COE Professor Howard E. Michel Takes Support for Engineering Global As IEEE President and CEO

Prof. Michel, a faculty of College of Engineering, talks about his recent experiences as the President of IEEE, and why he joined IEEE.

Howard E. Michel

Six continents, 19 countries, 77 cities -- This year, UMass-Dartmouth Professor Howard E. Michel took his support for the engineering profession on the road as the 2015 IEEE President and CEO, interacting with industry, academic and governmental leaders around the world and fostering support for the engineering profession.

One of the capstone initiatives of his IEEE presidency has been Professor Michel’s efforts to reinforce IEEE’s already strong relationships with industry, and to forge new ones as well.  Throughout 2015, he led delegations of IEEE leaders to Germany, Japan and China, where he and other IEEE leaders met with the leadership of corporations that included Siemens, Fesco, NTT, Mitsubishi Electric, DJI, and Huawei. 

“One of the great things we’re seeing,” commented Professor Michel, “Is that industry has been making the education pipeline—students in graduate and undergraduate programs, and even kids in K-12—a much more vital piece of their overall strategic efforts.  They see the workforce of tomorrow, and I believe they are committed to making certain that they’re prepared to maximize the potential of the young men and women who will be joining their companies in a few years.”

Students and the workforce were not the only topics discussed during Professor Michel’s industry efforts.  Discussions ranged from the technology policy and regulatory needs facing these corporations, as well as the tools needed to drive innovation.  Those discussions have already led to a number of different initiatives that Professor Michel is spearheading in his role at the helm of IEEE this year.

In addition to his discussions with these corporate leaders, Professor Michel met with student and university leaders during his outreach to IEEE Student Members in locations such as Beijing, Shanghai, Nagoya, Kyoto, Tokyo, Cape Town, and Johannesburg, among others.  “Students—and it doesn’t matter where you find them—UMass, Osaka, Nairobi, or Belgium,” said Professor Michel, “Students are doing some incredible things.  They want to change the world, and they’ve got the ideas on how to do it—more than ideas, in many cases.  And they’ve got the passion and the drive to make those ideas work.  They are inspiring, energizing, and probably the best part of the work I’ve done with IEEE this year.”

“It has been a busy year, but a very professionally rewarding year,” concluded Professor Michel, “Engineering has always been about collaboration. That was a big attractor for me when I joined IEEE many years ago—the organization places a huge emphasis on collaboration with colleagues, whether they’re across the hall, or on the other side of the world.  It’s that collaborative commitment, that spirit, which I saw in evidence during almost every interaction I had with today’s engineering leaders.  It really—I think—points to a very bright, very promising future.”

But Professor Michel concluded it was not all work either.  “I had the honor of hosting the IEEE Awards Ceremony, a black-tie event held in New York City’s famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel; touring the Taj Mahal in India; walking on the Great Wall in China; doing a safari in Africa; and flying along the Himalayas and Mt. Everest from Kathmandu, Nepal.”

This is an article by Mr. Dominick DeMarco, the IEEE Executive Communications Manager.


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Prof. Howard E. Michel





College of Engineering