From left to right: Don Sherwood, Ralph Baer, James Anderson, Dr. Barbara Bancroft, Tom Perkins, Nita Patel, Stoney Worster, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, Richard Maynard, Dr. Jason Hui, Jim Isaak, James Henderson, Ed Nelson, and Mike Sousa
Jim Isaak, an IEEE senior member, is the public relations chair for the section as well as past president of the IEEE Computer Society and former member of the IEEE Board of Directors
New Hampshire Governor Margaret Wood Hassan signed a commendation on 11 March recognizing the contributions the IEEE New Hampshire Section has made to the state over the past 60 years. The section is celebrating its 60th anniversary in September. The governor noted that the members of the section have been “instrumental in the development of the state of New Hampshire.”
Let me tell you about some of the section’s contributions.
Since it was established in 1953, the section has grown to include more than 1600 members. One of those members, Ralph H. Baer, attended the signing. At 91, he was elevated this year to IEEE Fellow for his contributions to the creation, development, and commercialization of interactive video games. Known as “The Father of Video Games” he helped develop the Brown Box prototype in 1968, the first home video console. Read about his work in The Institute’s timeline of video game development in, “From Pong to Playstation 3.” Baer continues to take an interest in playing with new technology and developing hands-on devices to excite and inspire kids.
Members of the section work for companies like BAE Systems, Digital Equipment, and DEKA Research, and many smaller ones that have been key contributors to New Hampshire's economic growth over the last six decades. There are also IEEE student branches at Dartmouth; the University of New Hampshire’s campuses in Durham and Manchester; as well as NHTI, Concord's Community College, in Nashua.
Having so many student branches is a great way to encourage students to pursue an engineering career and work at one of these companies. “Engineering and technology are still areas that provide the best career opportunities for young people in the state," says Jason Hui, section chair and systems engineering manager at BAE Systems.
Nita Patel, section vice chair and the 2011 New Hampshire Engineer of the Year notes, “Medical technology, created by companies like DEKA Research, saves hundreds of lives a year in New Hampshire. With the company’s products such as mobile devices that monitor health status and genetic data analysis, we who work in the state are in the middle of a quantum leap forward in health care as well as innovation in medical technology.”
Today, the section hosts more than 25 meetings for technologists, many of which are open to the public at no cost. Although the meetings are aimed at members, they also serve professionals and students across the state.
The section is also involved with supporting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) preuniversity programs. In 2012 the section awarded grants to fund STEM programs at four New Hampshire schools. According to Don Sherwood, chair of the section’s preuniversity committee, the section also participates in TechFest and the Young Inventors’ Program, whose goal is to incorporate the invention process—creativity and problem solving—into the classroom and after-school programs, along with other technology and career-related activities.
The section recently adopted the theme “Education for Innovation” to promote the importance of networking and lifelong learning among its members. The value of engineers’ professional activities is poorly understood by many. Although it is broadly recognized that innovation leads to economic growth and new jobs, this doesn't happen in a vacuum. Ongoing continuing education provided by the section and cross-disciplinary interactions at our meetings are the catalyst for innovation and problem solving. This is what IEEE offers at the local level in New Hampshire.
Is your section celebrating a milestone anniversary this year? If so, let The Institute know.
Photo: Jim Isaak