President's Message: March 2023

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Marching on With Futuristic Vision and Programs

by Brad Lehman

I am humbled by the trust that the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) has placed in me as their elected president of PELS for the next two years (2023–2024). I would especially like to thank the outgoing president, Liuchen Chang, the IEEE PELS staff, and all the volunteers in our society. As we all know, the past few years have been challenging, to say the least, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenges, our outgoing president, executive leaders, and staff have done an incredible job of keeping our society financially strong and as active as ever. Their careful stewardship of our society will allow many new programs to be established in the next two years, with a major reinvestment back into PELS membership.

The field of power electronics is experiencing tremendous growth and advancements, and it is exciting for PELS to be a part of this journey. From renewable energy sources to electric vehicles and beyond, the applications of power electronics are endless. This past year saw our conference portfolio emerge from COVID-19 [e.g., IEEE Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition (APEC) and IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE)] and return to in-person events. With IEEE APEC 2023 in Orlando, FL, USA (19–23 March) and IEEE ECCE 2023 North America in Nashville, TN, USA (29 Oct.–2 Nov.), members will have the opportunity to attend the premier power electronics conferences in two of the most exciting locations in the USA. Hopefully, attendance will be fully back to normal. It should be noted that despite the lower in-person attendance at PELS conferences, because of virtual conference technologies, for the past two years (during COVID-19) PELS conferences remain self-supportive financially.

Concurrently, the journal publications in PELS never saw a drop in number of paper submissions. In fact, page counts increased 5%–10% annually during COVID-19. Our flagship journal, the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER ELECTRONICS, remains the most downloaded IEEE TRANSACTIONS, which is a clear indication of the immense popularity of power electronics, even across other societies. The products portfolio team even launched the new IEEE PELS-Tube ( video channel, which publishes fully reviewed power electronics related videos. It is becoming a source where our members can find high quality instructional material without sifting through the unknown quality of videos on YouTube or other channels. In fact, the digital and educational growth of activities in IEEE PELS during COVID-19 has become so strong that it led to PELS reorganizing its executive committees to now include IEEE PELS VP for Education starting 2023. We are embracing post-COVID video teaching and adapting our PELS educational programs to modern times.

Are you an IEEE member looking to connect with other professionals in your field and advance your knowledge and skills? Consider joining one of our technical committees (TCs)! With over 3000 people already signed up as TC members, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to socialize and collaborate with like-minded individuals. Plus, as a member benefit, participating in a technical committee can help you grow professionally and stay up-to-date in your specific area of expertise. Being able to participate in one of PELS technical committees is one of our great PELS member benefits. Take a look at the various topics of our TCs on our website, and consider joining a TC today.

Opportunities and Challenges in the Next Two Years

Because of its adaptability and financial care in the past few years, IEEE PELS is ready to emerge in a post-COVID era in a strong position to make major investments in its membership growth and services. We can reinvest our funds into our membership and professional growth development, even in riskier yet higher impact endeavors, such as: 1) assisting policy decisions by collaborating with international organizations; 2) expanding local activities with student chapters in countries with burgeoning renewable energy growth (Brazil, India, and others); and 3) developing worldwide collaboration with members (power electronics “hackathons,” industry e-Mentoring, and technology roadmaps). Some strategies we hope to implement in the upcoming years include:

Membership Growth and Development—PELS hopes to: 1) expand Women in Engineering (WIE) and Young Professional (YP) events at almost all PELS sponsored conferences; 2) provide membership subsidies and rewards for our volunteers in PELS, particularly for members in developing countries; 3) expand professional development for industry members and entrepreneurs; 4) reinvest PELS resources to maintain a focus on professional development and social network, especially at a local chapter level (Yes, being a member of PELS can also be fun.); and 5) increase membership from  12k members in 2022 to 15k members by 2025!

Diversity, Outreach, and Training—1) Leverage financial resources to increase WIE events and diversity awareness; 2) grow Ph.D. schools worldwide, which are short-courses delivered by distinguished PELS researchers and lecturers in different countries, focusing on in-person graduate student participation; 3) create public outreach programs run by PELS members that may have high impact on young elementary and high school students to enter the field of power electronics and renewable energy; and 4) complete the launching of “PELS-Tube” the new educational power electronics video channel with only the best and fully reviewed power electronics related videos.

Maintaining Excellence in Conferences and Products—The financial revenue backbone of PELS are its publications and conferences. We will do our best to expand staff support to assist in running conferences to ease volunteer burden. Further, member communication can be improved through web pages, social media resources, etc. (Any social media savvy PELS members who want to volunteer?) Reviewers and authors might even be rewarded with additional member benefits, which would bring enhanced value to becoming a PELS member.

These are bold programs that will need as many PELS members as possible to volunteer (email me at if you want to help). I am excited for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. It is my pledge to serve you (PELS members) with all my effort and dedication as the next president of the IEEE Power Electronics Society!