The demise of the Power Concepts, Inc. International Power Electronics Conference (1975-1984), better known by its registered service mark POWERCON, left the power electronics industry without a conference focused on the working engineer. There were other power electronics conferences, such as the more specialized IEEE Power Electronics Specialists Conference (PESC), but these were generally oriented more towards publishing of advanced research than solving the problems of the day.
The IEEE Power Electronics Council, the predecessor to the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS), acted to fill this void and created the Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition. Some of the key contributors to the origin of APEC were Dr. John Kassakian, Dr. William “Trey” Burns, Mr. Bill Hazen and Dr. R. David Middlebrook.
The first APEC was held in April of 1986, only about nine months after the concept was first proposed. APEC has been held every year since.
APEC was initially sponsored only by the IEEE Power Electronics Council and then the Power Electronics Society (PELS). In 1989, the IEEE Industry Applications Society (IAS) Annual Meeting was overwhelmed with paper submissions. Looking for a way for more IAS members to publish at a conference, the IAS approached PELS about co-sponsoring APEC. Both PELS and IAS thought this was a better idea than starting another power electronics conference. APEC ’90 was then sponsored by both the Power Electronics Society and the Industry Applications Society.
At APEC ’90, the fledgling Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) approached APEC. The PSMA had been sponsoring its own conference, the Power Electronics Conference (PEC) with modest success. The PSMA proposed that APEC and PEC merge. There were some complications but a deal was struck. The PSMA would drop the PEC and join with PELS and the IAS in sponsoring APEC.
As the PSMA was a non-IEEE organization, it was felt that a written sponsorship agreement was needed. Bob White volunteered and with guidance from Dr. Thomas G. Wilson, Sr., drafted the Sponsor’s Agreement on the Continuing Operation of the Applied Power Electronics Conference (the Sponsor’s Agreement or Operating Agreement). This agreement was completed in September, 1991. APEC has been sponsored by PELS, IAS and the PSMA ever since.
The conference has enjoyed a growing success throughout the years. An important part of the success has been the management support provided by Courtesy Associates. Courtesy is a professional conference and event management firm that has been hired to support APEC. Although the Steering Committee periodically solicits bids for providing these services, Courtesy has consistently provided excellent service at the lowest cost to the conference.
An important part of the APEC program is the Exposition. The Exposition is managed separately from the conference. A firm other than Courtesy managed the Exposition starting with APEC ’86 through APEC ’91. During this time, the Exposition had limited success and was not growing from year to year. For APEC ’92, the decision was made to give the Exposition Management to Courtesy Associates. For the first time, the APEC Exposition sold out. The Exposition has grown from about 30 exhibitors in 36 booths in 1991 to more than 165 exhibitors filling 260 booths today.
APEC is now considered to be the leading conference for practicing power electronics professionals. The APEC program addresses a broad range of topics in the use, design, manufacture and marketing of all kinds of power electronics equipment. The combination of high quality Professional Education Seminars, a full program of refereed papers and an overflowing Exhibit Hall consistently provides an invaluable education each year. The value of APEC to working power electronics professional is shown by the ever growing number of participants. If you are in the power electronics business, you should make APEC a regular part of your career development.