2014 Thomas Edison Award winners

Acknowledging excellence

By Antoinette Price

The Thomas A. Edison Award was created in 2010 in honour of the renowned US electrical engineer by the same name. It recognizes exceptional achievement, within the past five years, dedicated service and significant contributions to the IEC through the effective management of committees by currently active TC/SC officers (Chairman, Secretary or Assistant Secretary of a Technical Committee or Subcommittee) and officers of the IEC Conformity Assessment Systems and their subsidiary bodies.


The SMB (Standardization Management Board) and CAB (Conformity Assessment Board) grant the awards. This year there are three SMB nominations and one CAB.

Elaina M. Finger – resource expert

Elaina Finger has been Assistant Secretary of IEC SC 86C: Fibre optic systems and active devices, since 2002 and Assistant Secretary of IEC TC 86: Fibre optics, since 2003. As such, Finger diligently ensures the smooth progress, editing and translation of TC and SC documents behind the scenes.

By developing and maintaining a collaborative relationship with project leaders of the TC and SC, the Central Office editing staff, and French National Committee staff, Finger also achieves the highest quality result of this work. Known and widely praised by all for her efforts to ensure quick, accurate and clear outcomes, she proactively works with project leaders, convenors, and experts to resolve comments in an effective manner and has become the go-to resource across TC 86 and other Secretaries and TCs.

Finger is reputed for her knowledge of the IEC rules and processes and a resource expert in the use of collaboration tools, including participation in their original pilot. She leads a number of Webinars and training activities organized with her National Committee including: effective expert participation, using IEC collaboration tools, accessing the IEC website to name a few. She is also the US National Committee Chair of the communications, training and education committee.

She has previously won the 1906 Award for her contributions towards facilitating the transformation of the vocabulary activities for TC 86 and the Central Office. Recently, she served as a member of the SMB ad hoc Group 39 on stakeholder influence, as an active participant and contributor to the work.

Elaina Finger receives the Thomas A. Edison Award for her support of IEC standardization work, actions in collaboration, knowledge sharing, training, teaching and proactive work across many fronts.

Jim Munro – distinguished leader

Jim Munro has won the Award for his involvement in the work of IEC TC 31: Equipment for explosive atmospheres. He began working with TC 31 in the 1980s, and in 2000 was appointed Chair. Highly respected by all Member countries for his outstanding leadership in this position, Munro always demonstrates a measured approach to the development of International Standards, collaborating and working through issues for resolution of conflicts.

He has worked tirelessly behind the scenes on many developments and been instrumental in the smooth running of a very large work programme involving hundreds of individual experts.
 Some notable contributions include:

  • Successful establishment of ISO/IEC development of Standards (through SC 31M: Non-electrical equipment and protective systems for explosive atmospheres)
  • Input into the development of new break flash test equipment to eliminate unresolvable variances in testing using previous apparatus
  • Successful rationalization of International Standards for both explosive gas atmospheres and explosive dust atmospheres where common requirements existed

Munro has always advocated the development and use of International Standards, presenting the activities of his committees at numerous national and international forums. He writes a regular column on standards and is a frequent contributor to international publications, highlighting latest news on standards development for hazardous areas.

He has an active role in the IECEx Certification System, in particular the IECEx Equipment Certification Scheme begun in 1999, and now the leading global Scheme for certification of equipment in explosive atmospheres.

Munro also coordinates with other major organizations to endorse the work of IEC TC 31 worldwide. In 2010 IECEx together with the International Standards produced by IEC TC 31 were formally recognized by the UN via UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) as the world’s best practice model for verifying conformity in explosive areas.  

Guy Perrot – successful manager

Guy Perrot has been Secretary of IEC TC 86/SC 86A: Fibres and cables, since 1998 and IEC TC 46/SC 46F: R.F. and microwave passive components, since 1999. He receives his Award for successfully managing numerous standards projects for both committees. He has made important contributions to the restructuring of the IEC 60793 and IEC 60794 series of Standards for optical fibre cables. He has also helped develop IEC 61169, IEC 61580, IEC 61156, IEC 60603-7 and IEC 61076-3 series of IEC TC 46 and its Subcommittees, which deal with topics including connectors for electric equipment, measurements for waveguides and certain quad cables for digital communications.

Perrot also convenes a number of working groups:

  • IEC/TC 86/WG1 for terminology since 2001
  • IEC/TC 46/SC 46A/WG 2, which became IEC/TC 46 WG (Working Group) 9, metallic cable assemblies for ICT in 2007
  • IEC/TC 46/JWG 1: Raw materials and environmental issues, linked to SC 86A since 2011

A recognized standardization expert not only in the IEC but also in CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) and AFNOR (French Association of Standardization) Perrot holds various officer’s positions in a number of different working groups in these organizations.

Wolfgang Niedziella – testing laboratory expert

Wolfgang Niedziella has almost 20 years of experience in conformity testing and certification, particularly regarding questions of practice related to the test specifications and test methods detailed in the International Standards accepted for use in the IECEE (IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components).

The CAB awarded Wolfgang Niedziella for his achievements over the past five years as Chair of the IECEE CTL (Committee of Testing Laboratories). During this time he has streamlined processes to provide testing laboratories with quick and valuable technical responses to their questions and issues.

Following on from this, he has established closer relations between the CTL/ETF (Expert Task Forces) and WGs and some IEC TCs and SCs, using knowledge synergies and giving input to improve IEC International Standards. Niedziella has also set up several new ETFs and WGs to cover new products and technologies within the CTL.

The PTP (Proficiency Testing Programmes) Scheme gives a picture of the quality of testing performed by the IECEE Certification Body Testing Laboratories. Under his Convenership, the Scheme has been improved to give the testing laboratories more support through mini audits, which use a questionnaire to guarantee reproducibility of test results.

Niedziella is also a published author of the book "Wie funktioniert Normung?" (How does standardization work?) (2000, 2007, VDE Verlag Berlin).

Elaina M. Finger Elaina M. Finger – resource expert
Jim Munro. IEC TC 31 Jim Munro – distinguished leader
Guy Perrot receives Thomas Edison Award Guy Perrot – successful manager
Wolfgang Niedziella, IECEE Chairman Wolfgang Niedziella – testing laboratory expert