IEEE
You are not logged in, please sign in to edit > Log in / create account  

Oral-History:Henry Bachman

From GHN

(Difference between revisions)
Jump to: navigation, search
m (added a few words to abstract indicate that Hazeltine acquired Wheeler in 1970)
Line 1: Line 1:
 
== About Henry Bachman  ==
 
== About Henry Bachman  ==
  
Henry Bachman is a [[IEEE Fellow Grade History|Fellow]] of the IEEE and has served in a number leadership roles, including IEEE president in 1987. He obtained BSEE and MSEE degrees from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now Polytechnic University) in 1951 and 1954, respectively. Mr. Bachman's joined Wheeler Laboratories in Great Neck, New York, as a development engineer working on antennas and microwave components for radar tracking and guidance systems and communications, and ultimately becoming the company's President in 1968, responsible for directing all phases of company operations. In 1970, Mr. Bachman joined Hazeltine Corporation when Wheeler Laboratories, serving in a number of senior management positions. Most recently, he has served as Hazeltine's Vice President, Special Projects, overseeing the design and implementation of a new, modern antenna test capability for Hazeltine's Engineering and Research Department.  
+
Henry Bachman is a [[IEEE Fellow Grade History|Fellow]] of the IEEE and has served in a number leadership roles, including IEEE president in 1987. He obtained BSEE and MSEE degrees from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now Polytechnic University) in 1951 and 1954, respectively. Mr. Bachman's joined Wheeler Laboratories in Great Neck, New York, as a development engineer working on antennas and microwave components for radar tracking and guidance systems and communications, and ultimately becoming the company's President in 1968, responsible for directing all phases of company operations. In 1970, Mr. Bachman joined Hazeltine Corporation when it acquired Wheeler Laboratories, serving in a number of senior management positions. Most recently, he has served as Hazeltine's Vice President, Special Projects, overseeing the design and implementation of a new, modern antenna test capability for Hazeltine's Engineering and Research Department.  
  
 
In this interview, Mr. Bachman discusses his early years with the IRE and IEEE in the 1950s and 1960s and his assumption of a leadership role in the IEEE in the 1980s. As President in 1987, Mr. Bachman helped shepherd the IEEE’s transformation to a truly global organization and played a hey role in the creation if the IEEE Foundation.  
 
In this interview, Mr. Bachman discusses his early years with the IRE and IEEE in the 1950s and 1960s and his assumption of a leadership role in the IEEE in the 1980s. As President in 1987, Mr. Bachman helped shepherd the IEEE’s transformation to a truly global organization and played a hey role in the creation if the IEEE Foundation.  
  
Read more about [[Henry L. Bachman|Henry L. Bachman]].<br>  
+
Read more about [[Henry L. Bachman|Henry L. Bachman]].<br>
  
 
== About the Interview  ==
 
== About the Interview  ==

Revision as of 19:57, 15 September 2009

Contents

About Henry Bachman

Henry Bachman is a Fellow of the IEEE and has served in a number leadership roles, including IEEE president in 1987. He obtained BSEE and MSEE degrees from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now Polytechnic University) in 1951 and 1954, respectively. Mr. Bachman's joined Wheeler Laboratories in Great Neck, New York, as a development engineer working on antennas and microwave components for radar tracking and guidance systems and communications, and ultimately becoming the company's President in 1968, responsible for directing all phases of company operations. In 1970, Mr. Bachman joined Hazeltine Corporation when it acquired Wheeler Laboratories, serving in a number of senior management positions. Most recently, he has served as Hazeltine's Vice President, Special Projects, overseeing the design and implementation of a new, modern antenna test capability for Hazeltine's Engineering and Research Department.

In this interview, Mr. Bachman discusses his early years with the IRE and IEEE in the 1950s and 1960s and his assumption of a leadership role in the IEEE in the 1980s. As President in 1987, Mr. Bachman helped shepherd the IEEE’s transformation to a truly global organization and played a hey role in the creation if the IEEE Foundation.

Read more about Henry L. Bachman.

About the Interview

Henry Bachman. An Interview Conducted by Michael Geselowitz, Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, 26 June 2009.

Interview #506 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

Henry Bachman, an oral history conducted in 2009 by Michael Geselowitz, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

Interview

INTERVIEW: Henry Bachman

INTERVIEWER: Michael Geselowitz

DATE: 26 June 2009

PLACE: Greenlawn, New York

Background and Education

Geselowitz:

Let’s start with how you got interested in engineering and became an engineer.

Bachman:

Fine. I guess the simple answer is, I went to Brooklyn Technical High School. But obviously the reason I went there is because I was interested in tinkering with things. In fact, my best friend was my wife’s brother, much before the time she was my wife, and he and I were perpetual tinkerers, and we both went to Brooklyn Technical High School.

Geselowitz:

Where in Brooklyn did you live?

Bachman:

Bensonhurst.

Geselowitz:

Okay.

Bachman:

And from there I went to Brooklyn Poly, and I was hired out of Brooklyn Poly with my bachelor’s degree to join what was a relatively small company at the time called Wheeler Laboratories. In fact, I was the seventh employee hired. Harold A. Wheeler, who was a past director of IRE, a fellow of IRE and IEEE, and an IEEE Medal of Honor recipient, was a longtime employee of Hazeltine Corporation. In fact, he was their first employee. And when World War II ended, he elected to go into his own private consulting practice, and I joined that practice. That practice was involved primarily in microwave and antenna engineering. We did a lot of work for Bell Laboratories, particularly on the antiaircraft and antimissile defense systems, over many years.

Geselowitz:

And where was Wheeler Laboratories headquartered?

Bachman:

They were located in Great Neck, New York. And subsequently because our work was involved with antennas, we built an antenna test range in Smithtown, Long Island.

Geselowitz:

When did you first become aware of either IRE or AIEE?

Bachman:

I was a student member in 1948, while at Brooklyn Poly, so learned of it, obviously, when I was in school.

Geselowitz:

And did the electrical engineering faculty encourage students to join the IEEE Student Branch?

Bachman:

Yes, exactly.

Geselowitz:

So then when you went to work for Wheeler, did you continue your membership?

Bachman:

Yes, and it was more than that. Harold Wheeler was very insistent that all of the engineers at Wheeler Laboratories not only were IRE members (it was IRE at the time), but that we paid our own dues. It was our professional responsibility—but not only to be a member, but to be a participating member. He had written many papers for IRE. As I said, he was a past director of IRE. He was a past chairman of the Long Island section, and he encouraged us to do the same. So right from the start, I was involved in Long Island Section activities, and I can still remember specifically what they were.

Geselowitz:

Yes, I’d like to hear about this.

Early Days with the IRE

Bachman:

In those days—this is in 1950s—the IRE annual meeting was held in New York City in March. And the Long Island Section, realizing it had close proximity to New York City, developed a program around that annual meeting, whereby on the Sunday of the week of the IRE annual meeting, we would invite the president of IRE, or later IEEE, to attend, and all of the fellows who were elected by IEEE that year, to come to a cocktail party we hosted at the Garden City Hotel. And one of my first assignments for the Long Island Section was to help make the arrangements at the Garden City Hotel. I did that for a while, and subsequently had other roles. Ultimately I became the Chairman of the Section. I was also active in the AP and MTT Chapters, as a Conference organizer.

Geselowitz:

Antennas and Propagation.

Bachman:

The Antennas and Propagation Chapter, and the Microwave Theory and Techniques Chapter.

Geselowitz:

Did they each had a separate chapter, or was it joint chapter there?

Bachman:

Yes, separate.

Geselowitz:

And you were involved in both.

Bachman:

I was involved in both. So I worked my way through the years in the local IEEE organization. During the sixties when we had the World’s Fair in New York City, the Antennas and Propagation Chapter and the Microwave Theories and Techniques Chapter both hosted an IEEE major conference on Long Island in connection with the World’s Fair. I was involved in both of those. In fact, Dick Emberson, a leading IEEE Staff member in charge of Technical Activities, was involved.

Geselowitz:

Yes.

Bachman:

Dick Emberson lived down the road, and he and other members of the Long Island Section would meet here, in my dining room, so we at the Long Island section learned the ropes of how do you prepare for a major IEEE conference.

Geselowitz:

So, because of this special proximity to New York, to where headquarters were, and the annual meeting, and also there already were nationally active individuals on Long Island, it explains how you got drawn into the bigger IRE or IEEE picture. Tell me exactly how that came about.

Bachman:

Yes. And in fact I was trying to think of the circumstances, and I can’t exactly, but the long story short is, I received a call about my interest in joining the Engineering Management Society’s AdCom. I had been active in the Engineering Management Chapter here, and I elected to do that. So I joined the IEEE Engineering Management Society AdCom, and I was active for many years, served in many positions, including President, and eventually, as a consequence of that, was nominated for, and became a director of Division VI, which is the technical division of which the Engineering Management Society was a member.

Geselowitz:

So first you had moved up, become president of a society, and from there they asked you to run for a division director.

Bachman:

Correct. I became director of Division VI, I in 1981.

Professional Career

Geselowitz:

Okay. So before we talk about your career on the IEEE Board of Directors, I’d like you to step back and talk about your professional career. Initially you were involved technically in the antenna and microwave work that Wheeler Corporation was doing.

Bachman:

Correct.

Geselowitz:

And that’s why you were involved in both the Antennas and Propagation Society and the Microwave Theories and Techniques Society. How’d you become involved in engineering management?

Bachman:

At Wheeler Laboratories as my career evolved, I ultimately became Chief Engineer. I also, with Harold Wheeler and two others in management, was a member of a four-man Executive Committee. We were a private company at that time. Eventually I succeeded Harold Wheeler as president of Wheeler Laboratories. When he sold the company to Hazeltine, he became chairman of the board of Hazeltine and I became president of Wheeler Laboratories, now a subsidiary of Hazeltine. So as my career evolved at Wheeler Laboratories, I became more involved in project management, engineering management, and personnel management. As I said, when the company started out, I was the seventh engineer employed. At a later time we had 125 engineers and a supporting staff. So that’s how my interest in engineering management developed.

Geselowitz:

Did you get any formal management training at any point?

Bachman:

In those days, the closest I came to that was membership in the AMA, the American Management Association. I used to attend meetings there.

Geselowitz:

And they would have workshops and that sort of thing?

Bachman:

Workshops. Right. Subsequently, when Wheeler Laboratories merged into Hazeltine, I went to the Harvard Advanced Management Program at their Business School.

Geselowitz:

And that was a one-year program? A summer program?

Bachman:

It was a 13-week concentrated program.

Geselowitz:

Okay.

Bachman:

Six days a week. No vacations, no time off.

Geselowitz:

And when was that?

Bachman:

That was 1972.

Geselowitz:

So it was after that, then, you decided to get involved in the actually in the engineering management as an IEEE activity?

Bachman:

Actually I was already involved in engineering management.

Geselowitz:

Okay.

Bachman:

And therefore the company elected to select me to go to that program.

IEEE Leadership

Geselowitz:

So, back to IEEE, I think you said in 1981 you were elected a division director.

Bachman:

Yes, I was elected in ’81, and I was a division director for two years.

Geselowitz:

And what was on the mind of the IEEE board of directors at that time, in the early eighties?

Bachman:

I think—and it’s hard to distinguish, because I was on the board for seven years—that this was right after the period of the seventies, and certainly the economic issues as they related to the engineering profession and the employment situation were significant. In fact, one of my responsibilities was to be the liaison for TAB, having been a member of the Technical Activities Board, to the United States Activities Board, which was the precursor of IEEE-USA. It was right after the ’70s recession—remember, the economy didn’t finally get off its feet until about 1981. And there were 10 years of very difficult economic times for engineers and others. In fact, the reason that Wheeler Laboratories eventually merged into Hazeltine Corporation, in 1972, was essentially as a result of the beginning of that serious recession. One of my most trying times was, when as a result of the faltering economy, the head of research and development at Hazeltine, and myself, as president of the Wheeler Laboratories group , over one night, we had to identify two-thirds of the engineers in both companies to be laid off.

Geselowitz:

I see.

Bachman:

And as a consequence of the reductions in force, that’s when the companies merged, but that was the beginning of the difficult economic times, which continued for many years.

Geselowitz:

Right. So actually by the time then you got on the board, things had started to turn around, and you were basically on the board you for the next six or seven years.

Bachman:

Yes.

Geselowitz:

After that, there was sort of the flush time of the eighties. So tell me a little bit about your board period, and how you progressed through the board and how you eventually came to run for president.

Bachman:

As I said, I was a Division Director for two years, and off the board for one year. Then, in 1984 I was elected Executive Vice President . In fact, I was the last Executive Vice President of the IEEE, because that was the time when IEEE created the positions of President-Elect, President, and Past President. Now an interesting thing happened the year I was Executive Vice President. Donald King of North American Philips in Westchester, was the single board nominee for the first President-Elect. And he passed away. The constitution at that time had the Executive Vice President succeed to be the President under these conditions. However, because of my career activities and my company’s business concerns, at that time, I found that I could not give the time to do justice to the role of IEEE President. And so I declined that, and Bud Eldon became president that year, instead. I was elected to, and did accept the role of Treasurer in 1985. It was in 1986 that I was one of two candidates nominated by the board and ran for President-Elect, when my company agreed that it was an appropriate time for me to do so. I defeated Jose Cruz, who subsequently had no major roles in the IEEE leadership, but who I believe was recently elected president of ABET. So, anyway, 1987 was my presidential year.

Geselowitz:

And so could you talk about some of the challenges or issues of that year.

Bachman:

Well, a major one had to do with a fellow member of the Long Island Section named Irwin Feerst . He had organized the Committee of Concerned Engineers claiming to express the interests of the “working engineer”. He had his own Newsletter and a relatively large following.

Geselowitz:

Can you spell that for me?

Bachman:

F-E-E-R-S-T. This was during the time when the board had decided to have more than one board nominee for president. In 1986, my year as President-Elect, Irwin ran as a write-in candidate. He received 35% of the vote, defeated one board nominee and missed by a very small margin, of a few hundreds of votes, to defeat the other candidate and become President-Elect. This result starkly illustrated to the board how vulnerable their nominees, who together might win a substantial majority in an election, are to a minority candidate if these nominees split the majority vote more or less evenly.

Geselowitz:

Okay. Just to be clear, briefly, what was he advocating—that IEEE should be more aggressive in lobbying?

Bachman:

Yes, I think that was the general notion— going beyond the professional and lobbying activities of USAB, to having the IEEE serve as an engineers union, more or less. In any case, in 1987, because of the results of the 1986 election, the board only nominated one candidate for President-Elect so as to prevent a write in minority candidate from surpassing the votes of each of two board candidates who, while together might have a majority of the vote, this could be split between them and allow the minority candidate to win. Many on the board objected to only one board nominee and we sought ways to overcome the reason for doing this. Naturally, Feerst, himself, was a strong supporter of more than one board candidate, for obvious reason. The practice of nominating two board candidates had started in 1982. Beginning in 1984, when I was on the Executive Committee, approval voting was considered, along with other voting systems, for possible use in multicandidate elections. In 1987, as President, and as a consequence of the election and nomination problems of 1986, I invited a strong proponent of Approval Voting to address the Executive Committee and later the board on its merits. He was Steven Brams, Professor of Politics, at NYU. In November 1987, with his help, I chaired the board when they adopted Approval Voting and, once again, the board nominated two candidates for President-Elect.

Geselowitz:

Yes, a lot of political theorists think if you’re going to have more than two candidates, that’s a more fair system, because if two people can split the vote and the least popular person could get in

Internal Rivalries

Bachman:

Right. Precisely. That was exactly the point. And I think that was a major accomplishment of my Presidency. The other issue that I remember at the time was the not so unusual, Technical Activities Board versus Regional Activities Board rivalry.

Geselowitz:

Yes.

Bachman:

You know, here was the Technical Activities Board claiming to be the source of most of the revenue of the institute, and the Regional Activities taking much of the budget, and there was some antagonism over that and various means debated over how to resolve the “problem”. In fact, there was a time when there weren’t an equal number of division directors and regional directors, and the regional directors had the majority. That changed at that time, partially because of this, and that’s when the Computer Society got a second directorship. Now another issue at the time, now that I mentioned the Computer Society, was the Computer Society staying within the IEEE. They were by far the largest society at the time, and there was constant discussions and negotiations as to if they should strike out on their own.

Geselowitz:

Right, that’s another perennial issue.

Bachman:

Yes. It still is, right.

Geselowitz:

Were you perceived, then—because of this tension between RAB and TAB—by some people as a RAB person?

Bachman:

No, I was perceived as a TAB person.

Geselowitz:

Right.

Bachman:

It’s interesting. The president of the IEEE has much less power than people believe. The board of directors has the power, and the president can try to lead, and, as best he can.

Geselowitz:

Yes.

Bachman:

So I wasn’t in the middle of the arguments at the time, other than knowing that this was an issue at the time. Subsequently, and maybe it was when I was on the Strategic Planning Committee, after I was president and past president, I became part of a group that was trying to formulate an approach whereby for the nontechnical activities of the institute, members would have to join those and pay a fee, just as they do for the technical activities, the Society fees. In other words, if you wanted to be a member of IEEE-USA, you joined IEEE-USA and paid a fee. We had a lot of good debates on that subject, and I can remember Fred Andrews was my antagonist at the time. We weren’t being overzealous about our positions, but trying to bring the arguments forward as to the alternatives, and their relative merits

Geselowitz:

Now, you were arguing to pay the fees.—

Bachman:

Yes, and Fred…Fred was arguing for the more or less status quo.

Geselowitz:

So what were one or two of your main arguments?

Bachman:

Well, one argument was that we would get better benefits to the members from, let’s say the IEEE-USA—or maybe it was still the USAB at the time- if members had elected not to pay a fee and leave the organization. In this case you could argue that, to maintain their membership, the organization would become more responsive to the members needs, as perceived by the members, and not the organization.

Geselowitz:

I see. Now when you were on the board, as president-elect, president, past president, and then on the strategic planning committee, had the issue of globalization begun, because this leads to the question of what’s the role of IEEE USA, and is IEEE a global organization or an American organization?

Bachman:

Very much so. Very much so.

Geselowitz:

So could you talk a little about that?

Globalizing IEEE

Bachman:

Yes. And, in fact, on this notion of being transnational or national, at that time it was transnational more in name. There was this dichotomy; here we were a transnational organization and we had a major USA operation as part of the transnational organization. The Chairman of USAB was a director, and, at that time, with much influence on the IEEE’s role with regard to engineering members in the US. Eventually this lead to the creation of IEEE-USA so as to distinguish the IEEE’s role, nationally and transnationally. As an aside on this subject, one of the topics I suggested for discussion at the upcoming history conference, president’s panel, is the future role of the IEEE transnationally. And the reason I bring that up is that from the fifties through the present time, nearly, at least to the end of the cold war, the U.S. was the dominant power in the world, economically, politically and technologically. And it still is, but proportionately less so as other countries power and influence grow, also economically, politically and technologically. I believe that the growing dominance of the US, as the dominant nation-state, and that of the IEEE, as the only transnational technological organization, is not a coincidence. Now, as we see other countries, such as the EU, China, and India gaining dominance worldwide and becoming more competitive with the US, can we expect the same from their technological organizations, and therefore more competition for the IEEE transnational model?

Geselowitz:

Yes, that is an interesting question. Okay, so you’ve already mentioned that after you were past president they asked you to serve on the strategic planning committee. How else did you stay active in IEEE after you left the board of directors?

Bachman:

Now let me say one thing first—the strategic planning committee had, for many years, not had much influence within the IEEE, mostly dealing with matters of little consequence. During my tenure, for what ever reasons, we decided to be more proactive, and created what was the first formal IEEE Strategic Plan. We did this over a period of about two years, culminating in the year that I was the Chair. We held retreats with the board, with the major boards, with local members at the locale of board meeting, with focus groups, and so on. We engaged Troy Nagle, who was the President-Elect at that time, to participate in the strategic planning process , because he was going to be the president when the Strategic Plan was implemented. I feel very proud of that accomplishment and received recognition from the board for doing that. The work we had started has continued, although, as I remember as time passed on, the strategic planning committee became more operational than strategic from my point of view. Another issue that the strategic planning committee addressed during my tenure—which is another never-ending issue—was the matter of K to 12 education, and the problems of lack of aptitude and interest by students in engineering and technology.

Geselowitz:

And was the feeling that that should be part of IEEE’s mission?

Bachman:

That’s right. However, the other thing we concluded is that it was unlikely that we, ourselves, could do very much to influence it. We were influenced at that time by the fact that the American Association for the Advancement of Science attempt to deal with this problem nearly lead to bankruptcy. They didn’t have, nor did we have, enough resources to really influence this problem. Needless to say, many are still working this problem which still exists today, The only I hope as I see it is to find means that will bring along a new cohort of students that are given the opportunity and incentive, from the start of their education, to want careers in science and technology. Many are working this problem today, including the IEEE, and hopefully we will see the benefit in the future.

Geselowitz:

I see. So how about besides Strategic Planning Committee, what other activities did you continue? I know you’ve been involved with the IEEE Foundation a good deal.

The IEEE Foundation

Bachman:

Okay, well let’s talk about that a little bit. I was involved with the IEEE Foundation as soon as I became an officer of the IEEE. The IEEE Foundation was formed when…I’m not sure of the year.

Geselowitz:

It was ’73 I think.

Bachman:

Yes, yes. It was formed because the board concluded that because of USAB’s lobbying activities, the IEEE couldn’t be a 501(c)(3) corporation anymore. It would have to become a 501(c)(6). But in order to continue to receive tax deductible contributions we needed a 501(c)(3) organization. And the Foundation was created simply for that purpose. And in fact, the only contributions that were being made, that we were trying to continue and encourage, were contributions by some major industrial companies in our medals awards program. The Foundation really was at the time just a vehicle for receiving donor money that would be tax-deductable by the contributor and the Foundation was just an administrator of these funds. We had no other programs. And in fact, the Foundation was governed by the IEEE executive committee, wearing a different hat, so that at every IEEE board series of meetings, or most, we’d have a breakfast meeting, for about an hour, where we’d conduct the affairs of the Foundation. And so I was a member of the Foundation board only because I was a part of the IEEE Executive Committee at the time. When Troy Nagle was president, and I was still involved with the foundation, he asked that I help develop a strategic plan for the IEEE Foundation. We did that with the result of two very significant changes. One was the decision that the Foundation would become active in the pursuit of contributions, have a development function, which it had never had. It had been just an administrator of funds that people wanted to contribute. So we changed the complexion of the Foundation completely from just an administrator of funds to which people would like to contribute, to an organization which solicited funds for particular types of programs, and as defined in the Foundation Strategic Plan. The second major change was to create a Foundation board separate from what had been up to then a board comprising the IEEE Executive Committee There were some requirements— for example on third of the Foundation directors had to be past directors of the IEEE—but there were separate presidents, separate officers. This was made possible by the fact that the Foundation was a separate corporation, although closely tied to the IEEE by its charter. So we created, during my term as Chairman, a Foundation distinct from the IEEE. The Foundation, notwithstanding its separate role had interests that were entirely the interests of the IEEE. At the same time we were serviced by the IEEE. All our investments were managed by the IEEE investment committee. Our administrative stuff was administered by a staff that was IEEE, so we had no expenses, so to speak. Consequently we could claim that essentially all of the money donated went to philanthropic purposes rather than administrative expenses. Eventually, because of IEEE budget considerations, that changed when it was decided to charge the Foundation for the services provided . Some of us were very much opposed because this would have been very detrimental to the Foundation in terms of the money it would have for philanthropic purposes. Eventually what was decided was to have the Foundation pay for IEEE services, and for the IEEE to make a donation to the Foundation. Not quite equal to the services, but at least it ameliorated that situation, which would’ve been very detrimental to the foundation.

Geselowitz:

And you were president of the Foundation for several years.

Bachman:

I was president of the Foundation, yes. In fact, I’m President Emeritus now. Yes, I was president for many years. And it was through this entire period of change of the nature and complexion and role of the foundation.

Geselowitz:

And are you involved at all now?

Bachman:

No. I was involved for a while with blue ribbon committees as a past president, but eventually that wound down, and my last role in the IEEE ended about two years ago when I was on the Fellows Committee. So that was my last active volunteer role for IEEE was, as a member of the Fellows Committee.

Geselowitz:

Now do you feel that the Foundation has succeeded in the way you hoped when you set up the strategic plan and started this evolution?

Bachman:

I’ll tell you my only dissatisfaction with the Foundation. I think they do good work, and I think they have well-formulated objectives. However, I think we fund too much activity within the IEEE. I always hoped that we would find others who can make contributions to the achieving the objectives of the Foundation that were outside of the IEEE, because in many cases, in my mind, funding other IEEE activities is simply an excuse for giving them budgetary support. I’ll give one example, although most people disagreed with me.

Geselowitz:

You were overruled?

Bachman:

Yes, I was overruled. The issue was the granting of Foundation funds to support the IEEE Sections Congress. The Foundation became a supporter of the Sections Congress. Now I could never find any reasonable rationale for that, given the mission of the Foundation and its objectives, notwithstanding that I think the section congress activities are beneficial to the IEEE, I do not see such activities as worthy philanthropic goals for the Foundation. I think the Foundation could and should try to get more proposals from outside of the IEEE.

Geselowitz:

Can you give me an example?

Bachman:

Yes. In fact, I encouraged one of those. As one of my activities within the Long Island technological community, I am a charter member, director, and past president of the Long Island Museum for Science and Technology. This was created as part of the mission here on Long Island to influence youngsters interest in science and technology. Long Island needs more scientists and engineers to staff our technological industry, and it is difficult to attract students from outside the area for many reasons. In any case, one of the things we realized was that we had no hands-on science museum on Long Island. For that purpose we created the Long Island Museum for Science and Technology which is presently in negotiations for merger with the Cradle of Aviation Museum.

Geselowitz:

I think I heard that they are going to do that. People have been talking about LIMSAT, Long Island Museum of Science and Technology for a long time, but it hasn’t come to fruition. The Cradle of Aviation Museum, on the other hand is a very successful one. Now they have that whole museum row.

Bachman:

Right.

Geselowitz:

The children’s museum has been successful. They’ve started the firefighter museum.

Bachman:

Right.

Geselowitz:

Now they’ve got the Nunley’s Carousel there. I happen to be, as you know, also a resident of Long Island and took my kids to the children’s museum all the time when they were growing up.

Bachman:

The Cradle of Aviation has not really been so successful. All the museums on Long Island are County run. And the Cradle of Aviation was having difficulties, and it was as a result of these difficulties that the County forced this merger with LIMSAT.

Geselowitz:

Yes

Bachman:

When we created LIMSAT, we worked with the Cradle, with the objective at that time of having a single organization, because the Cradle was just being built at that time, and in fact they even built the facility with a certain access that would allow LIMSAT to be nearby; but the powers that be at the Cradle at that time weren’t willing to do that. But in any case, the reason I started to make this point with regards to the Foundation and LIMSAT is that I was approached by a professor, Dave Weissman at Hofstra. He’s an IEEE member, a member of the AdCom of the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society, and he had this interest in how do we educate young people to understand the things that engineers do. He had an idea to use weather radar as the vehicle for doing this because his technology expertise is in that area. So I suggested to him, and together helped him write, a proposal to the Foundation, and the Foundation funded the creation of an educational exhibit at LIMSAT, which is housed at the Cradle. If you ever go to LIMSAT, you’ll see this weather radar exhibit, and that was an example of IEEE Foundation funding an outside organization to contribute to its K to 12 educational programs

Geselowitz:

Actually, do you know Mort Hans?

Bachman:

No, the name is not familiar.

Geselowitz:

He’s an IEEE volunteer on Long Island, who is a volunteer at the Cradle, and he happens to also be this year on the IEEE History Committee.

Bachman:

Ah.

Geselowitz:

So I had lunch with him at the Cradle, and we met there, and he showed me that exhibit.

Bachman:

Okay. That was my contribution.

Geselowitz:

He showed me that the IEEE Foundation plaque was there and so forth.

Bachman:

It was really Dave’s contribution, but I helped make it happen.

Geselowitz:

Right. So what other volunteer work have you been doing, if any?

Service and Not-Quite-Retirement

Bachman:

Well, I’ve been on the advisory committee of the Engineering and Computer Science Department of SUNY. I’m on the advisory committee of the Farmingdale University engineering program. And, well, you know, mostly technical things.

Geselowitz:

Right.

Bachman:

At SUNY Stony Brook there’s the Center of Excellence for Wireless and Information Technology, or CEWIT, that runs an annual conference. I’m on the planning committee for that. I’m still active in LIFT, the Long Island Forum for Technology, which I helped organize 30 years ago and served as Chairman and Director. I’m also active now in Stony Brook in a little different way, and maybe that’s, to get to your next question, which has to do with what am I doing besides IEEE, career-wise.

Geselowitz:

Right. Because you’d mentioned to me before the tape was running, that you’re not quite retired, and you’re going to be a little less not quite retired shortly.

Bachman:

Yes. So in 1995, I had what turned out not to be, but could’ve been a very serious medical condition. And I was also 65 at the time. So after that turned out not to be a problem, other than an operation, I said to myself, you know, maybe it’s time to retire. I’m 65 years old. So I retired from Hazeltine Corporation. I’m not sure it was Hazeltine at the time. It was probably ESCO. You know, with the consolidations in the aerospace industry, we went from Hazeltine to Emerson Electric to ESCO and now it’s BAE Systems. But they asked me to stay on part-time. So since 1995, I have been working part time doing some business development and, working still, with the antenna group. Remember, I mentioned Wheeler Labs merged into Hazeltine in 1972. As part of that merger, the Wheeler Group was identified as a specific entity within Hazeltine, which was where all the antenna and microwave expertise was. I also mentioned that we had a range in Smithtown; antenna ranges are an absolute necessity for antenna design. About ten years ago, when I was working part time, it was decided that we needed to update our antenna measuring capabilities. In particular, we didn’t have capabilities for measuring low radar cross section. I was given the responsibility to design and have implemented a new antenna measuring facility at our plant here in Greenlawn, which I did. It was a $5 million facility with very sophisticated RCS anechoic chambers and outdoor ranges. At the time, we had the opportunity to get New York State to contribute a million dollars to that project. So that’s the kind of thing I’ve been doing part time. As another example, the company decided in 1992 to commercialize some of our antenna technology, and we established a commercial antenna business for the cellular system.

Geselowitz:

Prior to that it had just been military?

Bachman:

Only military.

Geselowitz:

I see.

Bachman:

And so we did that for a while, and I was one of the leaders of that activity, and that extended into my part time career. Well, my part-time career, now that I spend more and more time in Florida, is getting a little more difficult to manage, although I do company work while in Florida. For instance, one of my responsibilities now is to deal with the licensing we need to make antenna measurements outdoors: you have to get an FCC license. In any case, after 58 years I decided this July to make my retirement from BAE Systems permanent.

Geselowitz:

I see.

Bachman:

As for my other activities at this time. I’ve been a member of the board of directors of a public company called Wireless Telecom Group for ten years. Also I have been consulting with the research foundation of the State of New York, at SUNY for the past eight years.

Geselowitz:

Now what’s your feeling of the Long Island high tech economy right now? You know, we were such a leader in this, before that crash in the seventies you talk about, and then there’s been some recovery, would you say that this is one of the hotbeds of high tech again.

Bachman:

Yes and no. It certainly benefits from the two universities we have on Long Island: SUNY — SB [Stony Brook], with a fine engineering school, and a graduate center for Polytechnic Institute of NYU. There is also the companies Grumman, BAE Systems and Telephonics, the remainders of what was once a much larger technical industrial complex, including Sperry, Republic and others So there are still major technical industries. However, one of the issues is finding the talent for these industries in the long term. LIFT just conducted a survey of the needs of all of the high tech companies—and not just electronic technology, but medical technology, mechanical technology, civil engineering technology—of the firms on Long Island, and found that the local universities are only graduating 5% of the needs of that industry, and that’s a very serious problem, because of the problem we have of attracting people to move to Long Island. So there’s a lot of potential difficulty there, but hopefully, as we have in the past we’ll work that situation also.

Geselowitz:

Do you ever go to Section meetings anymore?

Bachman:

Well, I go occasionally. I go more to chapter meetings.

Geselowitz:

I see.

Bachman:

Yes. And well, in fact, nowadays all section meetings are chapter meetings. And yes, I still go to chapter meetings, yes.

Geselowitz:

Okay. Great. Is there anything else I think we’ve really covered your IEEE career, and your career very well. It’s fascinating, especially the challenges you talked about IEEE facing in the eighties. Is there anything else you’d like to add that I forgot to ask?

Bachman:

I kind of told you things that came to mind when they came to mind, and nothing more comes to mind at this time.

Geselowitz:

That’s how it works. Well nothing, by the way, nothing stops us from doing follow-up interviews if you think of more stuff. So, thank you very much

Bachman:

Thank you.

Geselowitz:

Okay. So with that, I’m going to sign off.