Nearly 40 years after he led the student branch of IEEE at NJIT’s Newark College of Engineering, Howard E. Michel ’75, returned to campus this week as the global technical professional society’s president-elect.In his talk, “From NJIT IEEE Branch Chair to IEEE President-elect: Maximizing Your Excellence Throughout Your Career,” Michel recounted how the organization’s journals and transactions, conferences, and professional standards had kept him apprised of important developments in his field through the different phases of his varied and globetrotting career.
After graduating with a degree in electrical engineering, Michel flew B-52 bombers, served as satellite launch director at Vandenberg AFB, and devised systems software for the U.S. Air Force. He is now an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, where he teaches and writes about artificial neural networks and distributed-intelligence sensor networks, among other areas. The holder of two patents, he also consults with the U.S. Department of Defense and private industry in the area of embedded instrumentation, avionics, and system architecture and engineering.
“You will also learn soft skills from IEEE programs, such as working with people, managing projects, and motivating people in a room,” advised Michel, who during his Air Force career supervised the first U.S. commercial satellite launches in China as the senior U.S. technical representative responsible for enforcing technology-transfer control plans and procedures.
Michel serves as president-elect of the organization, with more than 400,000 members in over 180 countries, in 2014, and will take over as president in 2015. He has vowed to enhance career security for members through expanded venues for professional development; to increase IEEE’s impact on public policy in its many technical areas of interest, including standards development and educational accreditation; to provide individualized information to members and exchanges between researchers and practitioners in real time; to increase IEEE’s visibility, clout and recruitment worldwide.