IEEE-USA in Action

2018 IEEE-USA Awards Honor Seven for Excellence, Service, Contributions

By Helen Horwitz

When Barbara Oakley, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at Oakland University, nominated the author of an enthusiastically reviewed, international best-seller for an IEEE-USA award last year, she was confident he would be a winner.

“Applied Minds: How Engineers Think is an innovative approach to showing how engineers deal with and solve problems,” explains Oakley, an IEEE Fellow. “If you’re an engineer, you forget that others don’t know much about how engineers work. This book is a compelling and enlightening explanation of the engineering perspective.”

So, earlier this year, she was pleased to learn that the book’s author, Guru Madhavan, would be honored on 12 April at SoutheastCon 2019 in Huntsville, Alabama. SoutheastCon is the annual IEEE Region 3 technical, professional and student conference.

Madhavan is being recognized with the 2018 IEEE-USA Award for Distinguished Literary Contributions Furthering Public Understanding and the Advancement of the Engineering Profession.

In Applied Minds, the author uses narratives and case studies from engineering history to demonstrate how concepts such as prototyping, efficiency, reliability, standards, optimization and feedback are used in fields like transportation, retail, health care and entertainment. Besides the United States, the critically acclaimed volume is being marketed in India, China, Korea, Italy and Russia.

An IEEE Senior Member, Madhavan is a senior program officer and director of studies at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in Washington, D.C.


Six other individuals will receive 2018 IEEE-USA awards and recognitions at various IEEE meetings throughout the United States. These honors acknowledge excellence, outstanding service and contributions that further IEEE-USA’s objectives.  IEEE-USA’s Awards and Recognition Committee administers these prestigious awards, approved by the IEEE Awards Board and the IEEE Board of Directors. IEEE-USA awards and recognitions are presented in these categories: professionalism, technical achievement and literary contributions.

Honorees at SoutheastCon 2019

In addition to Guru Madhavan, two other members were honored at SoutheastCon 19: John Paserba of Pittsburgh and James Peterman of Raleigh, North Carolina.

IEEE Fellow John Paserba received the IEEE-USA Robert S. Walleigh Award for Distinguished Contributions to Engineering Professionalism. His significant and sustained contributions to engineering professionalism and IEEE student member engagement garnered him this award. Active in IEEE since his student years, Paserba is known for his career-long dedication to IEEE professional activities–at both the grass-roots working level and in IEEE governance–with a primary emphasis on IEEE-USA’s Student Professional Awareness Committee (S-PAC), IEEE’s MGA Student Activities Committee and the IEEE Power & Energy Society. He is Vice President of the Power Systems Group, at Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc.

IEEE Member James Peterman received the IEEE-USA Jim Watson Student Professional Awareness Achievement Award for his sustained leadership and active contribution to the IEEE Student Professional Awareness Program and student activities. Also active in IEEE since he was a student, Peterman has worked with the Eastern North Carolina Section in Raleigh, and its chapters, to support student activities. He has helped many student branches across the region to plan and execute successful S-PACs, and has participated in dozens of S-PACs throughout the eastern United States–from Florida to Ohio, and from North Carolina to Mississippi. James Peterman is Director, Product Security, at Oracle.

Donald Steinbrecher Will Receive the Harry Diamond Award


IEEE Life Member Donald Steinbrecher will receive the IEEE-USA Harry Diamond Memorial Award on 3 June at the IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium 2019 in Boston. IEEE-USA is recognizing Steinbrecher for his groundbreaking work in broadband high dynamic range signals acquisition systems, and research establishing the U.S. Navy’s leadership role in software-defined electromagnetic signals receiving and transmitting systems. Steinbrecher is Chief Scientist in the Undersea Warfare Electromagnetic Systems Department of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division in Newport, Rhode Island. He has been awarded 25 patents in areas related to technological solutions for some of the Navy’s most pressing challenges.

IEEE-USA will honor three other individuals at other IEEE events this spring and early summer.

This year, IEEE-USA will present its Award for Distinguished Public Service to two members of the United States House of Representatives: William Hurd, R-Texas, and Ro Khanna, D-Calif.

Representative Hurd chairs the Information Technology Subcommittee, Committee on Oversight & Government Reform. He also sits on the House Permanent Committee on Intelligence, and he is a leading Congressional expert on IT and cyber issues. With a degree in computer science, and a background as a CIA operative and computer expert, Hurd has sponsored or co-sponsored more than a dozen significant IT and cybersecurity bills in the House. In one instance of Congressman Hurd’s concern for learning and applying technical knowledge to benefit government systems, he asked IEEE-USA and several other groups last year for private, off-the-record briefings–so he and his staff could learn about quantum computing–and how this emerging technology could help to upgrade the nation’s IT infrastructure.

Congressman Khanna represents his state’s 17th Congressional District, the heart of Silicon Valley. Khanna is a member of the House Armed Services & Budget Committee, and the AI Caucus, 4th Amendment Caucus (Digital Privacy). In addition to sponsoring several bills supporting internet policy and privacy, he is the co-sponsor of the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act, which would significantly reform both visa programs. Now in his second term, Rep. Khanna reached out to IEEE-USA to discuss H-1B visas shortly after joining Congress; he has been supportive of the issue ever since. He is also a vocal proponent for increasing opportunities for rural communities to join and be part of the 21st digital economy.

IEEE Fellow Duncan Moore will receive the IEEE-USA Entrepreneur Achievement Award for Leadership in Entrepreneurial Spirit. IEEE-USA is honoring Moore for his extraordinary contributions in creating a far-reaching entrepreneurial culture for IEEE’s U.S. members.

Moore, Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester, is highly regarded for promoting technical entrepreneurship and for educating researchers on how to identify market opportunities, evaluate technologies and determine business prospects. Under Moore’s direction, the University’s Ain Center for Entrepreneurship offers and supports such programs as the entrepreneurs-in-residence office hours, five business-plan competitions, and the student incubator. After completing the incubator program, three student-run businesses have raised more than $1 million in startup funding.

Detailed information about submitting nominations for the 2019 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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