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Although our profession is based on the application of technology, we must also apply effective non-technical skills to be successful. One of the most important non-technical skills is communication. This includes reading, writing, listening, one-on-one conversations, group and team discussions, presentations to peers, and formal project presentations to senior management, clients, and others. This talk will cover different aspects of written and oral communication and will present some guidelines to effectively convey one’s message.
Jim received a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 1958, completed post graduate engineering courses at Youngstown State University, and is a graduate of the Executive Management Program at the University of Michigan. He is a Registered Professional Engineer, an IEEE Life-Senior Member, and a Student Professional Development Program National Speaker.
Following a 36-year engineering and management career with Ohio Edison Company, Jim took advantage of an early retirement opportunity and established Watson Associates to provide programs to incorporate non-technical skill development within existing university engineering technical classes. Watson Associates has directed the use of this program for more than 26,000 students at 14 major engineering universities.
Jim’s IEEE volunteer work with students started in 1975 at Youngstown State University and the University of Akron. He became an IEEE National Speaker in 1982 and joined Larry Dwon on the Student Awareness Task Force to develop Student Professional Awareness Conferences (S-PACs).
Jim received numerous awards from IEEE in recognition for his volunteer activities including the USAB Citation of Honor, USAB Professional Achievement Award, IEEE Third Millennium Medal, RAB Innovational Award, IEEE-USA Citation of Honor, and Robert S. Walleigh Distinguished Contributions to Engineering Professionalism, the highest IEEE-USA award for volunteer activities.
In 2011, IEEE-USA established the “IEEE-USA Jim Watson Student Professional Awareness Award” to recognize key individuals for their contributions to Student Professional Awareness Achievement Activities in the United States. This award has been received by 9 outstanding volunteers to date.
Jim is co-author, with Dr. Charles Alexander, of “Engineering Skills for Career Success” published by McGraw-Hill. This textbook is designed to help engineering students develop and enhance non-technical skills. He has also published 24 articles on career development in Frontiers in Education, IEEE Antennas & Propagation, IEEE Potentials, IEEE Women in Engineering, HKN Bridge, and Wireless Systems Design.
Jim has delivered more than 2,200 presentations in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia to a total audience of over 110,000. This includes 75,000 students at 203 different universities who attended 476 IEEE Student conferences and workshops and 913 additional student meetings. Jim was a speaker in 5 conferences at Purdue since 1989.