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

Oral-History:Robert (Bob) Duggan, Jr.

From GHN

(Difference between revisions)
Jump to: navigation, search
(Created page with "==About Bob Duggan== Robert (Bob) S. Duggan, Jr. served the members of IEEE for over 60 years beginning with being an officer in both AIEE and IRE, predecessors to IEEE. Bob hel...")
 
(Family and Education)
Line 34: Line 34:
 
'''Duggan:'''
 
'''Duggan:'''
  
Oh yes, I graduated from school when I was 16, and I really didn’t know what I was going to do, and my family didn’t have a lot of money.  I was born and raised in Macon, and Mercer University was in Macon so I went to Mercer University for a couple of years with an emphasis on physics and chemistry.  When I turned 18 the draft was still operating back in 1946 and I was not eager to go dig foxholes in the infantry so I joined the Navy, and the Navy gave us aptitude tests.  The Navy decided I had a pretty good background, and in their infinite wisdom sent me to an electronics school after boot camp.  This was an electronics school in Monterey, CA, at a resort hotel, the Del Monte Hotel, which had been taken over by the Navy and had been made into an electronics school.  I was in the “bridal” suite with 3 other swabbies, but it was an excellent school, and from there we went on to what was called secondary electronics school that was on Treasure Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay.  When I graduated from the secondary school, they sent me to a ship. I was on the USS Keppler (DD-765); only 3 in the crew were electronics technicians. We had to maintain radars, sonars, radios, and intercoms, most anything electronic there, which gave us a lot of exposure to it.  So I put in the two years that I enlisted for and got out.  Fortunately, I had earned the GI Bill and with that support I was able to go to Georgia Tech.  I decided to go to Georgia Tech because I had seen the joys of electronics in the Navy, and I was eager to become an electronics engineer. We had many veterans at Georgia Tech, but anyhow I entered Georgia Tech as a sophomore and our professors encouraged us to join professional societies and so while I was in the Electrical Engineering School at Georgia Tech I became a student member of AIEE and IRE, which were eventually combined into IEEE. I was a student member of both of them, and I was also in Eta Kappa Nu, the honor society. I was president of Eta Kappa Nu when I graduated.  I got my BS in 1951 with highest honors from Georgia Tech, and the Navy was well aware that I had a college degree and was eligible to be an officer and a gentleman.  So they called me back up for another 2-year hitch, but this time I went in as an officer, not as an electronics technician, so I was in charge of a group of electronics technicians on another destroyer (USS Rowe – DD564).  The first time, in 1946 – 48, we visited Australia and Hong Kong, Tsingtao, Shanghai, Yokosuka, and Honolulu - Pearl Harbor.  The second time we were in the Atlantic the entire time.  Spent a lot of time in Guantanamo with exercises in the Caribbean.  We eventually went to Scotland and Norway and Nova Scotia in Canada.  So we had quite a bit of sightseeing both in the first enlistment and the second tour of duty.  My time in the Navy included 27 satisfactory years by doing correspondence courses and also by doing Russian translation for the naval intelligence. Since I had always had an interest in languages, I learned some Russian; anyhow I got some points just for translating Russian.  That was very interesting.  When I got out of the Navy, I wanted to go back to school to get my master’s and doctorate, I went to Georgia Tech again, worked at the Engineering Experiment station there in radar and electronic countermeasures and various related subjects therewith, and was also in graduate school at the same time.  After a couple years going down this road, Georgia Tech asked me to teach in the Electrical Engineering School. I taught for a while, but I found that teaching, for me at least, was a very stressful activity, especially since I had married and started a family.  It was the first time I had ever taught and unfortunately I developed chronic ulcerated colitis, and my doctor said, “Bob, you’re burning a candle at both ends and in the middle and you’d better slow down.”  So I dropped out of the teaching aspect, picked up my master’s degree and decided not to pursue the doctorate. I wound up going to Lockheed to work for them, making a lot more money than I did at Georgia Tech and doing much the same work on radar and electronic countermeasures.  The Navy originally put my nose in the right direction for electronics, and I found the life of an engineer was a good life so I stayed in that area for a long time.  I stayed with Lockheed; well I had gotten married also, that was another thing going about the same time I was teaching.  Getting married, we started having kids, and Lockheed helped support all of that as well.  I stayed at Lockheed for 32 years, and, of course, I also eventually retired from the Naval Reserve as a Lieutenant Commander.  I retired from Lockheed in 1990, after spending a little bit over 32 years with Lockheed. I’ve been involved in engineering much less since that time, but that gave me more time for things like IEEE.  While I was at Lockheed, I engaged in a lot of IEEE activities. Fortunately, Lockheed endorsed IEEE activities and supported my activities.
+
Oh yes, I graduated from school when I was 16, and I really didn’t know what I was going to do, and my family didn’t have a lot of money.  I was born and raised in Macon, and Mercer University was in Macon so I went to Mercer University for a couple of years with an emphasis on physics and chemistry.  When I turned 18 the draft was still operating back in 1946 and I was not eager to go dig foxholes in the infantry so I joined the Navy, and the Navy gave us aptitude tests.  The Navy decided I had a pretty good background, and in their infinite wisdom sent me to an electronics school after boot camp.  This was an electronics school in Monterey, CA, at a resort hotel, the Del Monte Hotel, which had been taken over by the Navy and had been made into an electronics school.  I was in the “bridal” suite with 3 other swabbies, but it was an excellent school, and from there we went on to what was called secondary electronics school that was on Treasure Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay.  When I graduated from the secondary school, they sent me to a ship. I was on the USS Keppler (DD-765); only 3 in the crew were electronics technicians. We had to maintain radars, sonars, radios, and intercoms, most anything electronic there, which gave us a lot of exposure to it.  So I put in the two years that I enlisted for and got out.   
 +
 
 +
Fortunately, I had earned the GI Bill and with that support I was able to go to Georgia Tech.  I decided to go to Georgia Tech because I had seen the joys of electronics in the Navy, and I was eager to become an electronics engineer. We had many veterans at Georgia Tech, but anyhow I entered Georgia Tech as a sophomore and our professors encouraged us to join professional societies and so while I was in the Electrical Engineering School at Georgia Tech I became a student member of AIEE and IRE, which were eventually combined into IEEE. I was a student member of both of them, and I was also in Eta Kappa Nu, the honor society. I was president of Eta Kappa Nu when I graduated.   
 +
 
 +
I got my BS in 1951 with highest honors from Georgia Tech, and the Navy was well aware that I had a college degree and was eligible to be an officer and a gentleman.  So they called me back up for another 2-year hitch, but this time I went in as an officer, not as an electronics technician, so I was in charge of a group of electronics technicians on another destroyer (USS Rowe – DD564).  The first time, in 1946 – 48, we visited Australia and Hong Kong, Tsingtao, Shanghai, Yokosuka, and Honolulu - Pearl Harbor.  The second time we were in the Atlantic the entire time.  Spent a lot of time in Guantanamo with exercises in the Caribbean.  We eventually went to Scotland and Norway and Nova Scotia in Canada.  So we had quite a bit of sightseeing both in the first enlistment and the second tour of duty.  My time in the Navy included 27 satisfactory years by doing correspondence courses and also by doing Russian translation for the naval intelligence. Since I had always had an interest in languages, I learned some Russian; anyhow I got some points just for translating Russian.  That was very interesting.   
 +
 
 +
When I got out of the Navy, I wanted to go back to school to get my master’s and doctorate, I went to Georgia Tech again, worked at the Engineering Experiment station there in radar and electronic countermeasures and various related subjects therewith, and was also in graduate school at the same time.  After a couple years going down this road, Georgia Tech asked me to teach in the Electrical Engineering School. I taught for a while, but I found that teaching, for me at least, was a very stressful activity, especially since I had married and started a family.  It was the first time I had ever taught and unfortunately I developed chronic ulcerated colitis, and my doctor said, “Bob, you’re burning a candle at both ends and in the middle and you’d better slow down.”  So I dropped out of the teaching aspect, picked up my master’s degree and decided not to pursue the doctorate.  
 +
 
 +
I wound up going to Lockheed to work for them, making a lot more money than I did at Georgia Tech and doing much the same work on radar and electronic countermeasures.  The Navy originally put my nose in the right direction for electronics, and I found the life of an engineer was a good life so I stayed in that area for a long time.  I stayed with Lockheed; well I had gotten married also, that was another thing going about the same time I was teaching.  Getting married, we started having kids, and Lockheed helped support all of that as well.  I stayed at Lockheed for 32 years, and, of course, I also eventually retired from the Naval Reserve as a Lieutenant Commander.  I retired from Lockheed in 1990, after spending a little bit over 32 years with Lockheed. I’ve been involved in engineering much less since that time, but that gave me more time for things like IEEE.  While I was at Lockheed, I engaged in a lot of IEEE activities. Fortunately, Lockheed endorsed IEEE activities and supported my activities.
  
 
'''Hickman:'''
 
'''Hickman:'''

Revision as of 23:06, 19 February 2013

Contents

About Bob Duggan

Robert (Bob) S. Duggan, Jr. served the members of IEEE for over 60 years beginning with being an officer in both AIEE and IRE, predecessors to IEEE. Bob held several offices in the Atlanta Section, Region 3 and at the Institute level. He was elected as the Region 3 Director for 1984-85 and as the Vice President of the Regional Activities Board (RAB) for 1987. Bob served on many IEEE delegations and committees. These contributions led to Bob’s being recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the William W. Middleton Distinguished Service Award and the Region 3 Daniel W. Jackson Award. During the interview, he discusses his decades of involvement with IEEE, including his assessments of changes within IEEE over these years.

In this interview Duggan discusses his education in electrical engineering, enabled by his career in the Navy. He talks about his work at Lockheed, where he spent over three decades. Finally, he details his involvement in IEEE, in particular his commitment to transnational membership and participation.

About the Interview

ROBERT (BOB) DUGGAN, JR.: An interview conducted by Charles E. Hickman, Region 3 History Committee chair, on 10 July 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.

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:

Robert (Bob) Duggan, Jr., an oral history conducted in 2012 by Charles E. Hickman, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

Interview

INTERVIEWEE: Robert (Bob) Duggan, Jr. INTERVIEWER: Charles E. Hickman DATE: July 10, 2012 PLACE: Atlanta, Georgia

Family and Education

Hickman:

Bob, this is our first exercise on getting a recording of past Region 3 directors. So I’ll ask you a number of questions that you can expand on as much as you want to. If you bring up some interesting tidbits, I will stop you and ask you some questions associated with that. So tell me a little bit about your family and your education. Did your family support you becoming an engineer?

Duggan:

Oh yes, I graduated from school when I was 16, and I really didn’t know what I was going to do, and my family didn’t have a lot of money. I was born and raised in Macon, and Mercer University was in Macon so I went to Mercer University for a couple of years with an emphasis on physics and chemistry. When I turned 18 the draft was still operating back in 1946 and I was not eager to go dig foxholes in the infantry so I joined the Navy, and the Navy gave us aptitude tests. The Navy decided I had a pretty good background, and in their infinite wisdom sent me to an electronics school after boot camp. This was an electronics school in Monterey, CA, at a resort hotel, the Del Monte Hotel, which had been taken over by the Navy and had been made into an electronics school. I was in the “bridal” suite with 3 other swabbies, but it was an excellent school, and from there we went on to what was called secondary electronics school that was on Treasure Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay. When I graduated from the secondary school, they sent me to a ship. I was on the USS Keppler (DD-765); only 3 in the crew were electronics technicians. We had to maintain radars, sonars, radios, and intercoms, most anything electronic there, which gave us a lot of exposure to it. So I put in the two years that I enlisted for and got out.

Fortunately, I had earned the GI Bill and with that support I was able to go to Georgia Tech. I decided to go to Georgia Tech because I had seen the joys of electronics in the Navy, and I was eager to become an electronics engineer. We had many veterans at Georgia Tech, but anyhow I entered Georgia Tech as a sophomore and our professors encouraged us to join professional societies and so while I was in the Electrical Engineering School at Georgia Tech I became a student member of AIEE and IRE, which were eventually combined into IEEE. I was a student member of both of them, and I was also in Eta Kappa Nu, the honor society. I was president of Eta Kappa Nu when I graduated.

I got my BS in 1951 with highest honors from Georgia Tech, and the Navy was well aware that I had a college degree and was eligible to be an officer and a gentleman. So they called me back up for another 2-year hitch, but this time I went in as an officer, not as an electronics technician, so I was in charge of a group of electronics technicians on another destroyer (USS Rowe – DD564). The first time, in 1946 – 48, we visited Australia and Hong Kong, Tsingtao, Shanghai, Yokosuka, and Honolulu - Pearl Harbor. The second time we were in the Atlantic the entire time. Spent a lot of time in Guantanamo with exercises in the Caribbean. We eventually went to Scotland and Norway and Nova Scotia in Canada. So we had quite a bit of sightseeing both in the first enlistment and the second tour of duty. My time in the Navy included 27 satisfactory years by doing correspondence courses and also by doing Russian translation for the naval intelligence. Since I had always had an interest in languages, I learned some Russian; anyhow I got some points just for translating Russian. That was very interesting.

When I got out of the Navy, I wanted to go back to school to get my master’s and doctorate, I went to Georgia Tech again, worked at the Engineering Experiment station there in radar and electronic countermeasures and various related subjects therewith, and was also in graduate school at the same time. After a couple years going down this road, Georgia Tech asked me to teach in the Electrical Engineering School. I taught for a while, but I found that teaching, for me at least, was a very stressful activity, especially since I had married and started a family. It was the first time I had ever taught and unfortunately I developed chronic ulcerated colitis, and my doctor said, “Bob, you’re burning a candle at both ends and in the middle and you’d better slow down.” So I dropped out of the teaching aspect, picked up my master’s degree and decided not to pursue the doctorate.

I wound up going to Lockheed to work for them, making a lot more money than I did at Georgia Tech and doing much the same work on radar and electronic countermeasures. The Navy originally put my nose in the right direction for electronics, and I found the life of an engineer was a good life so I stayed in that area for a long time. I stayed with Lockheed; well I had gotten married also, that was another thing going about the same time I was teaching. Getting married, we started having kids, and Lockheed helped support all of that as well. I stayed at Lockheed for 32 years, and, of course, I also eventually retired from the Naval Reserve as a Lieutenant Commander. I retired from Lockheed in 1990, after spending a little bit over 32 years with Lockheed. I’ve been involved in engineering much less since that time, but that gave me more time for things like IEEE. While I was at Lockheed, I engaged in a lot of IEEE activities. Fortunately, Lockheed endorsed IEEE activities and supported my activities.

Hickman:

As you pointed out, you were at Lockheed from 1957-1990 and had several different advancements throughout your career. Your resume says you were a consulting engineer from 1988 to 90. Was that your title in the end?

Duggan:

Yes, it was the highest engineering title they had at Lockheed. Before that it was an R & D Engineer, but then the consulting engineer was sort of a super high title, a technical title. But I crossed the line between management and technical ranks at various times. Sometimes I was a manager of a division there, electronics division, and other times I was just staff. They kept me busy and I enjoyed my activities there.

Early Involvement in AIEE, IRE and IEEE

Hickman:

Well, I know you have been involved in IEEE for many, many years. How did you really get started? Did you get started in the Sections?

Duggan:

Yes, I was a member of AIEE and IRE back in the good ole days even when I graduated from Georgia Tech, but a little bit after that I was active in the Atlanta section; the first thing you knew the AIEE and IRE were combining into a single society, IEEE. I was the second chair of the Atlanta IEEE section. I’d previously been an officer in the Section and was elected chair.

Hickman:

Looks like from 1961 to1964 you went from secretary, to vice chair, to chair, and also served as the awards chair.

Duggan:

Yes, I filled quite a few roles in the Section and as chair intended to get involved in the regional activities, which I ultimately did.

Hickman:

What was your first job in Region 3?

Duggan:

I was on various committees, including long range planning.

Hickman:

Well, your activities were from 1982 to 2005.

Duggan:

Yes, I was on many Region 3 committees; I was vice chair and ultimately chair of the regional committee. I was a member of the IEEE Excom, the nominating committee, and chair of the nominating committee. A salient point is that Region 3 was the first region to have the concept of an area chair. Then I was the first area chair, I think in IEEE. Region 3 was sort of a groundbreaking area, and I was the first guy to be named an area chair.

Hickman:

Region 3 has made a lot of firsts throughout the years as you know, and that is one of those you cited.

Duggan:

Yes, well long range planning activities led to many of these ideas. Ultimately, I was elected to be the Region 3 chair in 1984.

Hickman:

Well, that was an interesting election. Region 3 Bylaws at that time called for a contested election for vice chairman, who would serve a year and then be named as the region director/chairman. However, you won a contested election for region director.

Duggan:

Yes, that is true.

Hickman:

What led you to get involved as the director?

Duggan:

Well, I worked in lower categories for a while, and I was finally elected the director. It was an honor. It also gave you a chance to maybe help IEEE become a better society. One of the most salient things occurred while I was region director. The chairman of the Jamaica Section, who expressed some concerns, approached me. They were in Region 9, which is Latin America, and when they would go to the regional meetings everybody would speak Spanish and Jamaicans speak English, and that was a real pain for them. So they approached me and asked me if there was any way they could join Region 3, and I said we’ll see what I can do it about. I talked to the director of Region 9, who was from Mexico, and I told him IEEE is supposed to serve the members, and the members wanted to be in an English-speaking region. So he agreed not to oppose it. However, we had quite a bit of opposition from IEEE management.

Hickman:

You mean at the IEEE Board of Directors level. They didn’t want that to happen?

Duggan:

Yes, because postage wise, they’d mail something to Region 3 but Jamaica required more postage! (chuckle) That made a headache for them in the paper mill. Same question arose about the United States Activities Board (USAB). Should Jamaica participate in that organization?

Hickman:

But you finally got it approved I understand in 1985; it took years and a lot of effort to get that done.

Duggan:

Yes, and I think that was one of the salient things accomplished. We were one of the first regions to have non-U.S. participation. I prowled around and I found that the Detroit area included a student branch in Ontario, and I think there was one in Buffalo. They also had a student branch in some university in Toronto. So the precedent had already been set. I pointed out that IEEE was already becoming a transnational organization, and eventually the IEEE Board of Directors approved having the Jamaica Section join Region 3.

Hickman:

Was the transnational argument one of the things that really swayed the board to allow Region 3 to include the Jamaica Section?

Duggan:

Yes.

Hickman:

What was the first activity communicating and working with the Jamaica Section?

Duggan:

We went to Jamaica to formally install the section into Region 3; we had several bigwigs from Region 3, and we also had some of the IEEE hierarchy down there. Anyhow, we established good relations in Jamaica. We met in Montego Bay and got to meet a number of the folks there. They have been a pretty active participating member of Region 3 ever since.

Hickman:

Actually since that time the region has gone to Jamaica for SoutheastCon, and some executive committee meetings were held there. You think it was a real positive for Region 3 and the Jamaica Section to join?

Duggan:

I think it was. IEEE over the years has become more and more of a transnational organization. I know when we had Bob Allen from Canada on the board he was always striving to make sure that we had transnational representation on all the important committees of IEEE. We now have many members overseas; we’re recognized around the world. IEEE is a top-notch electrical engineering society.

Transnational Activities

Hickman:

I think IEEE has over 400,000 members now, and probably the number of members in Regions 8, 9 and 10 are perhaps about the same number as in Regions 1 through 7. I’m not sure exactly about the numbers.

Duggan:

I know India, in particular, has a lot of sections and student branches. IEEE has sections in the Soviet Union and I think in Ukraine. I think we have a section in Novosibirsk, Siberia. Anyhow I see a lot of international conferences from time to time that are meeting in the Soviet Union or have representatives from the Soviet Union on their program committee.

Hickman:

One of the things that interested me in your resume, Bob, was the fact that you had a lot of special foreign travel assignments; the People’s Republic of China and the USSR. Of course, the Soviet Union became history after 1989.

Duggan:

Those assignments were during the Cold War. As a hobby, I’ve always had an interest in languages; I studied Russian, Chinese, Arabic, French, German and Spanish. I have been a ham radio operator for most of my life, and I have talked to every country in the world with the exception of North Korea. But I’ve enjoyed using the ham operating experiences to make contacts while traveling overseas. For example, my wife and I visited Moscow and Novosibirsk, Siberia. Ham friends there knew ahead of time that we were coming, and they greeted Kathleen and me at the airport with flowers for Kathleen, which is a normal Russian thing to do. I was a member of an exchange delegation in 1971 between IEEE and the Popov society, which is a Russian electronics society, and they would send a delegation to the United States and IEEE would send a delegation there. You had to apply for it, and typically it would be about 20 people or so. But the first time we went was in 1971, and that was really during the Cold War. I met some very interesting people on these trips. In 1971 I met a Hero of the Soviet Union, Ernst Krinkel. He was chairman of the Russian Amateur Radio Club, and the Amateur Radio Club in Moscow is now named after Ernst Krinkel. He was on an Antarctica expedition and his ability to get the ham radio operating ultimately saved all the people - earned him a Hero of the Soviet Union.

Hickman:

Well, it doesn’t have anything to do with your resume, but I spent a summer in the old Soviet Union a few years before that. Did you feel camaraderie between you and the other engineers?

Duggan:

Particularly, ham operators had a pretty good camaraderie all the way around. We were there again in 1975 and 1978; I was also there in 1977. We had, as I’ve said, some interesting contacts in 1978. We met Alexander Prokhorov, who is a physicist and who won the Nobel Prize for the laser invention. He spoke pretty good English, anyhow, the delegation met with him. In 1975 we went up to Zagorsk, which has a Russian orthodox church/seminary. When our hosts had been to Atlanta, Kathleen and I had taken them to First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. They knew we were interested in the church, so they arranged for us to go to Zagorsk and have lunch up there with the head man. They call him an archimandrite, and his name was Aleksei. Surprisingly for us at least several years later, maybe it was 15 years later; this same guy was named the head of the Russian Orthodox Church - Aleksei I. So we’ve met some interesting people along the way.

Hickman:

Did you get up to St. Petersburg?

Duggan:

Oh, yes, we went up to St. Petersburg.

Hickman:

Isn’t that a beautiful city?

Duggan:

Yes, very much so. We also went to Kiev, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Novosibirsk, Siberia. Those were the principal ones. Kathleen and I, by the way, went around the world in 1997 and spent a week in Irkutsk, Siberia and met an old friend there. This old friend had visited Atlanta. He was a geochemist, and together we had climbed Stone Mountain. He was interested in the composition of Stone Mountain. He was on the faculty in Irkutsk, and when we were in Irkutsk we were able to meet him again. He invited us to his home, and we’ve formed many good friendships over the years.

Hickman:

What in the world did you do in Liechtenstein?

Duggan:

Well, we just visited there; it is a small country, very small. Vaduz is the capital. We had a rental car, and we drove there to add another country to our chain.

Hickman:

It didn’t take long to get through; we drove through in one day also. And was your visit to Switzerland a part of this IEEE involvement or was it related to amateur radio?

Duggan:

When we came back, there was some intermixture. When we came back from Moscow in 1971, we stopped in Geneva, and the guy who was the Region 8 Director at that time was staying in Geneva, and so we were able to meet with him. We’ve also visited the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), but that was primarily connected to ham radio. I’ve operated ham stations, I think I mentioned from Moscow. I’ve been to Sokolniki Park. They had an amateur radio exhibit there, and they allowed me to operate there and make contacts. Similarly, we also went to the PRC in other exchanges between the IEEE and People’s Republic of China.

Hickman:

What was the purpose of the People’s Republic of China visit?

Duggan:

It was a technical exchange. We visited universities and research institutes. Our focus was on microwaves and aerospace type activities, and I gave a paper in Nanjing. We went to Nanjing, Beijing, Shanghai and various other places. But anyhow, I was able to operate a ham station in Beijing from the university there and in Nanjing. I was able to operate a ham station in Nanjing and work the United States. Fortunately, ham radio sort of tied in. I like these foreign countries and wrote up trip reports, which got rave reviews from a lot of folks. So I’ve tried to document most of the things we’ve done, the people whom we’ve met and tried to make it interesting. Unfortunately, when we made our move to this retirement center we had to slim things down drastically and I lost many of my IEEE important papers in the process of pruning down.

IEEE and Region 3 Conferences

Hickman:

Region 3 has had SoutheastCons for many years, but during the time you were director, Southcon seemed to be a thriving conference also. What were your impressions of Southcon?

Duggan:

Well, it was a big doggone conference; it was much bigger than SoutheastCon, initially at least, and it alternated between Atlanta and Orlando, and we usually had a huge turnout. The first year it seems to me we had 50,000 or so at Southcon, but over the years interest in it seemed to dwindle for some reason, I guess it was not quite as technical as perhaps other conferences were.

Hickman:

It was a good moneymaker for Region 3 for a while.

Duggan:

It was, yes, and we were very proud of it. The same outfit worked with IEEE on Southcon as worked with IEEE on Westcon and one up in Boston. New England seems to me had a special acronym. We had an outfit that was quite professional, and they did a good job of organizing.

Hickman:

Also, Sections Congress has been one of the primary conferences of IEEE, and at the one in Boston you set up a satellite broadcast. Tell us a little bit about how that worked.

Duggan:

I don’t think I really set up a satellite broadcast, but I did arrange something similar to work I did at Lockheed. At Lockheed we had a bunch of smart engineers, some of whom had only bachelor degrees, and they wanted to get advanced degrees. Georgia Tech was approached, but they didn’t want to give classes off campus for fear it would dilute the main campus. I found that in Florida and Texas the educational system had set up a TV arrangement so that classes could be given by television all over the state of Florida, and all over Texas. So I threatened Georgia Tech with joining Florida or joining Texas to get those graduate classes, and pretty soon Georgia Tech saw the light and we started having graduate EE classes out at Lockheed on our own campus. We got quite a few advanced degrees out of it; it was a good deal for the engineers.

Hickman:

We had talked about Jamaica joining Region 3 as one of the major accomplishments during your tenure as director. What other things stand out, Bob?

Duggan:

Just meeting with the sections was something that I enjoyed, to see diversity of people and to meet some of the different people. I found that a very inspiring experience just to get around and visit these people. Most of the sections it seems have always had similar problems, like how do you get more members, how do you retain members who have just graduated; that seems to be a perennial problem. The answer by and large is to try to help them as much as possible but encourage them to take part in the local section because you get out of something what you put in to it generally speaking. We point out that you can make good contacts, you get to know a lot of people and so if you’re looking for a job you can network far easier if you have a bunch of technical contacts to work with. Over the years we seem to have grown, not as fast as we all would like to see, but we seem to have grown.

Awards and Honors

Hickman:

I think we have over 30,000 in Region 3 now. You’ve been a member a long time as we pointed out earlier, and I know your service has been recognized by IEEE at various levels. Tell us a little bit about your awards and honors.

Duggan:

Well, I have received several key honors, I guess. In Region 3, I received both the Outstanding Engineer Award and the Outstanding Service Award. When IEEE hit 100 years I got the centennial medal, and later I received the 3rd millennium medal. Region 3 approved a new award named in honor of one of our members, the Daniel W. Jackson Award. I was fortunately awarded that one. At Sections Congress in Quebec City, I was honored by receiving the IEEE Member and Geographic Activities William M. Middleton Distinguished Service Award.

Hickman:

That was quite an impressive ceremony in Quebec City when you received that award.

Duggan:

It was. At Georgia Tech I was a member of Tau Beta Pi, president of Eta Kappa Nu, and also a member of Phi Alpha Phi. Those are all honor societies, of course, and I was also an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). I was fairly active in AIAA while working at Lockheed and presented papers at various places.

Retirement Activities

Hickman:

I know for many years you were active at the IEEE board level. What activities have you had in the last few years? I know you have attended Region 3 SoutheastCons and have taken leadership roles in Region 3.

Duggan:

My activity with Region 3 has really taken a dip. Our last major item I suppose was when I went to Quebec City to receive the Bill Middleton award and that was in 2008. In 2009 my wife and I moved here to Park Springs Retirement Community. I was developing peripheral neuropathy, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to drive. I figured we’d better make a move while I could drive, and we looked at the various retirement areas around Atlanta and we chose Park Springs. It seemed to be the most cost effective place, and we’ve enjoyed being here now for about 3 ½ years.

Hickman:

It looks like a beautiful area, and as we talked earlier all types of activities are planned for you.

Duggan:

Yes, we have several guys here who are members or former members of IEEE. I don’t think we have enough to make a subsection. I believe we have one other life member. Dr. Kendall Su is also here; he was a regent’s professor at Georgia Tech.

Hickman:

Do you get together sometimes and reminisce about the good ole days?

Duggan:

Yes, occasionally. We actually have a lot of friends out here, and we knew quite a few people before we even moved here. But we knew a lot of people from other various retirement places also. We’re Presbyterians and we considered going to the Presbyterian village on the west side of town or the Canterbury Courts which is Episcopalian on the north side of town. Park Springs is non-denominational, but it’s still a very nice place. We like it very much; it’s a continuing care retirement home so we feel like we’re pretty well fixed.

IEEE Evolution and Advice to Engineering Graduates

Hickman:

Over many years, as we pointed out, you have been an IEEE member. What is your thinking about how IEEE itself evolved over those years?

Duggan:

I think the primary thing is the growth in international/transnational; I believe our international activities have significantly increased over the years. I think much our growth takes place overseas. I’d say that is probably the biggest thing I’ve noticed. Of course Region 3 had an impact when Bill Ratcliff got on the board. He tried to focus everybody’s attention on the member. He said: “Dad gummit,” focus on the member.

Hickman:

I remember some of those lectures that, shall we say, Bill gave us. He emphasized what being a member is all about.

Duggan:

I think that’s impacted membership also.

Hickman:

What about your interaction over the years with some of the other directors?

Duggan:

I made a lot of friends both in the U.S. and overseas. The Latin American Director was from Mexico, and I got to know him quite well. That helped a lot when we were getting to make a transfer from his region to our region. It is nice to have somebody who is willing to listen. I know a lot of people who were opposed it. Region 9 just hated to lose Jamaica, but they wanted to transfer and that was a key thing.

Hickman:

And I know you’ve been real good friends with a lot of the Region 3 directors. I guess the ones that stand out in my mind going back a few years are Dan Jackson and Reed Thompson. The region has had a number of excellent directors.

Duggan:

George Abbott had been a friend. He and I ran against each other for executive vice president of IEEE, and George won.

Hickman:

Did you hold that against him?

Duggan:

Not really! (chuckle) Anyhow, we had a good time. And George used to have the most interesting expressions, he’d holler about getting his teeth in somebody’s ankle. (chuckle)

Hickman:

Like a bulldog?

Duggan:

All of our directors have been great guys. It’s been a pleasure! Reed Thompson, great fella, I knew him at Georgia Tech. He was from Charleston, but he and I were in the same fraternity at Georgia Tech. Pause. Our friend who recently passed away down in Orlando, George McClure, I thought he was an outstanding guy too.

Hickman:

And most recently Jim Beall passed away.

Duggan:

I didn’t know that.

Hickman:

Yes, it was about a week or so ago. Dave Green sent his regards, and when I was talking with him yesterday he also mentioned that Sully Sullivan had just died. What else would you like to tell us about your involvement in IEEE or any other thoughts you have?

Duggan:

Well, I’m grateful for the many friends I’ve managed to make over the years in IEEE. It’s great to have these long-time friends scattered literally all over the world. A guy from Russia would frequently come, Heinrik Landsberg . He frequently represented the Soviet Union at IEEE meetings, and we got to know him quite well. He was a good friend, and we’ve had other good friends over the years in England and Germany. We had some in South Africa and Argentina. That’s another thing, when we were Region Director we went to a number of conferences at various locations. We went to an IEEE conference in Buenos Aires, and then we visited the big dam in Brazil, the Itapúa. Then we went to Peru and met the IEEE folks in Lima. One of them was a ham operator who I subsequently talked to on the radio. Ham radio is really tied in in many ways when I was in IEEE. I got my first ham license by the way when I was still in the Navy. But I wound up with N4IA “Number 4 in America” I like to use as my phonetics. Easy to send Morse code wise, and I’ve learned to send Morse code in Russian also. A lot of times the Russian hams would be surprised about this American guy sending in Russian Morse code.

Hickman:

That would be interesting. I used to be able to read Russian, but that was a long time ago. So if you were advising or mentoring young people just getting out of college, you would advise them to get involved in IEEE, not only for the professional activities but also for the networking opportunities you have mentioned. You never know when one of those persons may help you in unforeseen ways.

Duggan:

That’s right. It’s been a pleasure really to get to know so many people and to see so many places. I was able to get to go to these things thanks to having been active in IEEE pretty well working my way up. I think it has really paid off for me, and I really enjoyed it.

Hickman:

Anything else, you’d like to talk about, Bob?

Duggan:

Well, I just certainly want to advise any student of EE to make sure you join the student branch of IEEE and to continue your membership. I’m also happy to see Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical engineering honor society, become tied to IEEE. I think that’s a great move and long overdue.

Hickman:

It was long overdue, and it took a long time to get finalized. But I think it’s working out well now.

Duggan:

I think IEEE is doing a great job, and I highly recommend any young engineering student to seriously consider getting involved in the IEEE. It’ll help you the rest of your life.

Hickman:

I thank you for your time, and I appreciate the work you have done over the years in IEEE.

Duggan:

Well thanks a lot. I enjoyed talking about it.