Inspire the Next Generation of Leaders by Volunteering for FIRST

Inspire the Next Generation of Leaders by Volunteering for FIRST

This post is written by Pat Gouhin, ISA executive director and CEO.

 

I recently had my most rewarding experience of the past year.  Some time ago, I agreed to volunteer for the regional, three-day FIRST Robotics Competition held in Raleigh, N.C.  I asked to be assigned to anywhere I was needed.  When I showed up for the first day of setup and practice, I found that I had been slotted as a member of a six-person team responsible for safety.   We were given cool green shirts emblazoned with the words “FIRST Safety Advisor” and we were briefed on our areas of responsibility.  Sounds simple, easy and straightforward, right?

FIRST Competition March 2014 Raleigh NC featured image

When you consider that we had the primary responsibility to keep a safe environment while 54 teams − some with more than 20 members − were building, assembling, testing, and operating electrical and mechanical robots that performed a variety of functions in a small area along with a few thousand spectators, it was anything but straightforward.

It was actually quite hectic.  Teams came from up and down the mid-Atlantic region and one team even traveled all the way from The Netherlands!  Each team had multiple mentors (engineers and technicians from their local communities), teachers from their schools, and parents.  They were assigned, with all of their equipment, to a 10-by-10-foot box within a special area called “The Pits” that was behind the arena where the game was to be played (watch the video).

Each match consisted of three teams representing the red side and three teams representing the blue side.  They had to work together to move big balls from one side of the field to the other, over trusses, and through baskets and windows where they scored points.  It was a very intense experience to say the least.  There were about 100 matches with each match made up of a different combination of six teams.  In the end, two teams would be crowned winners and move on the national competition in St. Louis, Mo.  Click this link to watch an amazing time-lapse video created by one of the teams.

I was most surprised and pleased to see how these high school students listened to every word that came out of the mouths of the safety advisors.  We were seen and respected as an authority figure that could give them guidance and advice ensuring their safety and those around them.  But it was not superficial: They were genuinely and sincerely interested in obtaining and maintaining a safe environment in all that they did.

There was the standard stuff like wearing safety glasses and making sure no one had opened-toed shoes but we went all the way through other safety factors involving proper operation of saws, drills, electrical equipment, battery charging and storage, movement, storage, testing of the robots, and more.  The team of safety advisors “patrolled” the area offering guidance and direction when we saw a potential infraction or safety concern. But then we also acted as a collective group and evaluated each team based on a variety of criteria.

Each day awards were given for the safest pit and to the individual who most embodied a safety culture.  After an evening consultation, we would go around the next morning and hand out the awards of a pin and certificate.  It was so refreshing to see the excitement on student faces as well as the satisfaction in the eyes of mentors and teachers.

ISA is a strategic alliance partner of FIRST.

 

While I was feeling particularly good about my choice to give my time to this well-organized and meaningful group, there was a particular moment that really struck home for me and put it all in perspective.  There was a roving deputy sheriff who had been assigned to the event for crowd control.  At one point I went over to her and asked how she was doing in keeping everybody in line.  She immediately shared how much she loved the assignment and how there was nothing more motivating than watching these teenagers interact with adults in such a positive and cultivating manner.  She told me that the day had given her a restored hope in the future.

She also offered that she NEVER sees this side of life; considering realities of law enforcement in a major metropolitan area.  She thanked me for volunteering my time to make a difference in the lives of these talented young people that will inherit the Earth.   It was a special moment, and was one of many expressions of gratitude that were delivered that day.

These events happen all over the world and there is more than likely a team in your local region that could use the helping hand and knowledge of a mentor.  If a team is not present, perhaps you would consider sponsoring one for 2015?  This would be a great activity for an ISA Section to embrace and support!  Discover the many volunteer or sponsorship opportunities for FIRST by visiting http://www.USFIRST.org.

About the AuthorPat Gouhin
Pat Gouhin is Executive Director and CEO of the International Society of Automation.  Before joining ISA, Pat served as chief operating officer of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and as the first vice president of Operations and Technology Transfer for the National Institute of Aerospace at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in engineering management from George Washington University.

 

 

A Sneak Preview of ISA’s New Website and Enhanced User Experience

A Sneak Preview of ISA’s New Website and Enhanced User Experience

This post is written by Pat Gouhin, ISA executive director and CEO.

The International Society of Automation has been putting the finishing touches on a brand new website, the customer − and member − facing portal that showcases all of ISA’s products, services, and technical information to the world. Behind the new website is a brand new, state-of-the-art association management system, which fulfills a similar purpose to a for-profit company’s customer relationship management system. ISA’s web presence also will integrate a new learning management system to enable training and certification customers to easily register and participate in professional development activities as well as track the progress of their educational programs.

ISA’s new website will be a key hub for technical information, networking conversations, and leveraging your membership value. The new site caters to user requests for expanded site-wide search and filtering capabilities, enhanced navigation with mega-menus that allow users to browse three levels deep in the site by hovering over a navigation button, and an intuitive and streamlined checkout process.

ISA attracts more than 1.2 million unique visitors each year. Your experience on the ISA website starts at the new home page.

ISA_home_page1

ISA new home page

ISA’s new home page: A top-to-bottom preview

ISA_home_page_upper1

Top portion of new ISA home page

The top portion of ISA’s new home page design features several important areas:

  • ISA’s logo and tagline, which immediately communicates the brand and its relevance to the audience.
  • ISA’s social media icons, inviting visitors to connect with ISA on our social channels.
  • Two bright, eye-catching opportunities to join ISA, which links to a new membership page and an enhanced checkout experience for new members.
  • An easy-to-find button to access the new Members Corner – a section of the site for our members and leaders to easily access the tools needed to make the most of your ISA membership. You can edit your profile, set your communication preferences, store your favorite articles and content items, see personalized recommendations just for you, view your member savings history, and more. The Members’ Corner section will feature calendar feeds so that you can keep up with the latest happenings in your Divisions, Sections, and committees from one central location. You’ll also be able to engage in dialogue with members and colleagues via ISA’s blog. Non-members can use this section to manage their accounts and preferences, see their order history, and access their downloaded purchases.
  • A search bar for visitors to immediately search the site for a keyword or resource.
  • A bold new menu bar that serves two purposes: first, it enables visitors to hover and navigate three levels deep on the site to find products and technical information; and second, first-time visitors can easily see what ISA offers – membership, training and certification, standards and publications, conferences and events, news and press releases, resources for different types of professionals, information arranged by technical topic, professional development resources, and a store showcasing ISA’s product suite.
  • A campaign area for ISA to call out its latest news, trending stories, and industry happenings.
  • Under the campaign area, there are featured products, calling attention to key ISA resources available in the store.
  • The technical topics menu, a primary feature in the middle of the home page, allows visitors to click to a technical topic of interest and see ISA articles, products, and technical papers related to that topic.
ISA_home_page_lower1

Bottom portion of new ISA home page

As we move down the home page to the next view, we see the bottom half of the home page, which features several useful content areas:

  • A section called “Welcome to ISA” that gives a more in-depth introduction to the Society and its mission.
  • A news “widget” that pulls in ISA news as well as articles and stories from across industry in the “global news” tab.
  • An events “widget” that showcases upcoming ISA events on one tab, and upcoming Section and industry events in the “global events” tab.
  • An InTech features section, providing easy access to feature stories from the most recent issue of ISA’s flagship publication, InTech magazine.
  • A running list of the most recent postings available on the ISA jobs page.
  • A recent video from ISA or one of our sponsoring companies, bringing a multimedia flavor to the home page layout.

The new ISA homepage has been designed with you – the ISA member, the ISA customer, and the consumer of information – in mind. We hope you find it easy to navigate, useful, and interesting.

We can’t wait to launch the site this spring and get your feedback – together, we can make the website a place you’ll visit often to find the latest and greatest information available in the world of automation.

Pat Gouhin

About the Author
Pat Gouhin is Executive Director and CEO of the International Society of Automation.  Before joining ISA, Pat served as chief operating officer of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and as the first vice president of Operations and Technology Transfer for the National Institute of Aerospace at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in engineering management from George Washington University.

 

A version of this article was published at the ISA website.

ISA training can provide the high-performing workforce that manufacturers and global economies need to grow

ISA training can provide the high-performing workforce that manufacturers and global economies need to grow

This post is authored by Terrence G. Ives, President of ISA 2013.

While the U.S. and world economies are still struggling to grow, there are important steps that manufacturers and process industries can take to improve their competitiveness.

Workforce training can play a vital role in boosting operational performance and productivity. Well-trained Training and Development - Businessemployees are better able to adapt to change—a must in today’s economy—and less likely to search for employment elsewhere. A recent study found that the two areas that drive employee loyalty are the businesses’ focus on employees, and training and development opportunities. A high rate of employee retention is generally good for the bottom line.

Training also aids the transfer of organizational knowledge. Given the rapidly aging workforce, it’s essential that well-trained, long-time employees share their knowledge and expertise with incoming, younger employees.

During the deep recession that began in 2008, many companies reduced their training budgets. Now, as some evidence of economic growth is emerging, is the ideal time to recommit to workforce training.

ISA, through its leading automation and control training programs, can better prepare technicians and engineers—from those new to the job market to the highly experienced—for the workplace demands and advanced manufacturing jobs of the 21st century.

Without a doubt, ISA’s worldwide leadership in automation and control training begins with—and is sustained by—our subject matter experts. ISA’s instructors and consultants are preeminent in their field. They’re tried-and-true professionals, with the unrivaled knowledge and marketplace experience to provide practical, real-world solutions.

Since they’ve worked in virtually every area of engineering and automation, they’ve seen and done it all, and have the savvy and know-how to craft customized training programs that meet customers’ unique needs and expectations.

ISA also offers a comprehensive range of training courses—targeted to virtually all technical fields and available in many flexible formats. From one-day to week-long classroom instruction and onsite training programs to a wide array of online, instructor-assisted courses as well as webinars, ISA provides valuable training to meet any lifestyle and preference.

And ISA is constantly looking to innovate and introduce new training programs and packages.

In late 2012, ISA introduced a new training program that makes available several of ISA’s most popular and comprehensive technical training courses to areas of the U.S. where ISA instruction has not previously been offered.

The program, TechTour, makes it more convenient, and more cost effective for automation and control technicians and engineers living in these areas of the country to get the in-depth training they need. Beginning later this month and through the end of this year, ISA will be conducting four ISA TechTour courses in 10 communities throughout the southwestern and western U.S.

Two other recently unveiled ISA training programs are being extremely well received. ISA Technician Training Boot Camp includes a week of intensive technical training that combines minimal lecture time and extensive hands-on lab instruction with plant tours, a technical library, and networking events. ISA Automation Engineering Survival Training takes this same intensive-training approach and agenda format, but for engineers.

I encourage all ISA members to take a closer look at ISA training, and learn the many ways it can benefit you and your company. Investment in employee training is an investment in both personal and corporate success. And through its expert-led, world-class training, ISA can help make that investment pay off.

About the AuthorTerrence G. Ives
Terrence G. Ives is the third-generation president and owner of Ives Equipment Corporation in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, a process control manufacturing representative and stocking distributor. Terry has been actively involved in ISA leadership for many years. He has held numerous positions at the local and Society level including Society Treasurer, Executive Board Parliamentarian, Finance Committee Chair, Investment Committee Chair, District 2 Vice President, and Philadelphia Section President and Exhibit Chairman. He received a bachelor of science degree in industrial systems engineering from Ohio University.
Initiative by ISA Kolkatta Section in India Spurs Membership and Professional Growth

Initiative by ISA Kolkatta Section in India Spurs Membership and Professional Growth

This guest post is authored by V.P. Raman, vice president of District 14 of ISA.

With the dawn of the new year comes a need to move towards a realistic objective of achieving success. It’s a great opportunity for all us to work together and achieve the goal of taking the professional voluntary organization ISA to greater heights, by increasing the membership base and improving brand imaging.

Timir Baran Samanta, ISA Kolkatta section president, lights the inaugural lamp. On left is K. Nandakumar, chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industries, Instrumentation and Automation Division. Third from left is N.C. Mukherjee, ISA Kolkatta section alternate society delegate.

Timir Baran Samanta, ISA Kolkatta section president, lights the inaugural lamp. On left is K. Nandakumar, chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industries, Instrumentation and Automation Division. Third from left is N.C. Mukherjee, ISA Kolkatta section alternate Society delegate.

With the above objective and purpose, it is a great pleasure for me to inform that the Kolkatta Section of ISA conducted a full-day technical seminar and product exhibition at Hotel Hindustan International in Kolkatta, India, on 9 February 2013. The objective of the event was to promote ISA in the eastern regions of India and motivate its regular and student section members, in addition to increasing the membership base and networking with other instrumentation professionals from various industries.

The main focus of the event was automation topics in the steel manufacturing, mining and petrochemical/refining industries. The technical seminar and the product exhibition was inaugurated by K. Nandakumar, chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industries, Instrumentation and Automation Division. The eastern region of India is rich in natural resources; nearly 60 percent of India’s requirements for metal ore and coal are mined here.

Speakers and topics selected by the section were from top organizations and were of excellent caliber. They were able to offer insight into the challenges and complexity of plant operations in these industries, as well as address specific topics and complexities in the selection of sensors to control systems in material handling and its interfacing with ERP systems. All speakers shared a common concern about safety for both personnel and plant operations.

The event was well attended by about 130 delegates from various industries, including 30 student section members. The delegates included senior personnel such as engineering managers, senior engineers, department heads and corporate vice presidents.  Each session was followed by Q&A discussion. Student members were given the honor of

Kolkatta conference participants attend a technical seminar.

Kolkatta conference participants attend a technical seminar.

presenting awards to the distinguished speakers, which in turn gave them an opportunity to interact and network with the speakers and industry leaders.

This also gave me an opportunity as district vice president to make a presentation on ISA, its various offerings such as education and training, certification courses, standards, book publishing, technical papers and InTech magazine, apart from giving a detailed analysis on the benefits of becoming an ISA member, which was well received and appreciated.

The event has generated significant professional momentum in Kolkatta, and we are confident that it will attract new membership, both regular and from the student section. I remain optimistic for future growth as a district and as a professional group dedicated to setting future trends and benchmarks. Our continued efforts, sincerity, discipline and united perseverance will serve to put the district on greater pedestals of success for ISA.

 

 

VP Raman

About the Author
V.P. Raman is vice president of District 14 of ISA.  He is divisional director of engineering and business development with Mott MacDonald Pvt. Ltd. (MMPL).  MMPL is an engineering consultancy organization involved in executing various projects in areas such as upstream, midstream and downstream oil, gas and petrochemical projects for both local and global clients. Raman has held various posts in ISA in the past, at both the section and district levels. He can be contacted via email at: raman.vp1@gmail.com.
ISA Executive Director & CEO Pat Gouhin Confers with Global Association Executives

ISA Executive Director & CEO Pat Gouhin Confers with Global Association Executives

This post is written by Pat Gouhin, ISA Executive Director and CEO.

Recently I joined about a dozen other association executive directors for an invitation-only meeting in Hong Kong to discuss globalization strategies and challenges within the association community.  We met as part of the Key Global Association Committee, which is sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).

The Key Global Association Committee (KGAC) has only been in existence for about 18 months and has enabled ISA to gain valuable insight and exposure from within an exclusive group of our peers.  KGAC selects members from chief staff executives of individual and trade associations, and reflects a new initiative by ASAE to tackle globalization issues facing leaders of various non-profit and trade industry associations.  KGAC’s meeting in Hong Kong was the group’s third get-together, resulting from the invitation and sponsorship of Meetings and Exhibitions Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Tourism Board.   They were the joint host of this trade study mission.

Pat Gouhin, second from right, meets with industry association executives at the KGAC event in Hong Kong.

Pat Gouhin, second from right, meets with industry association executives at the KGAC event in Hong Kong.

 

The mission of KGAC is to stimulate exchange of information between executives of major global associations and societies.  We discussed opportunities and challenges that impact international associations on a global level, and focused on identifying common connections and solutions to achieve greater success.  Within the group, there is an overall spirit of sharing coupled with the desire to allow other organizations to learn from the mistakes of their peers.   This has allowed for rich discussion on all aspects of globalization and strategies that have worked well, as well as those that haven’t.  Focus has also been on prioritizing world markets and sharing various models for different cultures.  It is clear that there is no cookie cutter approach or single solution that is the key to continued international growth.

I believe ISA resources, expertise and leadership in automation and control can be of great value in addressing many global manufacturing and industry challenges.  The meeting demonstrated that most global associations and societies share similar strategic interests and difficulties, and we all agreed that future emphasis should be on greater collaboration to address common challenges.  While focused on the international front we have also uncovered opportunities that can be leveraged at home to benefit a broad segment of the engineering community.  As a result of a consensus of views, ISA plans to enter into partnership arrangements with other international industry associations to leverage the collective resources and strengths for the betterment of the professions and industry sectors we represent.   This is the most efficient use of our limited resources and offers the clearest and most efficient path to success.   Even with such a statement, the trials and tribulations are real and the journey has just begun.  Stay tuned for more reports on the globalization quest of ISA and the many good activities that are happening around the world because of our dedicated members and leaders.

Pat Gouhin

About the Author
Pat Gouhin is Executive Director and CEO of the International Society of Automation.  Before joining ISA, Pat served as chief operating officer of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and as the first vice president of Operations and Technology Transfer for the National Institute of Aerospace at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in engineering management from George Washington University.

 

Time is Running Out for Celebrating Excellence Nominations

Time is Running Out for Celebrating Excellence Nominations

This post is authored by Leo Staples, 2011 ISA President.

Have you submitted a nomination for this year’s Celebrating Excellence awards?

Deadline - Word on Clock

Celebrating Excellence Nominations deadline is 31 March 2013

The Celebrating Excellence awards program is an extension of our time-honored practice of recognizing those companies and individuals, both members and non-members, who have contributed to the Society and automation industry.

We depend on you to help us identify those volunteers and leaders who deserve to be recognized for their efforts. Who do you know that has provided significant contributions in leadership, technical innovation, and/or contributions to education that have advanced the profession?

Complete details regarding ISA’s Celebrating Excellence awards program can be found at the ISA Recognitions and Awards page. Discover all the award categories and nominate a deserving individual now!

Individuals selected for recognition will be acknowledged at ISA’s prestigious annual honors and awards ceremony, which includes a gala reception and dinner. This year’s honors and awards gala will be held 4 November 2013 at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

The nomination period ends 31 March 2013. Please don’t let the 2013 nomination period expire without a Celebrating Excellence submission.  There are many companies and professionals worthy of recognition, and they deserve your support and endorsement.

To submit nominations for Celebrating Excellence awards, click here

Leo Staples

About the Author
Leo Staples is ISA Honors & Awards Committee Chair and served as 2011 ISA President. He is compliance management leader at Power Supply Division, Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E). Leo is an ISA Fellow and an active participant in ISA’s Power Industry Division. He has authored and delivered several papers at various symposia. His first book, Project Management: A Technician’s Guide, was published by ISA in March 2010.

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