Candidates for 2021 IEEE President-Elect Issue Their Position Statements

The three candidates share their plans for increasing diversity, expanding services, and attracting more members from industry

6 min read

From left, IEEE president-elect candidates Ray Liu, S.K. Ramesh, and Saifur Rahman
Photos: IEEE

THE INSTITUTE The annual IEEE election process begins in August, so be sure to check your mailbox then for your ballot. To help you choose the 2021 IEEE president-elect, The Institute is publishing the official biographies and position statements of the three candidates, as approved by the IEEE Board of Directors. The candidates are Life Fellow Saifur Rahman, and Fellows S.K. Ramesh and Ray Liu.

IEEE president-elect candidate Saifur Rahman

Life Fellow Saifur Rahman

Nominated by Petition

Rahman is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech. He is the founding director of the Advanced Research Institute at the university, which provides faculty members access to research funding, government laboratories, and industry research centers.

Rahman served as chair of the U.S. National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for International Science and Engineering from 2010 to 2013.

He is the founding editor-in-chief of the IEEE Electrifications Magazine and the IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy.

Rahman served as the 2018–2019 president of the IEEE Power & Energy Society (IEEE PES). While president, he established the IEEE PES Corporate Engagement Program, which allows employers to receive IEEE benefits by paying their employees’ IEEE membership dues.

Rahman set up IEEE PES Chapters’ Councils in Africa, China, India, and Latin America. These councils have empowered local leaders to initiate local programs. He also led the effort to establish the PES University, which offers courses, tutorials, and webinars to members.

Rahman was also the 2006 chair of IEEE Publications Board and a member of the IEEE Board of Directors.

He is a Distinguished Lecturer for IEEE PES, and has given lectures on topics such as the smart grid, energy-efficient buildings, sensor integration, blockchain applications, environmental impact of electricity, and renewable energy.

Rahman is the recipient of the 2000 IEEE Millennium Medal for outstanding achievements and contributions to IEEE.



As IEEE President my focus will be to make IEEE more global and more relevant to technology professionals all over the world, by the following actions:

  • Demonstration of relevance. Through proactive outreach and demonstrating benefits of IEEE membership, with unparalleled networking opportunities at over 2000 international IEEE conferences (face-to-face or virtual), access to the finest technological literature, massive resources for up-skilling, innovative collaboration facilities with like-minded colleagues worldwide, we can powerfully demonstrate IEEE’s relevance to current and prospective members.
  • Deeper engagement with technologists at grassroots level. To provide direct links between the chapter leadership (who represent us locally) and society governing board, I set up highly effective IEEE Power & Energy Society Chapters’ Councils in China, India, Africa and Latin America that organize enormously successful local events and meaningful outreach to local industry. I shall mirror these pioneering developments throughout IEEE.
  • Enhanced lifelong learning opportunities. I helped establish the immensely popular online PES University. This “university” offers invaluable tutorials, webinars, plain-talk courses in Power & Energy Society’s Field of Interest. I propose to launch an IEEE University encompassing all IEEE’s fields of interest to support career development of practicing engineers.
  • Giving life to our motto, Advancing Technology for Humanity. The global events of recent months have shown that technologists play a critical role for humanity. Let us employ the matchless facilities IEEE offers to address the post-COVID ‘new normal’ supporting remote working, international collaboration, continuing professional development, ambitious technology development, renewable energy, expedite Sustainability, and build a resilient future.

IEEE president-elect candidate S.K. Ramesh

Fellow S.K. Ramesh

Nominated by the IEEE Board of Directors

Ramesh is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at California State University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science in Northridge, where he served as dean from 2006 to 2017. While dean, he established centers on renewable energy, entrepreneurship, and advanced manufacturing, and created an interdisciplinary master’s degree program in assistive technology engineering to meet emerging workforce needs.

Ramesh is the founding director of the university’s nationally recognized Attract, Inspire, Mentor, and Support Students program, which enhances the graduation of underrepresented minorities in engineering and computer science.

He has served on the IEEE Board of Directors, Awards Board, Publications Board, and Fellows Committee. As the 2016–2017 vice president of IEEE Educational Activities, he championed several successful programs including the IEEE Learning Network and the IEEE TryEngineering Summer Institute.

He expanded chapters globally to serve all 10 regions and increased industry support as the 2016 president of IEEE’s honor society, IEEE-HKN.

Ramesh was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 2015 for “contributions to entrepreneurship in engineering education.”

He serves on the ABET Board of Directors, the global accrediting organization for academic programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology, and is an experienced program evaluator.

Ramesh has served Region 6 at the section, chapter, and area levels. His many recognitions include the 2004 Region 6 Community Service award, and the 2012 John Guarrera Engineering Educator of the Year award from the Engineers Council.



IEEE’s mission of “Advancing Technology for Humanity” has never been more relevant. Today, we are witnessing an extraordinary test of the human spirit as we combat the global COVID-19 pandemic. The entire world is turning to virtual modalities to protect lives. Everything that we know in the world of today will be different when we emerge from this crisis.

How do we serve our members in these uncertain times, and adapt our structures to support IEEE’s mission-aligned priorities in the future? Personally speaking, my IEEE experiences of almost four decades have taught me some timeless values: To be Inclusive, Collaborative, Accountable, Resilient, and Ethical. Simply put, “I CARE”.

If elected, you can count on me to:

Grow IEEE globally and empower volunteers to improve their local communities by promoting a culture of transparency, and inclusion

Offer members customized access to continuing education programs, and industry relevant workshops

Increase the value of products and services with prudent fiscal leadership

Engage members and support their ongoing professional and career needs

Empower and strengthen our Student Chapters, YP, WIE, and Entrepreneurship affinity groups

Energize IEEE members working at the forefront of grand challenges for engineering facing humanity

Our members are the heart and soul of IEEE. They create enormous value for IEEE through their contributions. IEEE has the power to hold our profession together and support engineers worldwide. I humbly request your vote and support to work together, to create an IEEE “Of the Members”, “By the Members” and “For the Members.”

IEEE president-elect candidate Ray Liu

Fellow Ray Liu

Nominated by the IEEE Board of Directors

Liu is an engineering professor at the University of Maryland in College Park. He leads the university’s Signal and Information Group, which researches signal processing and communications.

He has founded several startups including Origin Wireless, which pioneered AI for wireless sensing and indoor tracking. Under Liu’s leadership as chief executive, the company invented the world’s first centimeter-accuracy indoor positioning and tracking system using the principle of “time reversal.”

Liu has held many volunteer positions. He was the 2019 vice president of IEEE Technical Activities. As 2012–2013 president of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, he established a new membership board to offer more benefits to society members—which resulted in increased membership. In 2005 he cofounded the IEEE Signal Processing chapter in Washington, D.C. From 2003 to 2005, he was editor-in-chief of the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine.

He was also the 2016–2017 Division IX director.

Liu was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 2003 “for contributions to algorithms, architectures, and implementations for signal processing.”

He was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008 and of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors last year.

He has received numerous IEEE honors and recognitions including the 2009 IEEE Signal Processing Society Technical Achievement Award, the 2014 IEEE Signal Processing Society Award, the 2016 IEEE Leon K. Kirchmayer Graduate Teaching Award, and the 2021 IEEE Fourier Award for Signal Processing.



Over the last 35 years I have volunteered time to make IEEE a better place. I understand the issues you are facing in your professional lives, whether getting started after graduation, excelling/struggling in academia or industry, or prospering in the “Gig economy” as an entrepreneur. I am running to represent you to make IEEE more relevant and useful for all of us!

As a non-profit organization, our key thrusts are promotion of technical excellence, thought leadership, and facilitation of collaboration and networking, rather than amassing profits.

I pledge to:

Provide greater value to you through new products and services

  • As the creator of IEEE DataPort, pursue more opportunities in data and analytics for open science and reproducible research
  • Develop more continuing education/training on practical content relevant to your work, especially for industry members and young professionals
  • Devise mobile strategy and infrastructure to engage members and other users with a simple click, to offer persistent availability and value

Improve Readiness for Crisis Management and Reduce Overhead

  • Develop rapid global crisis response mechanism/readiness and strengthen virtual conferencing services/capability as a new emerging trend
  • Lower IEEE overhead in its business model to relieve burden for members
  • Ensure transparency in all decision-making processes

Build our strength in diversity, for all of us worldwide

  • Develop global strategies to offset political and geographic walls against equal participation
  • Provide personalization of services to accommodate different needs of our diverse constituents
  • Strive for fair participation and leadership from diverse groups and regions, especially those under-represented and women

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