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News Release

Longtime IEEE Volunteer to Receive IEEE-USA's Highest Honor

WASHINGTON (27 April 2012) — James A. Watson, who has given more than 1,900 presentations to over 90,000 IEEE professional members around the world, will next week receive IEEE-USA’s highest honor, the Robert S. Walleigh Distinguished Contributions to Engineering Professionalism Award.

Watson will be presented the award during the IEEE-USA Annual Meeting at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza on 5 May. He is being recognized “for more than 40 years of leadership in promoting professional development of IEEE members.”

In addition to the professional members he has reached, more than 50,000 student members have heard Watson speak at student-organized events such as IEEE-USA Student Professional Awareness Conferences (SPAC).

Vishnu Pandey, who chairs the SPAC committee, wrote in his nomination letter supporting Watson that the Mansfield, Ohio, resident’s “advice has been invaluable to all committee members, and his guidance has improved our ability to communicate with students greatly.”

Robert S. Walleigh, an IEEE-member electrical engineer, worked for the National Bureau of Standards -- now the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) -- for more than 35 years. He supervised the building of NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md., and retired as a senior adviser for international affairs in 1979. For the next 18 years he worked as an IEEE-USA senior specialist.

Watson, an IEEE Third Millennium Medal recipient, is collaborating with colleague Charles Alexander on a textbook, “Engineering Skills for Career Success.” The book, slated for publication in January 2013, will focus on the importance of communication and other non-technical skills for engineers.

Alexander, ironically, will receive the Jim Watson Student Professional Awareness Achievement Award “for long-term contributions to advancing professional awareness among IEEE student members.”

Watson and Alexander are among 20 individuals IEEE-USA will recognize for their professionalism and technical achievements, as well as literary contributions to public awareness and understanding of the engineering profession in the United States.

IEEE-USA awards are approved by the organization’s board of directors. The nomination deadline for 2012 awards is 31 July. For additional information, go to or contact Sandra Kim at

IEEE-USA will also honor:

Award for Distinguished Public Service
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren
For dedicated support of technology, innovation and the men and women who engineer our future

Citation of Honor
Dusty Fisher
For leadership in promoting K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education

Henry J. Lindborg
For leadership and contributions to the IEEE-USA Career and Workforce Policy Committee

John J. Paserba
For leadership in promoting engineering through student workshops, speaking engagements and mentoring

Regional Professional Leadership Award
Kristi J. Brooks
For leadership inspiring children as Design Squad liaison, and for student mentorship in Region 4

William O. Serre
For leadership and mentoring of students and young professionals in Region 4

Divisional Professional Leadership Award
Saifur Rahman
For outstanding leadership efforts in advancing the professional aims of IEEE in the field of power and energy

Professional Achievement for Individuals
James M. Conrad
For bringing innovation to SoutheastCon 2010 through PACE activities and student engagement

Richard H. Lamb
For leadership in developing Internet security policy related to global PKI and DNSSEC

Guruprasad Madhavan
For excellent leadership and organizational skills in organizing PACE and student activities

Richard L. Robinson
For leadership in developing exceptionally creative PACE events in the IEEE Denver Section

Perry Sprawls
For providing open and free online engineering education resources

Award for Distinguished Literary Contributions Furthering the Public Understanding of the Profession
Beryl Lieff Benderly
For outstanding journalistic effort in educating the public about the influence of engineering in medicine

Award for Distinguished Literary Contributions Furthering Engineering Professionalism
Patrick Thibodeau
For outstanding literary effort in reporting on engineering technology and public policy

Harry Diamond Award
Baruch Levush
For contributions and leadership in the modeling and design of vacuum electronic devices

Precollege Educator-Engineer Partnership Award
Manuel R. Muro, Jr. and Ryan Harvey
For generating excitement for STEM studies at Cascade Heights Public Charter School through interactive workshops in Milwaukie, Oregon

Entrepreneur Achievement Award
Richard Odenberg
For helping entrepreneurs achieve greater success through mentorship and education

IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of 210,000 engineering, computing and technology professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE. For information on the benefits of IEEE membership, see


Contact: Chris McManes
IEEE-USA Public Relations Manager
Phone: 202 530 8356

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