2019 IEEE-USA Awards Honor Eight Members for Excellence, Service, Contributions

Not long ago, Phillip Neudeck of Cleveland was planning a trip to Oklahoma City. There, at the 2020 Region 5 Conference set to begin on 3 April, the longtime NASA electrical engineer and IEEE Senior Member would receive the 2019 IEEE-USA Harry Diamond Award.

Nominations for the 2020 IEEE-USA Awards are now welcome! NOMINATE NOW

Neudeck’s trailblazing work — leading a team that has advanced silicon carbide as a semiconductor material tough enough to finally allow exploring the hostile environment of Venus — would be recognized at the Conference.

So were the contributions and achievements of seven other IEEE members.

But in mid-March, the COVID-19 pandemic halted plans for both the Conference and the 2019 IEEE-USA Awards presentations — along with other IEEE in-person meetings, conferences and activities throughout the United States, and much of the rest of the world.

According to Susan Gilmore, who chairs the 2020 IEEE-USA Awards & Recognition Committee, presentation of the 2019 Awards will be rescheduled after IEEE has safely resumed normal operations.

She notes IEEE-USA’s Awards and Recognition Committee administers these prestigious awards; then the IEEE Awards Board and the IEEE Board of Directors approves them. IEEE-USA presents its awards and recognitions in three categories: professionalism, technical achievement and literary contributions.

“Each year, the committee receives many nominations for deserving individuals,” she says. “We encourage nominators who were unsuccessful in 2019 to resubmit their nomination packages for 2020.”

Here are the eight 2019 award winners IEEE-USA is honoring this year, for their excellence, outstanding service and contributions that further the objectives of IEEE-USA:

Emily Sopensky

Emily Sopensky, who died in September 2019, is being honored posthumously with the IEEE-USA Robert S. Walleigh Award for Distinguished Contributions to Engineering Professionalism. An IEEE Senior Member, and longtime volunteer in Central Texas and Washington, D.C., her service spanned decades and included IEEE-USA public policy and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

In 2007, Sopensky spearheaded the first IEEE RFID Conference, now an annual, global event. She also worked to address policy implications of RFID technologies in health care settings. IEEE and IEEE-USA recognized Sopensky with many awards, including the 2017 IEEE Technical Activities Board Hall of Honor and the 2009 IEEE New Technology Directions Committee on RFID Award.

Mina Hanna

Mina Hanna is the first recipient of the IEEE-USA John Meredith Professional Service Award. An IEEE Senior Member, IEEE-USA is recognizing Hanna for his “outstanding contributions to the advancement of artificial intelligence technology, policy and strategy on behalf of IEEE-USA.” Since becoming chair of the then-emerging Artificial Intelligence & Autonomous Systems Policy Committee in 2017, Hanna has advocated its recommendations on global platforms from Washington, D.C., to Dubai, establishing IEEE-USA as an AI thought leader. In addition, he co-chairs the Policy Committee of the IEEE-Standards Association Global Initiative on Ethics of A/I Systems — helping to establish successful collaborations between the two AI programs that boost their impact. Hanna is on the Editorial Board of IEEE Computer Magazine, published by the IEEE Computer Society.  He is also editor of “Policy Corner,” a column on data privacy, which he co-wrote. Readers have accessed the column nearly 14,000 times.

James Mercier

James Mercier is the first of three members receiving the 2019 IEEE-USA George F. McClure Citation of Honor. Mercier’s nominator cited him for his “tireless devotion to making IEEE, industry professionals, students and academics better educated and connected.” Mercier is perhaps most visible in the Central Texas Section for his long-term role as workshop coordinator. The IEEE Life Senior Member almost single-handedly produces two popular workshops a year — generating significant revenue, while also ensuring that attendees keep up with their CEU credits.

A co-founder of the local IEEE Power & Engineering Society chapter, in 2011, Mercier pushed to incorporate the IEEE Power Electronics, IEEE Industrial Applications and IEEE Industrial Electronics Societies — eventually becoming known as IEEE (PI)2 Austin. His goal? To offer local members of all four societies a means to connect, participate in more professional activities, and continue to learn. The joint Chapter has since become a model for several others.

Richard Toftness

Richard Toftness is receiving the 2019 IEEE-USA George F. McClure Citation of Honor for initiatives ranging from engaging students in IEEE activities to bringing IEEE leadership closer to grass-roots members. In 2016, the IEEE Life Senior Member founded, and still directs, the Engineer-in-Residence Program in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins. The IEEE High Plains Section partners with CSU to bring practicing engineers to campus to share their experience and knowledge with ECE students and be resources for career or technical advice.

In September 2018, Toftness also was project chair for the first IEEE Presidents Forum.  Streamed live from CSU over IEEE.tv and Facebook, the event enabled IEEE leaders to converse with Sections across the United States about members’ issues and concerns. A technical innovator as well, Toftness was part of the Emmy- and Oscar-winning team that created the Phantom digital camera, which pioneered instant slow-motion replay.

Chan Wong

Chan Wong is receiving the 2019 IEEE-USA George F. McClure Citation of Honor for “significant sustained contributions in promoting professional development and fostering industry partnerships.” His nominator describes Wong as “a motivating figure for many new hires and young professionals with his unsurpassed passion and energy.” The IEEE Senior Member designed and manages Entergy’s Advanced Metering Laboratory in New Orleans; it measures and tests smart meters and Advanced Metering Infrastructure — among the utility’s key grid-modernization initiatives.

Wong is a very involved IEEE member, leading Section, regional and national programs. He founded the first IEEE-USA Future Leaders Forum; chaired IEEE-USA’s EVO19 Conference; and in 2017, he was the lead organizer for both a Utility Communication Architecture 61850 Joint Interoperability event, and an IEEE Power & Energy Society working group meeting on 61850 and digital communication. At Tulane University, Wong serves on the Engineering Board, and is IEEE Robotics Coordinator.

Philip Neudeck

Philip Neudeck is receiving the IEEE-USA Harry Diamond Memorial Award “for contributions to the development of silicone carbide integrated electronics and crystal growth technology at the NASA Glenn Research Center.” As the lead semiconductor electronic device engineer in the Silicon Carbide (SiC) Electronics and Sensors research group, Neudeck oversees the design, fabrication and testing of the first semiconductor transistors and integrated circuits to withstand thousands of hours at 500° C. and months of operation in the hellish Venusian atmosphere. They are the only known circuits that, if used in a lander, would permit learning more about the planet.

Also, regarded as an evangelist for SiC technology and its use in commercial applications, Neudeck has co-invented 15 United States patents on SiC electronics and crystal growth technology now regularly licensed to U.S. businesses. He is lead author of seven invited book chapters and six invited talks on SiC electronics technology, is a reviewer for many scholarly manuscripts, funding proposals and graduate theses, and regularly participates in SiC conference and symposia program committees.

Megan Culler

Megan Culler is being honored with the IEEE-USA Jim Watson Student Professional Awareness Achievement Award for her “tireless efforts to bridge the gap between students and professionals by demonstrating the value of continued membership within IEEE.” One of her endorsers for the Award said, “Megan could command an army with her motivation.” The IEEE Graduate Student Member was an active IEEE Student Branch leader at Texas A&M University (TAMU); and she helped plan many events to bring industry professionals to campus to meet and encourage the school’s more than 200 Student IEEE Members.

As Student Branch secretary for two years, Culler strengthened communications with the IEEE Houston Section, by attending Section meetings and inviting its leaders to TAMU meetings. She led the first IEEE-USA SPAx (Student Professional Awareness Experience) program. Called “Excellence Night,” it honored TAMU faculty who are IEEE Fellows and provided student-faculty networking opportunities. Culler graduated summa cum laude, was named a TAMU Outstanding Senior Engineer, is an IEEE Power & Engineering Society (PES) Scholar, and was the PES John W. Estey Outstanding Scholar for Region 5.

Ralph Hogan

Ralph Hogan is receiving the IEEE-USA Award for Distinguished Literary Contributions Furthering Public Understanding and the Advancement of the Engineering Profession. The IEEE Life Senior Member led the IEEE Phoenix Section in a partnership with KJZZ, the local National Public Radio station, enabling members to convey to the listening audience how engineering and technology contribute to society. Under Hogan’s leadership, Section members met periodically with station reporters and used a Google Drive to offer story ideas of potential interest to KJZZ’s nearly 300,000 unique weekly listeners.

The result was a bank of 53 technology-oriented news briefs — each several minutes long and with an IEEE sponsorship message — that aired throughout 2017. Stories ranged from Navajo students learning coding to 3-D security at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. An IEEE Foundation grant helped to fund the stories.

According to a recent study, radio listeners’ interest in science, innovation and technology stories ties with education as the second most popular interest that news radio stations cover. Only stories on politics/public policy rate more highly.

Nominations for the 2020 IEEE-USA Awards are now welcome!

Nominate now to recognize professionalism, technical achievement, and literary contributions to public awareness and understanding of the engineering profession in the United States.


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.

 April 29, 2020-  Keeping Our Community Connected: While we may not be able to meet in Las Vegas this year, NAB Show is dedicated to delivering the resources and connectivity that keep us all moving forward. Watch for weekly newsletters featuring content from industry partners and be sure to register now  for NAB Show Express, May 13-14.
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January 15, 2020 — Nine Students at Seven U.S. Universities Receive Awards Totaling $29,000
Inaugural Byron W. St. Clair Recipient Announced

The Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers (AFCCE), the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society (BTS), and the National Translator Association (NTA) today announced the award of nine scholarships to students interested in telecommunications.  Scholarship amounts ranged from $1000 to $5,000.  The Spring 2020 scholarship recipients were:

Maurice Compton                   University of Dallas

Nathan Ellsworth                     University of Texas at Dallas

Andrew Heller                         University of Minnesota

Md. Tajul Islam                       University of Missouri at Kansas City

Daniel Klawson                       University of Maryland at College Park

Obagaeli Ngene-Igwe             University of Cincinnati

Prosanta Paul                         Old Dominion University

Dylan Stewart                         Old Dominion University

Rafida Zaman                         University of Missouri at Kansas City

Mr. Heller is the first recipient of the Byron W. St. Clair Memorial Scholarship, a new program that awards scholarships to promising students, who are planning to pursue a career in broadcast engineering.  The St. Clair Scholarship is sponsored by the National Translator Association. 

Ellsworth, Islam, Klawson and Stewart received IEEE Broadcast Technology Society/AFCCE Jules Cohen Memorial Scholarships, a program that awards scholarships of up to $10,000 to promising undergraduate or graduate students, who are planning to pursue a career in broadcast engineering. Zaman was the recipient of the E. Noel Luddy Scholarship, sponsored by Dielectric Communications (Raymond, Maine). 

“The IEEE Broadcast Technology Society (BTS) is dedicated toward advancing electrical and electronic engineering and by sponsoring the Jules Cohen Memorial Scholarships helps support the next generation of technologists who will become scientists, engineers or technicians developing the next generation of technology driven products and services” said Ralph Hogan, president, IEEE BTS.

“AFCCE is committed to helping develop engineering talent in radio frequency technologies, including antennas, propagation, transmission, and spectrum management.  These scholarships represent our largest ever award to promising students whom we hope will help shape the future of telecommunications,” said John George, president of AFCCE.

“NTA congratulates Mr. Heller.  This scholarship is a good first step in the tradition of Byron St.Clair to enlighten young minds and encourage more interest in broadcast engineering, especially in the areas of translator and low power television.  NTA is happy to join these distinguished organizations in offering this new opportunity that includes students who are entering two-year engineering programs,” said John Terrill, president of NTA.

AFCCE has awarded scholarships for over 30 years to both undergraduate and graduate students, based on qualifications, and financial need. The specific requirements for each scholarship vary, but all applicants must be enrolled in an engineering or related technical curriculum and demonstrate an interest in telecommunications.

Evaluated by an AFCCE scholarship committee including IEEE BTS members, Jules Cohen Memorial Scholarship applicants are ranked based on their explicit interest in broadcast engineering as expressed in a personal statement, their academic record, financial need, and relevant extracurricular activities. Applicants for other AFCCE scholarships have slightly different requirements.  Applications for Fall 2020 semester will be accepted beginning March 1, 2020 until April. 30, 2020.

More information about the AFCCE Scholarships (including the Jules Cohen Memorial Scholarship) is available at https://afcce.org/scholarships . Additional information about the IEEE BTS is available at http://bts.ieee.org/ .

# # #


The IEEE Broadcast Technology Society (BTS) is an International membership organization open to everyone in the broadcast technology industry and allied fields.  The BTS mission is to serve the needs of its members; to enhance their professional knowledge by keeping them informed of the latest research results and industry trends, and provide enriching educational and networking opportunities.

Follow IEEE BTS:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IEEEBTSociety

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IEEEBTSociety

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/IEEE-Broadcast-Technology-Society-IEEE-4937489

About Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers (AFCCE)

AFCCE was founded in 1948 as a professional association of communications engineers practicing before the FCC. The purpose of the Association is to aid and promote the proper federal administration and regulation of those engineering and technical phases of communications, which are regulated by the FCC. In its primary function, the AFCCE monitors the technical policy of the FCC to ensure that the agency's regulations coincide as closely as possible with sound engineering principles. Connect with AFCCE on Twitter @AFCCE, Facebook, and Linked-In. 

About National Translator Association (NTA)

NTA fights to ensure that over-the-air television and radio is available for free to residents of smaller communities, however remotely located.  More information on NTA is available at http://nationaltranslatorassociation.org   

13th January 2020

ATSC 3.0 brings IP delivery to over-the-air TV marking a major change in delivery to the home. For the first time video, audio and other data is all delivered as network streams allowing services available to TV viewers at home to modernise and merge with online streaming services better matching the viewing habits of today. ATSC 3.0 deployments are starting in the USA and it has already been rolled out in South Korea for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in 2018.

Whilst the move to IP is transformational, ATSC 3.0 delivers a whole slew of improvements to the ATSC standard for RF, bandwidth, Codecs and more. In this, the first of three webinars from the IEEE BTS focussing in on ATSC 3.0, we look at the physical layer with Luke Fay, Chair of the ATSC 3.0 group and also a Senior Manager of Technical Standards at Sony.

Click to register: Wednesday, 15th January, 2020. 11am ET / 16:00 GMT

What is the Physical Layer?
The physical layer refers to the method data gets from one place to another. In this case, we’re talking about transmission by air, RF. Whilst this isn’t, in some ways, as physical as a copper cable, we have to remember that, at a basic level, communication is about making a high voltage in place A change the voltage in place B. The message physically moves from A to B and the medium it uses and the way it manipulates that medium are what we refer to as the physical layer.

In this webinar, Luke will talk about System Discovery and Signalling, defined by document A/321 and the Physical Layer Protocol defined by A/322. Both freely available from the ATSC website. The webinar will finish with a Q&A. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the topics which will be covered.

Choice of modulation

ATSC 3.0 has chosen the COFDM modulation scheme over the previous 8VSB, currently used for first-generation ATSC broadcasts, to deliver data over the air from the transmitter. COFDM, stands for Coded Orthogonal Frequency Devision Multiplexing and has become the go-to modulation method for digital transmissions including for DAB, DAB+ and the DVB terrestrial, satellite and cable standards.

One of the reasons for its wide adoption is that COFDM has guard bands; times when the transmitter is guaranteed not to send any data. This allows the receiver some time to receive any data which comes in late due to multi-path reflections or any other reason. This means that for COFDM, you get better performance if you run a network of nearby transmitters on the same frequency – known as a Single Frequency Network (SFN). A transmitters signal from further away will arrive later, and if in the guard interval, will be used to re-inforce the directly received signal. This means that, counter-intuitively from analogue days, running an SFN actually helps improve reception.

Multiple operating points to match the business case
Another important feature of ATSC 3.0 at the physical layer is the ability to be able to choose the robustness of the signal and have multiple transmissions simultaneously using different levels of robustness. These multiple transmissions are called pipes. As many of us will be familiar with, when transmitting a high bandwidth, the signal can be fragile and easily corrupted by interference. Putting resilience into the signal uses up bandwidth either due using some of the capacity to put error checking and error recovery data in or just by slowing down the rate the signal is sent which, of course, means not as many bits can be sent in the same time window.

Because bandwidth and resilience are a balancing act with each one fighting against the other, it’s important for stations to be able to choose what’s right for them and their business case. Having a high robustness signalm for penetration indoors can be very useful for targeting reception on mobile devices and ATSC 3.0 can actually achieve reception when the signal is below the noise, i.e. a negative signal to noise ratio. A higher bandwidth service delivering UHD at around 20Mbps can be achieved, however, by using 64 instead of 16 QAM.

Register now!

Luke Fay
Chairman, ATSC Technology Group 3,
Senior Manager Technical Standards, Sony Home Entertainment & Sound Products – America
Friedel, Sockett, Kim, Reitmeier Begin Terms in January
WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2019 – Members of the Advanced Television Systems Committee Inc. elected four 
experienced industry executives to serve on the ATSC Board of Directors for three-year terms that 
begin in January 2020, while two directors were appointed to the ATSC board by their respective 
professional associations.
Current directors who were re-elected are Dr. Jong Kim, LG Electronics, and Pete Sockett, Capitol 
Broadcasting. Two previous Board Chairmen – Richard Friedel, Fox Television Sta- tions, and former 
NBC Universal executive Glenn Reitmeier, GlennReitmeierTV LLC – are returning to the board after 
being term-limited in 2018.
Dave Siegler, who previously represented Cox Media Group on the ATSC Board, was ap- pointed to the 
board by the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE). Former ATSC Board Chairman 
Wayne Luplow, formerly with Zenith Electronics, was ap- pointed by the Institute of Electrical and 
Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as its 2020 ATSC board representative.
Current board members whose terms continue in 2020 are: Lynn Claudy, National Associ- ation of 
Broadcasters; Mark Corl, Triveni Digital; Jim DeChant, News-Press & Gazette Company; Jon Fairhurst, 
Samsung; Ira Goldstone, Cobalt Digital; Brian Markwalter, Con- sumer Technology Association; Anne 
Schelle, Pearl TV; Andy Scott, NCTA – The Internet and Television Association; and Craig Todd, 
ATSC thanks board members who completed their terms at the end of 2019: Thomas Bause Mason, SMPTE; 
Dr. Paul Hearty, Technology Advisors; and Dr. Yiyan Wu, Commu- nications Research Centre, who 
represented IEEE on the board this year. Claudy is complet- ing his current term as ATSC Board 
Chairman at year-end. The board will elect the 2020 Chairman at its first meeting of the new year.
“The  strategic  direction  and  insights  of  our  talented  board  members  are  especially  im- 
portant at this critical time as ATSC supports the commercialization of Next Gen Broadcast- ing in 
the U.S. and around the world,” said ATSC President Madeleine Noland. “I recognize and appreciate 
the board’s expertise and support for balancing progress and stability as ATSC 3.0 standards are 
updated and preparing for our future continues in the months and
years ahead.”
# # #

About ATSC:

The Advanced Television Systems Committee is defining the future of television with the ATSC
3.0 next-generation broadcast standard.  ATSC is an international, non-profit organization de- 
veloping voluntary standards for digital television. ATSC’s 130-plus member organizations rep- 
resent the broadcast, broadcast equipment, motion picture, consumer electronics, computer, cable, 
satellite, and semiconductor industries. For more information visit www.atsc.org.
ATSC Media Contact:
Dave Arland (317) 701-0084

Real World Testing Shows What it Takes to do all Digital AM right and how that mode performs.



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