Recognizing exceptional achievements

2017 Thomas A. Edison Awards laureates

By Claire Marchand

Every year, the IEC pays tribute to people from its organization, for their distinguished work and commitment to improving the safety, compatibility and energy efficiency of electrical products and systems, with its Thomas Edison Award.

Thomas A Edison Award medal IEC Thomas A. Edison Award medal

The IEC Thomas A. Edison Award was established in the spirit of Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), one of the greatest inventors in history. Edison developed a system of electric power generation and distribution which was a major breakthrough in the modern industrialized world. He held more than 1 000 patents for, among others, improving the incandescent lamp or film projection and sound recording, which still have an impact on our daily lives today. “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” is one of Edison’s most famous quotes. 

Excellence and expertise across the board

This year, IEC recognized the outstanding work of seven experts – five nominated by the IEC Standardization Board (SMB) and two by the IEC Conformity Assessment Board (CAB). Between them, they covered fields as diverse as conformity assessment (IECEE  and IECEx), printed electronics, automatic electrical controls, fuel cells, fire hazard assessments in electrical and electronic products and power electronic systems and equipment. 

  • Joe Gryn, Chair of the IECEE PAC
  • Kyung-Tae Kang, Secretary TC 119
  • Joseph Musso, Secretary TC 72
  • Fumio Ueno, Chair TC 105
  • Uberto Vercellotti, Past Chair TC 89
  • Alexander Zalogin, Vice-Chair of the IECEx
  • Peter Zwanziger, Past Chair TC 22 

At the 81st IEC General Meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, Kang, Musso, Vercellotti and Zalogin were presented with the 2017 Thomas A. Edison Award. Gryn, Ueno and Zwanziger, who were not present in Vladivostok, will receive their Award at a later stage. 

Joe Gryn, Chair IECEE Peer Assessment Committee

Joe Gryn has been involved in IEC conformity assessment work in CAB, IECEE and IECEx for over 20 years, serving as Member, Chair, Vice-Chair or Convenor of a number of committees and working groups. Joe Gryn has been an active contributor both at the strategic and operational levels and has directly impacted the development and growth of the IEC Conformity Assessment (CA) Systems, in particular IECEE. He is a frequent speaker at international seminars and workshops, where he promotes the role of the IEC and CA Systems in international trade. 

Kyung-Tae Kang, Secretary TC 119

As Secretary of Technical Committee (TC) 119: Printed electronics, Kyung-Tae Kang has been instrumental in the establishment of five important International Standards and one Technical Report to help advance the usability, safety and performance of printed electronics. Although a relatively new technology, printed electronics has already proven a disruptive, yet creative process that allows the production of new low-cost electronic devices. It is transforming the electronics industry and many other domains. For many wearable devices, printed electronics provide much needed flexibility. The internet of things (IoT) is a good example of a cluster of technologies that is attracting widespread industrial interest and printed electronics represent a substantial enabling opportunity for a number of application areas. 

Joseph Musso, Secretary TC 72

An increasing number of connected appliances are controlled from a distance using ever smaller electronic controls. They open and shut blinds, windows and vents to control temperature. They also operate fans, dampers, valves and pumps so that water or air can flow in heating and cooling systems. Their operation is triggered by timers or sensors that react to light, temperature or humidity levels. A key requirement is that these controls operate when called for and do so securely without the danger of being hacked. 

Joseph Musso has fundamentally transformed the way in which TC 72: Automatic electrical controls, operates and delivers its important work. With his calm and professional demeanour he has facilitated communication with other technical committees, ensuring cooperation and balancing country participation and influence in standardization work. 

Fumio Ueno, Chair TC 105

As the Chair of TC 105: Fuel cell technologies, Fumio Ueno has led the standardization of fuel cells and related technologies and contributed significantly to their advancement. Fumio Ueno has successfully overseen the development of important Standards that facilitate fuel cell product commercialization and market penetration by closely interacting with the market as the technology evolved from the lab to the real world. One of his most remarkable achievements was the negotiation with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to allow methanol fuel inside passenger cabins. This resulted in a platform for micro fuel cells in commercial products. Fumio Ueno also served as the convenor of the first Systems Evaluation Group in the IEC dedicated to smart cities and is now the Chair of the recently founded Systems Committee on smart cities. 

Uberto Vercellotti, Past Chair TC 89

Fire safety is a concern in every geographical region. TC 89: Fire hazard testing, establishes global methods and guidance for assessing fire hazards in electrical and electronic products. The aim is to prevent ignition caused by electrically-energized components and confine fires within the bounds of the enclosure. Uberto Vercelloti served as Chair of TC 89 for 12 years. With his cooperative and consensus-oriented leadership style, he helped create widespread awareness and recognition for the safety topic of “fire hazard testing”. By restructuring the set-up of the TC, Uberto Vercellotti increased its efficiency, quality and speed of work. He also encouraged the participation of young talents and actively supported participation of new countries and emerging economies. 

Alexander Zalogin, Vice-Chair of IECEx

Vice-Chair and member of the IECEx Executive, Alexander Zalogin has gained the respect and support of the International Ex community worldwide for his supportive and active leadership role. He has extensively contributed to the significant growth of the IECEx System and its recognition by the United Nations through UNECE, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, as the world’s “best practice” model for testing and certification of all aspects of Ex equipment, components, assemblies, services and the competence of persons working in this area. His personal engagement also led to the introduction of a standardized approach to the certification of Ex assemblies, now subject of a new IEC International Standard developed by TC 31: Equipment for explosive atmospheres. This award also recognizes Alexander Zalogin’s overall long-term commitment and dedication to the IEC. 

Peter Zwanziger, Past Chair TC 22

International Standards developed by TC 22: Power electronic systems and equipment, are essential for the safety and proper functioning of electronic power convertor systems and equipment used in energy generation from solar, wind, tidal, wave, fuel cell and similar energy sources. Market size for power electronic converters is estimated at around USD 100 billion. During his tenure, Peter Zwanziger modernized the management structure of the TC and significantly improved collaboration between its subcommittees using modern communication and meeting tools. He continuously adapted the scope of TC 22 to satisfy new technology and energy efficiency needs. Zwanziger also improved the efficiency of collaboration with other TCs, encouraging open, fact-based discussions. He actively participated in the IEC Advisory Committee on Energy Efficiency (ACEE), contributing to an important guide on energy efficiency.

2017 Edison Award laureates SMB From left: Kyung-Tae Kang, Joseph Musso, Uberto Vercellotti and Ralph Sporer, IEC Vice-President and SMB Chair
2017 Edison Award laureate CAB From left: Frans Vreeswijk, IEC General Secretary & CEO, Ulrich Spindler, IEC Vice-President and CAB Chair, Alexander Zalogin, James M. Shannon, IEC President and Chris Agius, IECEx and IECQ Executive Secretary
Thomas A Edison Award medal IEC Thomas A. Edison Award medal