IEEE Canadian Foundation
Annual Meeting of the Members, April 8, 2003
I begin this report by recognizing the significant contributions that all of you have made as members of our foundation and volunteer leaders for IEEE in Canada. These contributions span a time frame of 48 years - beginning with the IEEC Inc. founders who created the "Toronto IEEE Conference" in 1955 and started the benefaction program directed toward IEEE in Canada in 1958, through the group of volunteers who transformed IEEC Inc. into the IEEE Canadian Foundation between 1989 and 1994, to the current volunteer Board who are expanding our sense of community under the banner of "Going National".
We welcome several new members; Haran Karmaker (Peterborough), Richard Marceau (Sherbrooke), Guy Olivier, (Montreal), Eric Holdrinet (Montréal), Vijay Sood (Varennes), Maurice Huneault (Varennes), and Adam Skorek (Trois-Rivières). These additions are central to our plan to diversify our membership across Canada and increase our Francophone volunteer base.
Activities and Initiatives
This has been a very active year, starting with the implementation of the outcomes of our long range planning retreat. This retreat occurred prior to last year's annual meeting, the initial discussion of implementation occurred at the Board meeting immediately following that annual meeting, and all action items were closed out at the last meeting of 2002. The majority of the following activities reviewed are a direct consequence of that retreat.
Participation in the IEEE Canada Board meeting in Winnipeg on May 12, 2002 - My thanks to President Mo El-Hawary for inviting me to participate. This was an excellent opportunity to provide information to all the attendees - many of whom were not familiar with our foundation and its program of grants, scholarships and donations. With the regular turnover of Section and committee chairs, there is a clear need to repeat this process annually. This need for effective information interchange was highlighted by the adoption of "Increased interaction between IEEE Canada and the IEEE Canadian Foundation" as one of the four goals of President El-Hawary's term of office.
Joint Meeting with the IEEE Foundation - Through the good offices of Wally Read (our liaison to the IEEE Foundation) and it's president, Emerson Pugh, a joint meeting of our two Boards was held on June 20, 2002 during the week that the IEEE Board of Directors met in Toronto. There was good information exchange between our volunteers and the volunteers and staff of the IEEE Foundation. As a result, several of our business processes have been streamlined and both Boards are in a better situation to coordinate activities. One minor but public change was to rename our "Disbursements Committee" to "Grants Committee" in line with IEEE Foundation practice. My appreciation to Emerson and Wally is noted for making this meeting possible.
Initial Discussions with Montreal Conferences Inc. - Guy Olivier, president of Montreal Conferences Inc. (MCI) (and 2001-02 chair of the IEEE Montreal Section) attended our September 17th Board meeting to initiate formal discussions between MCI and our foundation. MCI was the sister corporation to IEEC Inc. (which evolved into our foundation). Both corporations were formed to own and operate conferences, and as such, developed reserves for funding conferences. Both corporations were affected by the changes (in the 80s and 90s) in conference sponsorship in general and under the IEEE umbrella specifically. The current MCI Board is considering the use of its volunteer resources and inactive reserves to support the activities of our foundation. Guy accepted our invitation to become a member of the foundation.
Continuing Interactions with MCI - The second step occurred on November 29, 2002 when Luc Matteau, treasurer, and myself, attended the annual meeting of MCI and the annual meeting of the IEEE Montreal Section. During the MCI meeting and following an exchange of information about activities, resources and procedures, we accepted invitations to become members and directors of MCI. There was an expression of interest among several members of MCI to become involved in the activities of the Foundation. The third step occurred at the meeting of our Board on December 3, 2002, when Eric Holdrinet (MCI Vice President), Maurice Huneault (MCI Secretary), Vijay Sood (MCI Treasurer), and Adam Skorek (MCI Director) were invited to become Foundation Members - all accepted. I anticipate that we will continue this process of integration at this and future meetings.
Streamlining and Rationalization of Foundation Business - This has been implemented in two stages. At our June meeting, the Board approved the use of web forms for scholarship and grant applications to complement the web form for updating student branch contact information approved earlier. At our December meeting, the Board approved a new schedule for making decisions on Scholarships at the April meeting, Donations materials at the June meeting, McNaughton Centre Grants at the December meeting, and associated deadlines to mesh with the typical academic schedule - full details are posted on our web site. The Board also approved a rearrangement of our spring set of meetings - only one Board meeting which follows this annual meeting instead or two Board meetings (one before and one following the annual meeting). This annual meeting will be the first where all members are invited to participate using a teleconference and information posted on our website.
Dual Language Initiatives - Guy Olivier and I prepared an article entitled "Going National" in both English and French which was published in the Fall Issue (No. 42) of the IEEE Canadian Review. For a couple of months prior to this annual meeting, our web site has undergone a redesign to accommodate both English and French language pages, currently about one third of the total pages have been translated by a team of IEEE volunteers. I expect that in the coming year, our Grants committee will be able to publicize applications for funding, and evaluate the received application forms in either language.
Committee Functioning and Structures - My previous report dealt with activities of each of our committees individually. This year, I will simply report that all committees are functioning well and adapting nicely to the evolution of our business practices.
As I complete my first complete year as president, I note that we began this year by implementing the outcomes of our internal long range planning session, and continued by implementing refinements that resulted from interactions with our two most important related IEEE entities, the IEEE Foundation and IEEE Canada. I believe that our "Going National" initiative is well on its way and that our service to the Canadian IEEE membership, especially student members and branches, will be greatly enhanced. I thank all my fellow members of the IEEE Canadian Foundation, the volunteer leadership of both IEEE Canada and the IEEE Foundation, and associated staffs, for your inspiration, advice and support.
Robert T.H. (Bob) Alden, Ph.D., P.Eng., LSM IEEE