The pursuit of excellence

Top honours bestowed on IEC experts

By Claire Marchand

The IEC extends its warmest congratulations to two IEC experts, Derek Johns of New Zealand and Vimal Mahendru of India. They recently received top honours from their respective countries.

Vimal Mahendru. IEC Ambassador, LVDC and rural electrification sector
Major Singh (right), Chairman of the Central Electricity Authority, Ministry of Power, Government of India, presenting the citation to Vimal Mahendru

Derek Johns

Queen Elizabeth II appoints Derek Johns to the Order of New Zealand

Derek Johns was on the New Year’s Honours List and became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for his services to electrical safety standards.

Since 1984, Johns has been actively involved in standardization activities relating to the electrical appliance industry. As such he has held a myriad of positions at both the regional and international levels.

Long-standing involvement in IEC work

His involvement in IEC standards development activities was mainly with IEC Technical Committee (TC) 61: Safety of household and similar electrical appliances, and its Subcommittees (SCs).

For the first 10 years, he was chief delegate for New Zealand on IEC TC 61 and in 1994 he became its Chair, a position he relinquished in 2015.

In 1986, he was appointed Secretary of IEC SC 61H: Safety of electrically-operated farm appliances, a position he still occupies today.

Johns has been chief delegate for New Zealand on IEC SC 61C: Household appliances for refrigeration, since 1990, and on IEC CIS/F: Interference relating to household appliances tools, lighting equipment and similar apparatus, from 2000 to 2015.

He has also participated and still participates in a number of IEC TC 61 and CISPR working groups (WGs).

IEC Awards

In 2007 Johns received the IEC Lord Kelvin Award, the Commission’s highest tribute for exceptional long-term achievements. In 2012, he received the IEC Thomas A Edison Award for exceptional current achievements.

At the regional level, Johns has been a member and has chaired several joint Australia/New Zealand standards committees.

About the New Zealand Order of Merit

The New Zealand Order of Merit is an order of chivalry in the country’s honours system. It was established in 1996 by Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand, to replace the British state honours that were still being used to pay tribute to New Zealanders at that time. The New Zealand Order of Merit recognizes outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity.

The order is currently awarded in five grades:

  • Knight or Dame Grand Companion (GNZM)
  • Knight or Dame Companion (KNZM or DNZM)
  • Companion (CNZM)
  • Officer (ONZM)
  • Member (MNZM)

Vimal Mahendru

On 29 January 2016, Vimal Mahendru received a special citation from the Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), an autonomous society under the Ministry of Power of the Indian Government, for his 28-year contribution to the Indian electrical industry.

Strong IEC involvement

In 2014, nominated by the Indian Government, Mahendru was elected to the IEC Standardization Management Board (SMB), the first Indian ever to hold such a position.

Mahendru is also Convenor of Systems Evaluation Group (SEG) 4: Low voltage direct current (LVDC) applications, distribution and safety for use in developed and developing economies. As such he played a key role in the organization of the “LVDC – redefining electricity” conference, held in New Delhi on 26-27 October 2015 and co-hosted by IEC and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

High-level role in India

Mahendru is Counsellor and Past President of the Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers' Association (IEEMA). In this capacity, he assists the Indian Government in the development of the Electrical Industry Mission Plan 2022.

Mahendru has also been part of several official high-level trade delegations, and in 2010 he was invited to the United Nations’ special conference on energy, where he spoke of India’s energy reality.

Since 2010, Mahendru has been President of the Legrand Group in India.

About CPRI

The Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) is the power house of the Indian electrical industry. Set up in 1960 by the Government of India, it functions as a centre for applied research in electrical power engineering assisting the electrical industry in product development and quality assurance. CPRI also serves as an independent authority for testing and certification of power equipment. CPRI's governing body includes eminent professionals from industries and utilities, prestigious academic and research institutions & the government. It employs over 300 highly qualified and experienced engineers & scientists besides other supporting staff.

With its state-of-the art infrastructure and expertise, CPRI has made significant contributions to the power sector in the country for improved planning, operation and control of power systems. Besides in-house R&D, CPRI also undertakes sponsored research projects from manufacturers and other agencies in different areas of specialization.

 Derek Johns. Officer, New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) Derek Johns (left) - here with IEC Vice President and SMB Chair Jim Matthews - at the Oslo General Meeting when he received the Edison Award
ONZM medal Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit medal
Vimal Mahendru. IEC Ambassador, LVDC and rural electrification sector Major Singh (right), Chairman of the Central Electricity Authority, Ministry of Power, Government of India, presenting the citation to Vimal Mahendru
Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) Citation The CPRI citation