History of IEEE Canada Office
In 1971, Regional Director Bill Thompson, obtained special funding (REMSEF) to create the Region 7 office and hired George Armitage to set up the physical facility and be the manager. This began the process of creating a distinctly Canadian entity within IEEE.
George Armitage was appointed as the first full-time IEEE Canadian Region Office Manager by outgoing Regional Director Bill Thompson and incoming Regional Director Doug Hinton. George served in this capacity from 1972 until his retirement in 1883. The office was located at 7061 Yonge Street, Thornhill, Ontario – just north of the metropolitan Toronto boundary. The primary function of this office was generally to improve communications between the Region and the Section and Branch volunteer leaders, and with IEEE headquarters. George hired a secretary, first Ila Worsdale, then Dorothy Millman, to assist him and look after the office when he was away from his desk visiting Sections.
George began the delivery of specialized services by offering special technical training courses which he held in Sections across Canada. The content for these courses was in three-ring binders with a colourful banner on the white outside cover. The words “IEEE Canada” with a blue IEEE logo on the left and a red maple leaf on the right. There was a red line underneath connecting to the base of the maple leaf, and a blue line above. This was the first use of such a banner and a forerunner of the IEEE Canada logo officially adopted in 1988 and adapted to become the IEEE Canada logo on the occasion of the 1995 merger of IEEE Region 7 with the CSECE. When George retired in in 1983, he knew that Dorothy also wanted to retire so he hired Pam Woodrow.
Fred Heath was appointed the second Region Office Manager in 1984 by Regional Director Wally Read. Fred has previously served a two-year term as Regional Director (1982, 83) and served as manager until his retirement in 1987. During this time, Pam Woodrow served as the secretary to the manager and Sandy Artinger was hired to be primarily responsible for the sale of IEEE Standards. The sale of Standards was a thriving business developed by Fred Heath and continued until IEEE changed its business practices of distributing standards in the early 1990’s.
Pam Woodrow was promoted to be the third manager with the title of Manager of Canadian Member Services in 1988 by Regional Director Bob Alden. Sandy continued her duties with IEEE Standards and Pam interacted with Canadian IEEE members, Section leaders, and Student Branch volunteers. During this time, because of the regular contact between the office and branch chairs, attendance at the branch training workshops was at an all time high. In the photo, Pam is in the office with Hazel Scott (Student Representative) and Gerald Karam (Student Activities Coordinator).
Pam and Sandy served until the office was closed in 1993 by then Regional Director Vijay Bhargava. Communications technology was changing rapidly. Initially telephone and postal services were used to communicate with sections and branches. Fax capabilities developed in the late 1980’s, followed by email which was in its infancy in the early 1990’s.
Transition from a physical office to a virtual office
In 1994, Cathie Lowell was appointed as the IEEE Canada Administrator by Regional Director Ray Findlay. This was a new style of administrative support. Her appointment was on a part-time basis, working from her home, and using the Internet to supplement telephone and fax communications.
In 1994, Jacek Chrostowski, an Ottawa Section volunteer, started up the IEEE Canada web server which began the use of the Internet as a major communication tool for member to member communication as well as an office communication and management tool. In 2001 the Ottawa server was replaced by the new EWH server located in the IEEE Operations Center in Piscataway NJ. This was a new service provided free of charge to all IEEE entities (Sections, Regions, Societies, etc).
Today, notices of meetings, agendas, minutes of meetings, and other administrative information, is stored on the IEEE Canada website with access limited to the current Board of Directors and other IEEE Canada volunteers using the IEEE Web Account system. Cathie is thus able to maintain her virtual office from her home.