It wasn’t easy, even in a good natured way, to ridicule two men of such substance and accomplishment. On 16 November, Ray Larsen and Robin Podmore, the two co-founders of IEEE Smart Village, were honored (roasted) at the Rotary Silicon Valley Smart Village E-Club meeting. The theme of the Rotary Meeting was the “Ray and Robin Rotarian Roast.”
The meeting was quite fun and entertaining at the expense of Larsen and Podmore. Be assured though, that by the twinkle in their eyes, both Larsen and Podmore were delighted to be inducted into the newly formed, “IEEE Smart Village Hall of Honor” for their “Outstanding Service and Technical Contributions,” as was announced that evening.
They were even more forgiving of the jokes at their expense when it was also announced that a Fund was created to support activities that fall under ISV’s Education Pillar thereby investing in future Hall of Honor inductees. Supported activities will focus on current and future ISV entrepreneurs as well as other worthy educational initiatives. ISV President John P. Nelson recalls, “I became the President of ISV and met fabulous people around the world, including ISV founders Ray Larsen and Robin Podmore. I subsequently worked closely with the IEEE Foundation to set up the new ‘IEEE Smart Village Hall of Honor Fund’ in recognition of Ray and Robin, to advance ISV Entrepreneurs through educational opportunities.”
True advocates of using technology to improve the human condition, both Larsen’s and Podmore’s community service initiatives have impacted the lives of people in impoverished countries around the world. “The opportunity to learn, grow, and build teams through ISV has been an amazing collaborative experience. I’ve always loved a start-up, but this one has a tremendous humanitarian impact. You start out thinking that you’re giving, but the people you meet, the things you learn, and what you get back are incredible,” Podmore said of the rewards of his 50+ years of IEEE involvement. “The professional relationships and friendships I’ve forged at IEEE are amazing and IEEE truly feels like family.”
Both men put their volunteer hours to great use and also support the program financially. Larsen said, “with ISV we’re challenged to contribute serious ‘skin in the game’ and to encourage others to do likewise; we can’t ask others for significant funds without being willing to take that risk ourselves.”