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Oral-History:Emerson W. Pugh

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[[Emerson Pugh|Emerson W. Pugh]] was born in Pasadena, California, and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) for his undergraduate and doctoral work in physics, and remained at Carnegie on the faculty for one year before joining IBM in research in 1957. Within a year he became manager of the Metals Physics Group. Pugh subsequently led IBM’s development of a thin magnetic film memory array used in the top-performance [[STARS:IBM System/360|IBM System/360 computer]], led research and development in magnetic bubbles and other memory technologies, and established a project to develop a [[Japanese Word Processors|word processor for the Japanese language]]. Working independently or as part of the IBM Technical History Project, beginning in the early 1980s, Pugh authored or coauthored four books on the history of IBM and its technical developments. He retired from IBM in 1993. Pugh’s involvement in the IEEE began in 1964 when he presented a paper at an IEEE conference, and shortly after joined IEEE as a senior member. His first volunteer activity was as editor of IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, beginning in 1968. Further activities led to his serving as president of the [[IEEE Magnetics Society History|Magnetics Society]] in 1973-4, followed by Division director, Executive Vice President, Vice President Technical Activities, and finally [[Presidents of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)|IEEE President]] in 1989. He was also active on the [[IEEE History Committee History|IEEE History Committee]], Trustees of the History Center, and the IEEE Foundation, serving as president of the Foundation from 2000 through 2004.  
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[[Emerson Pugh|Emerson W. Pugh]] was born in Pasadena, California, and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) for his undergraduate and doctoral work in physics, and remained at Carnegie on the faculty for one year before joining IBM in research in 1957. Within a year he became manager of the Metals Physics Group. Pugh subsequently led IBM’s development of a thin magnetic film memory array used in the top-performance [[STARS:IBM System/360|IBM System/360 computer]], led research and development in magnetic bubbles and other memory technologies, and established a project to develop a [[STARS:Word Processing for the Japanese Language|word processor for the Japanese language]]. Working independently or as part of the IBM Technical History Project, beginning in the early 1980s, Pugh authored or coauthored four books on the history of IBM and its technical developments. He retired from IBM in 1993. Pugh’s involvement in the IEEE began in 1964 when he presented a paper at an IEEE conference, and shortly after joined IEEE as a senior member. His first volunteer activity was as editor of IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, beginning in 1968. Further activities led to his serving as president of the [[IEEE Magnetics Society History|Magnetics Society]] in 1973-4, followed by Division director, Executive Vice President, Vice President Technical Activities, and finally [[Presidents of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)|IEEE President]] in 1989. He was also active on the [[IEEE History Committee History|IEEE History Committee]], Trustees of the History Center, and the IEEE Foundation, serving as president of the Foundation from 2000 through 2004.  
  
In this interview, Pugh discusses his research and development activities at IBM and his later shift of emphasis to technical history, and he talks about his involvement with the IEEE. He also discusses many of the positions he held in IEEE and the issues faced by the groups he worked with. The change from Magnetics Group to Magnetics Society is discussed, as are IEEE Board issues. Pugh’s presidency is covered in detail including his decision to run and the various goals, projects and problems he encountered. He discusses his emphasis on extending IEEE’s transnational reach, the impact of political changes in Eastern Europe and the end of the Berlin Wall, changes in IEEE management structure, moving to Piscataway, and revising IEEE’s Code of Ethics. His post-presidential activities with the IEEE History Committee and IEEE Foundation are also extensively covered. Pugh discusses various IEEE colleagues with whom he worked, including [[Henry L. Bachman|Henry Bachman]], Wallace Behnke, [[Russell Drew|Russell Drew]], [[Bruce Eisenstein|Bruce Eisenstein]], [[Richard Gowen|Richard Gowen]], Eric Herz, and [[Bruno Weinschel|Bruno Weinschel]].
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In this interview, Pugh discusses his research and development activities at IBM and his later shift of emphasis to technical history, and he talks about his involvement with the IEEE. He also discusses many of the positions he held in IEEE and the issues faced by the groups he worked with. The change from Magnetics Group to Magnetics Society is discussed, as are IEEE Board issues. Pugh’s presidency is covered in detail including his decision to run and the various goals, projects and problems he encountered. He discusses his emphasis on extending IEEE’s transnational reach, the impact of political changes in Eastern Europe and the end of the Berlin Wall, changes in IEEE management structure, moving to Piscataway, and revising IEEE’s Code of Ethics. His post-presidential activities with the IEEE History Committee and IEEE Foundation are also extensively covered. Pugh discusses various IEEE colleagues with whom he worked, including [[Henry L. Bachman|Henry Bachman]], Wallace Behnke, [[Russell Drew|Russell Drew]], [[Bruce Eisenstein|Bruce Eisenstein]], [[Richard Gowen|Richard Gowen]], [[Eric Herz]], and [[Bruno Weinschel|Bruno Weinschel]].
  
 
== About the Interview  ==
 
== About the Interview  ==
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'''Pugh:'''  
 
'''Pugh:'''  
  
You may recall that I had managed, in the early 1960s, an IBM development group charged with creating a high-performance thin magnetic film memory array. We were late in completing it, and it was more expensive than we projected, but it was used by the [[STARS:IBM System/360|IBM System 360]] Model 95 and provided the fastest main memory in any computer system in the market for several years. Following that assignment, I accepted the position of Director of Operational Memory for the IBM corporation. This position organizationally was part of a large matrix structure that had recently been created. The people who developed new memory technologies reported through an internal structure to plant managers, but they received technical guidance from me. That structure only lasted about a year-and-a-half before it was found to be unsatisfactory. After that I became Director of Technical Planning for the IBM Research Division and then served as Consultant to the Director of Research. During these years, I also started what for me was one of the more interesting projects I ever started, and that was to create a [[Japanese Word Processors|word processor for the Japanese language]].  
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You may recall that I had managed, in the early 1960s, an IBM development group charged with creating a high-performance thin magnetic film memory array. We were late in completing it, and it was more expensive than we projected, but it was used by the [[STARS:IBM System/360|IBM System 360]] Model 95 and provided the fastest main memory in any computer system in the market for several years. Following that assignment, I accepted the position of Director of Operational Memory for the IBM corporation. This position organizationally was part of a large matrix structure that had recently been created. The people who developed new memory technologies reported through an internal structure to plant managers, but they received technical guidance from me. That structure only lasted about a year-and-a-half before it was found to be unsatisfactory. After that I became Director of Technical Planning for the IBM Research Division and then served as Consultant to the Director of Research. During these years, I also started what for me was one of the more interesting projects I ever started, and that was to create a [[STARS:Word Processing for the Japanese Language|word processor for the Japanese language]].  
  
 
'''Hochheiser:'''  
 
'''Hochheiser:'''  
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'''Pugh:'''  
 
'''Pugh:'''  
  
Yes. Absolutely. Andy Bobeck was the person who initiated the concept at Bell Labs. Top management at IBM learned about it and felt that anything AT&T was working on had to be good. But the first analysis I did suggested, as I said before, that magnetic bubbles were not likely to be winners unless some truly novel approaches were taken. Ultimately, the more conventional magnetic bubble designs worked very well but, as I had predicted, they could not keep up with the progress in semiconductor and magnetic disk technologies. Our novel and truly amazing approaches, like the bubble-lattice file, worked surprisingly well in the laboratory but we would have had to invest enormous resources to make it ready for mass production. And the rate of advance in semiconductor [[Integrated Circuits|integrated circuits]] made this type of expenditure unrealistic. That’s really what happened, and it is what I had predicted from the beginning. But IBM could not afford not to be working on a technology that had a chance, even if only a small chance, of replacing semiconductor technology for information storage in computer systems.  
+
Yes. Absolutely. [[A.H. Bobeck|Andy Bobeck]] was the person who initiated the concept at Bell Labs. Top management at IBM learned about it and felt that anything AT&T was working on had to be good. But the first analysis I did suggested, as I said before, that magnetic bubbles were not likely to be winners unless some truly novel approaches were taken. Ultimately, the more conventional magnetic bubble designs worked very well but, as I had predicted, they could not keep up with the progress in semiconductor and magnetic disk technologies. Our novel and truly amazing approaches, like the bubble-lattice file, worked surprisingly well in the laboratory but we would have had to invest enormous resources to make it ready for mass production. And the rate of advance in semiconductor [[Integrated Circuits|integrated circuits]] made this type of expenditure unrealistic. That’s really what happened, and it is what I had predicted from the beginning. But IBM could not afford not to be working on a technology that had a chance, even if only a small chance, of replacing semiconductor technology for information storage in computer systems.  
  
 
'''Hochheiser:'''  
 
'''Hochheiser:'''  
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'''Hochheiser:'''  
 
'''Hochheiser:'''  
  
What led you to become active in IEEE in any way, shape, or form again? You kind of dropped your activity after you Magnetics Society activity in the 1970s.  
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What led you to become active in IEEE in any way, shape, or form again? You kind of dropped your activity after your Magnetics Society activity in the 1970s.  
  
 
'''Pugh:'''  
 
'''Pugh:'''  
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'''Pugh:'''  
 
'''Pugh:'''  
  
By the time I became President in 1989, the decision had been made to increase the activities of the History Center to include research as well as preservation and promulgation. Bill Aspray, who was a well respected young historian, was hired to head up the Center, and in the next year we moved the Center to Rutgers, so that it could benefit from the academic environment. All that occurred in and about when I was president. But you asked me about what happened in 1984, and the answer is many things, but the increased emphasis on history seems most important to me. Mostly that year, I just tried to understand the various issues and to vote my conscience, as the saying goes.  
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By the time I became President in 1989, the decision had been made to increase the activities of the History Center to include research as well as preservation and promulgation. [[Oral-History:William Aspray|Bill Aspray]], who was a well respected young historian, was hired to head up the Center, and in the next year we moved the Center to Rutgers, so that it could benefit from the academic environment. All that occurred in and about when I was president. But you asked me about what happened in 1984, and the answer is many things, but the increased emphasis on history seems most important to me. Mostly that year, I just tried to understand the various issues and to vote my conscience, as the saying goes.  
  
 
'''Hochheiser:'''  
 
'''Hochheiser:'''  
  
[Laughter]  
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[Laughter]
  
 
=== Executive VP and VP of Technical Activities  ===
 
=== Executive VP and VP of Technical Activities  ===
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'''Pugh:'''  
 
'''Pugh:'''  
  
Despite the lack of opposition, I did go to several campaign events to meet with local leaders, state my positions, and get their views. I particularly recall going to one event and not wearing a necktie. Eric Herz was appalled. In no uncertain terms, he said, “You ought to have a necktie here.” And I told him that I thought I would be better off without a necktie when running for president of IEEE.  
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Despite the lack of opposition, I did go to several campaign events to meet with local leaders, state my positions, and get their views. I particularly recall going to one event and not wearing a necktie. [[Eric Herz]] was appalled. In no uncertain terms, he said, “You ought to have a necktie here.” And I told him that I thought I would be better off without a necktie when running for president of IEEE.  
  
 
'''Hochheiser:'''  
 
'''Hochheiser:'''  
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Well, I thank you very much for your time.
 
Well, I thank you very much for your time.
  
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[[Category:Computers and information processing|Pugh]] [[Category:Memory|Pugh]] [[Category:Magnetic memory|Pugh]] [[Category:Computer architecture|Pugh]] [[Category:Environment, geoscience & remote sensing|Pugh]] [[Category:IEEE|Pugh]] [[Category:Conference activities|Pugh]] [[Category:Geographical units|Pugh]] [[Category:Governance|Pugh]] [[Category:Bylaws|Pugh]] [[Category:Publications|Pugh]] [[Category:Technical units|Pugh]] [[Category:Societies|Pugh]] [[Category:Transportation|Pugh]] [[Category:Vehicles|Pugh]] [[Category:Road vehicles|Pugh]]
  
 
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[[Category:Computers_and_information_processing|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:Memory|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:Magnetic_memory|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:Computer_architecture|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:Environment,_geoscience_&_remote_sensing|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:IEEE|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:Conference_activities|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:Geographical_units|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:Governance|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:Bylaws|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:Publications|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:Technical_units|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:Societies|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:Transportation|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:Vehicles|{{PAGENAME}}]] [[Category:Road_vehicles|{{PAGENAME}}]]
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Revision as of 13:46, 20 May 2014

Contents

About Emerson W. Pugh

Emerson W. Pugh was born in Pasadena, California, and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) for his undergraduate and doctoral work in physics, and remained at Carnegie on the faculty for one year before joining IBM in research in 1957. Within a year he became manager of the Metals Physics Group. Pugh subsequently led IBM’s development of a thin magnetic film memory array used in the top-performance IBM System/360 computer, led research and development in magnetic bubbles and other memory technologies, and established a project to develop a word processor for the Japanese language. Working independently or as part of the IBM Technical History Project, beginning in the early 1980s, Pugh authored or coauthored four books on the history of IBM and its technical developments. He retired from IBM in 1993. Pugh’s involvement in the IEEE began in 1964 when he presented a paper at an IEEE conference, and shortly after joined IEEE as a senior member. His first volunteer activity was as editor of IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, beginning in 1968. Further activities led to his serving as president of the Magnetics Society in 1973-4, followed by Division director, Executive Vice President, Vice President Technical Activities, and finally IEEE President in 1989. He was also active on the IEEE History Committee, Trustees of the History Center, and the IEEE Foundation, serving as president of the Foundation from 2000 through 2004.

In this interview, Pugh discusses his research and development activities at IBM and his later shift of emphasis to technical history, and he talks about his involvement with the IEEE. He also discusses many of the positions he held in IEEE and the issues faced by the groups he worked with. The change from Magnetics Group to Magnetics Society is discussed, as are IEEE Board issues. Pugh’s presidency is covered in detail including his decision to run and the various goals, projects and problems he encountered. He discusses his emphasis on extending IEEE’s transnational reach, the impact of political changes in Eastern Europe and the end of the Berlin Wall, changes in IEEE management structure, moving to Piscataway, and revising IEEE’s Code of Ethics. His post-presidential activities with the IEEE History Committee and IEEE Foundation are also extensively covered. Pugh discusses various IEEE colleagues with whom he worked, including Henry Bachman, Wallace Behnke, Russell Drew, Bruce Eisenstein, Richard Gowen, Eric Herz, and Bruno Weinschel.

About the Interview

EMERSON W. PUGH: An Interview Conducted by Sheldon Hochheiser, IEEE History Center, 14 November 2009

Interview #521 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronic 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:

Emerson W. Pugh, an oral history conducted in 2009 by Sheldon Hochheiser, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

Interview

Interview: Emerson W. Pugh

Interviewer: Sheldon Hochheiser

Date: 14 November 2009

Location: Newark, New Jersey

Background and Education

Hochheiser:

This is Sheldon Hochheiser. It is the 14th of November, 2009. I’m here in Newark, New Jersey with IEEE past president Emerson Pugh. Good afternoon

Pugh:

Good afternoon.

Hochheiser:

If you don’t mind, what I’d like to start with, a little bit of background.

Pugh:

Okay.

Hochheiser:

Where were you born and raised?

Pugh:

I was born in Pasadena, California, but I had the wisdom to leave there after one year, and I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Hochheiser:

What did your parents do?

Pugh:

My father was a college professor. And my mother was a housewife.

Hochheiser:

Where did your father teach?

Pugh:

He taught at Carnegie Tech, which is now Carnegie Mellon University.

Hochheiser:

And what was his field?

Pugh:

Physics.

Hochheiser:

Then is it fair to say with your father as a physics professor, you were involved with science and technology as a youth?

Pugh:

I was certainly exposed to it, but the truth is that I was not initially dedicated to science and technology. I gave serious thought to being a lawyer and serious thought to being in technology. I decided that studying to be a lawyer would be very hard for me because I was a slow reader. But in science and technology you were supposed to read things slowly and carefully. And that might’ve been the biggest factor [Laughter] that made the decision.

Hochheiser:

Did you consider anyplace besides Carnegie Tech for college?

Pugh:

Yes. I interviewed for a lot of schools, and ultimately went to Dartmouth College.

Hochheiser:

Ah.

Pugh:

The main reasons I went there was because it was a very fine college and they offered me the biggest scholarship and also because I was interested in skiing and they offered skiing in a gym class. So I went up there for a year. The main reason I left Dartmouth is that I became concerned as to how I would earn a living if my degree was in liberal arts. In fact, there was a senior in the dormitory who was really concerned about that. He noted that all the students there at Dartmouth that he knew planned to go into their father’s business. His father didn’t have a business, and he was worried. So I thought that described my situation, and I transferred to Carnegie Tech. And by the way, since my dad was a professor there, I had no tuition to pay.

Hochheiser:

Ah.

Pugh:

And because we lived close to the school, I could live at home, which would be very economical. Money was a big factor.

Hochheiser:

So after one year at Dartmouth, you went back to Carnegie?

Pugh:

Well, I went to Carnegie and back to Pittsburgh. [Laughter]

Hochheiser:

Back to Pittsburgh rather. Did you have a specific course of study in mind when you transferred to Carnegie?

Pugh:

Yes. I took physics because I thought it was the best course for most things I might choose to do, whether it was electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or anything else. Just a good general education.

Hochheiser:

Did you take any engineering courses at all?

Pugh:

Yes, just a couple. One I especially liked was called Engineering Analysis.

Hochheiser:

And then did you proceed directly from your undergraduate work to graduate work at Carnegie?

Pugh:

Yes, I did, directly from a bachelor’s degree to a doctorate program, bypassing a master’s degree.

Hochheiser:

What led you to change from thinking physics was a good background for anything to deciding that you wanted to be a physicist?

Pugh:

Well, [Laughter] I wanted to earn a living, and I had become interested in physics, so it made sense. But I can’t claim to have been strongly driven to it. It just seemed like the best option.

Hochheiser:

What professors did you work most closely with while you were a student at Carnegie?

Pugh:

My thesis adviser was Jack Goldman. He was well respected and had been very highly placed in Westinghouse before he came to Carnegie as a professor. So he seemed like a good choice for my thesis adviser. He subsequently left Carnegie to become director of research at Xerox.

Hochheiser:

And what was your thesis topic?

Pugh:

My thesis topic was designed to verify, or refute, theoretical models of the magnetic properties of metals by measuring the magnetic susceptibility of dilute alloys of nickel in copper and of magnesium in lithium at very low temperatures—temperatures so low that they could be achieved only in liquid hydrogen or liquid helium.

Hochheiser:

Did you join any professional societies while you were a student?

Pugh:

Yes. I joined the American Physical Society and attended a couple of their conferences and gave a paper at one, but I was not very active. When I was an undergraduate, I did join a fraternity on campus, Delta Upsilon, and I participated in its social life on through graduate school.

IBM and Management

Hochheiser:

Then when you finished graduate school, you spent one year on the faculty at Carnegie?

Pugh:

That’s correct.

Hochheiser:

And what led you from there to IBM? How did you come to join IBM?

Pugh:

[Interposing] Well, actually that’s kind of interesting. I had been so focused on completing my research and writing it up that I had no time to interview for jobs. Also my dad was writing a college text book on principles of electricity and magnetism, and I’d been helping on that, and I was interested in continuing that. So I took a postdoctoral year as an assistant professor. I taught some classes, helped my dad with the book, and interviewed a large number of companies. I chose IBM because it was rapidly growing its research and engineering activities, so I could start in research and move to engineering if I wished. And it offered me a very fine salary. An amusing thing is that one of the companies I interviewed for a job was Avco. When I visited Avco, I was interviewed by the director of research, who was Dr. Emmanuel R. Priore. He gave me an offer, but I didn’t accept it. I went to IBM, as you know. By the time I showed up at IBM, many months later, Mannie Priore had left Avco, and he was now head of research for IBM. So I figured he and I had both made good decisions. [Laughter]

Hochheiser:

[Laughter] What was IBM research like in the 1950s when you arrived there?

Pugh:

Well, let’s see, I arrived in the fall of 1957 and went to work in the IBM 701 Building in Poughkeepsie, New York. It was named after IBM’s first large electronic computer product, the IBM 701. When the 701 Building was under construction, it was expected to be the primary location of IBM research. But by the time it was dedicated in 1954, the number of R&D employees had been doubling every two years and management was beginning to have grander plans for research. Priore was hired to help define and execute that plan, and I was one of many technically trained people hired to populate IBM’s growing research activities. By 1960 construction was completed of the T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, about halfway between Poughkeepsie and New York City, and my research group was one of the first groups to move into the new building.

Hochheiser:

And what group was that?

Pugh:

The Metal Physics Group. We were doing a lot of work on thin magnetic films, which had promise for use in computer memories. And I might note that, when I was hired, I was told that whatever I wanted to do in the way of research would be fine. Others were told more or less the same thing, because IBM was rapidly growing its research activities and management was happy to let new people help define the program. But after I had been in research for about four years, things changed. Management increasingly wanted to know what we had done recently for IBM. So that was the evolution. [Laughter]

Hochheiser:

[Laughter] Now in your group were there people with backgrounds in physics and engineering as well? Or were these all physicists?

Pugh:

It was quite a mixed group. In fact, I became a manager in less than one year after I arrived. I guess I looked like a manager. Also I had a PhD and no one else in the group I first managed had a PhD. They were all experienced engineers, mostly electrical engineers, and they lusted to do research. They were excellent in the laboratory, which was very helpful to me. They could design equipment, wire things up, and carry out experiments. So I set the direction for our research and they largely carried it out. I was also asked to go hire more people, and of course, only those with PhDs, thank you. We wanted good people from good schools.

Hochheiser:

And then when you began recruiting more people, since you were looking for PhDs, were you looking, then, for people who were a little bit more on the theoretical side?

Pugh:

Well, not in my case. Actually an interesting thing is that when they offered me the job as manager, I told them that I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a manager because I had this very interesting project that I was just starting on. I didn’t tell them – but in truth I was also concerned about becoming a manager because the other guys in the area knew so much more about practical things than I did, and because I’d never even considered becoming a manager.

Hochheiser:

Oh.

Pugh:

So I explained that I wanted to do this research project and for that reason did not want to become a manager. And my manager said, “Why don’t you plan to hire somebody who will come in and work with you on that project, and then you’ll be able to get it done.” So indeed that’s what I did. I hired a person from Carnegie Tech who was highly recommended to me, a person who was headed for a PhD, but because of illness in his family he had to find a job. I hired him, and he was excellent in the laboratory, and he and I completed this project together. It worked out very well.

Hochheiser:

What was his name?

Pugh:

Bernell Argyle.

Hochheiser:

I noticed that in 1962 you at least had a new title. Senior Engineer in the Components Division.

Pugh:

Correct.

Hochheiser:

Was this a major change or—?

Pugh:

Yes, that was a major change. What happened is that sometime around 1960, I began to wonder whether I really liked what I was doing at IBM, and whether I would prefer doing something else. I am not sure why, but I let my manager know that I was kind of looking around and wondering, and he said to me, “Well, you know, in the IBM Zurich laboratory they’re looking for a visiting scientist, maybe you’d like to do that.” [Laughter] I thought about it and discussed it with my wife, and we decided it sounded pretty good. So I spent a year over there. A major emphasis was thin magnetic films. When I came back to the IBM Research Center at Yorktown Heights, one of the engineering groups had begun a major advanced development effort on a thin magnetic film memory, based on earlier research done in the Zurich Laboratory. This activity was now being transferred to a product development group in an IBM laboratory in Poughkeepsie, and I was asked if I would like to go there and become a Senior Engineer and manager of an engineering group working to develop a thin magnetic film memory.

Hochheiser:

Yes.

Pugh:

That sounded interesting to me, because I liked the idea of doing something practical. So I accepted the job and became a manager of a development group.

Hochheiser:

Did this in some sense make you an engineer?

Pugh:

Well, my title was senior engineer, but when I went somewhere I always told people I was a scientist, because that’s what I was trained as.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Pugh:

And by the way I would note there’s more prestige—there was then, and there still is—in being a scientist. But somewhere along the line, I began to admit that, yes, I really was an engineer. After that one of the issues in my mind always when I had a leadership role in IEEE was my desire to elevate the image of engineers.

Hochheiser:

On a practical level, was there a difference with researchers in IBM, whether their degrees were in physics or engineering? If so, to what extent?

Pugh:

I don’t think that it made a difference whether it was engineering or physics. But in research, it made a big difference whether or not you had a PhD.

Joining IEEE and Magnetics Group/Society

Hochheiser:

And when did you, when did you first join IEEE?

Pugh:

I joined IEEE in about 1964, and I joined as a senior member.

Hochheiser:

What led you to decide to join IEEE?

Pugh:

When I first had some experimental results that I wanted to publish having to do with thin magnetic films, I immediately thought of going to an American Physical Society conference to give the paper. And one of my colleagues said, “Why don’t you go to an IEEE conference and give this paper?” Well, of course, IEEE as an entity was quite new.

Hochheiser:

That’s right.

Pugh:

But in any event he told me that the audience would be much more interested in the work I was doing, and he urged me to go to the conference. So I went to the conference, and shortly after that I decided to join IEEE. And somebody said, “Jeez, if you’re joining, why don’t you join as a senior engineer?” So I thought about it and it seemed like a good idea.

Hochheiser:

[Laughter] When and how did you first become active in any portion of the IEEE?

Pugh:

Good question. I guess I got started as editor of the Transaction on Magnetics. That would be in 1968.

Hochheiser:

Yes.

Pugh:

And why I agreed to do that I’m not sure, except that somebody asked me, and I thought it would be interesting. So for two or three years, I served as Editor-in- Chief of the Transaction on Magnetics. By the way, in that position, I had the opportunity to work with the woman who this year won the Eric Herz Outstanding Staff Member Award. I chaired the committee that selected her to win that award. That was a great pleasure for me.

Hochheiser:

And who was that?

Pugh:

It was Ann Burgmeyer. She had to be a very new hire at the time and, of course, at that time I was a very new IEEE volunteer.

Hochheiser:

Did you then get involved more broadly in the Magnetics Society?

Pugh:

Yes, I did, and it’s not clear to me exactly how I got involved, but initially I had one major mission. In and around the time I was editing the Transactions on Magnetics there was this very large society in IEEE, called Power Engineering.

Hochheiser:

Yes.

Pugh:

Excuse me, I mean group. We were all groups at that time, and the Power Engineering Group, being so big and important, felt it should be a society instead of a group. I was one of the ones in the Magnetics Group that felt that size should not be the key issue, quality was the issue, and we obviously had one of the finest groups in IEEE. So we pushed very hard to be one of the first groups to become a society after the Power Engineering Society, and probably it was that activity that got me involved more than anything else, you know, emotionally involved with this organization now known as the Magnetics Society.

Hochheiser:

Do you recall were there specific things that the Magnetics Group had to do in order to become a society? Was there a roadmap?

Pugh:

Well, the first thing that had to happen was that the IEEE Board of Directors had to become convinced that other groups could become societies, and that even a little group—like the Magnetics Group—could become a Society. So it was a political thing. To argue and convince people that out of fairness and reasonableness, in recognition of what was truly important. [Laughter] Among other things, the Magnetics Group had good attendance at its annual technical conference, excellent publications and many members from outside the United States. We saw to it that these aspects were taken into account.

Hochheiser:

So the Magnetics Society was one of the earlier ones to make that transition.

Pugh:

I believe so.

Hochheiser:

The completion of that process took, I think, until the late seventies.

Pugh:

At this stage, I don’t recall the date. I know it took some time. We were not immediately after the Power Engineering Society, but we were fairly soon after them. Considering our size, we were very early.

Hochheiser:

And did becoming a society in IEEE make a difference in a substantive sense?

Pugh:

Functionally it was still the same. I think even when there continued to be groups and societies, the rules governing groups were identical to those governing societies, it’s just that those who were societies could hold their noses a little higher. [Laughter]

Hochheiser:

[Laughter] But somehow it was desirable to be able to hold one’s nose higher.

Pugh:

Absolutely.

Hochheiser:

[Laughter]

Pugh:

Beyond the joking, I should note that the reason we wanted to be known as a society is because that word implies a more substantial organization than does the word, group. Our objective was to attract greater participation in our conferences and publications throughout the world, and I believe being known as the Magnetics Society (rather than Magnetics Group) helped us achieve that objective.

Hochheiser:

So then you were, for a fair number of years, on the AdCom of the society.

Pugh:

Yes, that’s true.

Hochheiser:

Now is that related to your being the editor or was that something separate?

Pugh:

Well, in addition to my service as editor of the transactions, I was quite active in promoting quality technical conferences for which the Magnetics Society was increasingly well known. For example, in April 1972 we held our annual Intermag Conference in Kyoto, Japan, and it attracted over 800 attendees from 19 different countries.

Earlier that year, I had begun discussions with colleagues of the American Physical Society (of which I was also a member) to consider holding a joint conference on magnetism in some future year. Their conference was called the Annual Conference on Magnetics and Magnetic Materials and ours was called the Intermag Conference. There were many issues to consider, such as how to share the costs or profits, how the conference proceedings would be published, where and when it should be held, and what it would be called. All those problems were eventually solved, and in June 1976 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I served as chairman of the first Joint MMM-Intermag Conference. This joint conference became a tradition and was held once every three years.

Society President

Hochheiser:

What led to your, a), wanting to become president of the society and b) becoming president?

Pugh:

I had been quite active in the organization and so I was put up as a candidate.

Hochheiser:

To what extent, if any, did you campaign for the office? Or was it impossible?

Pugh:

I don’t know that it was possible because the election of the president of the Magnetics Society at that time was by the AdCom, not by the membership. I may be wrong on that, but that’s my recollection. I certainly didn’t go anywhere to campaign.

Hochheiser:

Were there particular things you wanted to do or did succeed in doing as president of the society?

Pugh:

A major personal activity for me at that time was planning for the first Joint MMM-Intermag Conference that I chaired in 1976. As president I of course got involved in many other activities. But I had no sense that the organization needed significant redirecting. I just wanted to keep us moving forward in the direction we were headed. I believed that what made a technical society great was having good technical conferences, good publications, and many members from outside the United States – and we did.

Hochheiser:

Yes.

Pugh:

And so my objective was to make it an even stronger technical organization.

Hochheiser:

Mm-hmm. Now did being president of a society put you on TAB? Do you recall?

Pugh:

I believe it did, but I never attended.

Hochheiser:

Ah.

Pugh:

I might’ve come once or twice to IEEE headquarters, but I saw little reason to participate in the IEEE volunteer structure. The treasurer and certain other members of the Magnetics Society AdCom had good reason to be involved in broader IEEE activities, but we never identified any need of the Magnetics Society that made it necessary for me to become involved. And frankly I was sufficiently busy working for IBM and working to make the Magnetics Society’s conferences and publications better, that I did not want to take the time to travel to organizational meetings and participate in other IEEE activities. Also, at that time, I believe the travel costs of society presidents were not reimbursed except for persons who had no other source of financial support. IBM would most likely have reimbursed my travel, but I felt I could not make a good case for that and so I chose not to.

Hochheiser:

So unlike some other society presidents, you didn’t go to board series or anything like that.

Pugh:

That is correct.

Hochheiser:

Okay.

Pugh:

Never did.

Hochheiser:

Then after your term as president, did your level of activity in the Magnetics Society decrease?

Pugh:

I continued to spend time planning for the Joint MMM-Intermag Conference, scheduled for 1976. But other than that, I pretty much dropped out because of a number of other activities I was involved in.

NAS Project Executive Director

In particular I had accepted a position with the National Academy of Sciences as the executive director of a study on motor vehicle emissions and fuel economy. And that would be in and around, I think it was ’74.

Hochheiser:

Yes.

Pugh:

Anyway, I accepted that position. There were a lot of delays because it was a highly political thing, not my appointment, but this particular committee was mandated by the U.S. Congress. So things were a bit abnormal. This is one reason why they wanted a person with considerable experience to be the executive director. For example, I had a lawyer reporting to me and we had subpoena power to force witnesses to appear and to talk about what the companies could really do in fuel economy, and so on. Unfortunately, the politics in Washington caused many delays in getting the committee under way. I had originally expected to move down there for a year with my wife and children, but there were so many delays in getting this thing approved by Congress that by the time it was put in place, my children were already in school, and it made no sense for the family to move. So I rented an apartment down in DC, and commuted back and forth. So I was busy. [Laughter]

Hochheiser:

[Laughter] Did IBM give you leave to do this?

Pugh:

Yes. IBM gave me the equivalent of a leave of absence. They even contributed to my pay so that I continued to make the same pay. Legally I was still employed by IBM, because I kept all of my benefits. But as far as the people at the Academy were concerned, I was treated like, and behaved like, an employee of the Academy. I had staff who worked for me in the Academy. I had a lawyer and some other rather talented people on that staff, and we had a very fine committee. Committee members had been carefully selected because our activity was mandated by the Clean Air Act and was intended to provide information and guidance to the U.S. Congress concerning what was possible and practical in the control of emissions from automobiles. It also happened to be the year of the oil embargo, so it became a very interesting year.

Hochheiser:

I bet. So you were there for one year?

Pugh:

Yes. It was just a little over a year.

Hochheiser:

Yeah.

Japanese Language Word Processor

And then you went back to IBM?

Pugh:

Correct.

Hochheiser:

Now did you have a different position after your leave, or—?

Pugh:

That would be hard to define in truth—

Hochheiser:

[Laughter]

Pugh:

You may recall that I had managed, in the early 1960s, an IBM development group charged with creating a high-performance thin magnetic film memory array. We were late in completing it, and it was more expensive than we projected, but it was used by the IBM System 360 Model 95 and provided the fastest main memory in any computer system in the market for several years. Following that assignment, I accepted the position of Director of Operational Memory for the IBM corporation. This position organizationally was part of a large matrix structure that had recently been created. The people who developed new memory technologies reported through an internal structure to plant managers, but they received technical guidance from me. That structure only lasted about a year-and-a-half before it was found to be unsatisfactory. After that I became Director of Technical Planning for the IBM Research Division and then served as Consultant to the Director of Research. During these years, I also started what for me was one of the more interesting projects I ever started, and that was to create a word processor for the Japanese language.

Hochheiser:

Oh that must’ve been fascinating, considering the complexity of the Japanese language.

Pugh:

Right. I was immediately interested when I learned that the Japanese had no typewriters that a typical person could use because their written language makes use of thousands of different characters rather than a small number as in the letters of the alphabet.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Pugh:

I learned about this problem in 1972 when I attended the Intermag conference, held by the IEEE Magnetics Society in Kyoto, Japan. During the conference, I spent considerable time learning about the structure of the written language, which uses a small number of phonetic characters called Kana and thousands of Chinese characters called Kanji. Almost immediately, I thought the solution for this problem was to use a standard typewriter keyboard and electronic coding to define each of these thousands of characters by the combination of two to three key strokes and then print the characters using a wire-matrix printer. When I returned to the IBM Research Center, I refined this concept and ended up getting approval to start a project in the IBM laboratory in Fujisawa, Japan, in 1973. The project was initially successful technically, but ultimately we didn’t go to completion for many reasons. Perhaps the most important reason was that the president of IBM Japan advised top management that if this project should become successful it would have so much impact on Japanese culture that it should not be done by an American company, such as IBM. That was a major reason, but not the only reason, and indeed this could become a long story. But this short version should help explain why I was so pleased to become involved again in this subject when I had an opportunity on the History Committee here at IEEE—

Hochheiser:

Right.

Pugh:

I was the History Committee advocate for making the First Japanese Language Word Processor, announced by Toshiba 1978, an IEEE Milestone.

Hochheiser:

Yes.

Magnetic Bubbles, IBM History Writing

Pugh:

You asked me, before I digressed – [Laughter] You asked me did my assignment change when I returned from the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, and the answer is not immediately. I continued as consultant to the director of research and, among other things, analyzed the future potential of many technologies. One of the more interesting programs was a magnetic bubble technology. Our analysis showed that this could not compete with semiconductor devices and magnetic recording disks unless we adopted rather novel approaches. So we worked on something called a bubble-lattice file and another novel thing called contiguous disks. We pursued these novel approaches and also more traditional approaches in several laboratories in the United States. And I was responsible for all of these projects.

Hochheiser:

Did you have contact with groups elsewhere working on magnetic bubbles? I’m familiar with the Bell Labs portion of the story. [Laughter]

Pugh:

Yes. Absolutely. Andy Bobeck was the person who initiated the concept at Bell Labs. Top management at IBM learned about it and felt that anything AT&T was working on had to be good. But the first analysis I did suggested, as I said before, that magnetic bubbles were not likely to be winners unless some truly novel approaches were taken. Ultimately, the more conventional magnetic bubble designs worked very well but, as I had predicted, they could not keep up with the progress in semiconductor and magnetic disk technologies. Our novel and truly amazing approaches, like the bubble-lattice file, worked surprisingly well in the laboratory but we would have had to invest enormous resources to make it ready for mass production. And the rate of advance in semiconductor integrated circuits made this type of expenditure unrealistic. That’s really what happened, and it is what I had predicted from the beginning. But IBM could not afford not to be working on a technology that had a chance, even if only a small chance, of replacing semiconductor technology for information storage in computer systems.

Hochheiser:

And then where did you move from magnetic bubbles?

Pugh:

From magnetic bubbles, I’m not exactly sure exactly of the timing, but one of the things I had always been interested in at IBM was the process of the management of research and development. Soon after I joined IBM, the company began working on new technologies and computer designs that led to the announcement of the IBM System/360 line of computers in April 1964. When I transferred from Research to a development laboratory in Poughkeepsie in 1962, my group was developing new memory technology for the new line of computers. Everything was very high pressure. We put in a lot of overtime and plans and schedules were continually changed. From my rather lowly position in the hierarchy, I thought they did not know what they were doing. I later came to understand how difficult managing technology development is, especially if things are changing rapidly.

In any event, I was very interested in this whole subject and discussed this with Ralph Gomory, who was my manager and IBM Vice President for Research. Incidentally, Ralph ultimately served as director of IBM Research longer than anyone else. He and I agreed that I could spend part of my time documenting the history of a major technical project and use it as a case study for discussing the management of advanced development projects. The book I wrote had over 200 pages and its title was “The IBM Magnetic Film Memory Development Effort.” I completed it in 1981 and distributed many copies, but I decided not to publish it commercially because of its narrow scope. I did use it as the basis for talks and study sessions at IBM and Yale University, and it led to my decision to write a book of wider interest. Its title is “Memories That Shaped an Industry” and it was published by The MIT Press in 1984, and became the first book in the MIT series on the History of Computing. Before I had finished that project, the Corporation decided to create an IBM Technical History Project to document the history of its company-wide developments.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Pugh:

That project was established, under Charlie Bashe, a longtime engineer at IBM who had recently worked many years on the antitrust case, providing information for the lawyers. They had already started a book when I joined the project in 1982. After I finished “Memories That Shaped an Industry,” I wrote some—quite a number, actually, of the chapters for the book that became known as “IBM’s Early Computers.” It was published by The MIT Press in 1986.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Pugh:

When Charlie Bashe retired in 1985, I became manager of the Project and we wrote “IBM’s 360 and Early 370 Systems,” which was published by The MIT Press in 1991. My co-authors were Lyle Johnson and Jack Palmer. When they retired, I agreed to stay on to write a book about IBM’s corporate-wide research from its beginnings to the current time. But already IBM was feeling the effects of the widespread business slowdown, and I began adjusting my plans for an unknown future on a project that could hardly be regarded as top priority. Increasingly I shifted the book’s emphasis to have wider appeal, and I prepared for different endings to the book that could be quickly accomplished if my project was abruptly terminated. In 1993 IBM was dramatically reducing its work force and I was given an opportunity. Either I could stay on in the Research Division more or less as long as I wanted and work on something else. Or, if I wanted to complete the book, that would be fine. I could keep my office. I could communicate with any IBM people I wanted. The company didn’t even want to read the book. It would be all mine. To do this, all I had to do was retire. So I retired. [Laughter]

Hochheiser:

And of course, it’s through those books that I first came to know you.

Pugh:

Yes. Exactly.

Hochheiser:

[Laughter]

Pugh:

We did talk by phone.

Hochheiser:

Yes.

Pugh:

More than once over many years. I believe I even got information from you after I retired, but kept my office, to help me complete the book I published with the MIT Press in 1995 under the title, “Building IBM, Shaping an Industry and Its Technology.”

Hochheiser:

And I—

Pugh:

Details I cannot recall, but we did talk many times.

Hochheiser:

[Interposing] Well, what I recall is I spent a year during that time at the Charles Babbage Institute in 87-88 just before I joined AT&T.

Pugh:

[Interposing] Yes. I would’ve been working on “IBM’s 360 and Early 370 Systems.”

IEEE Division Director and Board Issues

Hochheiser:

What led you to become active in IEEE in any way, shape, or form again? You kind of dropped your activity after your Magnetics Society activity in the 1970s.

Pugh:

That’s an interesting question. I was essentially uninvolved with IEEE.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Pugh:

And I got a call from a member of the Magnetics Society. He was a person I didn’t know that well, and I don’t recall his name. He told me that Division 4 needed a director and the Magnetics Society would like me to be a candidate. So I asked him what the director of an IEEE division did. He seemed to know a little bit but not enough to satisfy my needs. As you realize I had had essentially no involvement with IEEE corporate activities to this stage.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Pugh:

I asked some other people, and learned enough to decide that could be rather interesting. So I became a candidate and was elected director of Division 4.

Hochheiser:

Now, do you recall whether this was a contested election, and if you did anything in the way of campaigning?

Pugh:

As I recall it, I did absolutely nothing to campaign. I believe it was a contested election with another candidate, from one of the other societies in that division.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Pugh:

I don’t recall ever meeting the other candidate, and we certainly never debated.

Hochheiser:

And so now finally you start going to board meetings.

Pugh:

[Interposing] Yes.

Hochheiser:

—and getting involved in national activities.

Pugh:

[Interposing] Yes, I did. So that was a whole new thing. [Laughter] That was a whole new thing. Going to board meetings and so on.

Hochheiser:

What did you find the board or other national activities like when you got there in ’83?

Pugh:

Well, the board meetings [Laughter] were long and tedious. And as is my custom, I didn’t say a great deal unless there was some specific reason for talking. And I guess people thought that was good.

Hochheiser:

[Laughter]

Pugh:

And by the way Dick Gowen was president in ’84.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Pugh:

So that’s when I got to know Dick Gowen. And we did well together. Early on we didn’t have much direct interaction. He was the president. I was this new director of Division 4 and there were a lot of directors on the board of directors. I attended the meetings, and after a while various people urged me to run for other offices, and when I thought it made sense, I did.

Hochheiser:

Do you recall any particular issues that the board faced in this period?

Pugh:

Well, this was the centennial year.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Pugh:

Emphasis on the celebration tended to use much of the board’s time. One of the lasting benefits of that event has been greater emphasis on history activities in IEEE. In 1980, in part to prepare for the centennial celebration, the IEEE History Center was established with a paid director to support the work of the volunteer history committee. The value of this was quite evident even though the Center had a very small staff.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Pugh:

By the time I became President in 1989, the decision had been made to increase the activities of the History Center to include research as well as preservation and promulgation. Bill Aspray, who was a well respected young historian, was hired to head up the Center, and in the next year we moved the Center to Rutgers, so that it could benefit from the academic environment. All that occurred in and about when I was president. But you asked me about what happened in 1984, and the answer is many things, but the increased emphasis on history seems most important to me. Mostly that year, I just tried to understand the various issues and to vote my conscience, as the saying goes.

Hochheiser:

[Laughter]

Executive VP and VP of Technical Activities

Pugh:

After that, things sort of unfolded. I was elected executive vice president of IEEE in 1986. The primary purpose of the office was to provide a replacement for the president if the president was for any reason unable to carry out his duties. Otherwise, it was never very important, and once IEEE went to the pattern of having a three-year term for the president, namely president-elect, president, and past president, there was even less for the executive vice president to do unless he was given some special assignment by the president.

Hochheiser:

[Interposing] Right.

Pugh:

I believe Dick Gowen was the first person to serve as president-elect. But the position of executive vice president lasted long after that. When I served as president in 1989, for example, Carl Bayless served as president-elect and George Abbott served as executive vice president. But it really wasn’t that much of an office –

Hochheiser:

[Laughter]

Pugh:

—as I recall [Laughter] but –

Hochheiser:

Something like being vice president of the United States?

Pugh:

Yes, yes.

Hochheiser:

[Laughter]

Pugh:

At least that[’s] important. [Laughter]

Hochheiser:

That is unless the president suddenly disappears –

Pugh:

[Interposing] Right

Hochheiser:

– there’s not much for you to do.

Pugh:

Right. So after serving adequately well in that position, I was elected vice president for technical activities. I felt good about this because I believed, and still believe, that advancing technology and making it available for people throughout the world is the most important activity of IEEE – and the technical societies play the key role. The board, you know, TAB, is huge. So I spent considerable time preparing for each meeting. I believe in the democratic process and tried to make sure that issues were well defined and understood and that everyone who wanted to speak on an issue had a chance to do so. I believe this was appreciated. People also appreciated that I generally got all business done during the time allotted. Key issues trended to be variations of old issues relating to sharing revenues of publications among the societies and holding down the amount of society-earned money used to support broader corporate purposes. I do not recall any one really key issue during that year.

IEEE President

Hochheiser:

What led you to think that being president of IEEE was something you might want to do?

Pugh:

Well, a number of people urged me to run. Bruno Weinschel was probably the most influential. Of special concern was the challenge of a dissident member, Irwin Feerst, who represented himself as the spokesman for “working engineers” in contrast to the “fat cats” who held high volunteer offices in IEEE. Feerst wanted IEEE to put more emphasis on improving salaries and working conditions for U.S. engineers and less emphasis on international involvement and promoting the development of new technologies. He had come very close to winning an election for IEEE president in 1986.

Hochheiser:

Yes.

Pugh:

Bruno thought I’d be a strong candidate. I was less sure of that, but I did not like what Feerst was promoting and even less the way he was doing it, so I was eager to do whatever I could to help and to keep IEEE moving in the directions I approved of. To help ensure my victory, IEEE put up no other candidate. Also there were no petition candidates, and perhaps for these reasons, Feerst chose not to run.

Hochheiser:

Did you do much in the way of campaigning?

Pugh:

Despite the lack of opposition, I did go to several campaign events to meet with local leaders, state my positions, and get their views. I particularly recall going to one event and not wearing a necktie. Eric Herz was appalled. In no uncertain terms, he said, “You ought to have a necktie here.” And I told him that I thought I would be better off without a necktie when running for president of IEEE.

Hochheiser:

[Laughter] Were there particular things that during your election and when you were president you wanted to accomplish?

Pugh:

Absolutely.

Hochheiser:

And what were those?

Pugh:

I would say the number one objective for me was to extend the reach of IEEE worldwide even more than it was, and to speed up the rate at which it was becoming a truly transnational organization. Those were my broad goals, and I view them as being accomplished primarily through good technical conferences and publications. The fact that our publications and conferences use the English language is a major factor in our success. Having good relations with technical societies in each country is also important and I signed many agreements of cooperation with local technical societies during my term.

Now, one of the things that happened, and I suspect this has happened to many people coming in as president, is that I was faced by an unanticipated problem that took much of my time. In my case, many of the volunteers had become dissatisfied with the staff support. There were some worthy issues, but the truth is that volunteers often expect a great deal more than is realistic, and if you don’t watch out they’re likely to become upset with the current structure and seek major changes when smaller changes would be better. Indeed in my case, there was a lot of pressure on me to replace Eric Herz. Now I considered him to be one of the finest executive directors we have ever had, and I still believe that. So I took a firm stand and said we would not get rid of Eric Herz while I was president, and I got the IEEE Board to agree to us hiring management consultants to come in and look over the IEEE management structure to see if there were changes that we should make.

Fortuitously, such a study was timely because of the expansion of the Service Center in Piscataway, the planned move of many staff functions to Piscataway, and the ever growing worldwide activities of IEEE. So we hired Cresap, a New York City consulting firm, to review current procedures in all operations of IEEE, and at my request, Henry Bachman agreed to be the volunteer responsible for that effort.

Hochheiser:

And did that lead to changes?

Pugh:

Yes, it led to some changes. By midyear, based on the Cresap study, the IEEE Board had created a list of actions to be taken within the next 18 months. Among these was reducing the number of direct reports to the General Manager by creating three senior-level manager positions that reported to the General Manager. A major thing the study pointed out, which we already knew, was that Eric Herz was a hands-on manager. He was very knowledgeable about all aspects of the management of IEEE, which caused many people reporting to him to be less independent than they should be. In the new structure, the three managers reporting to Eric were expected to exert more independent leadership, and we urged Eric to support this. So that was the outcome, and I think it was basically good and the right action to have taken. I was grateful to Henry Bachman for carrying much of the volunteer load for this activity—but it still took a lot of my time.

Code of Ethics

Another unexpected activity began as soon as I became president-elect and lasted until the end of my year as past president. Its genesis lay in the actions of Irwin Feerst, a dissident member of IEEE. In addition to attacking IEEE policies and activities in his newsletter, he also attacked some volunteer leaders personally. He even wrote damaging letters to employers of some IEEE volunteers. This was brought before the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, and what the committee found was that we had nothing in our bylaws that specifically forbid this type of behavior. So the IEEE Board rather quickly inserted a fifth article in the code of ethics, which addressed the behavior of IEEE members to each other and to members of the staff, and it forbid behavior of the type that the dissident member had engaged in. That article was passed in November 1987, the year before I became president-elect, and—

Hochheiser:

Before you were president-elect?

Pugh:

Yes. Almost immediately Irwin Feerst complained that this change in the bylaws had been passed too quickly and that IEEE members had not had an opportunity to review it. So my predecessor, who was Russ Drew, set up a committee to look into this to see whether the process IEEE used had been appropriate, and whether there were some issues we should deal with. I was on the committee and Ed Bertnolli was the chairman. After careful study, we concluded that IEEE had followed its rules and the actions had been appropriate. However, our committee did suggest that it would be good, the next time the code of ethics was revised, to bring proposed changes before the total membership for comment before seeking IEEE Board approval.

Now, Sheldon, one of the things that hit me when I was put on this committee was that I had never read the IEEE Code of Ethics, and most other people hadn’t either because it wasn’t very prominently displayed, and it wasn’t attractively written. I had a great desire to rewrite it in more lofty language, to make it shorter, and to word it so as to be appropriate for people throughout the world. So even before this committee was disbanded, I had studied the code of ethics, to see what was essential, and I had written a new code of ethics, which had exactly ten commandments. Or what did I call them? Not commandments, there’s a better word for them. Anyway—

Hochheiser:

Sections? Provisions?

Pugh:

No, there’s a better word.

Hochheiser:

Articles?

Pugh:

No, canons. There were ten canons.

Pugh:

The code I wrote had a preamble that began with the words, “We the members of the IEEE.” I believe that beginning to a code of ethics is still unique among technical and professional societies, but I must confess that I based in on the beginning of a well-known document, namely the Constitution of the United States of America. I think it’s a grand opening phrase because it says that this code is not handed down from on high, but rather it is we, the members of the IEEE, who have created and agree – or perhaps merely aspire – to obey this code of ethics.

[End of Tape 1, beginning of Tape 2]

Hochheiser:

Can you continue the saga of the IEEE code of ethics?

Pugh:

All right. So let’s see. I think we’ve gotten to the stage where I had written a first draft, and I showed that to a number of people, and they all said they liked it. Then I made some modifications based on what people suggested, and I circulated it to more people, including the ethics committee of USAB. Again the comments were mostly very positive.

Hochheiser:

Yes.

Pugh:

Ed Bertnolli was much involved in that, and he served as vice president of professional activities during the year I was president. Toward the end of my year as president-elect, I advised Ed Bertnolli that as soon as I became president I would put him in charge of a blue ribbon committee to revise the code of ethics. Obviously he understood that this draft I was working on was going to be the basis for whatever we did. And so I did appoint the committee within days after becoming president. And the first column that I wrote as president for The Institute was titled, “Must We Give Up Ethics to Eat?” It was based on a paper that somebody much earlier had written about the fact he’d given up his ethics because he couldn’t get government contracts for his small business without bribing government officials. So I put this article in The Institute, and the proposed code of ethics was small enough to fit nicely within my article, and on another page there was the current code of ethics. I asked members to comment on the proposed code of ethics. As usual the number of comments was rather small, but we did get comments, and they were mostly favorable. Then everywhere I traveled as president, I sought the views of members on the proposed code of ethics.

Initially, I had been quite concerned about our provision against bribery. I was particularly concerned because I wanted the code to apply worldwide, and I knew that in many countries you couldn’t earn a living as an engineer unless you engaged in bribery. And at that time there was a lot of feeling among IEEE members that the code of ethics should be enforced. Not only should we enforce it against our own members, but we should somehow help finance members who got into difficulty outside of IEEE because they had obeyed our code of ethics. I felt all such enforcement concepts were unrealistic, but it was a strongly held view of many, and so I was concerned that members in countries where there was a lot of bribery would say you just can’t have that provision because we can’t survive with it. That’s when I learned something truly important from our members outside the United States. I particularly recall talking with a fellow in Budapest, a highly placed IEEE volunteer, who said “in our country bribery is a terrible problem, but a code of ethics is not what you do, it’s what you aspire to do.” He felt it was important that the code of ethics speak strongly against bribery. He said this more eloquently than anybody else, but his message was repeated by many others.

The new code of ethics was finally passed the year that I was past president. Interestingly, we had opposition. People who had been very heavily involved in the previous code of ethics were concerned because so much detail had been lost, and they still wanted a code that could be enforced. They lobbied against the new code, but it passed easily through the board of directors at their last meeting in 1990. On January 1, 1991, it became the official IEEE Code of Ethics.

This Code of Ethics remained unchanged for 15 years, when one small change was made. The word, “engineering,” was deleted in the first canon in which we had admonished members to take responsibility for “engineering decisions,” whereas the new version simply refers to “decisions.” With the greater breadth of interests and professions of IEEE members today, it was felt that the word “engineering” put too much constraint on the type of decisions the code of ethics should cover. We had discussed this issue 15 years earlier, and concluded that members would object to a canon that appeared to cover any type of decision a member might make. I believe we made the correct choice then and that the new decision better fits the IEEE of today.

Hochheiser:

Have you said everything that you wished to say about ethics?

Pugh:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

Okay. Then let's move on.

Transnational IEEE

You had mentioned a few minutes ago that one of the things that you hoped to accomplish as president was to increase the transnational character of IEEE. To what extent were you able to do things in that direction?

Pugh:

I definitely moved things forward. I signed agreements of cooperation between IEEE and national societies and did many other positive things. Indeed, in October 1988, when I was IEEE president elect, I joined with then-president Russell Drew in the official signing ceremony of the agreement between IEEE and the Popov Society to renew technical exchanges that had been terminated in 1980 by IEEE because of failure of the Russians to engage in significant technical discussions. Then in September 1989, as IEEE president, I had the pleasure of leading a delegation of eight IEEE scientists and engineers in the first of these exchanges. With the help of Yuri Gulyaev, president of the Popov Society, we were the first U.S. group ever to visit the city of Friazino, about 25 km outside Moscow. This city had been created secretly by the Soviet Union near the end of World War II for the purpose of developing advanced technologies.

With these and many other activities, I helped advance IEEE’s role internationally. But realistically the movement toward a more transnational society was well under way when I became president. It had its own momentum, and continues to have that momentum, largely driven by our excellent conferences and publications. In my judgment, my major contribution was in creating a code of ethics, which is tailored to an international community. It is short and easy to read and, unlike the previous code, it has been broadly distributed and widely read. It helps create a unified sense of purpose to which people of all nationalities can relate.

Predecessor and Successor

Hochheiser:

How closely did you work with Russ Drew, your predecessor?

Pugh:

I served on the committee he established to review the procedure used to put article five into the code of ethics. And I joined with him in several important events, such as the signing of the agreement with the Popov Society that I just discussed. But after I became president, we had little interaction. I believe this is because his interest in IEEE declined very rapidly after his term as president. He even dropped his IEEE membership some years ago.

Hochheiser:

I noticed, that sometimes presidents work closely with adjacent presidents, and sometimes they don’t. [Laughter] So it’s just something to ask.

Pugh:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

And so did you work more closely with Carlton Bayless, your successor?

Pugh:

Yes, Carl and I talked frequently, and we cooperated and worked together. He was one of the people I put on the committee to help create the new code of ethics for IEEE.

Hochheiser:

What can you tell me about Bayless? Because since he is deceased I can’t sit and do what I’m doing with you and ask him himself. [Laughter]

Pugh:

Oh, I don’t feel today prepared to give you any deep insight on him other than to say he was a wonderful person. He was easy to get along with, always very positive, he liked people, and he loved to talk.

Presidential Travel

Hochheiser:

Did you travel a lot as president of IEEE?

Pugh:

I traveled a fair amount. Since I was still employed by IBM, I probably limited my travel more than some people who were retired when they served as president of IEEE, but I certainly made a number of trips abroad to visit various IEEE sections and to attend IEEE meetings.

Hochheiser:

Any particularly notable trips that stick out in your memory?

Pugh:

My trip during April to attend the annual Region 10 meeting in Bali, Indonesia, followed by visits to IEEE sections in Jakarta, Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia was one of the most pleasant and productive. Politically, the most interesting trip was as head of the IEEE delegation that reestablished technical exchanges between the IEEE and the Popov Society in the Soviet Union, which I have already discussed. The most memorable trip was to India and Pakistan near the end of the year. It was a significant trip for building IEEE’s position in India and Pakistan and was very tightly scheduled. It began in Bombay and took me to many locations (including student chapters) inside India all the way south to Trivandrum for a technical conference and then back north to Delhi, and then on to Pakistan, where we attended various events in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi. The most memorable event had nothing to do with IEEE or technology. The airline lost my wife’s suitcase, so when we arrived in India, she had only the clothes she wore on the plane. She made a number of trips to the airport before she was finally able to get the suitcase, just one day before we flew out of Bombay to Hyderabad. Like I said, it had little to do with IEEE per se, but it was significant. [Laughter]

Hochheiser:

And memorable.

Pugh:

Yes, and memorable.

Hochheiser:

How were the finances of IEEE when you were—?

Pugh:

Finances are always an issue. But I don’t recall any really major problems when I was president.

Staff, Work and Piscataway

Hochheiser:

How supportive was IBM of the time required for your IEEE leadership?

Pugh:

I think they were quite supportive, and they might’ve been willing to be more supportive. But according to the records I kept, I put in 40 hours a week for IEEE and 40 hours a week for IBM.

Hochheiser:

That didn’t leave a whole lot of time for anything else.

Pugh:

It did not. It did not. [Laughter]

Hochheiser:

I know you were employed while you were president, and I know other people have commented, gee, the only reason I was able to do it was because I was retired. [Laughter]

Pugh:

Well, when I was president-elect I did relatively little for IEEE, because I was gearing up for the year when I would be doing more travel and would have more obligations. Obviously I did the things I needed to do, but I was quite cautious about the commitments I made.

Hochheiser:

How closely did you work with Eric Herz and other members of the staff while you were president?

Pugh:

I worked very closely with Eric Herz. He was a major help to me on the foreign travel. He knew what the various sections were doing and was familiar with leaders of the local technical societies. And on broader policy issues he was a tremendous help. He has an amazing memory for names and faces and events, and that’s one of my weaknesses, so he was a great help. I worked quite closely with him. I worked closely with a number of other staff members, and they were all fine people, but my activities with Eric so dominated things that it would be wrong to single out any other single person.

Hochheiser:

How frequently did you come to Piscataway?

Pugh:

The move to Piscataway occurred during my year as president.

Hochheiser:

Ah.

Pugh:

And was quite a process. Approximately 100 staff positions were moved from New York City to the expanded facilities in Piscataway. By the end of my year as president, 300 employees or 70 percent of the IEEE staff were working in New Jersey. So I really didn’t come to Piscataway to deal with normal IEEE business, which was still being handled primarily in New York City. I particularly recall coming to the New York City office, in the United Engineering Center, to talk to employees about the meaning of the move and the arrangements being made to assist employees and to assure them that things would be just fine in Piscataway. Somewhat later, I went to Piscataway to give the same sort of message in reverse. So it was very much a transition year.

Hochheiser:

But was the decision to move these folks to Piscataway made before you were a leader? Or was that something that you were involved in also?

Pugh:

The move was a long time in planning. I was aware of the plans, and approved of them, but I was not personally involved in the planning process. By the time I served as president-elect, the move was a foregone conclusion and the timing was set.

Managing IEEE and Board Meetings

Hochheiser:

One of the responsibilities of the president is chairman of the board of directors.

Pugh:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

How does one manage a board of directors at a board of directors meeting?

Pugh:

Very well, thank you.

Hochheiser:

[Laughter]

Pugh:

It was not ever a problem for me. In fact I rather enjoyed it. Running an IEEE Board meeting had much in common with running a technical activities board meeting. Both boards were very large. I did pay a lot of attention to the process, and that doesn’t mean that I was a stickler for Robert’s Rules of Order, but again, Eric Herz knew all those rules, so I had a good expert there. I made most decisions based on common sense and a desire to be fair to all participants, and making sure that all views were discussed. I also had a sense of timing and knew that we had to get the board meeting over with in a timely way. Meeting a schedule and getting the job done were built into me during many years at IBM. I had to live by the clock at IBM all the time – whether it was an IBM clock or not. [Laughter]

Hochheiser:

[Laughter]

Pugh:

And I ran a board meeting the same way.

Hochheiser:

How or to what extent can one manage an organization as big and complex as IEEE?

Pugh:

To do it well is difficult. An important thing is that there are always a lot of activities underway and, unless you make a change, they just keep moving forward. Very often that’s completely satisfactory; so you should concern yourself only about those activities in which some change is needed, either because they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do or because times have changed so that what used to be appropriate no longer is. But mostly things simply proceed forward if the organization is at all well run.

Hochheiser:

Yes.

Pugh:

In my judgment, this was the case when I became president. There were, obviously, some volunteer leaders who were more distressed than I with the way the staff was functioning. And indeed, there truly were management problems, so this became an area of special focus during the year I was president. But overall the organization was moving forward relatively satisfactorily.

Berlin Wall

Hochheiser:

Perhaps the most notable external event of 1989, as we’ve been reminded for the past week was the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Pugh:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

To what extent, if any, were you aware of the collapse of Eastern Europe and of communism having an effect on IEEE?

Pugh:

You may have to repeat your question because my mind began thinking about a different aspect to this. I was thinking about the fact that the year I spent as a visiting scientist at the IBM research laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland, was less than one year after the Berlin Wall had been built.

Hochheiser:

Ah.

Pugh:

After I had been in the Zurich laboratory for only a few days, the director called me into his office, and we had a nice discussion. Among other things, he said, “We have had an invitation for a scientist to visit the Institute for Magnetic Research in Jena, which is in East Germany.”

Hochheiser:

Yes.

Pugh:

The Zeiss company was originally centered there, but after the country was divided in two, you had Zeiss in East Germany and Zeiss in West Germany. In any event, there was quite a research laboratory in Jena and apparently they had extended an invitation to IBM Research in Zurich to send somebody. And the director said to me something I will always remember: “You’re an American, you might like to go.” Initially, I didn’t understand the inference, which was that not many people who weren’t Americans would be willing to go there. But I soon understood that when I tried to find someone to go with me. In the IBM research laboratory we had people from many countries. Quite a number were from Germany, and I wanted to find a person to join me who spoke German fluently. The first person I approached, said, “Oh no,” I can’t possibly go behind the Iron Curtain.” I finally found a German who gave it very careful thought and agreed to go with me. I still recall when we went through customs at the Berlin Airport, and the customs officer asked me, “East or West Berlin?” and I said, “East Berlin.” I remember how his eyebrows went up, and how he looked at me with surprise, and then pointed the way to go.

We stayed overnight in the German Academy of Sciences in East Berlin, and it was then that I found out why my friend had volunteered to come with me. He was a good technical person specializing in magnetic films, so it made good business sense, but his primary reason for going was that he had family in East Germany that he hadn’t seen for many years. He thought he would be safe if traveling with an American and that he might be able to arrange to see his family, which he did. So the first night we were there, staying in this poorly lighted and poorly repaired Academy of Sciences building, he said, “I didn’t mention this to you, but I’m going to go out.” He was going to meet some of his family and apologized that I’d be left alone.

That night, I went out alone and wandered the poorly lighted streets of East Berlin. There was almost nobody else on the streets. Then I came upon a group of three guys who were walking, and perhaps foolishly I caught up with them. I started talking in my best German, which was pretty bad, but we conversed. We were headed toward the Brandenburg Gate. One of them pointed to it and said he couldn’t go any further. “If I get any closer they will turn me into an IBM punched card.” After he said that, they left me. [Laughter]

Hochheiser:

[Laughter]

Pugh:

So they sort of disappeared into the darkness, and now I was left alone again on these lonely streets and decided to find my way back to the Academy as quickly as I could. [Laughter] I remembered the advice the U.S. embassy gave me by telephone. When I asked about going behind the Iron curtain to Jena, they said, “We recommend against it.” And when I asked, “Why do you recommend against it?” He said, “We have no representation there.” And I said, “you may not have representation there, but I assume that if there were problems there you would know about them.” His reply was, “Not necessarily.” Finally, I said, “I assume if there were major problems there you would know about it.” And he again replied, “Not necessarily.” [Laughter] So I decided to go nevertheless, but that dark lonely night on the streets of East Berlin, I began to wonder why.

Hochheiser:

[Laughter] And if I could now go back to my original question.

Pugh:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

Did the fall of the wall and the collapse of communism have any effects on IEEE and I guess particularly relations with the countries that had been behind the Iron Curtain.

Pugh:

The Berlin Wall did not come down until the end of my presidential year so that event had little effect on my presidency. However, the growing openness of the Soviet Union, called Glasnost, that was initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev several years before I became IEEE president was very important and led to growing involvement in IEEE by technical people in Eastern Europe.

Hochheiser:

[Interposing] Right.

Pugh:

It is during that time that I led the IEEE delegation to the Popov Society in Moscow and, as I discussed earlier in this interview, we experienced the first genuine technical exchange in many years. About a month before the Berlin wall came down, I attended the Region 8 meeting in Vienna, and there was a lot of discussion, speculation and excitement about the rapidly changing politics throughout Eastern Europe. In the long run these events facilitated IEEE’s growth as a transnational organization, and since this was my major goal when elected president, I was very pleased. Indeed my signing an agreement of cooperation with the Popov Society was an important step in IEEE’s growth as a transnational society. But this was only possible because of broader changes in international relations over which neither I nor IEEE could claim credit. However, we did respond rapidly to these opportunities, and for that we deserve credit.

Hochheiser:

Think of anything from your term as president that we haven’t talked about?

Pugh:

Not really. I think that we pretty much covered that.

Past President and IEEE Foundation

Hochheiser:

Okay. And to what extent did these activities continue in the year you were past president?

Pugh:

Because I was still employed by IBM, I greatly reduced the time I spend on IEEE activities when I was past president. But there were inevitably many follow-on activities. One of the most rewarding for me was serving as host of Yuri Gulyaev when he visited the IBM Research Center in February 1990. He was still president of the Popov Society, but he had become even more active in formulating the technological plans and policies of the central government of the USSR, and this made discussions with him very interesting.

Hochheiser:

Now after your year as past president you became president of the IEEE Foundation.

Pugh:

Yes. Although there were many years in between. Let’s see, I was past-president of IEEE in 1990 and did not become president of the Foundation until 2000. That’s ten years later! Well, I should correct that a bit. In fact I was president of the IEEE Foundation for the first time in 1989 when I was IEEE President. At that time, it was automatic that the IEEE President also served as president of the Foundation. And there was so little Foundation business to conduct that it was typically accomplished in a lunch-time meeting during the board series.

All that changed during the six years Henry Bachman served as president of the Foundation beginning in 1994. A number of us felt the Foundation should become a more active organization in terms of holding monies donated to IEEE Societies for scholarships and other educational purposes and also in fundraising for philanthropic projects originated and managed by the Foundation. Among the specific steps taken, a development office was created. I was deeply involved in these activities because I had been elected a director of the Foundation in 1996. I served as secretary for several years and was elected president of the Foundation beginning in 2000.

Hochheiser:

And what did that involve?

Pugh:

As I commented earlier, when I became president of IEEE, the things I planned to do had to be reduced in order to solve more pressing problems. Well that was even more so in the case of the Foundation. But in this case, my response resulted in major long-term changes in the operation of the IEEE Foundation.

The year before I became president, there was significant financial stress throughout IEEE and the IEEE Board took many actions to solve the problems. Among other things, the Board created what was called the Infrastructure Oversight Committee (IOC). The IOC was looking for all causes of overhead expenditures with the intent of reducing or terminating as many as possible.

They found that, although the IEEE didn’t give much money to the Foundation, all staff work done for the Foundation was paid by IEEE – and not even accounted for! These so called “contributed services” immediately became a major focus of the IOC, and early in my first year as Foundation president, the IOC demanded a proper accounting for these. This accounting was prepared by Foundation director, Wally Behnke, and sent to Ken Laker, who chaired the IOC. Very quickly the IOC responded with a demand that the Foundation phase in full payment of all staff costs over a three-year period.

At that stage I made a counterproposal. I said the relationship between IEEE and the Foundation was complex, and there should be a study of that relationship in its entirety before any one aspect was changed. I wrote this in a letter to IEEE President Bruce Eisenstein, who responded positively. Then he and I began to define the many issues and discuss how a study committee could be formed and managed. Among many important issues was whether the Foundation should continue as a separate 501(c)3 corporation or rejoin IEEE as part of its 501(c)3 corporation. By the end of Bruce’s term as IEEE president, we and our organizations had agreed to establish what we called the IEEE and IEEE Foundation Relationship Committee (FRC).

In January of the next year (2001), IEEE President Joel Snyder established the FRC with Bruce Eisenstein and me as co-chairs and with four other members: Henry Bachman and Jerrier Haddad (suggested by me) and Daniel Benigni and David Conner (suggested by Bruce). Fern Katronetsky provided staff support and Bob Dwyer provided legal advice. The next few months were used by me, Bachman, Behnke, and others to put together realistic business plans for the Foundation that showed clearly how monies flowed between IEEE and the IEEE Foundation.

The first and only face-to-face meeting of the FRC was held in April. Bruce requested that I chair the meeting, and so I did. All committee members and assigned staff attended. We had allocated the entire day for the meeting, and we needed it. By the time we were done, all of us on the committee recognized that IEEE had been getting more value from the Foundation than it cost, even under the then current circumstances. But what’s more, the Foundation had only recently created a development office with paid staff, and the plan was to increase the size of the staff. Of course this was going to cost more money, and a timeframe of two or three years to show whether or not this was successful was unrealistic. Timeframes to show success or failure in fundraising efforts are more typically 10 to 20 years. So we agreed to establish a long-term financial relationship between the two organizations in which IEEE would contribute money to the Foundation indefinitely rather than create some form of support that would be phased out in a few years.

The result was that the FRC recommended having a line item in the annual IEEE budget to provide money to the Foundation for its operation. Each year the Foundation would submit a request for funds for the next year. This money would be used to help support operations (including the very important development effort) and also help support philanthropic activities of the Foundation.

Very importantly, the FRC members concluded that raising money from other donors would be easier if the Foundation remained a separate 501(c)3 corporation rather than become part of IEEE itself. So this is why the IEEE Foundation is still today an independent corporation rather than being part of the IEEE.

With all of these decisions behind us, the Foundation submitted its first annual budget request under the new system, and interestingly enough, the first year that this new plan was in place the IEEE gave more money to the Foundation than ever before. [Laughter] And so that’s the end of that story.

Hochheiser:

Do you have more to add about your involvement with the Foundation?

Pugh:

Yes, because this was only the beginning of an even bigger story. Now that it was decided that the IEEE Foundation would remain a separate corporation indefinitely, we began to realize how much it was lacking. There were only informal verbal agreements that governed all relations between IEEE and the IEEE Foundation. The same was true concerning monies that had been donated by individuals to IEEE societies to fund scholarships and other philanthropic purposes and which the IEEE Foundation held, invested and managed for the societies. Wallace Behnke, a director of the IEEE Foundation, was a prime mover in recognizing and correcting this problem. With his help, during my term as president of the Foundation, we created legal contracts for all of these business activities and we created the Foundation’s first Policy and Procedures Manual and Operation Manual. Wally wrote the first draft of many of these documents and I edited and revised them. By the time my term of office had ended, we had transformed the IEEE Foundation into a truly independent and properly structured corporate function with documented agreements and rules and procedures consistent with the legal responsibilities it had so casually taken on in previous years.

History Committee

Hochheiser:

Interesting. I guess the last activity I wanted to ask you about was your service on the History Committee and as chair of the History Committee. Do you have anything you’d like to say about that?

Pugh:

You are right that I served on the History Committee, but even before that I served on the Friends Committee, which was later called the Trustees of the IEEE History Center. I became chair of the Friends Committee immediately after completing my term as IEEE Past President. This Committee had been relatively inactive, so I decided to make it more active in fundraising. IEEE had no development office at that time. So I recruited people to serve on the Friends Committee who were distinguished technical people, including a Nobel Prize winner, and some top corporate executives. We raised some money, but not nearly enough to justify my efforts and the efforts of others. We did create an endowment for the History Center and started a relatively successful campaign to raise money for the endowment from IEEE societies.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Pugh:

Some years later IEEE and the IEEE Foundation agreed to establish endowments for the History Center, and the endowment created by the Friends Committee was folded into the new IEEE Foundation endowment, which is called the History Fund. During recent negotiations between IEEE and the IEEE Foundation, IEEE terminated its History Center endowment. But the Foundation’s endowment for the History Center continues—and it is relatively secure against being terminated because it contains monies donated for this purpose not only by the IEEE Foundation, but also by many individuals, corporations, and IEEE technical societies. Creating the endowment for the History Center is one of the many things that give me a sense of accomplishment in my IEEE volunteer work. If I had not been there, it would not have happened.

Later, as chairman of the History Committee, I became involved in creating the Virtual Museum, which had been identified by top-level IEEE volunteers as the most important new initiative for the Foundation to fund. The Virtual Museum was created with startup money provided by the Foundation, the Life Members Committee and the Trustees of the History Center. It received excellent reviews, school teachers used it, and it was among the most heavily used IEEE web sites. But the IEEE Board was never willing to fund it and we never found a major donor to support it, so it died a natural death.

I resigned from the History Committee when I was elected president of the IEEE Foundation because I considered it to be a conflict of interest to serve on a committee whose travel and other activities were so heavily funded by the Foundation. I did this in part because I felt there had been some abuse of such relationships, and I wanted to set an example. After serving five years as Foundation president and one more year as past-president, I was pleased to be elected again as a member of the History Committee.

My years back on the History Committee have been active times for me. I served as treasurer for several years and also on the committee, with Moshe Kam and Dick Gowen, that established the IEEE Global History Network. After that I served as chair of an IEEE-wide committee charged with seeking ways to enhance the Milestone Program. The primary recommendation was to create a new program to supplement the Milestone Program. That new program is now underway. It is called STARS, an acronym for Significant Technological Achievement Recognition Selections. It will post on the Global History Network peer-reviewed articles on the history of major developments in IEEE’s fields of interest. It is scheduled to go online officially in January 2010.

IEEE Changes

Hochheiser:

And summing up, what ways, if any, do you think has IEEE evolved or changed in your many years of involvement?

Pugh:

Well, it’s certainly gotten bigger – more technical societies, more conferences, more publications and more members, especially outside the United States. I joined IEEE soon after the 1964 merger of the AIEE and the IRE that created IEEE. At that time there were 150,000 members, of which 7% were outside the United States. Now there are 380,000 members of which 45% reside outside the United States. So the transnational nature of IEEE has definitely increased in quantitative ways. In my observation it is also more transnational in qualitative ways, but these are harder to define or measure.

Hochheiser:

My cards are now all face down. Is there anything that I neglected to ask you or cover that you would like to add?

Pugh:

That I wish I could’ve told you?

Hochheiser:

Yes.

Pugh:

No.

Hochheiser:

I mean, sometimes I don’t know the right questions to ask.

Pugh:

Well, I think we’ve done a good job of it. This is probably a good place to leave it.

Hochheiser:

Well, I thank you very much for your time.