THE INSTITUTE Patrick Ryan, executive director of the IEEE Power & Energy Society, was named recipient of this year’s IEEE Eric Herz Outstanding Staff Member Award. Shortly after being named, the 64-year-old IEEE senior member died from cancer, on 8 September.
Ryan was recognized “for leadership in creating a successful model for IEEE and society memberships by fostering member value and partnerships with volunteers.” He had joined the society in 2007 as its executive director and remained in the position until he died.
He was successful in increasing volunteer engagement, according to a tribute on the society’s website. He grew the society into the second-largest in IEEE. By the end of last year it had more than 40,000 members.
“I think the major impact was his relationship with the volunteers and staff,” says Dan Toland, director of the society’s operations. “He created many partnerships with the volunteer leadership, and these relationships often turned into friendships.
“His presence will be greatly missed, but his memory will live on in our efforts,” Toland says. “We know he would want us to continue to make IEEE and the society better.”
Ryan championed changing the society’s name, the IEEE Power Engineering Society, to better reflect its mission and vision, according to the online tribute. It was renamed the Power & Energy Society in 2008.
He established business processes to increase funding for humanitarian programs such as IEEE Smart Village, which supports projects that integrate sustainable electricity, education, and entrepreneurial solutions to empower off-grid communities in rural areas.
Ryan also helped establish the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus initiative, which offers money as well as work experience to undergraduate engineering students. Last year he helped launch the IEEE PES Resource Center, a learning platform that provides practical content and educational courses to industry professionals.
In addition Ryan helped to launch four society publications: Transactions on Smart Grid, Transactions on Sustainable Energy, Electrification Magazine, and theOpen Access Journal of Power and Energy.
He also increased the society’s portfolio of conferences to reach a larger global audience, according to the society’s tribute.
The IEEE Board of Directors created the award in 2005 to honor Herz, an IEEE Life Fellow and longtime volunteer who served in many capacities including IEEE general manager and executive director. He died in 2016 at the age of 89.
The award, which recognizes a present or past full-time IEEE staff member, includes a cash prize.
The nomination deadline for the 2022 Herz Award is 15 January. For more information, visit the awards website.
Joanna Goodrich is the associate editor of The Institute, covering the work and accomplishments of IEEE members and IEEE and technology-related events. She has a master's degree in health communications from Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, N.J.