IEEE 2018 President-Elect: Dr. Jacek Zurada

“He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander” Aristotle

 “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations” Peter Drucker

Friends and colleagues, anyone can become a vessel to carry IEEE regardless of background, age, nationality, gender, and level of education, or any other demographic disparities of humanity. The fact is “Anyone is not Everyone” You must strategize if you must command exploits as a leader of the IEEE.

IEEE is looking for a leadership that will stand the test of time. A man or woman who will become the burden carrier of IEEE, a team player, someone who can see before the members can realise the danger, he must not be short term thinker as we say in IEEE Sweden Section. A man or woman who has a practical plan because you don’t learn how to be rowing the boat in the midst of the open ocean.  A leader that is open to lead all because “All these boundaries – Africa, Asia, Malaysia, America – are set by men. But you don’t have to look at boundaries when you are looking at a man – at the character of a man. The question is: What do you stand for?” Hakeem Olajuwon

In the words of Jim Yong Kim “No matter how good you think you are as a leader, my goodness, the people around you will have all kinds of ideas for how you can get better. So for me, the most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better – because your job is to try to help everybody else get better”
I have seen leaders but let me introduce someone under strict scrutiny is meant to be the next IEEE President-Elect for 2018. This leader with a difference is Dr. Jacek Zurada. A man born in Sosnowiec, Poland and who currently serves as a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Louisville, Kentucky. He has held visiting appointments at Princeton, Northeastern, Auburn, and at overseas universities in Australia, Chile, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Poland, Singapore, Spain, South Africa and Taiwan. These appointments included named professorship during sabbaticals at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, where he served as Nanyang Professor with the School of Computer Sciences, and as a Nanyang Professor with the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (2004-10). He was also the Michael Fam Distinguished Professor at NTU (2013-14).

Let me add some awards and recognition to his ingenuity. Dr. Zurada has received a number of awards for distinction in research, teaching, and service, including the 1993 UofL’s Presidential Award for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity, 1999 IEEE Circuits and Systems Society Golden Jubilee Medal, and the 2001 and 2014 UofL’s Presidential Distinguished Service Awards for Service to the Profession. In 2013 he received the Joe Desch Innovation Award. His Distinguished Speaker contributions include the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (2012–15), and the IEEE SMC Society (2016–17). He also served as a Senior Fulbright Specialist in Bulgaria (2010) and Italy (2012).

In 2003 he was conferred the Title of National Professor by the President of Poland. He received five Honorary Professorships from foreign universities, including Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, and Obuda University in Budapest, Hungary. Since 2005 he has been an elected Member of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

What of the vision for IEEE?

Improved collaboration: Expand interactions between IEEE, governments, NGOs, standards organizations and industry. This will enhance both IEEE’s public voice and the image of the profession while also advancing the welfare of our members. With rapid technological advances in the information age we have to become a more agile organization. We need to cultivate and build partnerships with national professional societies and associations and renew ties with industry. Improved collaboration between IEEE’s main OUs and their boards is also a must. Our technical activities in IEEE should better integrate technical Societies and Councils with geographical units represented by ten Regions and all 320 Sections of The Institute.

Focus on Members: Renew our focus on current and future members from underprivileged or underrepresented groups, including women, students, young professionals and entrepreneurs, as well as those in less advanced economies seeking professional growth. This would require better outreach to these underserved communities. We also need to promote more balanced geographical and gender representation among our volunteer leadership positions, including in governance, conferences and publications.

Technology Leadership: Foster technological lead and nurture emerging technologies. As we build new communities around these emerging technologies, we need to harness the best talent and energies of our members but also thousands of supporters who are not IEEE members. Further, as IEEE strength is in proportion to our members’ energy and skills and we are global, our activities need to be more distributed. We will also need to re-orient The Institute more toward a knowledge-based organization.

Knowledge vs Information: Improve the utility of IEEE’s Intellectual Property (consisting of over 4 million papers) by combining it with intelligent analytic tools. This will provide users with knowledge rather than information. Our members would benefit from tools designed to help answer technical questions or find designs or algorithms to meet their specifications. These tools will use data analytics and knowledge discovery from IEEE’s vast and growing collection of journal and conference papers.

Industry Practitioners: Better meet the needs of industry practitioners and make our products, services, and educational offerings more relevant to their jobs and career aspirations. I will focus on providing members in the industry with information through topically organized industry resource centers that will help them locate and leverage quality technical information quickly. The centers will also offer career resources and allow them to continue their education, aiding to their life-long professional growth.

The voting will be open on August 15th. Help me to elect this outstanding calibre of leader to become the next IEEE 2018 President. His name again is Dr. Jacek Zurada.

This article is written by Dr. Celestine Iwendi, SMIEEE and Board Member IEEE Sweden Section.