IEEE (PI)2 Past Chairs & History


2020 Ruth Sulzer ruths@tgce.com

2019 Andrew Bluiett Andrew.Bluiett@LCRA.ORG

2018 Kris Dehnel kpdehnel@ieee.org

2017 James Mercier jmercier@ieee.org

2016 Joel Sandahl jsandahl@zxtech.net

2015 Joel Sandahl jsandahl@zxtech.net

2014 Steve Pearson 

2013 Kevin Ewing kewing@shermco.com

2012 Andrew Bluiett andrew.bluiett@lcra.org

2011 Don Drumtra drumtra@ieee.org

2019: James Mercier, PE, a founder of the IEEE (PI)2 Austin Joint Chapter and the Chapter Treasurer, has been awarded the IEEE-USA George F. McClure Citation of Honor “For dedication 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.

Anyone who has attended a (PI)2 Austin program knows James Mercier, with his 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 tireless 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.

On February 8, 2011, the IEEE PES Central Texas Chapter in Austin members and the IEEE IAS Chapter members received approval from IEEE to form a joint chapter of four Societies, named IEEE (PI)2 Austin:

  • Power & Energy
  • Industry Applications
  • Power Electronics (new to Austin)
  • Industrial Electronics (new to Austin)

Earlier IEEE PES Austin Chairs 

2010 Bobby Speer

2009 Rheuben Hair

2008 Stacy Shook stacy.smith@austin.utexas.edu

2008 – IEEE PES Name Change from Power Engineering

to Power & Energy. See PES History

2007 Mike Noth mikenoth@ieee.org

2005 Roy Matthews

2004 Steve Kanetzky skanetzky@skaneng.com

2003 Steve Kanetzky skanetzky@skaneng.com

2002 James Mercier jmercier@ieee.org

2001 James Mercier jmercier@ieee.org

2000 Forrest Arnold, LCRA

1970 Walter May

1969 Walter May

Early History and Articles

The Central Texas Chapter of IEEE PES changed its location to Austin in 2001. It  had its inaugural meeting on Tuesday, May 22, 2001 at the then Clarion Hotel at US-35 and Live Oaks Street, with Forrest Arnold opening the meeting, convening elections, which resulted in the following officers: James Mercier – Chair, Steve Kanetzky – Vice-Chair and Roy Matthews – Secretary/Treasurer. Shortly thereafter the meeting location changed to the El Gallo restaurant in Austin.

IEEE PES Central Texas Chapter officers from L-R: Steve Kanetzky, P.E.; C. Walter May, Jr., P.E.; Thad Henry; Forrest Arnold, P.E.; Ron Brown; Roy Matthews, P.E.; and James Mercier, P.E. (Photo credit: Construction News, Austin TX – see 2002 article below, page 7)

Article Construction News 2002 Page 7

Article Construction News 2003 page 4

1970-2001 The Central Texas Chapter of IEEE PES served both Austin and San Antonio, meeting in New Braunfels, halfway between the two cities. Attendance had declined to the point where meetings weren’t scheduled, perhaps because of the distance members from the two cities had to travel. 

1970 – IEEE creates Societies, with a President, as opposed to a Chair, as the unit leader, and the Power Group was transformed into IEEE Power Engineering Society. See PES History

1964 – The earliest records available show that the inaugural IEEE Power Group Chapters were in Central Texas (San Antonio), Dallas and Houston (July 1, 1964). See IEEE Power Group

1964 – The IEEE Industry Application Society lists the Austin IAS Chapter as its oldest chapter – formed on February 12, 1964, shortly after the formation of IEEE. See pages 45-46 here: IAS_50th_Anniversary_History_Book