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Biographies of the IEEE Foundation Board

Ralph Ford, President

Ralph Ford is chancellor of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College and has more than 25 years of leadership experience in higher education and industry. He joined Penn State Behrend in 1994 as a faculty member in electrical and computer engineering, subsequently serving as department chair.  In 2005, Dr. Ford was named director of the college’s School of Engineering. Under his leadership, the school increased its national visibility as reflected in its rankings as one of the top 50 undergraduate engineering programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report. He is the author of more than 40 publications, including the book, Design for Electrical and Computer Engineers (McGraw Hill). In 2005, he was a Fulbright Scholar to Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic.

He is a past vice president of Member and Geographic Activities, Region 2 Director, and past member of the board of directors of the IEEE. Prior to joining Penn State University, he held engineering positions at IBM Microelectronics and Brookhaven National Laboratory.

John R. Treichler, Past President

John Treichler received his BA and MEE degrees from Rice University, Houston, TX in 1970 and his PhDEE from Stanford in 1977. He served as a line officer aboard destroyers in the US Navy from 1970 to 1974. In 1977, he joined ARGOSystems in Sunnyvale, CA and then helped found Applied Signal Technology, Inc. in 1984 after serving for a year as an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Cornell University. Applied Signal Technology, now a mission area within the Space and Airborne Systems (SAS) business unit of Raytheon, Inc, designs and builds advanced signal processing equipment used by the United States government and its allies for foreign intelligence collection. He is currently the president of the Raytheon Applied Signal Technology business unit. He was elected a Fellow of IEEE in 1991. He was awarded the IEEE Signal Processing Society’s Technical Achievement Award in 2000 and its Industrial Leadership Award in 2016. In 2016, he was also elected to the membership of the US National Academy of Engineering.

Marko Delimar, 1st Vice President, Vice President, Programs

Marko Delimar is an electrical engineer, educator, and researcher. He holds BSc, MSc and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering and a Diploma in Management. He is a professor at University of Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, where he has been with the Department of Energy and Power Systems since 1997. He is also a head-of-studies at the University of Zagreb Study Programme of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Sources in Šibenik. His interests include electric power and energy systems, simulations and modelling, intelligent systems, and engineering education. His current research focuses on analysis and design of smart grid architectures and large-scale integration of renewable energy sources. An IEEE volunteer since 1994, he previously served as IEEE Secretary and IEEE Region 8 Director and is known as a co-creator of IEEE Xtreme. In 2019, he serves as chair of the IEEE European Public Policy Committee and member of the IEEE Election Oversight Committee.

Sarah A. Rajala, Vice President, Development

Sarah Rajala served as the 12th dean of the College of Engineering at Iowa State University from 2013 - 2019. Her previous leadership positions were at Mississippi State University as dean of engineering from 2008-13, and chair of the electrical and computer engineering department prior to being named dean. She also served at North Carolina State University as associate dean for research and graduate programs and associate dean for academic affairs in the college of engineering. She had a distinguished career as a professor and center director prior to moving into administrative positions. Rajala is an internationally known leader who has served on many academic and association boards. She is a past president of the American Society for Engineering Education and past chair of the Global Engineering Deans Council. In 2016 she was awarded national engineer of the year award by the American Association of Engineering Societies; and received the 2015 national Harriett B. Rigas Award from IEEE. She is a fellow of the AAAS, ABET, ASEE and IEEE. She has consistently broken new ground for women in engineering and is passionate about diversity of thought and culture. Rajala earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Michigan Technological University and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Rice University.

Frederick C. Mintzer, Treasurer

Frederick Mintzer currently serves the IEEE Foundation as the Vice President of Programs. A recipient of a BSEE in EECS from Rutgers University and a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University, he spent his professional career at IBM’s Thomas J Watson Research Center. There, at different times, he managed its supercomputer center and undertook many successful digital library projects with prominent museums and libraries. A member of the IBM Academy of Technology, he was twice named an IBM Research Master Inventor. He is now retired.

He has been an active IEEE volunteer for over thirty-five years, including service as President of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, IEEE Division IX Director, and Vice President of IEEE Technical Activities. He is an IEEE Life Fellow, an inductee in the IEEE TAB Hall of Honor, and a member of Eta Kappa Nu. He helped create the IEEE’s CollabratecTM networking and collaboration platform - and serves as Editor of Collabratec’s Artificial Intelligence Community.

Francisco Martinez, Secretary

Francisco Martinez is the CEO and founder of Sistemas Azteca, a leading AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture) company he created in 1994 in Guadalajara, Mexico, dedicated to systems integrations with mobile computing, printing, barcode and RFID equipment to provide customized solutions. He is also a consultant for manufacturing industries, and speaker in conferences related to identification and control applications, and automatic data capture systems.

He received his BS degree in EE/Communication and Electronics from the University of Guadalajara and holds a Diploma in Managing from ITESO – The Jesuit University of Guadalajara. From 1982 to 2001, he was a professor in both of these same Universities. His career includes industrial experience in control areas for plastic companies and as a circuit designer for the electro-medical industry.

In 2004-2005, Francisco was IEEE Director and R9 Director, and has served in numerous IEEE volunteer roles within MGA, TAB and EA: IEEE Conference Committee, National Societies Agreements, IEEE Industry Engagement committee, IEEE Governance committee, IEEE Industry Engagement Committee, IEEE Future Directions Committee and Signature Program Evaluation Committee (SPEC), to mention some of them.

Alex Acero, Director-at-Large

Alex Acero is a Senior Director at Apple leading speech recognition, speech synthesis, language understanding, and dialog for Siri, Apple’s personal assistant for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Carplay, Macintosh, and HomePod. Prior to joining Apple in 2013, he spent 20 years at Microsoft Research managing teams in speech, audio, multimedia, computer vision, natural language processing, machine translation, machine learning, and information retrieval. His team at Microsoft Research built Bing Translator, contributed to Xbox Kinect, and pioneered the use of deep learning in large vocabulary speech recognition. From 1991-1993 he managed the speech team for Spain’s Telefonica. His first role with Apple started in 1990. He is Affiliate Faculty at the University of Washington.

Dr. Acero is a Fellow of IEEE and ISCA. He received the 2017 Norbert Wiener Society Award, the 2013 Best Paper Award, and the 2006 Distinguished Lectureship from the IEEE Signal Processing Society. Alex received an engineering degree from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, a Masters from Rice University, and a PhD from Carnegie Mellon. Alex is author of the textbook “Spoken Language Processing”, over 250 technical papers and 150 US patents. Alex has served in a number of advisory boards, including IDIAP’s International Advisory Council, Stony Brook University’s Industry Advisory Board, and EPSRC Natural Speech Technology Advisory board.

Dr. Acero has held numerous volunteer leadership roles within IEEE including SPS as President and a Division Director on the IEEE Board of Directors.

Nim Cheung, Director-at-Large

Dr. Nim Cheung is Chairman and CEO of AIphotonics Limited, a technology company that he founded at the Hong Kong Science Park specialized in 3D photography, LIDAR, and artificial intelligence. He is also director of several listed and start-up companies in Hong Kong. He has recently completed a six-year term as CEO of Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI), a 600-member ICT research center established by the Hong Kong Government. From 1999 to 2002, he was Vice President of Applied Research Government Program at Telcordia Technologies, managing a Government-funded research program that grew at double-digit rates annually. Nim Cheung has won numerous large DARPA and NSF contracts, and conceived and created many innovative R&D programs in gigabit and optical networking, 4G/5G wireless networks, Internet of Things and Smart Cities during the past 3 decades.

Dr. Nim Cheung received his B.Sc. degree from University of Hong Kong and Ph.D. degree from California Institute of Technology. He has held different research and management positions at Bell Labs and Bellcore after graduation. He was a pioneer in high speed optical communications, having established 3 world class research programs in ultra-high speed, coherent, and subcarrier multiplexed communications in Bellcore. Nim Cheung was consulting professor at Stanford University and is currently honorary professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is Fellow of IEEE and Telcordia Technologies, and has received numerous awards and honors.

Jerry L. Hudgins, Director-at-Large

Jerry Hudgins is a native of West Texas. He attended Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, Texas, where he received a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in 1985. Dr. Hudgins served as Associate and Interim Department Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of South Carolina prior to joining the University of Nebraska in 2004 as Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Currently, he is the Interim Director of the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research.  Dr. Hudgins has worked with numerous industries and published over 150 technical papers, books, and book chapters concerning power semiconductors, power electronics, renewable energy systems, and engineering education.  In 2000, he was named as an IEEE Third Millennium Medal recipient for "Outstanding Contributions in the area of Power Electronics." Dr. Hudgins is a Fellow of the IEEE and a past member of the IEEE Board of Directors (Division II Director and IEEE Treasurer). Dr. Hudgins also served as the President of the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) for the years of 1997 and 1998, and as President of the IEEE Industry Applications Society (IAS) in 2003.

Christopher Geiger, Director-at-Large

Christopher Geiger is Director of Internal Audit for Lockheed Martin. In this role he leads internal audit operations for a Fortune 100 aerospace & defense company with a presence in over 50 countries. He has been with Lockheed Martin for 20 years and was most recently the Director of Enterprise Risk and Sustainability where he led related program strategy, implementation, and stakeholder engagement.  Christopher is also on the Board of Directors of Midflorida Credit Union, a $6B assets full-service financial institution. He was previously chair of the Florida Professional Engineers in Industry and a local elected official in Florida. He frequently publishes and speaks on topics at the intersection of risk, sustainability, and resilience. Recent papers include “Resilience in Permanent Space Settlement” and “Integrating Space Sustainability into Double Materiality Decision-making and Reporting.”

Christopher is a licensed Professional Engineering (PE) in Florida and Texas, UK Chartered Engineer (CEng), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and a Board Leadership Fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors.  In addition, he is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a senior member of IEEE, and a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.  He received a master's in business administration and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and chemistry from the University of Florida.

John D. McDonald, Director-at-Large

John D. McDonald, P.E., is Smart Grid Business Development Leader for GE's Grid Solutions business, where he is responsible for developing business opportunities focused on solutions, or technology components integrated together to successfully interoperate to address the business needs of electric utility customers.

John received his B.S.E.E. and M.S.E.E. degrees from Purdue University, and an M.B.A. degree from the University of California-Berkeley. John is a Life Fellow of IEEE, and was awarded the IEEE Millennium Medal, the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) Excellence in Power Distribution Engineering Award, the IEEE PES Substations Committee Distinguished Service Award, and the IEEE PES Meritorious Service Award. John received the 2009 Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineer Award from Purdue University.

John is Past President of the IEEE PES, Past Chair of the IEEE PES Substations Committee, and the IEEE Division VII Past Director. John was on the Board of Governors of the IEEE-SA. John teaches Smart Grid courses for various IEEE PES chapters as an IEEE PES Distinguished Lecturer. John has published one hundred fifty papers and articles, has co-authored five books and has one US patent.

Howard Michel, Director-at-Large

From October 2018 to January 2020, Howard Michel was the Chief Executive Officer at ARRL, the National Association for Amateur Radio. ARRL is a US $15 million association with 157,000 members. ARRL’s business include membership, publishing, licensing examinations for the Federal Communications Commission, and education.

Previously, he was founding Chief Technology Officer at UBTECH Education, and Senior Vice President of UBTECH Robotics, a privately-held US $10 billion Shenzhen, China, AI and robotics company. Howard currently is Senior Advisor for UBTECH Robotics.

Howard is also Visiting Professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Science, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa. Previously he was a member of the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and the University of Dayton, Dayton Ohio, USA. He holds two patents and has published a textbook, 15 refereed journal papers and 70 conference papers, posters or abstracts in the fields of artificial intelligence and optical computing. He has graduated 3 Ph.D. and 40 M.S. students.

Prior to that, Howard was a U.S. Air Force officer, having served as a pilot, satellite launch director, engineer and engineering manager, including a tour in the People’s Republic of China where he served as a senior U.S. Government technical representative enforcing technology-transfer control plans and procedures during two satellite launch operations.

Howard was the 2015 IEEE President, 2011-2012 IEEE Vice-President for Member and Geographic Activities, 2008-2009 Region 1 (north-east US) Director and Chair of the IEEE Public Visibility Committee for 2009-2010.

Nita Patel, Director-at-Large

Nita Patel, P.E., is the Senior Director, Engineering at L3 Integrated Land Systems. Nita was named the 2014 L3 Engineer of the Year and the 2011 New Hampshire Engineer of the Year award for her technical contributions to the engineering profession. Nita has been an active IEEE volunteer serving in many roles for over 20 years. She is the founder of the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference (WIE ILC) and, in the past, served as Women in Engineering International Chair, 1st VP of Computer Society Board of Governors, Eta Kappa Nu Board of Governors member and 2010-12 IEEE-USA VP of Communications & Public Awareness. Outside of IEEE, she is active volunteer with Toastmasters International and a senior director with the United States Chess Federation. Nita received her MS Computer Engineering (1998), BS Electrical Engineering (1995) and BS Mathematics (1995) from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Mary Ellen Zellerbach, Director-at-Large

Mary Ellen Martin Zellerbach is Managing Director of Martin Investment Management, LLC, a majority women-owned SEC registered investment adviser. The firm manages quality, mid to large market capitalization stocks in concentrated portfolios and offers five “Best Ideas” strategies in developed markets: U.S., non-U.S., global, global Eco-Investing (free of extractive and fossil fuel industries and focused on positive environmental stewardship), and Martin Signature Investing (global equities with a commendable representation of women in leadership positions down to the business unit level). Mary Ellen also is a founding investor in the firm’s fintech affiliate, Censible.co, which aggregates Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data points to measure how stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) perform on ESG issues such as carbon emissions and gender diversity. 

Mary Ellen began her career at Wells Fargo Investment Advisors after receiving an A.B. in economics from Wellesley College and her MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. As part of the original pioneering index fund team, she introduced and managed the first international index fund. Mary Ellen played a key role in placing the first S&P 500 Index Futures trade on behalf of a U.S. institutional investor. In 1983 she became one of the founding principals of Mellon Capital Management. As Executive Vice President, she developed the firm’s innovative derivative strategies with responsibility for portfolio management, trading, marketing, and client service during her tenure. 
  
In 2015 Mary Ellen completed an 11-year term, including Chair, as a member of the IEEE Investment Committee. Currently Mary Ellen is a member of the IEEE Foundation’s ad hoc committee and is a member of IEEE. She has been elected to the 2022 IEEE Foundation Board of Directors. Additional non-profit responsibilities include Regional Co-Chair and board member of the Wellesley College Business Leadership Council of which Mary Ellen was a founding member. In the corporate sector, Mary Ellen is an outside adviser to the Retirement and Benefits Investment Committee of Vituity, a transformative healthcare provider. Serving as a trustee of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business Trust and on the Investment Committee of the Cisco Systems Foundation are among Mary Ellen’s previous positions.

 

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