Setting Standards: The Benefits to Getting Involved

This week let's step back and ensure that CSEs understand the benefits of being involved in the standards setting process.

01/29/2013


In past blogs I’ve discussed many of the issues facing consulting-specifying engineers as they address the technical issues relating to substation design and operation, noting pertinent standards along the way. Last week, I outlined the process by which standards are created and ratified.

This week I’d like to step back and ensure that CSEs understand the benefits of being involved in the standards setting process, because it affords innumerable opportunities for personal and career growth, as well as major benefits for the company you serve. For today, let’s look at the personal and career benefits.

As noted last week, engineers involved in the implementation of technology periodically encounter hurdles to equipment interoperability, either physically or in terms of software. Or they discover a gap in established processes for implementation. That engineer, along with colleagues, will forward the idea to one of the IEEE’s technical societies, which may endorse the idea and become Sponsors of subsequent standards work.

The various IEEE Sponsoring Committees, which create and supervise the working groups that tackle the actual definition, writing and ratifying of standards, are organized by technology. There are dozens of such committees, many of which are in the Power and Energy Society, and they include the Substation Committee, Transformers Committee, Power System Relaying Committee, and Switchgear Committee. Participation is open to all IEEE members. You don’t need to be a member of a sponsoring committee to join the working groups. The committees and working groups are composed of movers and shakers in the industry.

Typically, each committee will have a website, which reveals standards currently in progress and the scope of that work, which may aid aspiring CSEs in determining the direction they’d like to pursue.

Becoming acquainted with industry leaders and being exposed to the myriad technical topics engaging the industry today and into the future is the first major benefit. Getting involved in the technical meetings or in standards development also has practical benefits, as that involvement can earn the CSE continuing-education units toward professional engineering requirements in some states.

Getting involved places the CSE at the very center of developments in his/her field. Imagine the networking opportunities! The CSE thus has access to utilities, their equipment vendors, regulators, educational organizations – the full spectrum of stakeholders in the process of grid modernization. Whether you’re interested in the knowledge of your peers, in seeking employment or contacts and insights that will aid your firm, this involvement pays dividends in personal and career growth.

Consultation with colleagues can yield tangible benefits to your technical work, as well as enable friendships and professional relationships that can be the source of valuable references for the future.  Those references may be needed to obtain a professional engineering license. In joining a small consultancy, for instance, the budding engineer seeking his/her professional engineering license will need references for an application. Accrediting organizations typically want to see references from individuals at other companies, from people who have direct knowledge of and experience with that person in an engineering capacity. These references may be needed for achieving the status of “senior member” or “fellow” in IEEE itself. Participation in the standards-setting process by joining one of the working groups is an excellent means to that end.

Finally, the process of working within a committee of your peers, articulating the issues and solutions in search of a new standard – as well as the consensus-building aspect of seeking to ratify a new standard – offers the aspiring CSE broad experience in listening, considering others’ positions and making compromises that hone your professionalism and judgment.  

As you can imagine, this sort of involvement, so vital to the personal and career growth of the individual CSE, will also pay dividends to the companies that employ them. We’ll tackle that subject next week.


Sam Sciacca is an active senior member in the IEEE and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the area of utility automation. He has more than 25 years of experience in the domestic and international electrical utility industries. Sciacca serves as the chair of two IEEE working groups that focus on cyber security for electric utilities: the Substations Working Group C1 (P1686) and the Power System Relay Committee Working Group H13 (PC37.240). Sciacca also is president of SCS Consulting.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.