Thomas M. Coughlin

Photo of Thomas M. Coughlin

Thomas M. Coughlin, Ph.D.

Nominated by the IEEE Board of Directors

Coughlin Associates, Inc.
San Jose, California, USA

Tom has worked 40+ years in the digital storage industry as an engineer, engineering manager and senior executive. His company produces reports on digital storage and applications and provides industry consulting services. He founded and organizes major storage and memory industry events and is a frequent invited speaker. His regular column for covers storage and memory trends. Tom published >500 articles, book chapters, reports, and a book. He has 6 patents. He has a Physics BS, an Electrical Engineering MS (from UMN), and an Electrical Engineering PhD (Shinshu University, Japan). Tom is an IEEE Life Fellow, has three years on the IEEE Board, and is a member of HKN. He has a long history of diverse IEEE leadership and is active in SNIA and SMPTE. He received an MGA Leadership Award in 2020. He was IEEE-USA President, Region 6 Director and Chair of the Silicon Valley Section.

As IEEE President, I will utilize my leadership experience inside and outside of the IEEE to encourage collaboration/innovation, increase our external impact and general public awareness, while advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.  I support a member-led organization and open discussion.  IEEE must be a representative and inclusive global organization.

I will focus on three goals as President:  a) Increase our engagement with and enhance the value of IEEE membership for all member grades; b) create greater linkages and partnerships across the IEEE and outside to increase our public impact, create new and valuable IP, and to address pressing problems such as Climate Change; and c) ensuring that we create a vibrant and safe environment that supports our diverse members.

  1. We must do better outreach to students on the value of a professional home, understand the needs of YPs and create personalized products and services that meet our member’s needs. We must help our members achieve senior membership and recognize/reward our heroes.
  2. We must help IEEE members with similar interests/activities to find and work with each other. We must create partnerships with non-IEEE organizations, (e.g. government, industry and entrepreneurs), create innovative IP and revenue offerings, and address big problems and opportunities.
  3. IEEE is a diverse organization; true wisdom has multiple sources. Let’s leverage our diversity of experience and work together to make IEEE a thriving home for all the world’s technical professionals!

Please vote in the IEEE election and consider voting for me as your President.



  • As IEEE-USA President, created professionally produced videos featuring diverse IEEE YP members, used for the 2021-2022 membership campaigns as “IEEE is my professional edge.”
  • Chaired a 2019 IEEE board committee on membership price. In 2020, the IEEE board lowered student membership price by 50%, informed by the committee report.
  • While IEEE Region 6 Director, I co-founded the IEEE Rising Stars Conference, promoted joint region meetings, promoted/participated in local section expired member outreach, leading to a 2% recovery increase, and created stronger industry connections.
  • As SCV Section Chair and Chair of the SFBAC I proposed and was general chair of the 2011 Sections Congress in San Francisco
  • I have been an active participant/leader in many IEEE Future Directions and Industry Engagement initiatives


 Major positions

  • IEEE President-Elect Candidate (2021)
  • President, IEEE-USA (2019)
  • Region 6 Director (2015-2016)
  • IEEE New Initiatives Chair (2020, member 2017-2021)
  • IEEE Public Visibility Chair (2016, member 2014-2016)

Major IEEE Committees/Boards

  • Member, Industry Engagement (2021-2022 & 2017-2018)
  • Sustainability (2021-2022)
  • HKN Strategic Planning (2019-2020)
  • Strategy and Alignment (2020)
  • VP, IEEE-USA Professional Activities (2016-2017)
  • Chair, MGA Global Opportunity (2015-2016)
  • Infrastructure (2014-2015)


  • Region Vitality Chair (2013-2014)
  • Region 6 Central Area Chair (2008-2009)
  • SCV Section Chair/Vice-Chair/Treasurer (2005-2007)
  • Chair IEEE SFBAC (2007)
  • Trainer, SFBAC Leadership Training (2007-2022)
  • Chair/Board, Consultants Network of Silicon Valley (2016-2022)
  • Founder/Chair SCV SSIT Chapter (2020)


  • VP Operations and Planning, CESoc (2010-2012)
  • Vice-Chair, Standards, CTSoc (2020-2022)
  • Chair, Future Directions, CESoc (2013-     2020)
  • Member, CESoc AdCom (2007-2012 & 2014-2019)
  • Membership Chair, CESoc (2010)
  • Distinguished Lecturer, CESoc (2008-2012 & 2015-2016)
  • Chair, Strategic Plan, CESoc (2011-2012)
  • CESoc Finance (2010-2012)


  • Senior/Associate Editor, Transactions on Consumer Electronics (2015-2022)
  • Senior Editor, Consumer Electronics Magazine (2010-2021)
  • Chair positions:  Sections Congress, SAMP Workshops, GHTC, IGIC, ICCE, TMRC, ICF
  • Program committees: TTM, GHTC, TMRC, various CTSoc conferences
  • Frequent blogs/articles as R6 Director, IEEE-USA President

After receiving my BS Physics and MS Electrical Engineering, I worked on magnetic recording at 3M and Nortronics in Minneapolis before moving to Boston to design magnetic recording for a digital camera at Polaroid.  In 1987 I move to the San Francisco Bay Area, working at Seagate Technology and served as an engineer, engineering manager and executive at several hard disk drive companies.  I ran spin out ventures at Ampex and Raychem and in 2001 I started my own consulting company, Coughlin Associates, Inc.  Coughlin Associates does various types of technical and market consulting, publishes reports on digital storage and memory technology and their applications and founded and puts on digital storage industry events.  I have also been an advisor to several start-ups.

I am a frequent invited speaker at digital storage/memory industry events and write a regular blog (Storage Bytes) for  I spoke at Stanford University, UMN, UCI, UCSD, at various professional associations and other organizations and have given many webinars for SNIA, SMPTE and other organizations.

I was teaching at SCU from 1999 through 2003 in the Electrical Engineering Department and helped organize IIST events through 2005.

I have 500+ publications in reports, journals, books and trade press, 40+ of these in peer reviewed journals.  I wrote several book chapters and have 6 patents.  In 2008 I wrote Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics:  The Essential Guide, which is now in its second edition (2018) with Springer.  I have written my Storage Bytes blog at since 2011.

I have been an active volunteer in several industry trade groups.  These include the International Disk Equipment and Materials Association (IDEMA) where I chaired standards and was an active member of the technical program committee.  I received an IDEMA volunteer award.

I have also been active in the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) where I helped organize what is now the Computing, Memory and Storage Initiative (CMSI) and served as VP of education and marketing.  I received SNIA volunteer awards and have been a frequent speaker at SNIA and IDEMA events all over the world.

I am active with the Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers (SMPTE) where I have helped organize events as well as given talks on digital storage in professional media and entertainment.  I am a Senior Member of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM).

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