Humans of IEEE SIGHT: Kip Sikes

Kip Sikes is the founder of IEEE SIGHT Treasure Valley group, Boise Section, Idaho (Region 6) and also the Past Chair of IEEE Boise Section joint PES/IAS Chapter.

Since first establishing a local SIGHT group with engineering professionals, he has also been focusing on mentoring high-potential youth to engage in humanitarian work prior to their university experience, including mentoring a local FIRST robotics team.

Celia Shahnaz, the IEEE SIGHT 2017 Communications Chair, interviewed Mr. Sikes.

What inspired you to join IEEE SIGHT?

I retired from industry to work in humanitarian efforts. IEEE SIGHT was established shortly after, and I started a local SIGHT group to create opportunities for participation.

What motivated you to volunteer for IEEE SIGHT?

My professional background in power systems, planning, and renewable energy development were central to global needs in developing nations. Energy technologies have significantly changed economies and quality of life, prompting my desire to contribute.

How do you see yourself without IEEE SIGHT? If you were not ever have had joined IEEE SIGHT, how would your life have been?

I was engaged in these activities prior to formation of SIGHT, however IEEE provides access to additional resources. I have attended most of the GHTC conferences to share our work, and learn from others.

What has been your most lovable or memorable IEEE SIGHT moment which you can’t forget or are proud of?

Teaching a science class at a First Nation (North American Reservation) school, having a six-year-old student help carry supplies and when we set the equipment down he hugged my legs and thanked me for spending time with them.

What is one thing IEEE SIGHT should consider doing or is worthy enough to be considered?

As engineers, we often focus on technology and “things”. In reality, it is about relationships and creating community. If we can find a way to engage those who have benefited from IEEE SIGHT projects/efforts and tell their stories, it creates an environment of “giving ahead” instead of ” giving back”. Providing for the future is eminently more important than repaying the past.

Are there any suggestions or message you would like to give to IEEE SIGHT for introducing or bringing about anything within IEEE SIGHT, that you think can benefit more?

Think small. Change is incremental. Clean drinking water allows increased attendance at school, which improves health and education, which provides opportunities to address poverty and needs of “the least of these”.

What suggestions you will provide to encourage more YP members to be involved in SIGHT? What are the challenges and possible solutions?

Young Professionals have multiple priorities and commitments. To be able to demonstrate compassion for those in need, one must first find PASSION (comPASSION). Only when others’ needs are placed above our own will action result. Creating various opportunities to highlight these areas of PASSION will allow self-selection for YP to engage.

Are there any suggestions or message you would like to give to IEEE SIGHT to collaborate with more technical societies, like IEEE MTTS, IEEE RAS, IEEE PES, IEEE IAS, IEEE SSIT, IEEE EMBS and so on?

There are many activities, both NGO and societies, available fo rpeople to engage in humanitarian efforts. E4C is a solid alignment. Narrowing options so efforts can be focused and impactful is advised. Making SIGHT visible to IEEE societies and other organizations encourages participation/collaboration without requiring structured alignment and encourages individual participation/connection with multiple/any SIGHT group without requiring hierarchical structure. Everyone should be allowed/encouraged to “play”.