The biography and position statement for the 2013 IEEE Vice President, Member and Geographic Activities, is listed below.
Dr. Ralph Ford is Director of the School of Engineering at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. He obtained his B.S. from Clarkson University and M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, and he worked at IBM Microelectronics from 1989 to 1993. He joined Penn State in 1994 and then served as Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering for eight years. During this period, the department added programs in computer and software engineering. He was a Fulbright Scholar at Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic, has served as an ABET accreditation program evaluator, obtained over $1M in external funding, and is the author of over 40 publications including the book Design for Electrical and Computer Engineers (McGraw-Hill).
He became director of the School of Engineering in 2005 and has led efforts to create new majors, add new research centers, and increase enrollments. He is currently the Director of IEEE Region 2 and a member of the IEEE Board of Directors.
COMMITTEES/BOARDS: IEEE Board of Directors, 2011–2012; MGA Board of Directors 2011–2012; IEEE-USA Board of Directors, 2011–2012; IEEE Board of Directors Strategic Planning Committee, 2012; R1-6 Revitalization Strategy Volunteer Lead (Board Initiative), 2011; MGA Operations Committee, 2011–2012; MGA Awards and Recognition Committee, 2009–2011, MGA Awards and Recognition Committee, Chair, 2010; IEEE Awards Board, 2010; MGA Member Engagement and Life Cycle Committee, 2009–2010; MGA Nominations and Appointments Committee, Member, 2008; Regional Activities Board (RAB), Nominations and Appointments Committee, Member, 2007
REGIONS: Region 2 Director, 2011–2012; Region 2 Director-Elect and Vice Chair, 2009–2010; Region 2 Eastern USA, Conference Coordinator, 2003–2008, Region 2 Committee, 2001
SECTIONS/CHAPTERS: Erie Section, Chair, 2001; Vice Chair, 1997–2000
STUDENT BRANCHES: IEEE Region 2 Student Activities Conference, organizing committee, 2011
SOCIETY: Member of the Signal Processing Society and Education Society CONFERENCES: IEEE Metropolitan Area Workshop Volunteer Leader, 2011; IEEE Women in Engineering Conference Organizing Committee, 2011; Region 2 Conference Coordinator, 2003–2008
|MGA Vice President Responsibilities|
- Serve as Chair of the Member and Geographic Activities Board.
- Serve as a voting member, as Vice President – Member & Geographic Activities, of the IEEE Board of Directors.
I am experienced serving on and managing boards.
- I have served on the IEEE Board of Directors, the IEEE MGA Board, and the IEEE-USA Board.
- I serve on the Board of Directors of the Economic Development Corporation of Erie County, Pennsylvania, the leading economic development entity in the region.
- As Director of the School of Engineering, I chair our School's Board of Visitors, an advisory board of 15 corporate presidents, vice presidents, and managing directors.
- Serve as the coordinator of all Member and Geographic activities, and as liaison for the Member & Geographic Activities Department.
- Work with the Managing Director of the Member & Geographic Activities Department to provide advice and support for staff assistance on all regional operations; membership development; member application, admission, and advancement; student activities including IEEE Potentials magazine and Geographic organizational unit operations and projects.
- Work with the Staff Director, Member Services, to provide advice and support for staff in member services, including the renewal process, customer services, etc. Be informed about matters of concern for the effective operation of the department.
|I am experienced in leading and managing large organizations. |
- I am in my second year of service as a member of the MGA Board that oversees all activities of MGA.
- I am a member (since 2011) of the MGA Operational Committee that plans for MGA initiatives and board meetings.
- As School Director, I oversee six departments, nine academic programs, nearly 70 faculty and staff members, and 1,300 students. I develop and implement strategic plans, engage in fundraising and external relations, form committees and assign members, chair meetings of the faculty, and manage the School’s Leadership Team (six department chairs and associate director for Research).
- Represent the IEEE on matters involving Member and Geographic Activities and Services, and when requested, on behalf of the IEEE President.
I am experienced in representing organizations to external audiences.
- Currently represent IEEE on matters related to Region 2.
- As School Director, I have a great deal of experience representing my institution to external audiences. I represent our institution on behalf of the Chancellor in his absence as requested.
- Work with Regional Directors and Geographic organizational units on behalf of IEEE, where necessary or appropriate.
- As the volunteer leader of the R1-6 Revitalization Strategy, I have worked with the other regional directors to develop new region initiatives, as well as the Metropolitan Area Workshops. Furthermore, I have worked with the Communications, Computer, and Power and Energy Societies to develop content for the workshops.
- Oversee MGA financial operations. Work with the Managing Director, Member & Geographic Activities, where appropriate to coordinate the financial operation of the department.
- In IEEE Region 2, I oversee and am responsible for the Region’s annual operating budget process. I work the Region treasurer and the Region 2 committee to develop and manage the Region’s budget.
- As School Director, I oversee an annual operating budget of $6 million (USD), $1 million (USD) in annual research grant expenditures, two multimillion-dollar endowments, and student scholarship funds.
- Chair meetings of the MGA Operations Committee and assist in the development of agendas for MGA and MGA Operations Committee meetings.
- Make such appointments to MGA committees as may be appropriate, such as ad hoc committees, MGA representatives to other Boards and Committees, etc.
I am experienced forming committees, chairing committees, and assigning committee members, inside and outside of IEEE.
- Responsible for assigning members of the Region 2 committee, forming committees, and assigning charges.
- I am a member (since 2011) of the MGA Operational Committee that plans for MGA initiatives and Board meetings.
- As School Director I form committees, assign members, and develop committee charges.
- Carry out tasks assigned by the IEEE Board of Directors and inform the MGA Board of appropriate matters.
I have experience carrying out tasks of the Board in my current volunteer responsibilities:
- I am the Volunteer Leader for the IEEE Board Region 1-6 revitalization strategy approved by the IEEE Board.
- I am currently a member of the IEEE Board Strategic Planning committee, a committee that is developing guidance for the Board on future initiatives.
R1-6 Revitalization Strategy Volunteer Leader
- Oversee ten inter-related projects that involve a number of IEEE organizational units. The objective is to develop new initiatives for engaging membership in the US and reverse membership declines.
- Work with MGA staff to develop initiatives, implementation plans, and performance measures to track the projects.
- Sample outcomes of this initiative are a new software-engineering package bundle and Metropolitan Area Workshops.
Metropolitan Area Workshop (MAW) Volunteer Leader.
- Volunteer leader for creating the Metropolitan Area Workshops as part of the R1-6 strategy.
- Oversaw efforts to create the two pilot offerings of these workshops in 2011. They achieved an 80% satisfaction response from attendees and recruited new members (>15% of attendees) to join IEEE, exceeding established goals.
- Currently working with volunteer leaders and MGA staff to offer four additional workshops in 2012.
I have served on conference organizing committees and as the host of conferences, both inside and outside of IEEE.
- SPIE Machine Vision and Applications Conference, 2003–2007. Organizing committee member and part of a successful initiative to increase industrial participation and improve quality of paper submissions.
- ASME Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference, 2010. Served as the host organization financially responsible for this 300-person conference that was held in Erie, PA, in 2010. Successfully fundraised $60,000 (USD) in conference sponsorship, arranged for speakers (including keynote, CEO & Chairman of Komatsu America), and ensured that it was a financially successful event.
- Society of Plastics Engineers Injection Molding Conference, 2007, 2009, and 2011. Member of organizing committee of three successive offerings of this new conference. As the host institution representative, assumed budget responsibility and ensured a financially viable conference.
- IEEE Region 2 Student Activities Conference, Erie, PA, 2011. The School of Engineering at Penn State Erie served as host. As a member of the organizing committee I oversaw the budget and worked with IEEE Student members to help them in organizing a successful conference with over 300 attendees.
Led a number of efforts to engage our membership. Organized and presented in the first Member Professional Activities Conference in the Section; organized a Senior member drive that increased Senior membership, and organized the annual new members event, as well as plant tours and visits.
I believe that MGA has the responsibility to advocate for all IEEE members to ensure that their needs as technical professionals are met. This applies across the entire member experience, from technical activities to access to technical information to local engagement. If elected, I will focus on (1) a global membership and market strategy, (2) developing a world-class member experience, and (3) experimenting with new membership and volunteer models.
The primary area for membership growth will continue to be outside of the United States. MGA has an important role in determining where IEEE should focus its efforts on new markets and how to engage members in them, while working with other major organizational units to do so successfully. For example, we have seen great membership growth in India, but it is also clear that retention of members there is very low. The challenge is to determine why and how to address it. Each opportunity has unique characteristics to be understood and engagement models to be developed. I intend to lead the MGA on evolving the globalization strategy and partnering with the other OUs to implement it.
One fact is compelling: Only 60% of IEEE members are satisfied with their membership. To become a world-class organization, satisfaction needs to substantially increase. Recent member surveys provide insight as to where we can improve. For example, members rate professional networking as being important, but they are not particularly satisfied with it. We should create and experiment with new models of networking that effectively use technology. Likewise, career resources and continuing-education opportunities are important to members, but their needs are not well met. I will lead MGA in addressing these gaps. Furthermore, the number of benefits members are presented with is staggering. I will focus the MGA Board on a data-driven approach to identifying and improving benefits where we can improve satisfaction, while phasing out those that are ineffective.
While I believe in a data-driven approach, it cannot provide the full picture as to how we best engage members and volunteers. I will advocate for creating and prototyping new initiatives in MGA and in IEEE activities. For example, I believe that the current volunteer model is reaching a limit; the time requirements exceed that which many talented volunteers are able to commit to. In organizing the Metro Area Workshops, I found that there is great appeal for sections to host them but not enough volunteer time to execute them. We are currently developing a “Workshop in Box” concept, where volunteers can rapidly organize and host a workshop. This, and other similar models, will enable volunteers to have an impact. Furthermore, I believe that we should continue to experiment with new models of Society membership and conferences that demonstrate better value to our membership.
I believe that serving as Vice President of MGA is one of the most exciting and challenging leadership roles in IEEE because of the important impact that MGA has on our 400,000+ members. I look forward to the possibility of serving in this role.
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