“Great leaders… look outward…at the competition, out at the future, out at alternative routes forward. They focus on broad patterns, finding connections, cracks, and then press home their advantage where the resistance is weakest. They must be visionaries, strategic thinkers, activators. When played well, this is without a doubt, a critical role.”
—Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman’s, “First Break All the Rules.”
During the past ten months the great leaders of ISA have worked together to effectuate tremendous change within our Society. We introduced a new direct-election process with an online component as a part of those changes. As we welcome a new group of leaders to ISA, it is both timely and appropriate to review some of the changes that have occurred this year so all of you are aware not only of the great strides that have been made, but the work that still needs to be done to secure our future.
This change began with the modifications to our governance. While all of the changes in our new governance structure are significant, from my perspective, a key difference in the new structure relates to the role of our Executive Board. The Executive Board is now responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Society. Members of the Board accepted this new role and established 5 Strategic goals for our Society. As a reminder: ISA’s strategic goals are as follows:
- Data – ISA will be market driven, using data to help us focus our development of products and services so they meet the needs of the automation (and control) professional and the automation (and control) community.
- Content – ISA will use the latest technology to develop content that meets the needs of the automation professional (not just for his/her current job but for career development), and the automation community (industries, organizations, academia, and government) they serve.
- Coolest Delivery – ISA will deliver content using the coolest technology available. This means using technology so that our content can be easily consumed by next-generation automation professionals.
- Global Authority on ICS Cybersecurity – Through the work of the Automation Federation (AF) with the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), ISA is already considered a global authority on industrial control systems cybersecurity with ISA/IEC 62443, an internationally recognized series of cybersecurity standards for industrial automation and control systems. ISA will continue to work with governments, academia, and private industry to promote the use of the standards, enhance the standards, and provide mission-critical operational training to protect and secure critical infrastructure from cyber threats.
- Advocacy of Automation as a profession – ISA will continue to be an advocate of automation as a profession, working to “tell our story” in powerful ways to enhance and promote the importance of creating and advancing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and STEM/automation careers, from cradle to grave.
Executive Board members have not just set the Society’s strategic direction—they are actually leading the change, from strategy to execution. It all began at the Summer Leader Meeting (SLM) with visioning and planning sessions led by Billy Bennett (CEO, Pyramid ODI), which culminated in strategic planning sessions where specific executable tasks related to the goals were identified for each group of constituents (sections, divisions, departments, etc.) within ISA. Read more about the SLM at: https://automation.isa.org/2014/07/isa-vision-2020/
Life after SLM
There is not enough space or time to capture all the activities and buzz that have occurred since the SLM, but here are some highlights about a few significant ongoing initiatives related to our Society’s strategic goals:
- Data/Market Driven – At the SLM, potential shale gas opportunities for ISA were discussed. The Executive Board approved funds to support the use of a professional consultant to complete an analysis to help us better understand the opportunity. I am happy to report that the analysis has been completed and presented to the Finance Committee and staff, and will be presented to the Executive Board to approve next steps.
- Content – This goal is all about delivering products and services that are relevant to the automation profession, while utilizing emerging technologies in the process where possible. Two initiatives come to mind immediately:
o ISA’s new Process Control and Safety (PCS) Symposium is a mega-event that includes technical tracks (tutorials, presentations, keynotes, subject matter experts), networking, and more on hot process control and safety/security topics. The Symposium is being led by the Process Measurement and Control Division (PMCD) and ISA’s Houston Section. The symposium is a joint effort that also includes additional ISA Divisions: Safety & Cybersecurity, Chemical & Petroleum Industries, Communication, Education, and Pulp & Paper Industries. The symposium is a huge success and is a model for collaboration within ISA.
o New gaming technology is being investigated to provide lab simulation to expand our online training so the traditional onsite “hands-on” portion of training can be accomplished online via simulation. This is exciting for our training programs today and in the future as we look at new, more effective ways to use technology to extend the breadth and reach of our online training products (around the globe).
- Coolest Delivery – Last month I wrote about the new ISA Connect mobile app and the InTech Plus app for iPad. Congratulations go out to Susan Colwell and Colleen Casper. Because of their hard work, ISA’s InTech Plus received a 2014 American Graphic Design Award! Also, I am happy to announce that advances in coolest delivery continue with the release of an InTech Plus app for Android devices. The new app was released to Google Play on Saturday.
We owe much of the progress being made in the next two initiatives to the Automation Federation and the leadership delivered by Eric Cosman, Steve Mustard, Steve Huffman, Leo Staples, and Mike Marlowe. While there are many other leaders and staff involved in these efforts, these leaders have played critical roles in advancing these initiatives.
- Cybersecurity – Eric Cosman, Leo Staples, and Mike Marlowe have been working tirelessly on behalf of AF with the US government to execute a strategy that continually develops and evolves the ISA/IEC 62443 series of standards on cybersecurity for industrial automation and control systems. Along with their efforts is a concurrent effort to develop cybersecurity training for the mission-critical operations workforce. This work by Society leaders enhances our role as the global leader in industrial control systems cybersecurity.
- Advocacy – Steve Huffman, Leo Staples, and Mike Marlowe continue to work on behalf of AF with governments, community colleges, and industries to develop competency-based programs that support automation as a profession. The American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) is currently involved in an effort to use the Automation Competency Model (ACM) as the basis to complete a larger Engineering Competency Model. (Note that ISA is a member organization of AAES). ShaleNET is a partnership between educational institutions and the natural gas industry that was launched as part of a U.S. Department of Labor grant. Within this program they have developed a “Stackable Credential Model” with characteristics that “look” much like the ACM. In the future, as we become more engaged in the shale gas opportunity, we hope through discussion to gain inclusion of many of the ACM modules into their Stackable Credential Model.
These are just a few specific examples of the strategic initiatives that are being executed across the Society. And I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that our Executive Director and CEO, Pat Gouhin and CFO, Tony Fragnito, led ISA staff through the 2015 budgeting process with a keen focus on the Society’s strategic goals. Staff presentations to the Finance Committee were on target and reflected their commitment to help ISA achieve and execute its strategic goals. And the Finance Committee, led by Tom Devine, did its part to support and make recommendations to advance the process.
In the book, “Who moved my cheese?,” Spencer Johnson said: “The only constant is change.” Our Society is continually changing and evolving as we pursue our strategic goals for the future. And a part of this change includes a change in leadership. We have just completed our first direct online election—the first of its kind for ISA. If you have not seen the results, here is a list of new ISA leaders for 2015:
James W. Keaveney (Emerson Process Management) Douglassville, Pennsylvania, USA
Thomas W. Devine (GHD) Cazenovia, New York, USA
Executive Board Member: Geographic (voters could vote for 2 individuals)
Richard A. Albrecht (DynaTech Solutions) Amherst, New York, USA
Brian Curtis (DPS Engineering Ltd) Cork, Ireland
Executive Board Member: Operational
William D. Walsh (University College Cork) Ballingolig Co, Cork, Ireland
Executive Board Member: Technical
Eric C. Cosman (The Dow Chemical Company) Midland, Michigan, USA
Automation & Technology Department Vice President-elect:
Kenneth R. Belteau (Spectra Energy Transmission LLC) Kingwood, Texas, USA
Image & Membership Department Vice President-elect:
Marty E. Bince (Willowglen Systems Inc.) Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Publications Department Vice President-elect:
James F. Tatera (Tatera & Associates) Madison, Indiana, USA
Standards & Practices Department Vice President-elect:
Maurice J. Wilkins (Yokogawa IA Global Marketing USMK) Carrollton, Texas, USA
Please join me in congratulating each of these leaders for having been elected by the membership.
A common saying after an election is that those who were elected to lead have big shoes to follow. I would agree, but would add that they must also be great leaders. My challenge to each of these new leaders is to depart from business as usual and to “look outward…. at the competition, out at the future, out at alternative routes forward,” and to be “visionaries, strategic thinkers, activators.”
Marcus Buckingham & Eric Coffman say that when we are able to achieve this, we will not just become great leaders but our roles become critical.
What about YOU? How can you help?
First, you can become informed and engaged. You can experience what it means to be a part of ISA at the upcoming Fall Leader Meeting (FLM), which is being held 8 November in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. At FLM you will have an opportunity to learn more about the Society’s strategic direction, what has been accomplished this year, and what tasks still need to be accomplished. You will have an opportunity to network with leaders, peers, and SME’s. And you can learn more about the various sections, technical divisions and departments so you learn how you “fit” in the Society. You’ll also be able to attend the Honors & Awards Gala on Monday, 10 November to help us honor and celebrate your peers for their accomplishments and service to the Society and the automation industry. And on 11 November, you’ll be able to interact with a panel of automation industry leaders and ask questions about the future of automation and how ISA can best serve the automation profession and the industries we serve. If you have not done so, register now at: https://www.isa.org/events-conferences/isa-fall-leaders-meeting-2014/
Secondly, you can communicate accurately and often with peers to share the ISA member value proposition. As I said in a previous article, ISA has a great story to tell; we just need to tell it!
Finally, as we prepare for 2015, let’s encourage and commit to support our Society and all of its leaders—both old and new. Our leaders are critical to ISA’s efforts to move from strategy to execution, to lead change, and to secure the future of our Society and the automation profession.
Peggie Koon, Ph.D., is vice president of audience at Chronicle Media and The Augusta Chronicle, which are part of Morris Publishing Group, LLC, a privately held media company based in Augusta, Ga. Prior to joining Morris, Peggie spent more than 25 years developing IT systems for process automation and process control in a variety of industries, including automotive, nuclear defense, aerospace, nuclear reprocessing, thermal ceramics and textiles. Peggie assumed her first ISA leadership position in 1996 as membership chair of the Management Division and has held a variety of prominent leadership roles in the Society. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Smith College in Northampton, Mass. and completed graduate studies in industrial and systems engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She received a doctorate in management information systems from Kennedy Western University in Cheyenne, Wyo.
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A version of this article also has been published in ISA Insights.