Below are the candidates for IEEE Division IX Delegate-Elect/Director-Elect, 2023; Delegate/Director, 2024-2025.

Division IX:

  • Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society
  • Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society
  • Information Theory Society
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems Society
  • Oceanic Engineering Society
  • Signal Processing Society
  • Vehicular Technology Society


The sequence of candidates was determined by lottery and indicates no preference.

  • Aylin Yener (Nominated by IEEE Division IX)
  • Ahmed Tewfik (Nominated by IEEE Division IX)
  • Walter “Walt” D. Downing (Nominated by IEEE Division IX)

View position description


Aylin Yener

Headshot of Aylin Yener

Aylin Yener 
(Nominated by IEEE Division IX)

Professor and Roy and Lois Chope Chair in Engineering
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio, USA


Aylin Yener holds the Roy and Lois Chope Chair in Engineering at The Ohio State University, where she is a Professor of electrical and computer engineering, computer science and engineering, and integrated systems engineering. Previously, she was a Distinguished Professor of electrical engineering at Pennsylvania State University. In 2020, she served as the President of the IEEE Information Theory Society. A highly cited researcher/author of over 300 IEEE publications, her research interests span information, communication and learning theories, and include information security, edge learning, green communications, and 6G networks. She received several IEEE awards: International Conference on Communications Best Paper Award (2010), Marconi Prize Paper Award (2014), Women in Communications Engineering Outstanding Achievement Award (2018), Communications Society Best Tutorial Paper Award (2019), and the Communication Theory Technical Achievement Award (2020). She has been a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Information Theory, Communications and Vehicular Technology Societies. She is a fellow of the IEEE.


Having been a member and volunteer for multiple societies taught me that our division’s societies have a lot in common, in both technical interests and challenges/opportunities of our profession. Post-COVID, we will be facing a new reality with evolving conference (hybrid, “glocal”) and publishing access models. The value proposition for society membership will be in question. To respond to these challenges, I advocate for deeper cooperation between societies by: (i) sharing best practices; (ii) facilitating cross pollination of ideas and joint ventures, e.g., inter-disciplinary conferences and publications that can address global grand-challenges. I advocate for bringing down professional, financial, and cultural barriers for belonging by: (i) improving relevance to industry and practicing engineers (including recognition as fellows); (ii) providing accessible membership and participation from those that are underrepresented in IEEE, including geographically and economically (by conference discounts/waivers). I will be a conduit of the collective voice of member societies to the board of directors, to have a more diverse, equitable and inclusive IEEE that will continue to be the authoritative professional organization in post-covid world.

IEEE Accomplishments and Activities

Yener has been an active IEEE volunteer for over two decades with experience on membership, finances, publications, conferences, and outreach. She served as the President of the Information Theory Society (ITSoc) in 2020 and dealt firsthand with the challenges brought on by the pandemic on all its operations. Her selected accomplishments include:

  • As president (2020): Increased membership by 40%; Started a digital platform initiative called FITS (Future of Information Theory Society) for lectures, conferences and all digital presence; Facilitated transition of all activities to online in 2020.
  • As society treasurer (2012-2014): Spearheaded a number of initiatives that favored membership and strong finances, including conference registration discounts, and reduced editing costs for transactions; Took over a budget that was in the red and delivered healthy surpluses each year.
  • As school committee chair (2014-2017): Oversaw the coordination of information theory schools world-wide, leading to schools in Australia, Europe, Asia (2), Latin America, South Africa.
  • As student committee chair (2007-2011): Co-founded North American Information Theory School in 2008, chaired to grow to the largest outreach activity (over 200 students) of the society (IEEE commendation in 2014).

Her selected service positions include membership in IEEE

  • Technical Activities Board (TAB) (2020)
  • TAB Nominations and Appointments Committee (2022-present)
  • Medals Council (2020-2021)
  • Diversity and Inclusion Committee, ITSoc (2021)
  • Fellow Committee (2018-2020, FSPS 2021)
  • Adcom, Systems Council (2020-present)
  • Board of Governors, IEEE ITSoc (2015-2018)


  • IEEE Richard Hamming Medal Committee (2020-2021)
  • Cooperation with IEEE Entities Committee, Systems Council (2022-present)
  • Nominations and Appointments Committee, ITSoc (2022)
  • Membership Committee, ITSoc (2018)
  • Awards Committees, ITSoc (2019-2021)
  • School Committee, ITSoc (2014-2017)
  • Student Committee, ITSoc (2007-2011)
  • Lehigh Valley Chapter, Signal Processing Society (2001)

and serving as

  • President, ITSoc (2020)
  • Editor-in-Chief, Transactions on Green Communications and Networking (ComSoc, SPS, VTS) (8/2022-present)
  • Vice President (VP), ITSoc (2018-2019)
  • VP for Publications, ITSoc (2022)
  • Treasurer, ITSoc (2012-2014)

Ahmed Tewfik

Headshot of Ahmed Tewfik

Ahmed Tewfik
(Nominated by IEEE Division IX)

Siri Perception Team Director
Cupertino, California, USA


Ahmed Tewfik is Past President of the IEEE Signal Processing Society and Director at Apple in the Siri team within AI/ML. Prior to Apple, he was the Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and the Chairman of the Department from October 2010 to November 2019. Previously, he was the E.F. Johnson Professor of Electronic Communications at the University of Minnesota and worked at Alphatech, Inc. He has provided consulting services to industrial measurements and medical technology companies. From fall 1997 to fall 2001, he was the President and CEO of Cognicity, Inc., an entertainment marketing software tools publisher that he co-founded. He is an IEEE Fellow and recipient of several awards and honors, including the IEEE Signal Processing Society Technical Achievement Award, IEEE Third Millennium Award and Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Signal Processing Society.



If elected, I seek to:

  • Engage all seven Division IX Societies to identify compelling unmet needs that we can address substantially better than any other enterprise, institution or sector. New business models will follow naturally once our Societies articulate a crisp, exciting, memorable, and compelling value proposition to professionals and employers.
  • Address diversity, inclusion and equity in membership and leadership. Tackle the low success rate of IEEE professional recognitions, including Fellow nominations coming from industry, government, and regions outside North America and Europe.
  • Explore the use of earnings on the financial reserves of our Societies to provide funds for innovation and offset future loss of revenue due to changing publications and conference business models.
  • Launch new conferences with an unconventional format to create an innovation ecosystem that brings together startups, venture capitalists, industry, academia, and government.
  • Conduct research to identify new offerings with clear value to current and potential industry members.
  • Inject new blood—not just from the IEEE—in our conference, education, and publication planning and execution to maximize chance of success.

IEEE Accomplishments and Activities

Selected IEEE Service:

  • President and President-Elect, IEEE Signal Processing Society (2018-2021),
  • VP Technical Directions, IEEE Signal Processing Society (2010-2012),
  • Member-at-Large, IEEE Signal Processing Society Board of Governors (BoG) (2006-2008),
  • President, IEEE Communications and Signal Processing Chapter, Twin Cities, MN (2003-2005),
  • Founding Editor, IEEE Signal Processing Letters (1993-1999),
  • Member, Multimedia Signal Processing Technical Committee (1998-2002) and Digital Signal,
  • Processing Technical Committee, IEEE Signal Processing Society, (1992-1998).

IEEE Accomplishments:

  • Founded IEEE Signal Processing Letters and introduced electronic reviewing in 1993 long before it was adopted by other publications within the Society, IEEE and other professional journals.
  • As a BoG member, resolved a deep staff-volunteer conflict and established new onboarding process for volunteers.
  • As VP Technical Direction,

o   implemented new organizational and governance structures to foster innovation, membership renewal and broader community participation.

o   led the formulation and adoption of a new President-Elect process that was used until 2019, when it was enhanced with a direct membership vote.

  • As President,

o   teamed with three other societies to launch the IEEE Transactions on Artificial Intelligence and later the IEEE Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

o   led the conversion of the flagship conference of the Signal Processing Society to an all-virtual conference in less than 60 days. The conference had record attendance and participation by industry, and was presented as a case study in IEEE TAB.

o   formulated and secured Executive Committee and BoG approvals for a comprehensive diversity pledge.

o   actively sourced diversity for the slates of all Society positions.

o   collaborated with external organizations to implement educational enrichment and mentorship programs for K-12 students from disadvantaged backgrounds in Chicago, Philadelphia and LA.

o   launched a new bi-annual forum to give members a direct say in the governance of the Society.

o   initiated a new Town Hall meeting for members to dialogue with President-Elect candidates.



Walter "Walt" D. Downing, PE

Headshot of Walter Downing

Walter "Walt" D. Downing, PE 
(Nominated by IEEE Division IX)

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI)
San Antonio, Texas, USA


Walt leads SwRI technical operations and serves on the Board of Directors. He joined SwRI in 1979 as an instrumentation and control systems engineer. He expanded into the fields of automated test systems and avionics, creating a research division in aerospace electronics before moving to executive management in 1998.

Walt is a registered professional engineer in Texas and Florida. He holds a B.S.E.E from Southern Methodist University and an M.B.A from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is active on several charitable, civic, and industry advisory boards.

Walt is the Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society (AESS) past president and distinguished lecturer. He is a member of the TAB Society and Council Review Committee, AESS representative on Systems Council, Lone Star Section Vice-Chair, Region 5 Government Relations Coordinator, and IEEE STEM Champion. He is a member of HKN, WIE, and is an ABET program evaluator for electrical engineering programs.


Through my involvement in IEEE, I have been fortunate to work with very intelligent and dedicated individuals from around the world.  The strength of IEEE is in the talent and diversity of its membership. My primary interest in serving as the Division IX Delegate/Director is to stimulate and encourage more member engagement and interactions between the technical societies within Division IX and with other societies and councils so that we can fully realize our potential. I learned much from discussions with peers in TAB and believe that we all benefit by sharing best practices. In addition to sharing best practices, it is also important to discuss problems or other issues common among small to mid-sized societies. By doing so, we might learn the best way to address common problems or raise the issues at TAB meetings when appropriate to do so. Raising issues collectively seems to be a more effective way of ensuring that our concerns are noticed in a large and diverse organization.

IEEE Accomplishments and Activities

I joined IEEE shortly after starting my career at SwRI. My participation in IEEE activities has been a truly rewarding experience that grows through deeper engagement as a volunteer, plus I found it very useful for my professional development. I discovered that as I gave more time and energy to IEEE activities, I got more out of my membership and realized greater satisfaction from my efforts. I enjoy sharing my experience with other members and encourage them to get engaged.

  • Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society (AESS) President, 2020-2021
  • AESS Executive VP (President-Elect), 2018-2019
  • AESS VP Technical Operations, 2015-2017
  • AESS VP Member Services, 2005-2007
  • AESS Board of Governors member at-large, 2001-2006 and 2012-2018
  • IEEE AUTOTESTCON Board of Directors member representing AESS, 1995-1999, 2003-2007, 2015-2019, and 2021-present
  • IEEE AUTOTESTCON General Chair, 1999
  • IEEE AUTOTESTCON Technical Program Chair, 1986, 1990, and 1993
  • IEEE Systems Council Representative for AESS, 2014-2016, 2021-present
  • IEEE Systems Council VP Technical Operations, 2017-2019
  • IEEE Systems Council Chair of the Senior Members Committee, 2021-present
  • IEEE Systems Council Chair of the Life Members Committee, 2022-present
  • IEEE TAB Society and Council Review Committee, 2022-present
  • IEEE Region 5 Government Activities Coordinator, 2021-present
  • IEEE Lone Star Section Vice Chair, 2020-present (a founding ExCom member of this section)

o   2021 IEEE Region 5 Outstanding Medium Section Award

o   2016 & 2021 IEEE Region 5 Outstanding Large Company Award – Southwest Research Institute

  • IEEE Lone Star Section Women in Engineering Affinity Group, 2021 (founding chair)
  • IEEE Central Texas Section (now Lone Star) Joint SMC28/AES10/SYSC45 Chapter Chair, 2015-2018

o   2015 Outstanding AESS Chapter Award

  • IEEE Lone Star Section Joint SMC28/AES10/SMC45 Chapter Secretary, 2019-2021
  • Eta Kappa Nu, Gamma Omicron Chapter, Southern Methodist University
  • ABET Program Evaluator, 2015-present
  • IEEE STEM Champion, 2022-present