Section History

Electrical Engineering developed along two separate but related paths for most of the 20th Century. The AIEE (American Institute of Electrical Engineers) engineers were in wired communications, electrical lighting and central power generation, transmission and distribution, while the IRE (Institute of Radio Engineers) engineers were in wireless telegraphy and radio broadcasting. After World War 2, new technology of radar, computers, television solid state electronics and space exploration were electronic and became a part of IRE. IRE grew from 18,000 to 96,000 from 1947 to 1962 while AIEE grew from 26,500 to 57,000 members. The leadership of AIEE appointed a task force headed by W. A. Lewis who was also a member of IRE to explore a merger with the IRE. Alfred N. Goldsmith, one of the founders of IRE, and A. E. Kennelly, a past president of both societies favored merger. Despite the on again – off again tempo of merger, the idea made sense since neither society represented all electrical engineers, and a duplication of staff, publications, activities and expense for members and their companies was wasteful.

In 1956, John D. Ryder and Morris Hooven, presidents of IRE and AIEE met at the Engineers Club in New York and worked out a plan for dual membership with a single dues payment. After further implementations for merger were completed, a vote for merger was approved by 87 percent in each society. On January 1st, 1963, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) became official. The new society was dedicated to both dissemination of technical information and also non-technical issues such as portable pensions. Donald J. Fink, a fellow of both the AIEE and IRE became the first general manager of the new society.
According to Charlie Rowe who was Cincinnati Section Historian in 1960, a technical society (later recognized by AIEE) began December 17th, 1902 with 15 members. R. T. Lazier was the first chairman and L. E. Bogen the secretary. No records were found for the IRE chapter. When the Cincinnati Section of IEEE started, it had approximately 600 members and a treasury of over $ 5,700.00 coming from the two parent groups. The Executive Committee was composed of Alexander Bereskin, Chairman, John M. Morgan, Vice Chairman, Edward W. Dacey, Secretary, and John R. Gruber as Treasurer. The two past chairman of IRE (Ed Emmerling) and AIEE (Carl Evert) served as coordinators to the new merged society. Alex Bereskin remembered that a few from each parent society regretted the merger fearing their society’s interest would be swallowed up in the merger. John Gruber who became Chairman in 1965, felt that the merger had become agreeable to most because representatives of both parent societies served as section officers and committee chairman. In April, 1973, Arthur T. Kupferle, Chairman, reflected that the Cincinnati Section had just completed 10 years and had succeeded in merging into a strong technical society.

Richard H. Engelmann, Chairman in 1967, remembered that the attendance in 1967-68 was a approximately 30 and that an IEEE-ISA conference was held discussing automation and control. Dick felt that the technology was spreading out so fast that it was difficult to find topics that would be of interest to a wide spectrum of the membership.

Richard J. Reiman, Chairman 1969-70 (year began in July of 1969), outlined a program which would focused to different interest each meeting, with telephone and communications represented by a speaker from Bell laboratory, followed by presentations on Beckjord Generating Station Unit #6 controls plus a inspection trip. Automotive and industrial interests featured NEMA motor standards. In 1970, a program on machine tool controls was aimed at electrical machine tool engineers. An inspection trip followed of Avco plant and their latest electronic systems. Also in April, IEEE and ISA CO-sponsored a Spring Technical Conference on “Computers, State of the Art” at the Cincinnati Gardens. The two societies split the profits which were substantial for many years following. Both an Audio and Power and Industry Group held three of their own technical meetings and the Vehicular Group coordinated with a group from Dayton, Ohio. A Technical Study Group met to explore “Industrial Power Systems”, an event which also provided funds to the section. A section meeting was held at U.C. to attend presentation of a student’s’ “Prize Paper” and an inspection of the U. C. Labs. The December program on “Adventures in Sound” included spouses. The June Mint Julep (recipe by Sheldon Storrer) also featured barber shop harmony presentation and golf at the Hartwell Recreation Center. Why so many meetings, with good attendance and spirited leadership? Young engineers attended because their bosses did, and companies encouraged professional participation in technical societies. The members benefited from the assimilation of the information and also in the association with others in similar electrical disciplines.

Jack C. Reed who was Program Chairman of the year just described remembered that the section was quite active. Getting speakers for the June outing was easy because of the good attendance, and the audience was receptive after drinking a mint julep. Jack remembers having Bengal’s AFC rookie of the year, Paul Robinson and linebacker Bill Bergey as outing speakers. When Bill White was Chairman, he got Judge Ray Shannon to speak, and the juleps plus his x-rated jokes had guys rolling the aisles. A few other recollections by Dick Reiman include the elegant December gathering at the Lookout House, followed by one at the Beverly Hills Country Club. Both burned down after our meeting there. The Study Group idea was begun by Don Michael and George Tashjian, both loyal members of the IEEE. Don was awarded fellow honor for his role in the IEEE Dictionary and Red Book on power systems, plus his service to the national committee. We were fortunate to meet at the Herman Schneider building on 1349 East McMillan near Woodburn for many years. Remember the elegant grandfather clock and distinguished library?

The following are taken from the “Chairman’s Corner” featured in the Cincinnati Section Newsletter and these reflect the time they were written:– September: 1971: Jack Reed wrote “that it is time for a change”. Both the weather, the quickness of pace of technology and the need for IEEE to change with this condensing of time. He lamented that the electrical engineer does not have complete control over the changing events and has often left others to speak for him on what is happening.

John Gruber who was Chairman in 1965-66 believed the prize paper competition between senior University of Cincinnati students was a valuable event for the section. It involved both students, faculty and the section’s members and gave the students a chance to practice their communication skills. It continued for many years until the students heavy work load discouraged their taking time for the contest. John also recalled a section meeting in the fall of 1965 when a paper was presented by Dr. Mayo of Bell Laboratories covering their communications research .

On September 28th to October 2nd, 1980, the Annual Meeting of the Industry Applications Society with 1000 participants was held in Cincinnati with the Cincinnati Section acting as joint sponsor and furnishing General Chairman, Bill Wachs, Vice Chairman, Frank Grooms, Secretary, Jack Erhart and Finance Chairman, Al Scheide plus 5 other committee members.

In the April 1981 newsletter, a report on the Technical Luncheons indicated that they had been successful. The format was informal and attendees encouraged to participate, plus the luncheons were held at different geographical locations.

Bob Raible discussed IEEE Student activities in the October 1971 newsletter. The Cincinnati Section had provided financial support to the Student Branch for purchase of equipment for a electronics laboratory, and for a digital computer laboratory with Apple 11 computers. Both of these were heavily used by the students. During these years, financial income from joint sponsorship of the Spring Technical Conference with Instrument Society of America provided money like $ 9,500.00. In 1981, $2,000.00 was given to Engineering Society of Cincinnati (who operated the Herman Schneider headquarters}. This enabled the section to be generous to the student branch at U. C. And to ESC. The technical study groups also had provided additional funds over the years.

A review of the study group subjects from 1958 to 1972 shows the subjects covered were Industrial Power Distribution (1958), Industrial Controls (1959), Motors (1960), Industrial Electronics (1961), Solid State Devices (1962), Data Processing in Industry (1963), Industrial Power Distribution (1964), Principals of Semi-conductors and their application (1965), Industrial Controls & Automation (1966), Industrial Power System Protection & Coordination (1967), Reduction of Electrical Noise (1968), Voltage Design & Protective Considerations for Industrial Power Systems & Equipment (1969), Industrial Electrical Power System Analysis (1972), Microcomputer Applications (1973), Electric Power Distribution for Industrial and Commercial Power Systems (1977), Wire, Spaced-Conductor & Cable Seminar (1978), Introduction to Solid State Power Electronics (1980) and Artificial Intelligence (1988). The variation in subjects reflected the changes in the electrical technology during this time period plus the needs of the members to keep up with the new.

The Cincinnati Section of IEEE has had its share of distinguished engineers. In the December 1966 news letter, listed are the IEEE Fellows A. B. Bereskin, George Bruck, E. M. Jones, J. F. Jordon, A. K. Knoblaugh, D. W. Martin, A. H. Powell and R. J. Rockwell. February 1972 reported that Dr. Daniel W. Martin was awarded “Scientist of the Year” by the Technical and Scientific Council (TSSC) during Engineering Week in February, Professor Alexander Bereskin the “Distinguished Engineer” by TSSC in 1976, John Frederick Dreyer ‘Distinguished Scientist’ by TSSC in 1978, William H. Middendorf, Distinguished Engineer. Also noted in 1978, Herbert W. Fuller, “Distinguished Engineer” in 1980, William L. Wachs, “Professional Accomplishment in Industry” in 1981, Donald T. Michael elected as a Fellow in 1983 and also Alfred W. Scheide, elected to Fellow Grade by IEEE in 1986 and Robert W. Haas the TSSC “Professional Accomplishment” award in 1987. In 1988, Edward Emmerling received the Fellow Grade, in 1997, Mark S. Reineck was honored as the “Young Engineer” by ESC, In 1986, the Technical Societies Council recognized Alfred Scheide for “Professional Accomplishments” and in 1990 as the “Distinguished Engineer”. Recipients of the IEEE Third Millennium Medal” for “extensive service and contributions to IEEE” included Jack Beckmeyer, Randy Holt, Bill Lohner, Orest Melnyk, Bob Morrison, Dick Reiman and Ron Harbaugh.

The March 1976 newsletter noted the death of John M. Morgan who had served as Chairman in 1964. He was remembered for his enthusiasm, dedication, professionalism and leadership. Also remembered for his untimely death was William Meinders who died July 17th, 1971. Bill sought excellence in whatever he did and was never satisfied with “rules of thumb” but wanted to know “why”.

The social event of the IEEE year from 1969 to 1999 was the outing in June which featured mint juleps and a steak dinner, followed by golf and both door prizes and golf prizes. Many also had light entertainment such as barbershop singing or a talk by a local sport professional. These were held at the Hartwell Recreation Center from 1969 to 1979, and at the Pleasant Run golf course in Fairfield until 1999. Dinner prices started at $ 7.00 in 1970 and had risen to $ 20.00 in 1999. It was usually the most attended event of the year.

Over the years from 1968 until 2001, the “IEEE Cincinnati Section Newsletter” had just 12 editors. William J. Lohner was editor in 1968, 1969, 1976 to 1978, 1980 to 1981, 1986 to 1992. Arthur H. Badger was editor in 1970, William P. Cooper was editor in 1971, 1972 and 1976. Donald E. Farris Jr. was editor in 1973 and 1974 and Thomas K. Ashcraft in 1979. From 1982 to 1986, meeting notices were posted in the Engineering Society newsletter. The last and present editor is Bob Morrison who has held the editor job from 1992 until present (2001).

A way of tracking the history and the change in technology over the period 1963-2001 is to list the programs over this period. A sampling of the programs have been selected based on information available and the program’s title abbreviated as follows:

Also worthy of recognition are the programs and activities of local chapters of societies including Engineering in Medicine & Biology (EMB), Power Engineering and Industrial Application, Power and Industry and Vehicular Technology. Some of these were combined to share programs of common interest. A selection of the programs follows to give sense of the program content:

One outstanding meeting with two speakers was held in 1975 for the Cincinnati Amateur Radio Association: Planning, Construction and Operation of “Oscar 7” Satellite by John Erhart and Communications Technology Satellite by John Quitter of NASA’s Lewis Center. The discussion covered the a satellite soon to be orbited by NASA to be used for two-way color television to remote areas for emergency and educational purposes. Ninety five people attended the meeting.

A variation on meetings was to meet at noon during the week with a panel and a host to discuss topics of interest to the members, On Feb. 17th, 1981: What’s New about the National Electrical Code, April 14th: Parallel Operation of Utility and Industrial Generating Systems and September 15th, Quality Power Supplies for Computers. These proved to be popular and the meeting were held at different geographical locations.

Of interest are the special events and activities in December to celebrate the Christmas season. Some of these are as follows:

The history of the Cincinnati Section of IEEE has changed over the years as technology and the technical specialties have varied. A survey of the members in 2001 revealed that 248 members were Computer Engineers, (didn’t exist in 1963). This was followed by 92 in Communication Engineering, 80 in Power , 75 in Industry Application, 44 in Control Systems and 35 in Signal Processing. Other specialties that didn’t exist in 1963 included Microwave Theory and Technique with 23, Lasers and Electro-Optics with 15, Robotics and Automation with 14, Solid State Circuits with 7, Nuclear and Plasma Science with 6, Aerospace and Electronic Systems with 5, and Oceanic Engineering with 1. The demands of the workplace put additional stress and absorb both time and energy of the engineer. Competition with television, home computers and variety of hobbies make the job of Program Coordinator most difficult. The history of the Cincinnati Section of IEEE just reviewed showed that the section has striven for good technical programs of current interest as Bob Raible urged in 1978, and has enriched the members skills through presentations of current technology as Tom Grau envisioned in 2001.

Dick Reiman: Historian: July 2001

Appendix of Principal Officers from 1963 to 2001:



Vice Chairman



1963-1964 Alexander B. Bereskin J. M. Morgan E. W. Dacey J. R. Gruber
1964-1965 John M. Morgan J. R. Gruber    
1965-1966 John R. Gruber R. N. Edwards R. H. Engelmann J. J. Hirn
1966-1967 Russell N. Edwards R. H. Engelmann R. J. Reiman  
1967-1968 Richard H. Engelmann R. J. Reiman    
1968-1969 Richard J. Reiman J. J. Erhart S. W. Nelson W. W. Wachs
1969-1970 Sidney W. Nelson J.C. Reed A. T. Kupferle W. J. Lohner
1971-1972 Jack C. Reed A. T. Kupferle W. J. Lohner E. W. Dacey
1972-1973 Arthur T. Kupferle W. J. Lohner D. R. Humbert P. J. Corcoran
1973-1974 William L. Wachs P. J. Corcoran F. H. Grooms W. P. Cooper
1974-1975 Patrick J. Corcoran F. H. Grooms W. P. Cooper D. R. Humbert
1975-1976 Franklin H. Grooms W. P. Cooper E. W. Dacey R. H. Raible
1976-1977 William P. Cooper H. E. Johnson A. W. Scheide R. H. Raible
1977-1978 Harvey E. Johnson R. H.Raible J. P.Woodham P. Wagner
1978-1979 Robert H. Raible W. J. Lohner P. Garrett J. Woodham
1979-1980 William J. Lohner A. W. Scheide J. J. Keuper R. E. Robb

Note: Calendar year changed from July start to January start

1981 Alfred W. Scheide R. E. Robb J. F. Beckmeyer C. A. Schrive
1982 Robert E. Robb J.C. Procario R. T. Wehking J. J. Keuper
1983 John C. Procario O. M. Melnyk C. H. Osterbrock J. J. Hanck
1984 Orest M. Melnyk R. M. Stevens W. J. Lohner R. H. Raible
1985 Robert M. Stevens J. J. Hanck W. J. Lohner R. H. Raible
1986 John H. Hanck C. H. Osterbrock W. J. Lohner R. H. Raible
1987 Carl H. Osterbrock J. F. Beckmeyer H. R. Holt J. Warkany
1988 Jack F. Beckmeyer H. R. Holt R. D. Harbaugh O. M. Melnyk
1989 H. Randolph Holt R. H. Raible E. C. Wright O. M. Melnyk
1990 H. Randolph Holt E. C. Wright P. J. Corcoran O. M. Melnyk
1991 Eric C. Wright C. H. Osterbrock J. O. Everly O. M. Melnyk
1992 Eric C. Wright J. O. Everly K. Sullivan O. M. Melnyk
1993 James O. Everly W. J. Lohner S. M. Olenick O. M. Melnyk
1994 James O. Everly S. M. Olenyk M. S. Reineck O. M. Melnyk
1995 Stephen M. Olenick R. W. Haas M. S. Reineck O. M. Melnyk
1996 Stephen M. Olenick R. W. Haas M. S. Reineck O. M. Melnyk
1997 H. Randolph Holt R. W. Haas C. Anderson O. M. Melnyk
1998 H. Randolph Holt R. W. Haas C. Anderson O. M. Melnyk
1999 Ronald D. Harbaugh J. O. Everly L. B. Tappel O. M. Melnyk
2000 Ronald D. Harbaugh T. G. Grau L. B. Tappel O. M. Melnyk
2001 Thomas G. Grau L. B. Tappel A. Santoro O. M. Melnyk
2002 Thomas G. Grau L. B. Tappel A. Santoro O. M. Melnyk
2003 Fredric R. Nadeau J. O. Everly R. D. Harbaugh L. B. Tappel
2004 Fredric R. Nadeau J. O. Everly R. D. Harbaugh L. B. Tappel
2005 James O. Everly S. M. Olenick R. D. Harbaugh L. B. Tappel
2006 James O. Everly S. M. Olenick R. D. Harbaugh L. B. Tappel
2007 Brian J. Resnick R. C. Restle R. D. Harbaugh L. B. Tappel
2008 Brian J. Resnick R. C. Restle R. D. Harbaugh L. B. Tappel
2008 Charles G. Nash S. M. Olenick M. Nusair B. J. Resnick