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Donald N. Heirman papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 291

Scope and Contents

The Donald N. Heirman Papers (1958-2014; twenty four cubic ft.) documents the professional life and contributions of leading EMC expert Donald Heirman. The papers focus on Mr. Heirman’s professional life starting with his engineering degree at Purdue. The bulk of the collection relates to his career at AT&T Bell Labs and his many contributions to EMC standards development. A few personal items showcasing life at Purdue in the 1960’s also exist in the collection. Types of materials include standards development committees’ meeting agenda, minutes and related correspondences; drafts of EMC standards and associated ballots; projects undertaken at AT&T Bell Labs; conference and seminar proceedings; printed presentations and video lectures; career photographs; awards, certificates and medals; and some amateur videos.


  • 1958 - 2014
  • Majority of material found within 1978 - 2011


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

Collection is open for research. The majority of this collection has been digitized and digital surrogates are available for use, however due to copyright some digital surrogates may only be viewed in the reading room. Consult a reference archivist for details.

Copyright and Use Information

Copyright held by Purdue University. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Purdue alumnus Donald N. Heirman is known for his involvement and leadership in developing and strengthening electromagnetic compatibility standards worldwide. He was born on August 16, 1940 in Mishawaka, Indiana and graduated from Mishawaka High School in 1958. He was awarded a State Scholarship to attend Purdue starting September 1958. He received his BSEE and MSEE degrees from Purdue University in 1962 and 1963 respectively. He met his wife, Lois Marlene (Smith) Heirman in the administration offices of Wiley Hall. The two married on campus in June 1963. While at Purdue, Mr. Heirman was an honors student and a member of many student organizations including Omicron Delta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, and Phi Eta Sigma. He also registered for the Navy ROTC and was Commissioned Ensign in the US Navy upon graduation in 1962. After receiving his MSEE degree in 1963, he started his professional career at Bell Labs. He spent the first two years on military leave serving, as a Lieutenant, at the Office of Naval Communications in the Pentagon. He rejoined Bell Labs in 1965 but stayed in the Navy as a Research Reservist for the Office of Naval Research until 1985, when he retired as Commander. Mr. Heirman’s career at Bell Labs spanned over more than three decades until his retirement in 1997. Over this time, he took numerous EMC roles, the highest being the founding manager of Lucent Technologies (Bell Labs) Global Product Compliance Laboratory (GPCL). In this role, he was in charge of the company’s major EMC and regulatory test facility and its participation in national and international EMC standardization committees. He also served as a senior EMC Consultant for Lucent Technologies. Mr. Heirman has participated in national and international standardization activities in some capacity since 1974. He has been involved with organizations such as ANSI ASC C63, the IEEE, and the IEC’s International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR). He has contributed to the development of many EMC standards. He is a Life Fellow of the IEEE and an honored life member of the IEEE EMC Society and member of its Board of Directors, chair of its technical committees on EMC measurements, past EMCS president, and past chair of its standards development committee. He has also served as president of the IEEE Standards Association (SA), member of the SA Board of Governors, and member of the IEEE’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Mr. Heirman has served as the chairman of CISPR and also the chairman of IEC’s Advisory Committee on EMC (ACEC). He has also been a member of the Technical Management Committee of the US National Committee of the IEC. Starting in 1997, Mr. Heirman briefly worked as adjunct professor and senior research scientist at the University of Oklahoma. He also served as the Associate Director of the University’s Center for the Study of Wireless EMC. In this role he provided EMC consultation to graduate students, and the Center’s founding organizations in their studies on EMC interaction between cellular phones and medical electronics. After retiring from Bell Labs in 1997, Mr. Heirman started his own EMC consultation business – Don HEIRMAN Consultants. He serves as the President of Don HEIRMAN Consultants and provides EMC training and education consultancy. In this role, he organizes EMC Workshops and Trainings all over the U.S., provides training on standardization processes (employed by IEEE, IEC, and CISPR), and offers guidance on how to become involved in standards development activities. Mr. Heirman’s many contributions to global electro-technical standardization in the field of EMC have been acknowledged in the form of various awards. In November 2008, Mr. Heirman was presented with the prestigious IEC Lord Kelvin award - the highest IEC accolade. He has also received the IEEE Lawrence Cumming Award (1984), the IEEE Standards Medallion (1992), the IEEE EMC Society Richard R. Stoddard Award (1995), the IEEE Steinmetz Award (1997), the ANSI Finegan Award (2003), and the IEEE Goldsmith Legacy League award (2011). He is a life member of the Purdue Alumni Association, member of the Purdue R. B. Stewart Society, and life member of Purdue President’s Council. He received the Purdue Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineer Award, in 2011, for his outstanding contributions to the field of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is also a recipient of the Purdue Pinnacle Award (2011) for his extraordinary gift to Purdue University. Mr. Heirman continues to be a key player and educator in the field of Electromagnetic Compatibility. For more details, refer to his CV which is available on his website:

Note written by Tariq Mahmood


24.00 Cubic Feet (71 manuscript boxes)

93.00 Gigabytes


The papers are organized into five series.
  1. Personal Materials, 1958-2013: The Personal Materials series is divided into the following subseries: Donald N. Heirman and Lois M. Smith Wedding, 1963-2010; Videos, 1961-2010; Awards, Certificates, and other Artifacts, 1958-2012; Papers and articles, 1975-2002, 2012-2013. Types of materials include Mr. Heirman’s wedding pictures; videos, including Mr. Heirman’s professional life history, and amateur videos showcasing life at Purdue University during the early 1960s; awards, certificates, and other artifacts, including medals, awards, pins, professional certificates, and career photographs; and some personal papers and articles by Mr. Heirman. Materials are listed in chronological order within each of these subseries.
  2. AT&T/Bell Labs, 1967-2005: This series documents the professional career of Mr. Heirman at AT&T/Bell Labs. The series is divided into the following subseries: Global Product Compliance Laboratory, 1997; Research Papers/Conferences, Trainings, 1980-1996; Projects, 1974-2001. Types of materials include some news articles discussing Mr. Heirman’s work, papers documenting his role as Manager GPCL, a few conference and workshop proceedings, and the major projects he worked on. A list of these projects is as follows: Telephone Testing, Human Exposure, FCC Part 15, Interference Suppression, OATS, Anechoic Chambers, Broadcast Services Emissions, ANTELOPE System Test, 2A Applications Processor Test Plan, Antennas, ABESS FCC Applications, TEM Cell, Normalized Site Attenuation, and Compliance Testing. All materials are listed in chronological order within each subseries.
  3. Standards Activity, 1975-2013: The Standards Activity series documents Mr. Heirman’s long association with professional organizations and his many contributions to the development of electro-technical standards in the field of EMC. The series has been divided into three subseries, each showcasing his involvement with the three major organizations: ANSI, 1982-2010; IEEE, 1976-2007; IEC, 1974-2009. Types of materials include agenda, minutes, and related correspondence for technical committee meetings; technical standard drafts, reports, and associated ballots; and documents related to the standards development process. All materials have been arranged in chronological order within each subseries.
  4. Courses/Lectures, 1981-2014: The Courses/Lectures series is divided into two subseries: University of Oklahoma, 1994-2001; Purdue University, 2009-2014. Types of materials include lecture presentations delivered at the two aforementioned universities. Mr. Heirman held the position of Associate Director of the Oklahoma University’s Center for the Study of Wireless EMC. Materials related to this role are also included. The series also contains some of Mr. Heirman’s lectures at the National Technological University. Materials are listed in chronological order within each subseries.
  5. Don HEIRMAN Consultants, 1999-2011: Mr. Heirman started his own EMC consultation business – Don HEIRMAN Consultants – after retiring from AT&T/Bell Labs. This series documents his work as the President of Don HEIRMAN Consultants and is divided into two subseries: Consultancy Work, 2003-2008; Workshops/Trainings, 1999-2011. Types of materials include business contracts, correspondence related to consulting projects, and various workshops held by DHC. Workshop proceedings and technical trainings are also included. Materials have been arranged in chronological order within each subseries.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of materials are available for research use. See our digital collections database e-Archives: Donald N. Heirman papers

Related Materials

Materials related to IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) are located at the IEEE History Center archives.

Processing Information

Most of the papers were digitally scanned by Conversion Technologies International Inc. before they were donated to Purdue. The scanned versions are available as PDF files. All physical papers have been housed in acid-free boxes and whenever possible, original order of the materials has been retained. Most of the VHS cassettes have been digitized and are available as MP4 files and are listed in the finding aid as such. A number of floppy disks were also donated and archivists attempted to extract files using the forensic program, Bulk Extractor. Unfortunately, attempts to recover data were unsuccessful.
Donald N. Heirman papers
Tariq Mahmood and Keertana Marella
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Processed with generous support from Donald N. Heirman.
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description was first completed 2015-09-15.

Revision Statements

  • 2020-04-22: Collection description updated by Keertana Marella

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States