IEEE Joint Chapter:  PES, IAS, PELS, IES

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IEEE (PI)2 Austin hopes its members are staying safe during this difficult time of social distancing, self-isolating and concerns for family and friends, local small businesses and especially for the people at the front lines trying to help those afflicted with COVID-19. 

IEEE (PI)2 Austin presents opportunities for on-line technical presentations, many with PDH,  here on our website, and in our Newsletter, and Facebook and LinkedIn pages. 

Upcoming  Events

September 22nd, 6:30 PM Central: IEEE (PI)2 Austin Technical Meeting:  “New Developments in The Visualization of Wide-Area Electric Grid Information with Application to Grid Interconnection Studies”

Speaker: Tom Overbye, PHD, Texas A&M


An ongoing power system challenge is how best to utilize and ultimately present information to a human user derived from either actual system sensors or engineering studies for large-scale electric grids.  In operations this data might come from measurement systems such as SCADA or PMUs, while in a study context it might be generated by various applications such as power flow and dynamic simulations.  This presentation discusses some of the newer visualization techniques that are being deployed by the electric power industry.  These include animation, contouring, time-varying graphs, geographic-based displays, image blending, and data aggregation techniques. The techniques are demonstrated using a variety of actual and synthetic electric grids including some studies focused on the interconnection of large-scale electric grids.

  • Register here: https://events.vtools.ieee.org/m/236478
  • Registrants will receive WebEx Login information via email the day before the meeting.
  • Please add your IEEE number, if you are a member, when you register (it will save for next time!). IEEE number help us report on the number of IEEE members present.

About the Speaker:

Thomas J. Overbye is professor and holder of the Erle Nye ‘59 Chair for Engineering Excellence in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University (TAMU).  Prior to joining TAMU in 2017 he was a Fox Family Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   Before starting his academic career he was employed with Madison Gas and Electric Company.  He is the original developer of PowerWorld Simulator, a co-founder of PowerWorld Corporation, and an author of a widely used Power System Analysis and Design book.  He was also the recipient of the Alexander Schwarzkopf Prize for Technological Innovation, a University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering Distinguished Achievement Award, the IEEE Power and Energy Society Outstanding Power Engineering Educator Award, and is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering. overbye@tamu.edu

Recent Events

On August 31st, James Mercier, PE, a founder of the IEEE (PI)2 Austin Joint Chapter and the Chapter Treasurer, received the IEEE-USA George F. McClure Citation of Honor “For dedicated leadership promoting vibrant professional activities facilitating cross-organizational  relationships within IEEE and with industry partners.”

The congratulatory letter from David Iams, on behalf of the IEEE-USA Awards and Recognition Committee stated that James has honored IEEE with his contributions and services in the area of professional activities, and the IEEE-USA Board of Directors was very pleased to recognize his efforts.

The selection for this Citation is based on outstanding dedication, efforts, significance, and most particularly on clear evidence of successful accomplishments and achievements in advancing the social, economic, legal, and ethical objectives of the profession and thus securing recognition of IEEE professional activities in the United States. One Citation may be given per year, and does not need to be given if there is no suitable candidate.

James is a founder of the IEEE (PI)Austin Joint Chapter and the Chapter Treasurer, and anyone who has attended a (PI)2  Austin program knows James’ energy, wit, smile, handle-bar mustache, and a story for every occasion. James works tirelessly for his chapter and section, and supports IEEE members, young and experienced, in the IEEE CTS Section and  around the globe. 

He has been a dedicated volunteer to serve the engineers of Central Texas throughout his 30+ years as an engineer. He is an IEEE Life Member and has been active in the IEEE Power & Energy Society throughout his career. He served 4 years in the US Air Force, and afterward completed an apprenticeship program and became a Journeyman Wireman, working in power plants, steel mills, refineries, schools, traffic signals, and offices. He returned to college at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, and earned a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering, working as an Environmental Engineer before relocating to Texas. He worked for TxDOT for the remained of his career, specializing in reviewing electrical plans, specifying grounding practices, jobsite inspections for code compliance, lightning protection, and open channel hydraulics. He is licensed as a Professional Engineer in Texas and five other states and is a licensed Master Electrician in Texas and the City of Austin.

James has brought, in addition to his energy and dynamic personality, all this diverse and well-rounded knowledge and experience to IEEE activities and leadership positions in Central Texas and supporting Society activities throughout the United States.

James Mercier has been a driving force for the IEEE PES Central Texas Chapter during his career in Texas, and for the Industry Applications, Power Electronics, and Industrial Electronics Society Chapters since 2001. Although the Power and Energy Society was established in Central Texas at the formation of the IEEE back in the late 1960s, membership activities were becoming less frequent at the turn of the millennium. The Chapter held meetings halfway between San Antonio and Austin to draw engineers from both cities, but as workdays grew longer and corporate support for time to participate in professional activities dwindled, the 45-60 minute commute to a professional meeting became a problem

James broached the strategy for each city to have separate meetings in convenient locations, and he took the lead in organizing the meetings in Austin, TX, and was the first chair in 2001 and 2002. This effort was memorialized in a “Construction News” newsletter in 2002. James also orchestration the outreach to IAS, PELS and IES, to form a joint Chapter. The (PI)Chapter has remained strong and continues to grow, as James was as elected as Chair in 2017, and Treasurer in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Throughout, he has also served as the Workshop Chair, organizing training events annually and Senior Upgrade events for the benefit of area engineers. We thank him for his service, and are honored to work with him. Congratulations, James!


IEEE (PI)Austin August 25, 2020 Virtual Technical Meeting “The Florida International University Pedestrian Bridge Collapse: How did Engineers Allow this to Happen?

On March 15, 2018, a 175-foot-long span collapsed while under construction at Florida International University. 

Surprisingly, the bridge was in severe distress a few days before the collapse and engineers and workers were actively trying to strengthen the structure at the time of failure.  This talk will examine the mistakes that experienced bridge professionals made that resulted in the deaths of one worker and five motorists.


Dean Van Landuyt, left, an engineer with the Architectural Engineers Collaborative in Austin, and Mark Bloschock, right, a consultant for VRZ, Inc, an engineering and architectural firm in Plano, tag-teamed their way to a terrific dive in to the roots of this failure that claimed the lives of 1 construction worker and 5 motorists. Key takeaways were:  when something goes awry, first keep the public and workers safe – STOP WORK and close the highway; second, engineers need to take a step back to the basics (in this case basic statics and dynamics) to look for solutions instead of searching for bandaids; third, ask for help, consult with others, be willing to listen; and fourth, and perhaps most important, know the most critical stages of the construction (in this case when the tensioners we being applied) and have an independent thorough design review before drawings are issued to prevent failures during construction. Mark and Dean clearly identified how broadly, thoroughly and collaboratively engineers need to conduct the engineering process, in order to prevent deadly incidents such as this bridge collapse


Other Upcoming Central Texas Section Events:

15 Sep 2020 06:15 PM:  CTS LIFE MEMBER And CTCN Joint Meeting – Future of Travel 
Register: https://events.vtools.ieee.org/m/238901 

08 Oct 2020 12:00 PM: Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame: the 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years
Register: https://events.vtools.ieee.org/m/239122

27 Oct 2020 06:30 PM: IEEE PI2 Austin, October 2020, Tech Meeting, Transforming the Grid With Solid-State Transformers
Register: https://events.vtools.ieee.org/m/237909


UT Austin Energy Summer Talks:

Did you miss the UT Energy Summer Talks? Each presentation is recorded and saved to their online archive, so you can watch anytime here: Summer 2020 Archive


Events Calendar

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