IEEE Conference Organizer Spotlight: Dustin W. Demetriou, IEEE ITherm

IEEE Conference Organizer, Dustin W. Demetriou has contributed to the IEEE Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems (IEEE ITherm) for over a decade. Sponsored by the IEEE Electronics Packaging Society (EPS), the event covers “scientific and engineering exploration of thermal, thermo-mechanical and emerging technology issues associated with electronic devices, packages, and systems.” Demetriou “became involved in IEEE ITherm around 2008 as a graduate student – at first as an author on submitted conference papers, and then as a session chair during the conference.”

Demetriou served as the first formal Treasurer for 2018 IEEE ITherm, which convened over 350 researchers, professionals, and students in San Diego, CA. The conference featured 182 technical papers in 50 sessions, keynotes, panels, tech talks, student poster sessions, professional development courses, competitions, and vendor exhibits/sponsor stations.

On accepting the 2018 Treasurer role, he recalls, “I chose to accept the appointment because I thought it would give me good insights into how the conference was run and become further engaged in the IEEE ITherm community.” Management was supportive of Demetriou’s role, which he adds was “seen within my company as a significant growth opportunity.”  

The leadership team implemented a number of strategies to ensure smooth and efficient planning of the conference. Demetriou says, “we decided to organize a weekly meeting to make sure the entire leadership team remained on top of all aspects of the conference….We also implemented a central repository for all members of the leadership team to have access to, share and collaborate on documents.” 

The 2018 event used IEEE MCE’s services for conference registration to leverage their expertise in this area. “The conference registration system was easy to set up and changes and modifications were implemented quickly,” says Demetriou. “This allowed us to offer the registration services to our attendees earlier then we had in the past. The registration system also allowed us to ask questions of our attendees. This data was invaluable for better understanding our attendees and better design[ing] programs and events that exceed their expectations.”

Demetriou cites “careful budgeting and sponsorship” as essential to helping the conference achieve key goals. He shares, “we were able to support nearly 70 students to attend the conference, present their research and network with industry participants. The conference was also able to improve and expand the activities available to the participants – including an Art-in-Science exhibition and new networking opportunities.”

A few smart practices and tools helped IEEE ITherm close their conference finances both quickly and efficiently. Demetriou shared, “By having the weekly meetings, all organizers understood the requirements for making purchases or engaging with vendors – including documentation needs. I utilized NetSuite in order to keep track of all payments and…required documentation. We implemented monthly financial reviews with the leadership team.”

Demetriou found his role as an IEEE ITherm Conference Organizer to be a rewarding experience stating, “The best part about being a Conference Organizer is the interaction with the IEEE ITherm community. Being a Conference Organizer provides attendees with a direct line to you. More times than not, through these engagements, you learn about the excellent work being done in the research community and insight into how we need to evolve the conference.”

In terms of words of wisdom for fellow conference organizers, Demetriou remarks, “Organization is key to reducing the time needed to close the conference….Ensuring the entire leadership team understands the role of the Treasurer and the procedures is essential for avoiding complexity and inefficiency at the end of the conference.”

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