We are the past, present, and future of ISA. Our participation and leadership defines ISA and in so doing our profession. We have been fortunate to have key members step up to be leaders at the local section, division, and national level. We have had an extraordinary past leader (Vernon Trevathan) and new leader (Nick Sands) to enhance the ISA program for the Certification of Automation Professionals (CAP). With the new president Leo Staples, I think we are set for a rejuvenation of ISA to provide a cohesiveness and professionalism at a time when the downsizing of companies and the decimation of engineering centers have scattered engineers to retirement, consulting, and contracting.
The ISA staff is an outstanding group of individuals doing the best to encourage the involvement and provide the benefits we request. I have had the pleasure of working the past 10 years with Susan Colwell on technical publications. Susan has made my last 8 ISA books and 4 InTech articles a rewarding and fun experience. I have never seen a person put such effort with such grace and humor into a job with overwhelming details, deadlines, and big personalities. Let’s face it, authors, me included, are a peculiar bunch. We are also known to miss deadlines and have a nasty habit of submitting drafts just before the ISA technical conference with the expectation the new book will be there.
I have had most recently the opportunity as program committee chair of Automation Week 2011 (AW 2011) to work with Kim Gordley, who is dedicated to making the event a success. I also have an extraordinary program committee and an ISA executive director Pat Gouhin who promotes innovation and instills enthusiasm. The AW 2011 program will build on last year’s improvement in technical content and make a step increase in scope and expertise offered. An “Advanced Control” track chaired by Russ Rhinehart, an “Installation, Operations, and Maintenance” track chaired by Greg Lehmann, and a poster session “Recent Developments in Process Control” chaired by Jerry Cockrell have been added to the program. The “Analysis” track chaired by Jim Tatera and the “Automation and Control System Design” track chaired by John Munro have been restored to their previous prominence. We have added a general session where 6 prominent members of the Process Automation Hall of Fame will discuss how process control is more important than ever for manufacturing competitiveness and how users can get the most out of their control systems. Terry Tolliver and I will offer tutorials on key technologies. Charlie Cutler and Bela Liptak will present keynote addresses. Tribute sessions will show the impact of these and other leaders in our profession. Lastly, an “Ask the Experts” session is being planned to offer guidance on important challenging problems.
The AW 2011 Mobile convention center has modern facilities with a wonderful setting of balconies on the water front. The Renaissance hotels have more character and elegance but are less expensive than past conference hotels. The Emerald coast with sugar sand beaches is within an hour’s drive. I should know, I have a condo on Santa Rosa Island. I hope to see you there (at the conference as well as the beach).
ISA is uniquely positioned to represent our profession through engagement of dedicated members who are driven by pride in who they are and what they do with an overall sense of responsibility for community. ISA is the place where everyone can come together and celebrate technical expertise and accomplishments without any particular bias. Technical Preeminence! Who knows what a strong ISA could lead to? Maybe universities would add undergraduate programs and degrees in Process Automation.
Get involved. Participate in section meetings, symposium, and conferences. What we become is what ISA becomes and what ISA becomes is what we become. We are ISA.