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A Lifetime of IEEE

Jim Phillips just achieved LIFE Senior Member status with IEEE.  What does this mean?  The cover letter states:

“This special honor is reserved for individuals who have truly distinguished themselves through their sustained and lasting contributions to IEEE.”

For Jim, his IEEE adventures began as a student member during his last year at The Ohio State University in 1981.  A few years later, he became involved with the Akron, Ohio section of IEEE moving through various executive committee positions and ultimately becoming Chair.  During his tenure, membership and meeting attendance records were broken and he was able to merge the Akron and Canton, Ohio sections together as demographics had shifted over the years.  The Akron Section was also host to the IEEE Rubber and Plastics Conference.  Jim was able to conduct a conference for Professional Activities Committees for Engineers (PACE).

Jim’s involvement expanded to Region 2 activities, beginning with the IEEE-USA Pre-College Education Committee and Student Professional Awareness Committee (S-PAC).  These committees led him to represent Region 2 at the IEEE-USA Section’s Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

Region 2 activities had Jim regularly traveling to IEEE’s government offices located at 1828 L Street in Washington, DC (Yep, a few blocks from the White House).  Through the IEEE-USA offices, he became briefly involved with energy policy and even met the assistant secretary of energy.  In 1993, Jim received the IEEE Professional Activities Award for his work (so far).   

Over the years, Jim’s IEEE role has shifted to technical standards development including Vice-Chair of IEEE 1584, Steering Committee – IEEE/NFPA Arc Flash Collaborative Research Project, Vice-Chair of PCIC Electrical Safety Subcommittee and involvement with many other Technical Committees.  Along the way, he has authored and presented many technical papers and tutorials.  In 2019, he received the Best Paper Award along with a couple of good friends for a paper they co-authored.

In 2020, Jim received the IEEE Electrical Safety Excellence Award for: “Outstanding dedication and contributions to advance and accelerate the dispersion of information and knowledge impacting electrical safety through activities within the PCIC.” This was quite an honor.

So, what is next?  When Jim began this adventure a lifetime ago in his early 20’s, he quickly noticed the older IEEE members and was in awe of their involvement and commitment. Then, in the blink of an eye, he became one of them.

Jim’s advice to all of you: Get involved if you can! IEEE is an amazing technical organization where you not only build a network of peers, but you also build a network of close friends.