IEEE Region 8 Director-Elect Candidates Spoke to IEEE Region 8 Today – Part B
After sharing the first part of the interview, Igor Kuzle and Vincenzo Piuri continue uncovering their plans and thoughts about being the next Director-Elect of IEEE Region 8, but also sharing a message with all of you in the second part of this in-depth conversation in IEEE Region 8 Today.
What is IEEE’s bigger competitor in Region 8?
Igor Kuzle: IET is globally seen as one of IEEE’s top competitors, especially in Region 8. IET was founded in 1871 as IEE (Institution of Electrical Engineers) meaning it has longer tradition than IEEE which has roots from 1884. IET has 170.000 members world-wide with headquarters in UK where it operates in the NGO/NPO/NFP industry as a licensed member institution to provide certificates for Chartered Engineer, Incorporated Engineer, Engineering Technician, and ICT Technician. As IEEE has similar licensing power in R1-R7 we need to enable similar opportunities to members in R8. Other organizations like FEANI, SEFI, VDI, CIGRE, have limited influence.
Vincenzo Piuri: Springer and Elsevier are publishing companies, but are not providing our broad range of services to people. In our field of interest, there are scientific and professional associations at worldwide level (like the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Association for Computing Machinery) as well as national associations. Due to differences in global presence or technical areas they do not threaten our service to the scientific and professional community in our Region. On the contrary, synergies and cooperation may improve opportunities and benefits for our community, especially with the national associations to which we can offer worldwide interaction.
There is a big conversation in IEEE about the membership, the membership fees and the benefits. What do you think are the most important benefits for the following IEEE member categories:
- Academic members and researchers
- Engineers that are not into research projects
Vincenzo Piuri: Access to technical knowledge and networking with people are fundamental and essential for everybody.
For academics and researchers highly valuable are also, but not only: publications, conferences, technical committees, emerging technologies.
For industry professionals: continuing education, lifelong learning, standards, application cases, emerging technologies, technical committees, career development, entrepreneurship support, public policy.
For volunteers: local, regional and global volunteering opportunities and training, tools and services for volunteering activities, micro-volunteering, technical activities, humanitarian activities.
For students: internships, soft skills, career development, international training, mentorship.
Igor Kuzle: As a member of the MGA Member Benefits Portfolio Advisory Committee I have recognized what benefits IEEE can provide to the members of R8. Some of them already exist for R1-R7 and should be included for R8 through Vienna office. These benefits include seamless access to scientific content, accreditation, career opportunities and continuous education. By categories:
- Networking, reduced fees for conferences and other events.
- Continuous education and improving competencies.
- Serving the community in a supportive environment through variety of initiatives.
- Networking, experience in projects organization and management, career opportunities in connection with industry.
Year over year it is noticed that more and more committees are supporting WiE (women in engineering) and encourage young girls to engage and get closer with STEM activities. What is your position about WiE, do you think that what it is already done is too much? Which is your statement about WiE in IEEE Region 8?
Igor Kuzle: Women are often under-represented in the academic and professional fields of engineering but they can have different view on certain problems which has contributed to the diverse fields of engineering. Lower rates of female students in engineering and STEM degree programs means that different IEEE related technical fields are left without a great untapped potential. WIE promotes and encourages inclusion and retention of women on all levels in the profession which can only be beneficial to everyone. R8 should continue to facilitate this recruitment and I will strongly support it and promote equal participation of women in R8 committees.
Vincenzo Piuri: In our Region we have progressed significantly in supporting WiE. We should continue to expand presence, visibility, and roles of women and other underserved groups in our scientific and professional community, in our Region, and the IEEE.
We should expand activities, also cooperating with other associations, by:
- showing the relevance of STEAM disciplines, job opportunities, and the value of more inclusive presence;
- supporting in developing skills and competences, building careers, and contributing to these disciplines;
- promoting the culture of equal opportunities in working places;
- engaging extraordinary professionals as role models in the IEEE field of interest.
Closing, which is the message you’d like to share with our readers?
Vincenzo Piuri: Thank you for the opportunity of sharing my strategic vision about our Region and the IEEE.
I envision a Region 8 and an IEEE nurturing more the IEEE members and the entire scientific and professional community, and providing more tangible value to membership at an affordable and sustainable cost for every individual. I will promote human-centric personalized services, specialized networking, and practical knowledge, especially for industry professionals, entrepreneurs, young professionals, students, women, and underserved geographical areas. I want to continue providing high-quality knowledge and resources, promoting public awareness and support to public policy and services, and expanding humanitarian activities. I will reinforce cooperation with national sister associations, other IEEE units, and other international institutions. I will expand recognition of excellence to provide more role models to the next generations. In 36 years of continuous and active IEEE service, I have been involved in many technical and geographical activities and at many levels, strongly promoting cooperation and inclusiveness, with strategic vision and consensus building for effective results. Professionally, I have been active in academia and research, industry and entrepreneurship, educational initiatives, and international cooperation. These experiences gave me a holistic view and a deep understanding of the needs of our members and the scientific and professional community. I am fully committed to serve the IEEE members, our Region and our community, with strategic vision, encouraging participation, galvanizing enthusiasm, and catalyzing all rich and diverse competences and aspirations. A Region 8 and an IEEE in which everybody finds value and feels proud to be. An IEEE by people for people. I hope that you share my vision for our Region and the IEEE and will support me with your vote and by encouraging your colleagues, friends, and graduate students to do the same. Thank you! Together we can make the difference.
Igor Kuzle: Thank you for your time for reading through and for the opportunity to express my views on Region 8 and IEEE. I applied for R8 Director position as, based on my experience, I am highly motivated to improve on some of the shortcomings in R8 that I have noticed over my 26 years long participation in IEEE. I believe that I have the knowledge, character, and ideas needed to fully use an incredible potential of IEEE and R8 to create an environment where engineers can find their professional home. I will try to use the cultural and geographical diversity of the Region as a strength. I have a strong background as an engineer, researcher and professor and I have proved myself as an IEEE volunteer through chairing chapters, section, and committees. IEEE awarded me for extraordinary conferences organization, excellence in leading IEEE units, successful project management and volunteering. IEEE volunteers and friends recognize me as a pleasant person, like my company and support my ideas.
I have plans to involve the Vienna office as an interface between R8 and national engineering associations and standard bodies to benefit our industry members. Also, the office can provide insurance, travel discounts and other services to volunteers in R8.
As R8 Director, I will try to provide students and YP opportunities to volunteer and be engaged, to interact and collaborate, and to share our passion for technology and humanity. On the global level I will fight to change the IEEE’s current structure, where R8 is currently under-represented considering current IEEE membership.
Most of all I would be honored to serve IEEE and Region 8 in this important volunteer role.