Founders of the EMC Society: The 1960s

In a previous edition of this magazine, we covered the contributions of some of the original members who helped create the EMC Society. In this article, we would like to introduce you to a few more founders important to the Society in its early years as the Professional Group on Radio Frequency Interference, part of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) organization. These gentlemen were dominant in the organization of the EMC Society in the 1960s.

Vince Mancino

Vince Mancino was an early signer of the petition to form the Professional Group on Radio Frequency Interference (PGRFI), and he remained active in the “group” during the 1960s.

He graduated from Rutgers with a BSEE in 1951 and joined RCA as an Engineering Trainee. In 1960, Vince transferred to Cornell-Dubilier Electronics in Massachusetts and became the Chief Engineer of their Filter Division. After several years, he returned to RCA and became involved with weather satellites. At that time, weather satellites only took pictures of cloud coverage during daylight hours.

Vince tells the following story:
“When directly overhead, the satellite transmitted the data directly to a ground station in the local area, but, when the satellite was beyond the horizon, it would record the data on a tape recorder and then transmit it to earth from the tape recorder with a more powerful data transmitter. RCA Astro-Electronics Division had built a weather satellite for the U. S. Air Force, and it was undergoing final simulation tests. This required the recording of weather data on the tape recorder and then playing it back to the transmitter, which would simulate transmission to an earth ground station. Well, each time the data transmitter was turned on, the tape recorder output was turned to unintelligible gibberish. RCA had a high-powered managerial team frantically trying to solve the problem because there were schedule constraints and they were not making any progress.

And then someone remembered that I had previous EMC expertise. With the help of a mechanical design engineer assigned to me at my insistence, we designed an add-on external box with compartments, which could be attached to the tape recorder. This was feasible because the tape recorder was located within a sealed housing. All wiring entering or exiting the tape recorder had to pass through this ‘add-on external box’. This permitted (and required) signal lines to be isolated from the command and control lines, and then both groups to be isolated from the power lines. It also required miniature radio frequency (RF) suppression feed-through capacitors to be mounted inside the box on the outside wall, away from the wall mating with the tape recorder. All tape recorder external wiring had to pass through the filtering devices inside this add-on box. This approach worked, and the successful test of the ‘RF-fix’ was both dramatic and emotional.

The rules and principles that I laid down on this weather satellite became standard operating procedures for many years on all RCA-built weather satellites, as well as other satellites.  I received, in February 1967, an RCA ‘Engineering Excellence Achievement Award’ for the satellite design ‘RF-fix’. ”

Vince attended the 50th Anniversary of the EMC Society celebration in Hawaii in 2007.

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Vince Mancino working at his electronic bench, using a Stoddart RFI receiver

Fred Nichols (1917 – 1990)

Mr. Nichols was the speaker at the Third Conference on Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) Reduction sponsored by the Armour Research Foundation in Chicago in 1957, where he suggested starting a National Professional Group on RFI. At the time Fred was the Vice-Chairman of the Radio Interference Technical Committee (this was an engineering group in the Los Angeles area that was meeting on an irregular basis to to discuss radio frequency interference). His talk inspired some East Coast RFI engineers to start a petition, which resulted in the formation of the Professional Group on RFI as part of the Institute of Radio Engineers.

Early in his career, Mr. Nichols was president of Genistron, Inc. and was instrumental in evaluating security standards that required the use of shielded rooms. He then left Genistron and started his own company, LectroMagnetic Incorporated (LMI). Mr. Nichols served the EMC Society in many roles and was President of the EMC Society in 1969. He was the “official” photographer for the EMC Society for over 20 years, and gave pictures away to anyone and everyone he captured on film at Symposiums and local IEEE Meetings. Fred worked on the B-1 bomber, as well as many other military programs involving EMC. Of course, we must mention that his daughter, Janet Nichols O’Neil, has been the Secretary of the EMCS Board of Directors for over 25 years. She is also the current editor of the EMCS Newsletter/Magazine, and is doing an outstanding job of continuing the EMC legacies of her father.

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Early force in EMC Society development, Fred Nichols

Rexford Daniels (1898 – 1997)

Rexford “Rex” Daniels was the Newsletter editor of Quasies and Peaks. This was a  newsletter that existed for radio frequency experts in the USA before the start of the PGRFI in 1957 (the predecessor to the EMC Society of the IEEE). He then became the editor of the PGRFI/EMCS Newsletter from 1958 to 1968. When Robert Goldblum took over for Rex as editor of the IEEE EMC Group Newsletter, he wrote the following on the cover page of the July 1968 issue:

Many of us who have delved into the discipline of EMI/EMC over the past thirteen years remember the first publication of a Newsletter devoted to electromagnetic interference. At that time, it was titled ‘Quasies and Peaks’ and was published and edited by a gentleman named Rex Daniels. Rex continued this publication as his personal contribution to the Society until after the formation of the PGRFI organization within the IRE. After Milton Kant edited the first issue of the IRE PGRFI Newsletter on January 2, 1958, Rex assumed the reins as Editor for the ensuing years. Now, at his own request, Rex has retired as Editor, but certainly not as an active participant and contributor in the EMC community. Because of his never tiring endeavors to bring us informative and timely Newsletters, he has been referred to as the Father of EMC by many persons. I would like to take this opportunity to applaud Rex for his unselfish sacrifices as Editor over the past thirteen years, and to wish him well in his continuing effort to advance man’s knowledge in the field of EMC.

Rex also served on the PGRFI Administrative Committee from 1960-1962 and from 1964-1966. He was elected Vice-Chairman of the Admin Committee in 1962. He was the first recipient of the Certificate of Appreciation (1962), the first recipient of the Certificate of Recognition (1968), and the first recipient of the Honorary Life Member of the EMC Society (1970). He was a Fellow of the IEEE and was internationally recognized for over thirty years of outstanding contributions to the technical aspects of EMC, instrumentation for EMC testing, and EMC effects.

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Honored founder, Rex Daniels

Donald R. J. White

Don White was the sixth President of the PGRFI, from 1963 to 1964. He was also the chairman of the Third National Symposium on EMC in 1961. A copy of the letter written by Dr. Ralph M. Showers (Chairman of the PGRFI in 1960-61) to Don was republished in the August 1961 IRE PGRFI Newsletter, as follows:

“On behalf of the officers and members of the PGRFI, I would like to express my thanks and sincere appreciation for the effort which you personally devoted to the conduct of the 3rd National Symposium on Radio Frequency Interference. Without question, this symposium was the best of the three that were held from the point of view of not only attendance but quality and general interest.

I would also like you to extend to the other members of your committee our appreciation for their contributions. The Symposium was certainly conducted with an unusual degree of smoothness for this type of affair. With best personal regards,”

Mr. White began his working career at the Naval Research Laboratory, followed by stints at ACF and AMF. In 1959, he accepted a position of Vice-President and Director of Research for Frederick Research Corporation. In 1961 he formed White Electromagnetics, Inc. and was the acting president. During the 1960s and 1970s, his firms were famous for teaching Don White Courses on EMC all over the world. He also developed and was Chief Editor of the EMC Encyclopedia, authored five books on EMC, wrote many articles for trade journals, and wrote and presented over 70 papers at symposiums and seminars.

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Donald White (right) conferring with Major-General James Dreyfus at the Third National Symposium on EMC

Harold E. Dinger (1905 – 1975)

Mr. Dinger’s first interest in radio was “sparked” by the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, when radio interference issues reduced the number of rescue ships and resulting survivors. His first direct activity in radio interference occurred during the early days of radio when electric utilities hired him to track down cases of interference and to prove the utilities were not the guilty party. In 1940, he joined the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, where he made substantial contributions in the fields of radio propagation, radio interference reduction, frequency management, and geomagnetics. He authored numerous reports and published papers in the above fields. Mr. Dinger was delegated by the Department of State to represent the United States at conferences of the International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR). He also represented the USA at Plenary Meetings of CISPR in 1947, 1950, and 1961. In 1947, Harold received the Meritorious Civilian Service Award from the Navy.

Harold was the Fourth Chairman of the PGRFI’s Administrative Committee in 1961-1962 and served on the Administrative Committee from 1958 – 1963. He also was the Awards Chairperson of the PGRFI Administrative Committee in 1960.

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Fourth Chair of PGRFI, Harold E. Dinger

Herman Garlan (1907 – 1997)

Herman Garlan was associated with the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from 1940 through the 1970s. He started as a Field Engineer at the Chicago office, where he was an expert on radio station inspections and enforcement matters. In 1945, he transferred to Washington, DC where he began working on regulatory matters with land mobile communications services, including frequency allocations and promulgation of technical standards. Herman transferred to the Office of Chief Engineer in 1953, and became Chief of the RF Devices Branch in 1954. For many years, he was responsible for Part 15 and Part 18 of the FCC Rules.

Mr. Garlan is remembered for his service to the EMC Society, included being Fifth Chair of the Administrative Committee of the PGRFI from 1962 to 1963. He was also a member of the Administrative Committee from 1961 to 1963 and 1968 to 1970, and served as its Treasurer in 1961. In addition, he served as Vice-Chair of the Second and Third National Symposiums of the PGRFI.

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Herman Garlan with participants at the Third National Symposium on PGRFI
Edward F. Mischler, National Engineering Service, Public Relations; Herman Garlan, FCC, Vice-Chairman; Fred Morris, Electro-Mechanics, Inc., Speaker; Joseph Berliner, NASA, Washington, D.C., Speaker; and Jack M. Carter, Jansky & Bailey, Inc., Hospitality

Zigmund Grobowski

Mr. Grobowski was the Seventh Chair of the PGRFI, 1964 to 1965. He actually took over for Mr. Donald White in early 1964, since Mr. White had to resign due to business pressures. Mr. Grobowski was on the Administrative Committee from 1961 to 1967 and was Secretary from 1961 to 1962.  He was also the Chair of Chapter Activities from 1960 to 1961 and assisted at several National Symposiums in an advisory position.

Mr. Grobowski was a consulting engineer and headed the firm of Grobowski and Associates in Washington, DC, after starting his career with Jansky and Bailey. He was a specialist in radio frequency interference of missiles and rockets, and was influential in the EMC design of the Atlas and Titan missiles and, later, the Manned Space Flight Program. Mr. Grobowski enjoyed spending professional design time on antennas and educational television systems.

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Seventh Chairman, Zigmund V. Grobowski

Aaron H. Sullivan, Jr. (1915 – 1985)

Aaron Sullivan, known as Sully, was a Life Fellow of the IEEE and a member since 1940. He was a Founding Member of the Washington Chapter of the EMC Society, served as secretary of the Chapter in 1961 and 1962, vice-chairman in 1962 and 1963, and chairman in 1962 and 1963. He also served on each of the Washington EMC Committees hosting the International EMC Symposia. Sully was Secretary in 1960 and 1961, and Chair of the Technical Program Committee in 1967. He started as Vice-Chair of the 1976 Symposium and ended up running the Symposium when the Chair had to take a temporary assignment outside of the country. Again, in 1983, he was the Chair of the Symposium in DC, which happened to be the Silver Anniversary of the EMC Society. He was on the EMC Society Board of Directors from 1964 to 1969 and from 1973 to 1975, was the eighth Chair of the Society, and served the longest term of any chairman, from 1 July 1965 to 31 December 1967 (30 months) due to a change in the Society’s year-end from 30 June to 31 December. He was also the first editor of the PGRFI Transactions from 1962 to 1968, and edited the four-volume Handbook on Radio Frequency Interference, published in 1962.

The EMC Society honored him with a Certificate of Appreciation in 1966, an Honorary Life Member of the EMCS Award in 1976, and a Certificate of Acknowledgement in 1983.

Sully received his electrical engineering degree from Cornell University and then became manager of the Washington Office of HRB-Singer, Inc. He was also a vice-president of Frederick Research Corporation in Wheaton, MD. During World War II, as an expert on the compatibility issues of various Allied radars and communication systems, he was in charge of radar and EMC planning for the Allied invasion at Normandy.

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Aaron Sullivan, aka Sully

Leonard Thomas, Sr. (1910 – 2007)

Mr. Thomas lived to be 97 years old and was instrumental to the success of the Society in the early years of its formation. His daughter called him the 1920s equivalent of a modern day nerd. He built radio sets as a youngster and discovered his vocation of electrical engineering in high school. After graduating from college, he got a job repairing Philco radios and installing radios in cars. He then joined a radio station, where he “manned the station” and changed the records. In 1939, he moved to Washington, DC and worked as an engineer at the CBS radio station WJSV. He was the engineer for radio appearances of a number of famous entertainers, including talk-show host Arthur Godfrey.  Mr. Thomas recalled that sometimes Mr. Godfrey would run late “and he would fly low coming in his car every morning, and if he was not on time, I would just play a record until he got there.”

He left WJSV in 1942 and joined the war effort by becoming a radio engineer with the Bureau of Ships, a component of the Department of Navy. There he specialized in transmitter and receiver interference problems. He was instrumental in reducing electronic interference in small boats and this was a key factor in the success of PT-boat landings in North Africa during World War II.

After the war, Leonard became the first US representative to the International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR), and in 1960 he joined the Electromagnetic Compatibility Analysis Center in Annapolis. He then became very active in the IEEE EMC Society, including being Secretary of the Society’s Board of Directors for many years. He received the Laurence G. Cumming Award from the Society for his service to the Board.

He was elected a Fellow of the IEEE for “leadership in electromagnetic compatibility and development of interference measurement  instrumentation  and standards”.
Mr. Thomas also contributed many technical papers to the field over the course of his career.

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Radio “personality” Leonard Thomas

Founders of the 60s

The Founders of the 60s helped move the EMC Society from its origin in 1957 to its position of prominence in the 1970s. They dedicated many hours of their lives to the EMC Society and set the foundation for further growth over many years to come. favicon

author_hoolian-dan Daniel D. Hoolihan
is the Founder and Principal of Hoolihan EMC Consulting. He is a Past-President of the EMC Society of the IEEE and is presently serving on the Board of Directors. He is presently an assessor for the NIST NVLAP EMC and Telecom Lab Accreditation program. Also, he is the Vice-Chair of the ANSI ASC C63® committee on EMC.



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