IEEE Life Fellow becomes IEEE-USA president, US innovation and competitiveness his major goal

January 24, 2008

IEEE-USA will continue working to increase federal investment in basic research and bolster U.S. innovation and competitiveness in 2008, according to IEEE Life Fellow Dr. Russell Lefevre, who became IEEE-USA president on New Year's Day.

"Our overarching goal is to keep the United States the most technologically advanced nation on earth," Lefevre said. "By increasing our nation's investment in high-tech research and development (R&D), we can help bring good, high-paying jobs to the United States. That's why we support and advance programs that foster innovation and unleash the U.S. entrepreneurial spirit."

Lefevre, who lives in Redondo Beach, Calif., succeeded John Meredith of Colorado Springs, Colo. Meredith will serve as IEEE-USA's past president in 2008. Dr. Gordon Day of Boulder, Colo., is the organization's president-elect.

In addition to a greater R&D investment and programs that promote innovation, Lefevre said IEEE-USA in 2008 will focus on supporting K-12 math and science education to encourage technical literacy and train future technologists; provide serious, career-long continuing education to maintain a competitive U.S. workforce and preserve careers; and offer increased member value in products and services.

As chair of the IEEE Technical Activities Board New Technology Directions Committee, Lefevre has been instrumental in promoting emerging technologies. The committee joined IEEE-USA last year in co-sponsoring symposia on homeland security, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, Internet-based medical information and radio frequency identification (RFID). IEEE RFID 2008 will convene in Las Vegas in April, and the 2008 IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security in May.

IEEE-USA is in year three of its strategic plan to help the United States become more competitive in the face of global competition. Lefevre said the association will lobby Congress to fully fund the America Competes Act it authorized last year. IEEE-USA will also continue to work with industry and labor groups to press Congress to reform high-tech immigration.

The IEEE-USA Innovation Institute, which began last year, will continue to promote innovation through training and mentoring tomorrow's technology leaders. See
For more details, see Lefevre's first president's column at

Lefevre became attuned to the inner workings of the federal government when he served an IEEE-USA 2001 congressional fellowship as Sen. Jay Rockefeller's (D-W.Va.) science adviser. Lefevre's work included leading the Senate effort to establish the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Math and Science Partnership Program, which is designed to make significant improvement in K-12 math and science education. He was personally responsible for inclusion of NSF's Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, which strives to encourage science, technology, engineering and math majors and professionals to become K-12 science and math teachers. Both NSF programs are slated for significant funding increases in the America Competes Act.

Lefevre is a former vice chair of the IEEE-USA Transportation & Aerospace Policy Committee and served as IEEE-USA's vice president for technology policy from 2004-07. He has helped to select the organization's government fellows since 2003.

A native of Grafton, N.D., Lefevre first joined the IEEE in 1963. He has served on numerous IEEE committees and boards and was president of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society in 2002-03. He is also a member of the IEEE Computer Society, Communications Society, Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society and the Lasers and Electro-Optics Society. He received an IEEE Millennium Medal in 2000 for outstanding contributions to the IEEE, and was elevated to Fellow in 2004.

Lefevre has more than 30 years of experience as a radar system engineer. He was the lead engineer for the first Navy airborne multi-mode radar while working for Hughes Aircraft Co. At Technology Service Corp., his activities included identifying advanced technologies, performing R&D on promising new applications, developing business opportunities and strategies, and organizing proposal activities. He was largely responsible for receiving more than 80 Small Business Innovation Research Program awards.

Lefevre holds a B.S. and M.S. in physics from the University of North Dakota. He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of North Dakota last May.

Lefevre and his wife, Carole, have three children - Peter, Mary and Kristen - and six grandchildren.

IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of more than 215,000 engineers, scientists and allied professionals who are U.S. members of the IEEE. IEEE-USA is part of the IEEE, the world's largest technical professional society with 370,000 members in 160 countries. See


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