President's Message: March 2021

liuchen changFirst, let me start off by wishing all PELS members and the families a happy, healthy, and successful 2021!\I feel humbled and honoured to serve as the President of our society, picking up the baton handed over by Prof. Frede Blaabjerg. Please allow me to introduce myself. My wife Grace and I have been living in a small city called Fredericton in New Brunswick, Canada for the last 29 years, where I worked as a professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of New Brunswick (UNB). I recently became an honorary research professor, continuing my research and graduate supervision at UNB. My two grown children are all electrical power engineers, and one of them is a PELS member (and, yes, I got work to do to recruit the other).

You may have noticed from our website that PELS has quite a few faces, serving various positions as AdCom members, vice presidents, chairs of standing committees and technical committees. I am working closely with them to forge ahead with excellence and growth of our society. I would like to introduce our six vice presidents and their portfolios: Pat Wheeler (Technical Operations), Brad Lehman (Products), Jian Sun (Conferences), Jinjun Liu (Memberships), Johan Enslin (Standards), and Mario Pacas (Global Relations).

I would like to take this opportunity to reflect the tremendous achievements of our society over the past few years, under the presidency of Frede Blaabjerg (2019-2020) and Alan Mantooth (2017-2018).

Tremendous Achievements of the Past Few Years

Strong Membership Growth: For the first time in its 33-year history, PELS reached an important milestone of 10K members. Our Women in Engineering (WIE) and Young Professional (YP) Committees have organized many amazing events, serving the needs of our members.

Energetic Technical Committees: Our members have been actively engaging in the activities of our technical committees, from organizing of conferences and special issues of journals, to disseminating advanced technical knowledge. PELS is in the process of expanding our technical committees from seven to 12, further strengthening our technical leadership in emerging fields of power electronics and ensuring every PELS member has a technical home within our Society.

Excellent Publications: Our IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics remains to be the most downloaded transactions with a top-notch impact factor. The new IEEE Open Journal of Power Electronics has surpassed the year-one goals for the number of published papers with a rapid process. Our other journals have continued their excellence, including IEEE Power Electronics Letters, IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics, and IEEE Power Electronics Magazine. In addition, our digital media contents and products are growing.

Flourishing Conference Portfolio: Each year, PELS organizes about 25 financially sponsored conferences and supports more than 15 technically co-sponsored conferences. Our conference portfolio includes large conferences such as IEEE Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition, IEEE Energy Conversion Congress & Exposition (ECCE), ECCE Europe and ECCE Asia, covering the entire PELS field; technically thematic conferences such as

IEEE Workshop on Control and Modeling for Power Electronics, IEEE Transportation Electrification and Expo, IEEE International Symposium on Power Electronics for Distributed Generation Systems and IEEE Workshop on Wide Bandgap Power Devices and Applications; and regional conferences serving our members in various geographic regions.  

Empower a Billion Lives (EBL): In its effort to provide integrated solutions to energy poverty, PELS embarked its largest global competition during 2018 and 2019, involving over 450 teams from 70+ counties, and held 5 regional competitions in five different countries and one final global competition. The EBL impact has been significant and the interests have been overwhelming. PELS is planning to launch the second EBL during 2021.

Mentorship Initiative: The mentorship initiative led to the formation of PELS Mentorship Committee, organizing roundtable mentorship events in many of our conferences. The events have turned out to be very attractive for our young professionals and students as well as established professionals, and have become our signature events along with the WIE breakfast presentations and YP dinner forums.

Roadmaps: In addition to the active standards activities, such as those with the Electronic Transformers Technical Committee (ETTC), PELS initiated its technology roadmaps, providing the projections of long-term technological developments and innovations in a technical field. The International Technology Roadmap for Wide Bandgap Power Semiconductors (ITRW) was completed in 2019, with its publications available at PELS Resource Center. The IEEE International Technology Roadmap of Power Electronics for Distributed Energy Resources (ITRD) is in the first phase of its 3-year mandate.

Thanks to the prudent stewardship of our volunteers and staff, PELS is in a strong financial position, allowing us to take numerous initiatives serving the needs of our members, industry and stakeholders, and humanity. If you have ideas or suggestions for other initiatives or activities, please communicate with me or other PELS executives, and we will bring them up to the meetings of the PELS Strategic Planning Committee, Future of Electronic Power Processing Conference (FEPPCON), or Technical Operations Committee.

As all of us endured the hardships and interruptions in our lives caused by COVID-19, PELS also faced tremendous challenges in 2020. Our total membership dropped in 2020 (I am happy to report that PELS is now above 10K members again). Almost all of our 2020 conferences were held virtually, and quite a few were postponed to 2021-2022. On a positive note, we have adapted to the new environment of engagement through our virtual events; and the worst seems behind us now. We are all looking forward to a new normal, in particular to our new strategies into the future.

Going Forward – Our Five-Year Strategic Plan (2021-2025)

Through the extensive interactions via virtual meetings led by the PELS Strategic Planning Committee, PELS has developed its new Five-Year Strategic Plan for 2021-2025 which was approved by the Administrative Committee in its October 2020 meeting. Five strategic goals were identified, including:

Membership Growth: To effectively and efficiently administer membership intake, retention, demographic support, value creation and chapter operations.

Industry Content: To develop a comprehensive program driven by the needs of industry to accelerate innovation.

Agile Technical Programs: To capture growth and address opportunities in fast changing technical fields.           

Sustainability: To enable power electronics as key technology to meet energy and environmental sustainability related to global climate change.         

Virtual Platforms: To develop online operating systems and products in support of all activities.

The Strategic Plan is our guide for action over the next few years.

In addition to working towards achieving the above goals through the detailed key strategies, I am fully committed to advocating the utmost value of grassroots volunteerism; fostering our partnerships with our sister IEEE Societies, industry associations, and national/professional organizations worldwide; and most importantly to serving you, the members of our Society. If you have any suggestions, concerns, comments or questions, please do not hesitate to drop me an e-mail at