2015 IEEE-USA Awards: 15 Honored for Excellence, Service and Contributions

By Helen Horwitz

In Wyoming, the ninth largest ” but the second least populated of the 50 U.S. states ” IEEE Member Brett Glass has made it his business to bring wireless broadband Internet service to the largely rural populace.

Since 1992, when he founded Lariat ” the state’s first wireless broadband Internet Service Provider (ISP) ” Glass has steadily expanded its coverage to serve more of Wyoming’s roughly 570,000 residents. The company reaches areas not previously served by any form of terrestrial broadband.

To recognize his entrepreneurial achievements, IEEE-USA honored the Laramie-based business leader with the 2015 IEEE-USA Entrepreneur Achievement Award for Leadership in Entrepreneurial Spirit. He received his award during IEEE-USA’s Awards & Recognition Ceremony, in January, in Las Vegas.

IEEE Member Scott M. Liss, a software developer in Fairfax, Va., nominated Glass for the award. “We’ve served together on IEEE-USA’s Committee on Communications Policy,” says Liss, “and as I got to know Brett, it became clear that the business he started is a model for what an ISP provider should be.

“He launched Lariat on his own ” not for a mega corporation, and he literally created the market for wireless Internet in Wyoming,” he adds.

With a chuckle, Liss remembers calling Glass for his IEEE member number to use on the award nomination form. The entrepreneur told him that he was on his way to climb a radio tower, where he would upgrade wireless service to central Laramie. “I must complete the climb ” which requires ropes and harnesses ” during lunchtime, to avoid an interruption when folks are working,” he told Liss.


Since Glass launched his business, other wireless broadband providers have entered the market, but Lariat remains the only locally owned and operated ISP in the southeastern Wyoming town.

Brett Glass has been active in IEEE since his days as president of the IEEE Student Branch at Stanford University, where he received an MSEE. Previously, he earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Case Institute of Technology, now part of Case Western Reserve. Besides being the founder and owner of LARIAT, Glass is also a consultant, author and inventor. He has worked on MOS and CMOS chip designs, including the Texas Instruments TMS 340:  the first commercial chipset for the IEEE 802.5 token ring, various software products, computer designs and embedded systems. Glass’ byline has appeared in many computer publications, including BYTE, InfoWorld, PC Magazine and PC World.

IEEE-USA presents a variety of awards and recognitions to acknowledge excellence, outstanding service and contributions that further its objectives. Administered by IEEE-USA’s Awards and Recognition Committee, the prestigious awards are also approved by the IEEE Awards Board and the IEEE Board of Directors. IEEE-USA awards and recognitions are in three categories: professionalism, technical achievement and literary contributions. This year, the deadline for submitting nominations for the 2016 awards, to be presented in 2017, is 31 July.

Bernard Sander, who chaired the 2015 IEEE-USA Awards and Recognition Committee, recalls feeling “challenged and humbled to be in the presence of the award recipients ” because they are people who truly make a difference in our world.”

He says the committee received many nominations for deserving individuals, and he encourages nominators who were unsuccessful to resubmit their nomination packages for 2016.

R. Joe Stanley, an associate professor at Missouri University of Science and Technology (MS&T) in Rolla, was one of three members presented with IEEE-USA’s Professional Achievement Award for Individuals. An IEEE Senior Member, he was honored for his contributions to Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a nationwide K-12 STEM program that encourages educators by providing them with intensive summer training at leading universities. Together with three “master teachers,” Stanley has co-trained about 150 teachers in a digital electronics course over the last decade, and he has helped develop new resources for PLTW, to enhance teachers’ effectiveness in presenting the curriculum to students.


MS&T students and faculty regularly give Stanley superior ratings, resulting in six outstanding teaching awards for him, as well as a teaching commendation and two teaching awards. But he is also committed to pursuing his major research interest ” medical imaging ” and to developing education-related tools to help attract people to the field.

Christella (Chriss) Chavez, an IEEE Graduate Student Member, and a researcher at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, is one of the four 2015 recipients of an IEEE-USA Regional Professional Leadership Award. Credited by her nominator, IEEE Senior Member Pramode Verma, for “transforming the Tulsa IEEE community into a high-functioning entity,” Chavez focused her efforts as Section Vice Chair and Chair, in several areas, to reinvigorate the Section. She worked to increase the number of IEEE Senior Members; communicated regularly with all Section members; and expanded the number of meetings with other area professional societies.

By continually examining requirements for IEEE funding where the Section qualified, Chavez diligently applied for and received IEEE financial support to enable more activities. In addition, Verma notes that IEEE Student Members have benefitted greatly from events that Chavez promoted during her tenure ” including a student paper contest, visits to local businesses, and social events.

In Region 4, Russ Meier, an IEEE Senior Member and currently Milwaukee Section Chair, won the Regional Professional Leadership Award for two accomplishments: “his efforts in promoting educational and professional activities, and successfully managing the 2015 IEEE-USA Annual Meeting/ Great Lakes Biomedical Conference.” But Meier quickly points out that while he was general chair for IEEE-USA’s Annual Meeting, Jeffrey LaMack was general chair for the co-located Biomedical Conference.

Meier, a professor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), describes Milwaukee as “a rustbelt city retooling itself for the 21st century.” He points to more than half a dozen major, local companies that help to sponsor events for the Section’s 1,400 members. Meier takes special pride in the Section’s annual student poster competition growth. Open to students at MSOE, Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the contest now draws up to 40 entries; and professional engineers and engineering faculty judge them for technical content, and the effectiveness of students’ oral presentations ” with prizes of up to $500.

The complete list of all 2015 IEEE-USA Awards & Recognition recipients is at:

Detailed information about submitting nominations for the IEEE-USA Awards and Recognitions is at

Helen Horwitz is an award-winning freelance writer who lives in Albuquerque, N.M. She was with IEEE from 1991 through 2011, the first nine as Staff Director, IEEE Corporate Communications.

Helen Horwitz

Helen Horwitz was an award-winning freelance writer in Albuquerque, N.M. She was with IEEE from 1991 through 2011, the first nine as Staff Director, IEEE Corporate Communications.

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