Empowering the forum Organizing Committee
These are the volunteers who made the IEEE Presidents Forum 2019 a reality.
Hasala Dharmawardena is the treasurer of the Piedmont Section PES/IAS Chapter. He has performed the roles of YP Chair, SAC, Webmaster and PES Chapter Chair for IEEE in the last 12 years. Professionally, he is an Electric Power Engineer. He is currently a third year Phd student at the Clemson University.
Subodha has been involved in IEEE for more than 7 years starting as a student member. He played a major role in uplifting IEEE activities in Sri Lanka and he was recognised as the best student volunteer in Asia Pacific region in 2015. In addition to being one of the co-chairs of IEEE Presidents Forum, he is serving as the Vice Chair, Education & Awards of the 2019 IEEE Entrepreneurship Steering Committee. Subodha graduated from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka where he received his B.Sc specializing in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering. During his time in college, Subodha launched a startup focusing on the energy sector of Sri Lanka and is now serving as a member of the board. After 6 years of operation, his company – Alta Vision (Pvt) Ltd is contributing more than 5MW of power to the national grid through Solar PV systems. After his first venture got stable, he moved to Florida to read for his Ph.D in 2016 specializing in Embedded Systems. His research work and publications in premier international conferences as well as time spent as an Intern at Intel Corporation has given him substantial experience in the area.
Sharlene BrownLogistic Chair
Sharlene is a Professional member of the IEEE Jamaica Section where she serves as the current Membership Development Chair. In addition to serving as the Logistics Lead/Chair for the President's Forum 2019, she has served on the planning committee for annual social for Jamaica Section, Founding Member and Manager for the Explorers Cycle Clud and Director of Research for the Student Accounting Conference while reading for her Bachelor in Business Administration at the University of Technology, Jamaica. Later she has read for her Master's in Public Administration from Tsinghua University, Beijing China where she has developed a passion for Policy Development and Analysis. Sharlene currently works at the Maritime Authority of Jamaica as the Assistant Accountant, Budget and Management Accounts.
Chanaka has been involved in IEEE for over five years, starting as a student member. In addition to being one of the co-chairs of IEEE Presidents Forum, he is serving as the IEEE Sri Lanka Section Student Activities Committee (SAC) Chair and IEEE Young Professionals Sri Lanka Chair-Elect. Furthermore, he was the chair of IEEE Innovation Nation Sri Lanka 2018, which was in its first year of international expansion. Chanaka graduated from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka where he received his BSc Engineering Degree specializing in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He is currently working as a Instructor (Teaching Assistance) at the same university while working part-time as a Secretariat Team Member of Asia Pacific Advanced Network (APAN).
Motion Graphic Designer
Lakshan MadhushankaMotion Graphic Designer
Lakshan Madhushanka is volunteering with IEEE for more than two years and currently serving as a member of communications Subcommittee of IEEE SIGHT Steering Committee. In addition to being a member of the organizing committee of IEEE Presidents forum, he is volunteering with IEEE SLInspire 2019, IEEE YESIST12 projects as well. Lakshan is an Undergraduate of Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya & Currently working in Huawei Technologies for his internship
To brief about Hirishegan’s current volunteer activities, he volunteered as a treasurer of IEEE Computer Society of the IEEE student branch of Informatics Institute of Technology Sri Lanka and has actively participated for society activities as a volunteer for IEEE Xtreme, Finance mentor for Start-Up School Colombo and as a Co-chairperson for Code Sprint 3.0 startup battle which was awarded as the Best Student Branch Activity 2018 at the Sri Lanka Section IEEE SYW congress 2018. Also in 2019 he got selected into the IEEE Sri Lanka section Student Activity Committee as a social media coordinator and got appointed as the Treasurer for IEEE presidents forum 2019 organized by Region 03.
ManoRanjana De Silva
Tech Lead / Webmaster
ManoRanjana De SilvaTech Lead / Webmaster
ManoRanjana is a 3rd year undergraduate from NSBM Green University of Sri Lanka and currently following Computer Science for his bachelors degree. He has done more than 5 major projects to IEEE Sri Lanka Section and has many experiences with IEEE volunteering and other stuff over 2 years. Manoranjana also has started his own startup, Smart Valley a Smart venture for innovations in 2018 with few of his friends in his university. Currently, he is working as a R & D Software Engineer in Embla Software Innovation Pvt (Ltd) for his internship.
Empowering the forum Steering Committee
Founder of the IEEE Presidents Forum
Richard ToftnessFounder of the IEEE Presidents Forum
A professional manager and engineer with extensive international and industry experience. My background covers a wide variety of technologies that include semiconductor process development, semiconductor device development, semiconductor imagers, lasers, hardware design and physical electronics. Graduate and postgraduate study at the University of Minnesota, Colorado State University, Stanford Business School, Babcock College and the University of Northern Illinois. Besides R&D management, I have managed manufacturing, quality and financial organizations and been the CEO of an international startup. This breadth of management experience has provided a robust base of experience with the entire product cycle and an all-encompassing view of how organizations work. I am a recipient of a 2012 Academy Award (Oscar) for technical development of the Phantom High-Speed Camera and an “Emmy” in 2011; in addition to other awards for professional achievement. I thoroughly enjoy working with small organizations and am passionate about helping new businesses succeed. I have been an active member of IEEE for greater than 37 years, a member of SPIE, a founding member of ISHM, an advisor to the National Technical University, and a member of ETA KAPPA NU. I hold six patents personally, sit on two BoD, and own TASTERRA LLC a small consulting and design firm focused on high tech product development for specialized applications. I am the principle author on 7 publications, and I am an Angel investor in three companies. Recently, I have been recognized for one of my camera adaptations that have successfully been installed on the International Space Station, while another camera has been used by NASA in the world’s largest parachute test. In April 2018 I was awarded the “Outstanding Individual Achievement by Region 5 of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. I had the honour of being the Project Manager for the first IEEE Presidents Forum in 2018 and I am the Director of the Engineer in Residence Program at Colorado State University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department for the fourth year.
Director, IEEE Foundation
Nita PatelDirector, IEEE Foundation
Nita Patel, P.E., is the Senior Director, Engineering at L3 Warrior Sensor Systems. Nita was named the 2014 L3 Engineer of the Year and the 2011 New Hampshire Engineer of the Year award for her technical contributions to the engineering profession. Nita is a director of the IEEE Foundation Board focused on transforming lives through the power of technology and education. Nita was the founder and 2014-2018 chair of the IEEE WIE ILC and, in the past, served as Women in Engineering International Chair, 1st VP of Computer Society BoG, on the Eta Kappa Nu BoG and 2010-12 IEEE-USA VP of Communications & Public Awareness.
John D. McDonald
IEEE Life Fellow
John D. McDonaldIEEE Life Fellow
John D. McDonald, P.E., is Smart Grid Business Development Leader for GE Power’s Grid Solutions business. John has 45 years of experience in the electric utility transmission and distribution industry. John received his B.S.E.E. and M.S.E.E. (Power Engineering) degrees from Purdue University, and an M.B.A. (Finance) degree from the University of California-Berkeley. John is a Life Fellow of IEEE, and was awarded the IEEE Millennium Medal, the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) Excellence in Power Distribution Engineering Award, the IEEE PES Substations Committee Distinguished Service Award, and the IEEE PES Meritorious Service Award. John is Past President of the IEEE PES, the VP for Technical Activities for the US National Committee (USNC) of CIGRE, the Past Chair of the IEEE PES Substations Committee, and the IEEE Division VII Past Director. John was on the Board of Governors of the IEEE-SA (Standards Association). John was elected to Chair the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) Board from 2010-2014. Currently, John is on the NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee (SGAC) to provide updates on NIST Smart Grid activities and the intersections with Cyber-Physical Systems program activities, and to discuss development and stakeholder engagement for the NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 4.0. John received the 2009 Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineer Award from Purdue University. John teaches a Smart Grid course at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Smart Grid course for GE, and Smart Grid courses for various IEEE PES local chapters as an IEEE PES Distinguished Lecturer. John has published one hundred papers and articles, has co-authored five books and has one US patent.
Former IEEE Region 10 Student Representative
Pasan PethiyagodeFormer IEEE Region 10 Student Representative
Pasan Pethiyagode was the IEEE Region 10 Student Representative for the terms 2013/14 and 2017/18. And also he was the chairman of IEEE Young Professionals Sri Lanka for the term 2016/17. He is currently the project manager of CEYLEX Engineering (Pvt) Ltd. He was the Champion of Speech Olympiad 2010, the official Intra-university speech contest organized by Gavel Club of University of Moratuwa and a member of the team emerged as Sri Lankan Champions and represented the country in CIMA Globa Business Challenge - Malaysia 2010.