A doer with proven record

    Don Tan

    IEEE Division II Director, 2017-2018


    Don Tan is Fellow / Distinguished Engineer NGAS. He earned his Ph.D. from Caltech and is an IEEE fellow.


    He is an authority in power management technology within Northrop Grumman, NASA, the Air Force, government communities and the space power industry. He served as President of IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS), 2013 - 2014 and is the founding Editor-in-Chief for IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics (IEEE JESTPE).


    His recent recognition includes IEEE PELS Owen, Jr., Distinguished Service Award in 2017, NGAS Distinguished Engineer in 2011, CIE USA Asian American Engineer of the Year Award in 2010, AIAA Space System Award in 2008, JANNAF Outstanding Achievement Award in Spacecraft Propulsion in 2007, and NGST Distinguished Patent Award in 2002. His technology has been licensed to a major telecom company.



    eMail: dong.tan at ieee.org


    Extensive services in chapter, conference, publication, society operations and leadership, and global outreach

    Committee and Board:

    • Division II Director, IEEE Board of Directors, 2017 - 2018
    • TAB Ad Hoc on Financial Transparency, 2016 - Present 
    • Member, IEEE Technical Activity Board, 2013 – 2014
    • Member, TAB Transactions Committee, 2013 - present 



    • LA Council Chapter Program Chair, Vice Chair, Chair, 1996 – 2001



    • IEEE PELS Regional Distinguished Lecturer, 2001 -2004 
    • Nomination Committee Chair, IEEE Power Electronics Society (IEEE PELS), 2015 – present
    • President, IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS), 2013 – 2014
    • EiC (founding), IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics, 2013 – present
    • PELS Vice President for Operations, 2009 – 2012
    • PELS Vice President for Meetings, 2001 – 2004
    • Guest EiC, IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics, 2011
    • Guest EiC IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, 2012
    • Member, IEE PELS Fellow Committee, 2010 – 2013
    • Associated Editor, IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics, 1996 – 2000
    • PELS AdCom member at large, 2005 – 2009


    • Steering Committee Chair, IEEE Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC), 2001
    • General/Program/Assistant Program Chairs, IEEE Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC), 1996 – 2000
    • Steering Committee member, IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE), 2009 – present
    • Steering Committee member, IEEE ECCE Global Series, 2009 – present
    • Steering Committee member, IEEE ECCE Europe Series (EPE), 2010 - present
    • Steering Committee member, IEEE ECCE Asia Series (IPEC, IPEMC, ICPE), 2011 - present
    • Steering Committee member, IEEE Power Electronics for Distributed Generation (PEDG), 2009 - present
    • Honorary General Conference Chair, International Future Energy Electronics Conference, Nov., 2015
    • Honorary General Conference Chair, International Conference on Power Electronics -ECCE Asia, Seoul, Korea, May, 2015
    • Honorary General Conference Chair, International Power Electronics Conference-ECCE Asia, Hiroshima, Japan, May, 2014
    • Honorary General Conference Chair, International Future Energy Electronics Conference, Nov., 2013
    • Honorary General Chair, 1st IEEE Workshop on Wide Band-Gap Power Device Applications, Oct., 2013
    • Founding Steering Committee Member, IEEE Power Supply on Chip Workshop, 2012
    • Steering Committee Member, International Conference on Renewable Energy Research and Applications, 2012 – 2014
    • International Steering Committee Member, International Conference on Electric Machines, 2011
    • Conference Executive Committee Member, IEEE International Telecommunication Energy Conference, 2010-2012

    Other Services: 

    • Chair, Department of Defense/IEEE Joint Working Group on Open Systems from 1997 to 2004
    • IEEE Standards Association Balloting Groups for IEEE std 1515 and IEEE std 1573

    In-depth understanding of IEEE challenges and a vision for future success

    Enhancement of PELS Organizational Effectiveness

    In the past several years, I have significantly improved IEEE PELS organizational effectiveness by reorganizing the technical committee structure and by expanding PELS staff including hiring an executive director for the first time to better support our members and volunteers. I have succeeded in positioning the IEEE PELS for strategic growth in emerging system applications and technologies.


    Successful Transition from TAB TEI to IEEE TEC


    I have been instrumental in realizing IEEE Technical Activities Board's (TAB) strategic goal in transitioning TAB Transportation Electrification Initiative to IEEE Transportation Electrification Community (TEC). PELS is now the administrative home of TEC. I have also expanded PELS outreach to Asia by signing a MOU for mutual membership recognition and development with the Chinese Electro-technical Society. Having worked with many presidents and directors during the process, I have gained deep insight into the future directions for IEEE in general and specific knowledge of Division II operations in particular.


    Global Collaboration and Outreach

    I have collaborated with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the American Institute of Aerospace and Aeronautics (AIAA), the European Power Electronics Association (EPE), IEE, IEE Japan, IEE Korea, the Korean Power Electronics Society, the China Electro-technical Society, the China Power Supply Society, and the Brazilian Power Electronics Society, just to name a few.


    TAB Ad Hoc on Financial Transpareancy

    I have been actively working with TAB leaders, TAB and IEEE Treasurers, and senior financial staff on improving financial transparency. The goals: 1) Provide tools for volunteers to manage their business more effectively, 2) Enhance financial transparency; and 3) Identify opportunities to reduce cost and for better business decisions.


    A proven record in getting things done in and outside IEEE

    Helped Launch Three Journals in Two Years

    As founding Editor in Chief, I helped lead the launch of IEEE JESTPE in July 2013 and succeeded in getting it indexed by Thompson Reuters in January 2015

    Instrumental at PELS society level in securing TAB approval of the new IEEE Transactions on Transportation Electrification, a journal with four participating societies.

    Leadership in launching IEEE Power Electronics Magazine within record time (less than 3 months) by establishing an industry advisory committee to help ensure that the magazine is truly for practitioners.


    Established the Inaugural Industry Advisory Board for PELS


    As the first president from industry for PELS, I played a key role in establishing PELS' very first industry advisory board and in launching IEEE Power Electronics Magazine in record time of 3 months-- something many thought was impossible.


    Revitalized PELS Technical Activities


    While serving as Vice President for Operations, led in revitalizing IEEE PELS technical activities by providing streamlined structure and more autonomy to each technical committee to conduct a full line of activities. As a result, PELS technical committees are unprecedentedly vibrant and effective. Each technical committee is now organizing its own conferences, special issues, and paper awards.


    Member service, collaboration, and leadership

    Membership and Volunteers

    Having volunteered for 20 years, I know that members and volunteers are the life blood of the IEEE. They deliver conferences and publications that distinguish IEEE as a global power house in technical innovation and in technical information curation. The number one priority for me, if elected Division II Director, is to support these valuable volunteers more effectively. For instance, our conference organizers deserve an easy process for conference operation and for finance reporting and closure. Our EiCs of various journals deserve a transparent financial process in order to see easily how their respective journals are doing both in technical contents and in financial health.


    Inter-Society Collaborations


    Another important thing for me is to enhance Division II society collaborations to maximize synergy and have better representation of large and small societies. For instance, last year, I strongly supported the motion for our Sister Society Meeting to include the Dielectric and Electrical Insulation Society (DEIS), since it will help us to strengthen our pursuit of HVDC transmission technology, one of the important emerging areas for PELS, IAS and PES. Similar synergies should be fully explored for ultrasonic and packaging technologies.



    Listening to Our Members

    Finally, I have many years of experience as a mid-level functional manager for a diverse group of employees. I am a doer with an established record of “getting things done." I intend to travel to conduct face-to-face discussions with our members within each society in Division II. By listening to you and developing our priorities together, we can maximize our service to our members and volunteers, which in turn will fuel our future successes.

    Going Forward

    Face the challenges

    • Increasingly cross cutting technologies, particularly at systems level
    • Intersociety and inter-OU activities
    • Industry engagement and participation
    • Better representation for TAB

    Know who we are

    • Member-focused, volunteers-driven and staff-supported
    • Strive for efficiency and effectiveness (as a private corporation)
    • Thrive with technical prestige

    Continue building transparency

    • Transparency à trust à efficiency à cost reduction
    • Provide financial tools for volunteers/staff to manage their operations/products better
    • Identify potential financial opportunities for cost reduction

    Develop new business models/new products

    • Service center model
    • Project management/Project accounting
    • Data portals/Data analytics
    • Individualized member services, etc.
    • Service center model
    • Project management/Project accounting
    • Data portals/Data analytics
    • Individualized member services, etc.

    Openness and inclusiveness

    • Enhance diversity
    • Industry participation
    • International representation
    • Leverage diverse cultural background and diverse geographical locations

    Numerous company, IEEE and national awards and recognitions

    Company Wide Awards

    • NGAS Engineering Choice Award (Second Prize) in 2014
    • NGAS Fellow Award in 2011
    • NGAS Asian American Achievement Award in 2009
    • NGST President Award for Innovation, 2002
    • NGST Distinguished Patent Award both in 2002

    National Awards

    • Asian American Engineer of the Year Award in 2010 (as part of National Engineering Week Celebration)
    • American Institute of Aerospace and Aeronautics Space Systems Award in 2008
    • Joint Army Navy NASA Air Force Outstanding Achievement in Spacecraft Propulsion in 2007

    IEEE Awards and Recognitions

    • IEEE PELS Harry Owen, Jr., Distinguished Service Award, 2017
    • IEEE Fellow Award, “For contribution in high-efficiency forward converters,” Class of 2007, IEEE Board of Directors, 2006
    • Distinguished Service Awards, IEEE PELS LA Council Chapter, 2003
    • IEEE Standard Association Service Award, “For Contribution to the Development of ANSI/IEEE std 1573-2003,” 2004
    • Distinguished Regional Lecturer, IEEE PELS/IEEE LA Council Regional Lecturers Program, the forward converters, 2001-2003
    • IEEE Standard Association Service Award, “For Contribution to the Development of ANSI/IEEE std 1515-2000,” 2001
  • Q & A

    Membership, volunteers, prestige, transparency, and global outreach

    Question 1 - What do you believe are the major issues facing the IEEE?

    I believe that IEEE is facing the following major challenges:

    • Ever increasing competition from organizations across the globe in open access publications 
    • Ensuring timely responses to industrial technological innovation and knowledge dissemination
    • Emerging technological trends are increasingly cutting across traditional boundaries of technical fields of interests among many operational units (OUs)
    • Current business model is not conducive to increased collaboration among OUs and impedes transparency and hence cost reduction
    • While a limited number of societies are growing, membership, especially from industry, has generally stagnated.  

    Question 2 - What do you think is the number one goal for the IEEE leadership?


    • IEEE should continue to strive to be the global leader of technological innovation and technical information curation and dissemination
    • Leverage the huge brain trust among the volunteers and staff to position IEEE for the future of an increasingly connected world
    • Continue building technical prestige that IEEE has been enjoying by organizing top-quality conferences and workshops, world-class journals and magazines, and widely-accepted technical standards (especially in emerging areas)
    • Bring IEEE to worldwide members, with particular emphasis on young professionals, industry practitioners, and reaching out to corporate executives
    • Empower OUs to be vibrant by adhering to openness and transparency



    Question 3 - What qualifies you for the job?


    I have gained extensive IEEE knowledge and built relationships as PELS LA Chapter Chair, P1515/P1573 development group chair, APEC Conference Chair, Vice President, President, PELS/IAS JESTPE EiC, TAB, and TABARC. I was instrumental in transitioning TAB Transportation Electrification Initiative to IEEE Transportation Electrification Community.


    I have collaborated with SAE, AIAA, European Power Electronics Association, IEE, IEE Japan, IEE Korea, China Electro-technical Society, China Power Supply Society, etc.


    I will leverage my leadership and management experiences at work and within IEEE to bring people together across Division II, IEEE and the globe.


    As a long-time volunteer, I care about IEEE, its people and its mission.


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    The opinions expressed on this website are the opinions of the authors and not necessarily the position of IEEE