USA Washington office (attn: Chris Brantley), 1828 L
Street, N.W., Suite 1202, Washington, DC 20036-5104 or by email to
c.brantley@ieee.org.
 
Thank you for your continuing interest and assistance.
 
 
 
*SAMPLE LETTER*
 
Date
 
The Honorable (FIRST AND LAST NAME)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
 
Re: The Retirement Security and Savings Act (H.R. 1102)
 
Dear Senator (LAST NAME):
 
Many highly mobile professionals, including engineers like myself, find it
difficult to save for retirement due to unnecessarily restrictive pension
contribution limits, vesting requirements, and rollover rules. As a
constituent, I urge you and other Members of the Senate to put aside
partisan political differences and pass long-overdue reform legislation
that will significantly improve America's voluntary private pension system
and promote increased savings for retirement and productive investment in
the economy.
 
Legislation that was unanimously approved earlier this month by the Senate
Finance Committee will enable more Americans from all walks of life to save
more for retirement and make it easier for these savers to transfer these
savings from one account to another when we change jobs. The Senate
version of H.R. 1102 will increase allowable contributions to
employer-sponsored pension plans and Individual Retirement Accounts; reduce
pension vesting requirements; facilitate transfers of earned benefits to
and from pension plans and IRAs; allow older workers to make "catch-up"
contributions to retirement savings plans and make it less expensive for
small businesses to set up and administer pension plans for employees.
 
As approved by the Finance Committee, H.R. 1102 also includes important new
disclosure requirements and "no wear-away" provisions designed to safeguard
promised pension benefits for workers who are currently adversely affected
financially when their employers convert traditional final pay plans to new
career average cash balance plans.
 
My only suggestion for improving the Senate bill would be to urge you to
extend the "no wear-away" provisions to apply to early retirement as well
as normal retirement benefits.
 
I look forward to your active support for immediate approval of this
critically important retirement savings improvement legislation.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
YOUR NAME
HOME ADDRESS
CITY, STATE AND ZIP CODE
 
###
 
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IEEE-USA OPPOSES POTENTIAL DROP IN CIVILIAN R&D EXPENDITURES
Passage of 11 non-defense appropriations bills pending in Congress will
result in significant decreases in federal funding in civilian R&D --
falling well below the current fiscal year (FY) 2000 level, according to
Mark Pullen, vice president of technology policy at IEEE-USA. IEEE-USA
supports a strong federal investment in civilian R&D and has issued an
action alert asking U.S. IEEE members to contact their representatives in
the House and Senate to communicate why federal R&D is important to our
economy and national security.
 
To see IEEE-USA's action alert, go to
http://congress.nw.dc.us/cgi-bin/alertpr.pl?dir=ieee&alert=135
 
To see the related news release, go to
http://www.ieeeusa.org/releases/000921pr.html
 

 

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HEAR THE IEEE AND IEEE-USA PRESIDENT-ELECT CANDIDATES
On 3 Sept. 2000, candidates for IEEE and IEEE-USA 2001 President-Elect
participated in a Candidates Forum at IEEE-USA's 2000 Professional
Development Conference. Each candidate was invited to make an opening
statement and then the panel responded in turn to questions posed by the
audience. Each candidate then concluded with brief closing remarks.
 
The Candidates Forum was videotaped and is now available for viewing as
RealPlayer streaming video. The stream is optimized for a 28.8Kbps
connection. To view, visit
http://www.ieeeusa.org/election/candidatesforum.html
 
 
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THE INTERNET. . . WHAT'S NEXT
Earlier this year, a panel of exceptional engineers and scientists shared
their candid views and insights about the rapidly changing world of the
Internet in an intimate setting with students, colleagues and the
interested public. Cosponsored by the IEEE Communications Society, this
roundtable showed that what we think of as the cutting edge of technology
is really only the beginning of what could be an even bigger technological
revolution.
 
This exciting and informative symposium entitled "The Internet...What's
Next," will be brought to the public via a satellite broadcast on PBS The
Business & Technology Network on 10 November, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. EST and via
an on-demand webcast program from 17 October 2000 - 17 April 2001.
 
For more information, visit http://www.ieeeusa.org/releases/000920pr.html
 
 
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Updated 10/01/2000