In the early 1980s there were two major power electronics conferences regularly held in North America - the Power Electronics Specialists Conference (PESC), sponsored by the IEEE and Powercon, a conference organized by Power Concepts, Inc. Both conferences were successful and served different audiences. The papers presented at PESC mainly came from academia and tended to emphasize theory. The papers presented at Powercon were mainly from industry and had a more practical and applied emphasis.con.

Powercon 11 was held in Dallas in 1984 in Dallas, Texas. It was a very successful conference with a reported 1100 attendees - a huge number for that time. After that conference the president of Power Concepts, Inc., Ron Birdsall, decided to go in different directions and Powercon was discontinued despite its success.

The demise of the Powercon left the power electronics industry without a conference focused on the working engineer. In late 1985 the IEEE Power Electronics Council, the forerunner of the IEEE Power Electronics Society, created the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) to address the need previously filled by Powercon. The organizers moved quickly and the first APEC was held April 28 - May 1, 1986 at the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana.

In 1990 the IEEE Industry Applications Society (IAS) joined as an APEC sponsor. In 1991 the Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA), a nonprofit association, also joined as a sponsor. This combination of IEEE and a non-IEEE entity as sponsors was quite unusual at the time. However, this combination of sponsors has provided synergy that has propelled APEC to become a leading power electronics conference.

APEC is now considered to be a 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.

A Bit More...

The first organizers of APEC made some basic decisions that have led to APEC's success. At the time most IEEE conferences, like PESC, were organized by groups who mode proposals to the sponsoring society or societies. This means that conferences moved from location to location. The advantage is that each conference takes on a local flavor and is a unique experience. The disadvantage is that the conference experience can vary a lot from event to event depending on the experience and commitment of the local organizing committee.

The first organizers of APEC decided that they wanted the APEC experience to be consistent and high quality from year to year. To this end they hired a professional conference management company. This management company takes care of all of the conference details like managing meeting space, hotel space, registration, managing and publishing the papers, and catering. The conference committee, who are all volunteers, then take on a more supervisory role setting the basic direction and leaving the implementation to the professional event managers. This has worked well for APEC and is an important factor in the conference's success.

The organizer of the first APECs also settled on a conference program with three main elements: technical session with papers published in an archival conference proceedings, a tutorial program (now called the Professional Education Seminars), and an exposition with companies exhibiting power electronics related products and services. This format has also worked very well for APEC.

A constraint for the first APEC organizers was the calendar. The Power Electronics Specialists Conference (PESC) was generally held in June, after the end of the academic year in the northern hemisphere. The annual meeting of the Industry Applications Society (IAS) was generally held in October. To avoid a calendar conflict it was decided that APEC would be held in late winter or early spring. Even though PESC has become the IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE) and is held in the fall, APEC continues to be held in late February through late March each year.

Another decision made by the early organizers is that APEC would always be held in the continental North America. This was mainly so that it would not compete with other power electronics conferences being held in the rest of the world. It was also decided that the conference would generally rotate among West coast, central US, and East coast locations.

The combination of time of year and geographic location means that APEC is generally held in the southern part of the United States. Although APEC was once held in Boston the weather risk is considered too high to hold the conference in locations like Boston, New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, or Seattle.

For a complete listing of past locations and conference chairs, please click here.

Conference Archive

Download the on site guides from past APEC conferences: