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 Develops Cybersecurity Resource Guide

ISA Develops Cybersecurity Resource Guide

To download the free resource guide, click the link at the bottom of this blog post.

Industrial control systems are often responsible for the monitoring and management of critical assets such as power generating facilities, water and wastewater treatment plants and transportation networks. Control systems in many industries have to remain operational 24/7 to meet operational and regulatory requirements. To address the increasing interest in securing private industry and public infrastructure, ISA has developed a comprehensive resource guide to its Cybersecuritycybersecurity resources. ISA offers a variety of training courses on industrial cybersecurity as well as books and reference publications.  Training classes and ISA technical resources are based on the ISA99/IEC62443 standards.  In addition, ISA is developing a certificate program in cybersecurity.

After the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the U.S. Department of Commerce requested information from stakeholders on the Cybersecurity Framework, in early April the Automation Federation submitted comprehensive responses from both the ISA99 standards development committee and the ISA Security Compliance Institute (ISCI). A wide range of government agencies, industry groups, private industry representatives and security specialists are participating in developing the Cybersecurity Framework, called for in President Barack Obama’s Executive Order to reduce the growing threat of cyber-attacks on the nation’s critical infrastructure.

ISA Industrial Cybersecurity Technical Resources_coverTo ensure ISA members are aware of the full complement of available cybersecurity resources, ISA staff compiled the resource guide featuring short descriptions and links to course offerings, publications and services. In addition, ISA members can join the ISA Safety and Security Division to stay up-to-date on industrial cybersecurity and process safety.

The ISA99 committee continues to develop additional standards and technical reports in the ISA-62443 (IEC 62443) series, several of which will soon be circulated for review and comment.  The Automation Federation also plans to offer a free webinar on Monday, Aug. 5 to discuss its ongoing support for the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

 To download the ISA Industrial Cybersecurity Technical Resources guide, click here.

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.
Take a fresh look at all the ways you can make the most of your ISA membership

Take a fresh look at all the ways you can make the most of your ISA membership

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

The advent of a new year is the ideal time to take a fresh look at all the different ways ISA members can get involved in ISA sections and divisions.

As someone who has been highly engaged for many years in my local (Philadelphia) ISA section, and hasJoining Hands had the honor of serving the Society in various leadership positions, I’m very aware of the personal and professional rewards that come with active ISA membership involvement.

In so many ways, ISA provides its members with immeasurable opportunities to receive—in knowledge, skills, problem solving, leadership development, and friendship—and to give back—through collaboration, mentorship, volunteerism, sponsorship, and student scholarships.

Section Involvement

Given their geographically based structure, ISA sections offer a convenient way for members to take part in ISA initiatives and events. Here are just a few ways you can get involved and contribute at the section level:

  • Team up with other ISA members to explore common professional interests.
  • Invite guest speakers to section meetings, creating an environment of learning and discovery.
  • Arrange section tours of local plants and facilities.
  • Develop new networking, social and recreational events.
  • Speak at local middle schools and high schools to generate student interest in automation careers.
  • Encourage local students to attend section events, participate in the FIRST® Robotics Competition, and become ISA student members.
  • Fund scholarships for local college and university students who demonstrate potential and interest in pursuing automation and control careers. Take a minute to review all the current ISA sections who sponsor scholarship programs. Join them.

If you have not yet connected with your local section, visit www.isa.org, click on My ISA from the left-hand tool bar, and click on sections.

Division Involvement

As an ISA member, you should take full advantage of your two free technical division memberships: one from the Automation and Technology Department and one from the Industries and Sciences Department. And why stop at just two? Additional memberships cost only $10 US each.

Division memberships enable automation professionals the opportunity to:

  • Attend, help plan, and conduct technical division symposia and events.
  • Stay up to date on current technical trends and news by reading division newsletters and web sites.
  • Write, review, or present technical papers for ISA publications.
  • Network with colleagues across the globe.
  • Explore professional development and gain leadership skills.
  • Develop workshops and short courses for division members.
  • Exchange ideas and insights through email discussions.

To get specific details on how you can get the most out of ISA division memberships, contact: Steve Allison, the Automation and Technology Department Vice President, at steve.allison@emergingmeasurements.com; and John Campbell, the Industries and Sciences Department Vice President, at campbjr@msn.com.

ISA also offers three Technical Interest Groups (TIGs) for members interested in exploring certain technical fields in greater detail. At this time, ISA features three TIGs: the Textiles TIG, the Glass and

Ceramics TIG and Leak Detection and Repair TIG. For more information on these groups, and to learn how to develop a new TIG, contact Rodney Jones, ISA Technical Divisions, Sections and Symposia at rjones@isa.org.

Working together to improve our careers and our profession. Making the world a better, more innovative, and safer place. Helping pave the way for the automation professionals of tomorrow. That’s ISA. And that’s why I encourage you to make the most of your ISA membership.

Join me and your fellow members in making 2013 a great year for the Society!

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.

Pin It on Pinterest