Christian de Moustier, OES President
2019 has been a busy year for the Oceanic Engineering Society (OES), culminating with the Society’s 5-year review by the IEEE Society and Council Review Committee (SCRC). This is a comprehensive review that involves a self-assessment with a detailed questionnaire, a face-to-face meeting at the end of November 2019 with the IEEE volunteers who serve on the SCRC, and a final report with comments and recommendations by the SCRC. This review provides a good opportunity to share with you the highlights of our Society.
OES has about 1800 members distributed geographically over all 10 IEEE Regions. For perspective, IEEE has over 422,000 members and comprises 39 technical Societies and 7 technical Councils [1-3].
OES is governed by an Administrative Committee (AdCom) of 18 members elected by the entire OES voting membership, and an Executive Committee (ExCom) of 10 officers drawn from and elected by the AdCom. Together, members of the AdCom and ExCom represent 9 of the 10 IEEE Regions, which is an accomplishment given the size of our membership.
In response to comments made by the SCRC at its previous quinquennial review of the Society in 2014, OES has developed a 10-year strategic plan that was adopted by formal vote of the AdCom in September 2016. Now 3 years later, I am pleased to report that OES has implemented most of the elements of its near-term operational plan that emphasized outreach, conferences, and partnerships.
The OES promotion and outreach activities have been augmented by a social media initiative started in 2018 and continuing into 2020. This initiative has contributed to a renewed interest in OES and a quantifiable increase in networking among OES members on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. As part of the initiative, the online magazine Earthzine (earthzine.org), launched in 2005 by Paul E. Racette in support of the erstwhile IEEE Committee on Earth Observation, has transitioned to a volunteer-run OES online open-access publication for communicating developments and community interests pertaining to studying the Earth and its many bodies of water.
Thanks to a particularly effective Editorial Team for the quarterly OES Beacon newsletter, you are getting more news on the activities of OES Chapters and Student Branch Chapters, and on Student competitions. More frequent updates on Society activities are now posted on the newly redesigned and upgraded OES website (ieeeoes.org).
In conjuction with the social media initiative, Earthzine, Beacon and the IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering (JOE) are cooperating to create more opportunities and build a wider audience for OES members to share their scientific and engineering results and advances. Meanwhile, OES-sponsored and co-sponsored conferences, workshops, and symposia continue to provide essential face-to-face networking opportunities.
The growth in OES-sponsored events has led us to restructure OES operations with new lines of responsibility. The OCEANS conferences continue to be managed in an equal partnership with the Marine Technology Society (MTS), but within OES, they are now under a single line of responsibility headed by the OES Vice President (VP) for OCEANS. In addition, all OCEANS conferences are now hosted on a dedicated website (oceansconference.org) where you can preview future venues and find opportunities to get involved.
The portfolio of all other OES-sponsored and co-sponsored conferences, workshops, and symposia is now under a single line of responsibility headed by the VP for Workshops & Symposia. The portfolio includes well-established events (e.g. AUV, CWTM, UComms, UT ) and a growing number of events emanating from the OES Technology Committees and the Chapters. The 3-year AUV initiative started in 2017 by the AUV Technology Committee has been very successful with workshops and student competitions. It is now expanding into South America with competitions and workshops planned for 2020 in partnership with the international Breaking the Surface field workshop (bts.fer.hr).
Under the leadership of the VP for Technical Activities, the OES Technology Committees have been restructured and consolidated from 18 to 12, and they have been given competitive incentive funding to develop new initiatives, workshops, symposia, Advanced Study Institutes, etc. The VP for Technical Activities has also been given oversight of OES Chapters with competitive incentive funding for Chapters to develop local projects such as student competitions, workshops, Distinguished Lecture events, etc.
The OES student scholarship program has been converted into a competitive incentive program to support OES Student Branch Chapters and foster student-run events (e.g. AUV competitions).
A new OES Young Professional Boost program (YP-Boost) recruits YPs interested in getting involved in the leadership of OES. The program provides them with travel funds to attend AdCom meetings at OCEANS conferences while also serving as judges in the Student Poster Competition and in other capacities. In October 2018, Fausto Ferreira and Shyam Madhusudhana, 2 YP-Boost members, were appointed by the AdCom to serve the remaining terms of seating AdCom members who had relinquished their seat upon being elected to ExCom Offices.
At the conclusion of the 2019 quinquennial review, OES will develop an updated implementation plan for the next 3 years.
OES needs your participation to help run the Society, so consider running for election to the AdCom in 2020, and as voting members of OES, you will elect 6 new AdCom members to serve a 3-year term (2021-2023).
References www.ieee.org/about/today/at-a-glance.html  www.ieee.org/content/dam/ieee-org/ieee/web/org/about/organization_summary.pdf  ta.ieee.org/preview-operations  Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV),
Current Waves and Turbulence Measurements (CWTM) Underwater Communications and Networking (UComms), Undersea Technology Symposium (UT)