Outstanding contributions of 8 technology leaders recognized

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2015 Thomas A. Edison Awards for exceptional achievement

Ralph Wigg receives the 2015 Thomas A. Edison award from Ulrich Spindler

The Thomas A. Edison Award is in the spirit of Thomas Edison, 1847-1931, who said "Genius is 1 % inspiration and 99 % perspiration”.

Geneva, Switzerland/ Minsk, Belarus 2015-10-16 – The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) has paid tribute to the commitment and work of eight leaders of the IEC family who, through their outstanding dedication and expertise, have contributed to making products and electrical systems safer, more energy efficient and more compatible.

At the IEC 79th General Meeting in Minsk, the following were recognized with the 2015 Thomas A. Edison Award:

  • Ralph Wigg, Chair, IEC Technical Committee SC31H
  • Margie M. Burk, Assistant Secretary TC 61, TC 72 and TC 108
  • Chen Bo, Secretary TC 85
  • Cheolung Cha, Secretary TC 47
  • Pietro Di Vita, Chair SC 86C,
  • Tadashi Ezaki, Secretary TC 100
  • Jae-Young Lee, Technical Area Manager TC 100 TA 4
  • Reinhard Nerke, Secretary SC 3D.

The Thomas A. Edison Award is in the spirit of Thomas Alva Edison, 1847-1931, one of the greatest inventors in history. He developed a system of electric power generation and distribution which was a major development in the modern industrialized world. His over 1,000 patents included improving the incandescent lamp, film projection and sound recording, which still have an impact on our daily lives. “Genius is 1 % inspiration and 99 % perspiration” is one of Edison’s famous quotes.

Ralph Wigg, Chair, IEC Technical Committee SC31H, from Australia
Ralph Wigg has a background in electrical power engineering which spans over 50 years. His more than 30 years’ experience in Hazardous Area equipment gives him the ability to speak with authority on this subject. Past Chair of IEC Technical Committee (TC) SC31H: Combustible dusts and Committee EL014 Electrical Equipment for Hazardous Areas, Wigg is currently chair of several Standards Australia Hazardous Areas Committees. He is dedicated making Standards work for the electrical industry. The commitment to international work sees him as head Australian delegate to the TC31 and a member of more than 20 Maintenance Teams & Working Groups of which he convenes four. In addition, Wigg has been active in the IECEx System from its inception and was appointed as Chair of the IECEx ExPCC for the Certification of Personnel Competence. With qualifications in both ‘Workplace Training and Assessment’ and Quality System auditing, plus his expert knowledge in Hazardous Area requirements, he is well placed to undertake this role.

Margie M. Burk, Assistant Secretary TC 61, 72 and 108, from the US
Margie has supported three large IEC TCs for a number of years. They are TC 61: Safety of household and similar electrical appliances (10 years); TC 72: Automatic electrical controls (5 years); and TC 108: Safety of electronic equipment within the field of audio/video, information technology and communication technology (10 years). During this time Burk has been an invaluable resource for the management of these TCs, which are very active with a constant flow of work in various stages. Burk has facilitated timely management of all reporting and coordination with members of the TCs. The success of each of these TCs is due, to a large extent, to the support that has been provided by Burk over the years.

Chen Bo, Secretary TC 85, from China
Chen Bo was appointed Secretary of IEC TC 85: Measuring equipment for electrical and electromagnetic quantities in 2003. At that time, TC 85 was in standby for 5 years. During the past 12 years, he has made every effort to push the work of TC 85 forward. Based on the technical evolution in the field covered by TC 85, Chen Bo has put the focus on adapting the work scope of TC 85 and updating the SBP successively in years, so that global market demands such as performance, safety, power quality, and energy efficiency could be properly addressed. By his unremitting communication and collaboration with relevant National Committees and liaison bodies, the work of TC 85 has been reactivated. Through his efficient management of the standard development process, 23 publications have been delivered in this time.

Cheolung Cha, Secretary TC 47, from Korea
Cheolung Cha has been recognized for his contributions as Secretary of TC 47: Semiconductor devices, from 2007 to today. To revitalize their standardization activities, he carried out a reorganization of TC 47 and its subcommittees, SC 47A, SC 47D, SC 47E and SC 47F. He proposed and established Working Group 6 and Working Group 7, to extend the scope of semiconductor devices to applications such as energy harvesting, human body communications, automotive vehicles, and flexible and wearable semiconductor devices. Under his leadership PNWs on these were presented at the 2014 Tokyo plenary meeting and will be submitted in TC 47. Cheolung Cha is also recognized for his contributions to establish the new SC 47F: MEMS to deal with emerging markets on mobile phones and automotive vehicles. He has coordinated and managed 35 publications of International Standards, Technical Reports and Publicly Available Specifications since 2007 in TC 47 (total 90 publications since 1950).

Pietro Di Vita, Chair SC 86C
Pietro Di Vita has served as Chair, IEC SC 86C: Fibre optic systems and active devices, since July 1998. In this role, he has been successful in developing the activity of this Subcommittee. Today, SC 86C includes five very active and prolific WGs, and it has the largest number of experts among all the TC 86 Subcommittees. It has achieved remarkable efficiency, reducing the working of SC 86C documents from NP approval to publication date to an average of 18 months. Under his expert leadership, and thanks to his forward-looking vision, SC86C recently reactivated WG2 on fibre optic sensors, technology which is likely to have a significant influence on many different aspects of modern life. Pietro Di Vita has contributed effectively to TC 86 work through different roles: he has been Convenor of TC 86 WG1 on Terminology and Symbology, Convenor of SC 86C/WG3 on Optical Amplifiers at its inception in 1996, and Convenor of the TC 86 Coordinating Group on Categorization of Optical Components (now disbanded). He is also a recognized standardization expert who has contributed in many ways to the development of fibre optics technology thanks to his deep technical knowledge, combined with significant management perspective and remarkable experience in standardization activity.

Tadashi Ezaki, Secretary TC 100, from Japan
Tadashi Ezaki was appointed as Assistant Secretary of TC 100: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment in 2004 and since 2011, he has been the Secretary of TC 100. Ezaki has delivered consistent excellence in his various leadership roles within TC 100. He has worked tirelessly and efficiently in one of the fastest moving areas of technology, multimedia. He has explored new technology areas covered by TC 100 and created some new TAs – specifically TA 14: Interfaces and methods of measurement for personal computing equipment; TA 15: Wireless Power Transfer and TA 16: Active Assisted Living (AAL) accessibility and user interfaces. In addition, he continues to illustrate the importance of continued communication with ITU-T and JTC 1 by organizing an ITU-T, JTC 1, TC 100 joint high level ad hoc meeting which was initiated in 2008.
Ezaki achieved the standardization of Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) specifications in a very short timeframe to meet industry demand. He led work on the Copy Generation Management System (CGMS) Standard which enabled the launch of DVD players in the market by solving content protection problems. Ezaki received the 1906 Award in 2007 for this achievement.

Jae-Young Lee, Technical Area Manager TC 100 TA 4, from Korea
Dr Lee started working for TC 100 TA4: Digital systems interface and protocols, as a technical secretary in January 2004. He took the position of a technical area manager for TA4 in 2009 and is performing his duty at present in TC100. He is currently taking care of standardization of digital audio/video interfaces, such as IEC 60958, 61937 and 61883 series and he continuously seeks to improve and update existing Standards. Lee also has found new ones related to digital interfaces and protocols, such as IEC 62767, IEC 62889 and the IEC 62379 series, which are regarded as important in the multimedia sector. Recently two more technologies have been added to enhance the realism of audio output to reflect current trends in multimedia industry – MPEG-H 3D Audio (PT61937-13) and Non-linear PCM bit streams according to the AC-4 format (PT61937-14). These contributions can be considered vital in AV sector. Lee has also pursued standardization in TC 100, T-DMB standards (IEC 62516 series), and has assisted other Project Teams to complete their standardization process (IEC 62295). He is now serving as a Korean representative to Home network and Energy Efficiency committee (ad hoc 07-1) in CJK-SITE, an organization for promoting cooperative standardization for China, Japan and Korea.

Reinhard Nerke, Secretary SC 3D
In addition to his significant contribution on TC 3 and SC 3D projects, Reinhard Nerke became Secretary of SC 3D: Product properties and classes and their identification in 2007. Convinced of the crucial importance for various industries, Nerke aimed to further develop the structures of the IEC Common Data Dictionary (IEC CDD) product data dictionaries and ontologies. He also paved the way to enable industries to identify product properties and classes for their handling in computer sensible form. Nerke successfully attracted experts to diligently contribute to the essential work in this field. He has managed to consistently increase the range of support of the industry and stakeholders through the various and even more extensive applications in this area. In the process, the database has grown continuously, with specific Project Teams being set up for particular domains. The growth of digital automation technology necessitates increased quality control for the IEC CDD to become a reliable base.

About the Thomas Edison Award
Created in 2010, the Thomas A. Edison Award recognizes exceptional achievement (within the past five years), dedicated service and significant contributions to the IEC through the effective management of their committees of currently active TC/SC Officers (Chair, Secretary or Assistant Secretary of a Technical Committee or Subcommittee) and officers of the IEC Conformity Assessment Systems and their subsidiary bodies.

TC/SC officers must have:

  • made an outstanding contribution, within the TC/SC, to the development and promotion of IEC systems and standards
  • been responsible, through the TC/SC, for an IEC activity that has had a significant impact on industry and/or commerce
  • been organizationally or technically responsible for a significant development in quality and timely performance by the TC/SC.

Officers of a conformity assessment system or subsidiary body must have:

  • made an outstanding contribution, within one of the systems, to the development and promotion of IEC conformity assessment services or, through a system, to an IEC activity that has had a significant impact on industry and/or commerce beyond the conformity assessment community
  • been organizationally or technically responsible for a significant development in service quality and performance by an IEC conformity assessment system
  • made an outstanding contribution, in accordance with the IEC Policy on Conformity Assessment, to the development and promotion of IEC conformity assessment services outside the IEC systems.

The IEC Thomas A. Edison Awards are presented by the Vice-Presidents or Chair of the respective SMB or CAB boards, at the meetings held in conjunction with the General Meeting, or on another suitable occasion.

The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) 79th General Meeting is organized by the IEC National Committee of Belarus and Bellis, which hosts the secretariat, as well as the State Standardization Committee of the Republic of Belarus (BELST).

Further information
Gabriela Ehrlich
Mob: +41 79 600 56 72
Skype: gabriela.ehrlich
Email: geh(at)iec(dot)ch

About the IEC
The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) brings together 166 countries, representing 98% of the world population and 96% of world energy generation. Close to 15 000 experts cooperate on the global, neutral and independent IEC platform to ensure that products work everywhere safely with each other. The IEC is the world's leading organization that prepares and publishes globally relevant International Standards for the whole energy chain, including all electrical, electronic and related technologies, devices and systems. The IEC also supports all forms of conformity assessment and administers four Conformity Assessment Systems that certify that components, equipment and systems used in homes, offices, healthcare facilities, public spaces, transportation, manufacturing, explosive environments and energy generation conform to them.

IEC work covers a vast range of technologies: power generation (including all renewable energy sources), transmission, distribution, Smart Grid & Smart Cities, batteries, home appliances, office and medical equipment, all public and private transportation, semiconductors, fibre optics, nanotechnology, multimedia, information technology, and more. It also addresses safety, EMC, performance and the environment. http://www.iec.ch

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