Are You Getting the Most out of Your ISA Membership?

Are You Getting the Most out of Your ISA Membership?

This post is authored by Brian Curtis, president of ISA 2018.

 

During my years as an ISA member I have witnessed the dedication and sterling contributions of ISA members first hand. Whether I’m attending ISA division and section events, participating in Society leadership, or going to budget meetings, I have always been impressed and excited about ISA members’ passion and dedication.

Today, I am asking ISA members: Are you getting the full value of your ISA membership? To the reader who is not an ISA member, I am asking you to learn about some of the benefits and make an informed decision about joining our Society.

ISA membership costs just $120 per year and gives you access to dozens of benefits. But even more than these line items, it gives you a way to belong to the profession that you’ve chosen for your life’s work.

ISA provides its members access to technical information, professional development resources, and opportunities to engage with other automation professionals. Our mission is to enable our members—including world-wide subject matter experts, automation suppliers, and end-users working together—to develop and deliver quality, unbiased automation information, including standards, training, publications, and certification programs.

You can meet and network with some of the world’s finest automation professionals, and you can engage with people right in your backyard through our geographically oriented sections.

Global sections

ISA’s 140 sections, located throughout the world, connect members with technology, expert advice, and world-class programming at the local level, while ISA’s technical divisions feature opportunities to network and learn from industry leaders in specific topical or industry areas.

Given their local/regional structure, ISA sections offer a convenient way for members to take part in ISA initiatives and events happening nearby. Some ways that members can get involved and contribute at the section level include:

  • Attending regular section meetings to explore mutual professional interests with like-minded people
  • Inviting technical experts to present at section meetings
  • Speaking at local schools and universities to generate student interest in automation careers
  • Funding scholarships for local college and university students who demonstrate potential and interest in the automation field
  • Receiving local newsletters with market trends, technical articles,
  • Accessing training courses, technical conferences, and social events

As an ISA member, you should also take full advantage of your two free technical division memberships… and why stop at just two? Additional memberships cost only $10 US each.

ISA’s annual technical division symposia allow ISA members and the automation community to meet face to face with renowned experts and presenters, and hear first-hand about the latest technologies and trends. You’ll be able to exchange best practices and success stories, attend executive keynote presentations, sit in on standards committee meetings, take training courses, and experience leadership gatherings at ISA events like these:

Extensive technical resources

Are you using the technical knowledge that’s available and could benefit you given the challenges in your day job? Why not step up and participate in these industry groups or attend their events?

In addition to ISA’s geographic sections and technical divisions, ISA membership also gives you access and discounts for ISA’s renowned products and services, including these favorites:

  • ISA standards: Get free online viewing of ISA’s collection of more than 160 automation standards that streamline processes, and improve industry safety, efficiency, and profitability. ISA standards serve as best-practice guidelines through design, construction and operation, and they are developed by thousands of industry experts. In addition to viewing the standards, you can also participate in a standards committee and help shape the industry’s future.
  • ISA training: Your ISA membership includes discounted rates for ISA’s training courses, known and respected worldwide for their practical approach to technology You can take courses online, in classroom settings, or in your plant.
  • ISA publications: Get access or discounted purchase rates on more than 180 print and online technical resources, including books, newsletters, articles, technical papers, and more
  • InTech magazine: Members receive a free subscription to InTech magazine, which informs automation and control professionals about technical innovations, ideas, product information, news, and Much of the magazine’s editorial content is provided by ISA’s members, who are encouraged to submit articles.

Perhaps most valuable of all, you’ll grow as a professional by joining this Society. We have programs and opportunities that help you develop and practice your leadership skills, and by getting more engaged, you’ll meet people who can change and shape your career in the years to come.

Networking, mentoring, career advancement

In my case, one of the main reasons that I joined ISA was to meet other people with an automation and instrumentation background that could offer advice about challenges I was having in my day job. I found ISA members were always willing to help me in my early years. And now the table has turned, and there is a younger networking group in my section who look to me to give advice on their challenges. Being an engaged member in ISA is like belonging to a real family, where everyone is always there when you need them with no strings attached.

If you’re an ISA member and you haven’t taken advantage of all we have to offer, start now—pick an area to explore and start doing new things with your membership. If you’re not a member yet, consider joining us—we’d love to welcome you to the ISA family.

About the Author

Brian Curtis, I. Eng., LCGI, is the Operations Manager for Veolia Energy Ireland, providing services to Novartis Ringaskiddy Ltd. in Cork, Ireland. He has more than 35 years of experience in petrochemical, biotech, and bulk pharmaceutical industries, specializing in design, construction management, and commissioning of electrical, instrumentation, and automation control systems. He has managed complex engineering projects in Ireland, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany. A long-time ISA member, Curtis has served on the ISA Executive Board since 2013, the Geographic Assembly Board (2012 – 2015), and the Finance Committee (2013 – 2017.) He was Ireland Section President and Vice President of District 12, which includes Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Curtis has also been active on several Society task forces, including Cybersecurity, Governance, and Globalization-related committees. He received the ISA Distinguished Society Service Award in 2010. He is the Former President of Cobh & Harbor Chamber of Commerce (2013-2015) and Former Chairman of the Ireland Southern Region Chambers (2015-2016) and is an active member of the Ireland National Standards Body, ETCI.

Connect with Brian:
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A version of this article also has been published at ISA Insights.

ISA Will Grow and Succeed by Meeting the Needs of Both Members and Customers

ISA Will Grow and Succeed by Meeting the Needs of Both Members and Customers

This post is authored by Brian Curtis, president of ISA 2018.

 

ISA offers so many opportunities for industry professionals to engage, as members and as customers of the organization.

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, especially in ISA sections and divisions. As someone who has been highly engaged for many years in my local (Ireland) ISA section, I’m very aware of the personal and professional rewards that come with active ISA membership involvement.

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

ISA is an organization that’s proud of its past but is firmly focused on the future. In setting the standard for automation and control, we’re determined to constantly raise the bar. Evidence of new Society growth and new opportunities for all of us to learn, participate, and help shape the future of our profession and industry are all around us.

The world of the automation professional is changing daily, affected by evolving and emerging new technologies and solutions that need to be applied in creative new ways. It’s essential that the Society adapts in tangent with this changing environment.

Focus on younger generation

It’s critical that ISA become more relevant and attractive to a younger generation. We need a steady influx of bright new minds in order to grow and meet the challenges of the future. ISA must adjust to the expectations and demands of today’s and tomorrow’s automation professionals. For example, ISA’s roots lie in the process industries, such as oil/gas, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, etc. That’s an important strength, but there are other industry sectors out there that can readily and easily leverage and apply our expertise.

In doing so, we can improve on what industry does and make their services and solutions more valuable to their customers and end users. We have so many strengths and so much knowledge that can be leveraged to benefit the world, to make it a better and safer place. So, why not do it? In the process, we’ll expand our membership base, add new customers, and grow. Building automation is an area that has expressed interest in our cybersecurity standards. By leading with our expertise in cybersecurity, we can explore other ways of providing service and value.

Given that there are so many new opportunities, we have to think a bit differently, modify what we do, and how we do things, and accept change. We’re not going to move away from our core strengths in standards, training, publications, certificate and certification programs, and events, but we need to introduce new business models and delivery formats to meet the demands of an evolving world.

There is much discussion centered on whether ISA is a member-focused organization or a customer-focused organization. I believe we are both. They’re not mutually exclusive. Both members and customers are essential to our operational success.

Benefits of membership

Members are at the heart of ISA. They truly “make” ISA possible. Without the member, we would not possess the intellectual property (IP) that is so valuable to those in the automation profession. It takes committed and passionate members, working within a network of peers, to volunteer and apply their talents and knowledge to assist others.

After all, while we as ISA members enjoy an extensive list of member benefits and advantages, I believe our ultimate goal is not just to serve our fellow Society members—but to serve and advance all “members” of the automation profession.

Customers, on the other hand, want to use what we produce. They recognize the great value it brings to their work; they just don’t feel compelled to be a part of ISA. The simple fact is that a majority of our revenue comes from non-members purchasing our products and services, and we rely on these dollars to help fund important, mission-driven work.

We need to recognize the two very different roles that our members and customers play in our organization, and the value they bring. By focusing on both and balancing their needs and requirements, we can continue to operate a successful business that will make ISA stronger.

As leaders, we need to make decisions based on our future, not what we’ve done in the past. We can’t constrain ourselves to our past behavior and practices. Attracting new and younger leaders to the Society is important because they won’t fall back on old ways; they will bring fresh perspectives and ideas and are motivated to act on them. Change can be uncomfortable. We tend to associate change as a negative, but it does not have to be. I ask that we all look for the positives during 2018 and continue to do great things for ISA. Let us build on a great past for an even greater future.

How to join

The ISA Board knows that with great staff and great volunteer leaders, members, customers and partners, and with your support and commitment to ISA, we all can make a difference each day on improving ISA and shaping its future. Sometimes that difference begins with just a conversation with our peers and colleagues.

For more information on joining ISA, visit www.isa.org/join.

About the Author
Brian Curtis, I. Eng., LCGI, is the Operations Manager for Veolia Energy Ireland, providing services to Novartis Ringaskiddy Ltd. in Cork, Ireland. He has more than 35 years of experience in petrochemical, biotech, and bulk pharmaceutical industries, specializing in design, construction management, and commissioning of electrical, instrumentation, and automation control systems. He has managed complex engineering projects in Ireland, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany. A long-time ISA member, Curtis has served on the ISA Executive Board since 2013, the Geographic Assembly Board (2012 – 2015), and the Finance Committee (2013 – 2017.) He was Ireland Section President and Vice President of District 12, which includes Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Curtis has also been active on several Society task forces, including Cybersecurity, Governance, and Globalization-related committees. He received the ISA Distinguished Society Service Award in 2010. He is the Former President of Cobh & Harbor Chamber of Commerce (2013-2015) and Former Chairman of the Ireland Southern Region Chambers (2015-2016) and is an active member of the Ireland National Standards Body, ETCI.

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A version of this article also has been published at ISA Insights.

Broadening ISA’s Global Perspective and Focusing on the Next Generation of ISA Members

Broadening ISA’s Global Perspective and Focusing on the Next Generation of ISA Members

This post is authored by Brian Curtis, president of ISA 2018.

 

I am extremely honored to serve as ISA’s Society president in 2018. This organization has contributed so much to both my professional and personal growth, and I’ve been a strong believer in ISA’s mission for over 30 years.

I am only the third non-North American Society president in 73 years, and I hope this is the beginning of a more international dimension to ISA. I intend to bring this focus to my term as president and I look forward to working with my colleagues in all regions of the world to bring ISA’s knowledge, expertise, and resources to their countries.

At the heart of ISA are its dedicated members, volunteer leaders, and staff. I want to express my appreciation, at the outset, for your commitment and teamwork. The common, unifying thread is the passion we all have for ISA. This is an exciting time for ISA; the Society is well positioned to secure new opportunities amid a highly changing world economy and global automation community.

It’s essential that we always encourage our volunteer leaders to bring their perspective and experience to their ISA roles, emphasizing the importance of gaining different viewpoints, since experience proves that an inclusive approach leads to better business decisions. Ensuring that every leader brings their unique perspective and experience to our discussions can only help create a better ISA.

As we work to create a brighter future for ISA, we can’t overlook the significance of membership. Without a new generation of young engineering professionals, where will we find the next wave of ISA members? ISA’s long-term viability and relevance depends on attracting new members, and in order to attract the next generation, we need to be more flexible and more open to new ideas and prospects for growth. We need to work with university and technical school students to bridge the gap between finishing post-secondary education and landing their first job. Once they have a job, young engineering professionals need engagement from ISA to progress their careers and find the resources they need to excel.

Cybersecurity leadership

Another key area of continued focus for the Society is in industrial cybersecurity. While there is growing awareness among industry leaders of the risks of cyberattack, we need to work harder to foster recognition in the marketplace that ISA offers real solutions to mitigate these risks. We have the standards, training, and technical resources for manufacturers and other industry organizations to improve operational reliability, profitability, safety, and security.

I’m looking forward to working with the ISA Executive Board to build on the progress we’ve made over the last several years in our areas of strategic focus and our global brand recognition. Though we’ve made great strides in our planning process, there is still much work to be done. We must accelerate our focus on what works outside North America, knowing that equivalent does not always mean effective and there may be more than one model for all. Understanding local cultures, challenges, and opportunities, while protecting our brand and intellectual property, will be the basis for us to truly become an international association.

Strategic plan development

In December, the ISA Executive Board and senior staff held an intensive workshop to begin the development of the next iteration of ISA’s strategic plan. We will be working to develop the details of this plan over the coming weeks, but we initially identified these key statements as potential focus areas for ISA in the future:

  • ISA needs to review and enhance its strategy to create, capture, validate and deliver best-in-class content utilizing its engaged community.
  • ISA will actively seek out and utilize systems and technologies that are focused on the user experience as a way of enabling engagement and growth within the ISA community.
  • The Executive Board will operate at the highest standard, understanding its governance role in establishing clear and concise strategies and goals. The ISA Staff will operate at the direction of the Executive Director, with the trust and partnership of the Executive Board, to meet the objectives of the board and manage the organization. The Executive Board will engage to review the performance of the Society related to the strategic objectives.
  • We will develop and foster an organizational culture where all leaders are trained to collaborate on mission-focused, strategic initiatives for the betterment of the overall Society.
  • ISA will strategically implement programs to foster growth globally.
  • ISA and its brand family will continue to strive for a level of standards acceptance around the world such that they are the default, legally-recognized requirement.
  • ISA’s infrastructure of professionals, who are dedicated to furthering the core competency of automation, will work across the globe to educate and inform students before they choose a career, thus enabling these students to make better decisions about the future of their world.

These statements are guiding ideals that will shape how we develop the next iteration of the strategic plan in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for updates on our progress.

Setting global standards

In closing, I sincerely thank the Society and its members for this remarkable honor. I look forward to working with all of you in the months ahead, and sharing with you new evidence of our success and progress.

I have never been so optimistic about the future of ISA. Together we can help ISA achieve our vision to set the global standard for automation and enable automation professionals across the world to work collectively for the benefit of all. Please contact me at president@isa.org with your thoughts and insights. I look forward to hearing from you and working with you as we move forward in 2018.

About the Author
Brian Curtis, I. Eng., LCGI, is the Operations Manager for Veolia Energy Ireland, providing services to Novartis Ringaskiddy Ltd. in Cork, Ireland. He has more than 35 years of experience in petrochemical, biotech, and bulk pharmaceutical industries, specializing in design, construction management, and commissioning of electrical, instrumentation, and automation control systems. He has managed complex engineering projects in Ireland, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany. A long-time ISA member, Curtis has served on the ISA Executive Board since 2013, the Geographic Assembly Board (2012 – 2015), and the Finance Committee (2013 – 2017.) He was Ireland Section President and Vice President of District 12, which includes Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Curtis has also been active on several Society task forces, including Cybersecurity, Governance, and Globalization-related committees. He received the ISA Distinguished Society Service Award in 2010. He is the Former President of Cobh & Harbor Chamber of Commerce (2013-2015) and Former Chairman of the Ireland Southern Region Chambers (2015-2016) and is an active member of the Ireland National Standards Body, ETCI.

Connect with Brian:
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A version of this article also has been published at ISA Insights.

ISA Focusing on Growth and Opportunity as It Approaches the Promise of a New Year

ISA Focusing on Growth and Opportunity as It Approaches the Promise of a New Year

This post is authored by Steven W. Pflantz, president of ISA 2017.

 

Having just returned from the 2018 ISA Executive Summit, I am feeling good about ISA—where we are going and the opportunities that lie before us.  Being a bit out of the “center of action” for this summit allowed me to sit back, watch, and listen as our 2018 Executive Board and staff addressed the issues we face, but more importantly, looked toward the future and what we can achieve. Their optimism, energy, and ideas were both inspiring and comforting.

During the 2017 Fall Leaders Meeting, much discussion centered on whether ISA is a member-focused organization or a customer-focused organization. I believe we are both. They’re not mutually exclusive. Both members and customers are essential to our operational success. At the same time, I also hearken back to the old ISA saying: “We like our customers, but we love our members.”

Members are at the heart of ISA. They truly “make” ISA possible. Without the “card-carrying” member, we would not possess the intellectual property (IP) that is so valuable to those in the automation profession. It takes committed and passionate members—working within a network of peers—to volunteer and apply their talents and knowledge to assist others.

After all, while we as ISA members enjoy an extensive list of member benefits (discounts on products, services, and events, etc.) and advantages, I believe our ultimate goal is not just to serve our fellow Society members, but to serve and advance all “members” of the automation profession.

Customers, on the other hand, want to use what we produce. They recognize the great value it brings to their work; they just don’t feel compelled to be a part of ISA.  That is OK in my mind, as they provide a substantial source of revenue that we rely on to do what we do. The simple fact is that a majority of our revenue comes from non-members purchasing our products and services.

We do need to recognize the two very different roles that our members and customers play in our organization, and the value they bring. By focusing on both and balancing their needs and requirements, we can continue to operate a successful business that will make ISA stronger.

We can also grow by expanding to other industry sectors—an undertaking that requires, in many cases, minimal work on our part.  There are many opportunities to make our IP available to other segments of the economy involved in automation. In doing so, we can improve on what they do and make their services and solutions more valuable to their customers and end users.

We have so many strengths and so much knowledge that can be leveraged to benefit the world, to make it a better and safer place. So, why not do it? In the process, we’ll expand our membership base, add new customers, and grow. Building automation is an area where we have just scratched the surface. It’s an area that has expressed interest in our cybersecurity standards. By leading with our expertise in cybersecurity, we can explore other ways of providing service and value.

There are new business models and other ways we can put our IP to work. We have been developing, for example, new ways of delivering training, in an online format and in smaller “bite-sized chunks” that can be conveniently and easily consumed and digested. The purchase can be made either a la carte, or through a subscription-based approach.

One of the drawbacks of our week-long training events is that many people can’t afford to spend that much time away from their jobs. Ultimately, in the struggle to both access training and meet workplace responsibilities, it’s the day job that usually wins. So it just makes sense that we find new and better ways to make our training more accessible.

As for our efforts to grow globally, there is a lot of work to be done there, although our Globalization Committee is making progress under the leadership of Eric Cosman. It’s obviously easier said than done, but we need to make our business models and member operations adaptable to different cultures and business climates.

We need to apply what we’ve learned to examine alternative delivery models, find new ways of translating and marketing content, and better match the economies of scale in which we’re operating.  Finding technical solutions is relatively easy in comparison to changing attitudes and engaging others.

Change and risk are part of everything we do, and we have to learn to better manage them.

Overall, what should drive us is the desire to help make the world a better place by making automation professionals better at what they do. Thanks to our outstanding members and staff, we have a lot of tools and resources that can be brought to bear to make the world a better place and make automation professionals better at what they do.

Given that there are so many new opportunities, we have to think a bit differently, modify what and how we do things, and accept change. We’re not going to move away from our core strengths—in standards, training, publications, certificate and certification programs, and events—but we need to introduce new business models and delivery formats to meet the demands of an evolving world.

To do so, we have to be open to what’s possible and not fall back into a technician’s way of thinking, which too often centers on what won’t work and what we can’t do. I have worked closely with technical people and engineers for 30 years or so, and we all need to admit that we tend to think from a “won’t work” and “can’t do” perspective. Let’s all focus on what we CAN DO.

In my final column, I purposely chose to not focus on the classic “recap” of the past 12 months.  We need not dwell on the past; rather, we should learn from it and think to the future.

I have enjoyed serving as president of this fine organization. Thank you all for the opportunity, and for all the fine friends and acquaintances I have made. As I look back at my 30-plus-year career, ISA has played a major part in my personal and professional development.  I have given back in so many ways through my involvement over the years, but the rewards and benefits continue to exceed what I have put into it. That is the same response I get from every other leader. It is quite simple. Give and ye shall receive and, in the process, ISA will prosper.

About the Author
Steven W. Pflantz, PE, is an associate in the St. Louis, Mo. office of CRB Consulting Engineers, Inc., a global consulting, design and construction services firm. He serves as a technical leader on many of CRB’s electrical and automation design projects, applying his extensive electrical engineering experience — particularly in the areas of instrumentation and controls. A longtime ISA member and leader, Steven brings to his role as Society president a deep understanding of the automation profession, the needs and expectations of ISA members, and the value and significance of automation careers. In 2012 and 2013, he served as vice president of ISA’s Professional Development Department. He’s also served on ISA’s Executive Board (2008 and 2012) and as an ISA district vice president (2007 and 2008). In 2012, Steven was inducted into the Academy of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. He’s also a member of the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE). He earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.
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A version of this article also has been published at ISA Insights.

How Can ISA Best Meet My Needs?

How Can ISA Best Meet My Needs?

This post is authored by Jim Keaveney, president of ISA 2016.

How can ISA help me?  This is a question we hear from automation professionals, members, and volunteer leaders.  As a section leader, it is a question that I have also asked in the hope of helping me better perform my volunteer role.  There is no simple one-line answer, but let me provide a few common examples in the context of some of our strategic goals.

For most of us, ISA’s core value lies in its content (Strategic Goal #1). Providing high-quality technical content to members and customers is fundamental to ISA’s mission. This content needs to be available when we want it and how we want it.  It is why most of join ISA and why we stay engaged.

benefits-isa-membership

To a great extent, we derive our content from our standards. Did you know that ISA’s has more than 150 automation standards and technical reports — developed by more than 4,000 industry subject matter experts throughout the world?  ISA members can view most of our standards at no cost.

Another benefit related to standards is training. This is the “P” part of Standards & Practices (S&P).  ISA’s expert-led training, best-practice forums, and certification and certificate programs optimize the real-world application of our standards and improve industry-wide safety, efficiency, and profitability. ISA training can be accessed online or in traditional classroom settings at one of the Society’s 10 training locations in North America and through our European office located in the Netherlands. With more than 115 courses offered through the rest of this year alone, you should discuss with your manager the benefits of enrolling in one of these courses or consider making the investment yourself.

Among automation companies and manufacturers, a primary concern is workforce development — accessing the next generation of young workers with the competencies and know-how to drive future growth and competitiveness. ISA members need to make our employers and managers more aware of how ISA can supplement their automation training programs. ISA can discuss options for needs assessment, customized training and ongoing knowledge verification and testing.  It would a plus if you could help initiate or pave the way for these type of opportunities within your companies. This way, you can “help us help you” and your employer.

From a section leader perspective, ISA’s high-value technical content can enhance local programs in several important ways. One is through section-sponsored training.  With 29 single-day course offerings, ISA can help promote and provide member-requested training for local section members.  Courses require collaboration between the sections and ISA staff so sections need to appoint a coordinator.  In addition to delivering great training, sections are rewarded through ISA’s revenue-sharing incentive program.

To enhance the value of section meetings, presentations and roundtable discussions based on ISA standards, training capabilities, and certification and certificate programs are great places to start.

How we obtain and share information may have changed from when many of us first joined ISA but sections remain convenient, accessible avenues for providing unique value through networking, training, and exchange of best practices.  Our Geographic Assembly also has initiated a Speakers Bureau for section and division leaders.  This resource is a work in process, but please share your speaker and topic references to your fellow leaders so they can consider opportunities for their meetings.  This is a way for you to “help each other.”

From a division perspective, ISA currently supports 17 divisions and three Technical Interest Groups (TIGs). Seven divisions conduct annual symposiums, which furnish leading, market-specific content and outstanding networking opportunities.  I was fortunate to attend this year’s Food & Pharmaceutical Industries Division (FPID) and Power Industries Division (POWID) meetings and both were world-class events, showcasing ISA at its very best.  Their success was possible due to the many contributions of end users, division and local leaders, ISA staff, and our automation supplier sponsors.  You and your manager should consider supporting the ISA technical symposium that best targets the needs and expectations of your customers and partners. Get involved in developing a conference program, workshop or activity; better yet, consider presenting a paper at one of these events.

Finding the information you need on any website is not always an intuitive process. But if you spend some time on the ISA website, you’re sure to find something of interest. If you are a volunteer leader, I would encourage you to explore the ISA Members and Leaders link under the Resources tab.  You’ll especially want to check out the options under the Operating Documents link. There is a lot of great information about specific volunteer leader role descriptions and expectations.

ISA’s Data goal (Strategic Goal #2) is all about ISA becoming a more market- and data-driven association.  This means that we are developing and delivering content that industry wants and values.  For section leaders, we can provide some granularity into your local membership, such as identifying members’ specific division activities and memberships.  Did you know that your ISA dues provides for two free memberships in our technical divisions — one within the Automation and Technology Department and one within the Industries & Sciences Department?  Thanks to our division symposia, there is quite a bit of divisional content that can help with programming and attracting greater member and volunteer participation. We certainly need to explore ways to better leverage our division and section content and activities.

Our Coolest Delivery goal (Strategic Goal #3) focuses on our ability to deliver great content via multiple platforms in an engaging, easy-to-use, and interactive way.  Some of these resources, such as a tool for self-assessment of automation skills, are still being developed. But many more are either available now or will be available shortly. We recently developed interactive gaming simulations that are used in several of our courses and a Loop Signal & PV calculation app that is in the final stages of testing.  And let’s not forget our InTech Plus app available on Apple iOS and Android platforms.  It’s interactive, intuitive, fresh, and fun. From the latest technology news and ‘how-to’ videos featuring ISA subject matter experts to Q&As, quizzes and calculators, this mobile app delivers added value to automation professionals on the go.  We have only had about 3,000 downloads so far, which means that there are many of you that are missing out on this great new tool.  Why the wait??

Another area to check out on the ISA website is the Videos link under the Technical Topics tab.  These videos are grouped by ISA Leadership, Basic and Advanced Technical, Conference and Events, ISA Training and Certification, and How-to and Career videos.  We are also is the process of updating our Leadership Development training so please be sure to check back and let me know what you think.  We might not be “way cool” just yet, but we are diligently working on it.

So, what are we missing in terms of benefits, tools or collateral to help you get the full value out of your ISA membership or to be more successful or gain greater enjoyment out of your volunteer leadership role? Also, why did you join ISA and what keeps you coming back?  Please contact me at President@isa.org

About the Author

Jim KeaveneyJim Keaveney is northeast regional manager and key account director at Emerson Process Management. He brings a strong track record in automation technologies sales and marketing and business planning to his role as Society president. Jim has been an active ISA member for more than 30 years and has served in numerous leadership positions, including Society treasurer, finance committee chair and District 2 vice president. He has received numerous ISA honors, including the Distinguished Society, District 2 Golden Eagle and Lehigh Valley Section Dannenberg Service awards. He also received a Certificate in Instrumentation from the Philadelphia Section of ISA. Jim received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Temple University and a master’s degree in business administration from Penn State University.
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A version of this article also has been published in ISA Insights.

ISA Is Much More Than a Membership Organization

This guest blog post was written by Paul Gruhn, ISA Fellow and global functional safety consultant with AE Solutions.

It’s fitting, I believe, that this column is being posted in November—the month that ISA and the Automation Federation have designated as Automation Appreciation Month.

Automation Appreciation Month provides ISA with an opportunity to thank its members for their strong support, active involvement, and leadership contributions. In addition, the month celebrates the value and significance of the automation profession as a whole, and the passion, inventiveness, and automation-appreciation-monthdedication of all automation professionals throughout the world.

Value and benefits of membership

Our profession is truly a special one, and it’s important that we all appreciate that. It’s also important to recognize that while ISA is a member-driven association, its benefits and value go far beyond the sphere of its membership base.

After all, ISA was founded in 1945, and it was a different world. The way people shared information back then was different – you joined a professional society, networked with your peers, went to monthly meetings, bought products, and attended conferences. Technology and culture have changed over the last 70 years. There’s no doubt that the Internet has altered the world in ways far beyond the imagination of ISA’s original founders. Today, you can network online, without leaving your home or your family. Fewer and fewer people belong to technical organizations, and the same is true for ISA.

However, when you really study the organization and its focus areas, ISA tackles some of the most critical challenges facing industry and advanced manufacturing. That’s important – more important, in my opinion, than maintaining a certain number of members. ISA’s technical divisions and standards committees are doing incredible work to move the profession forward. A notable example: ISA is the developer and applications-focused thought leader behind the world’s only consensus-based series of industrial cybersecurity standards (ISA/IEC 62443). ISA is depended on worldwide to mitigate control systems cybersecurity vulnerabilities, reducing the severe threats posed by cyberattack on critical infrastructure.

Extensive industry influence and reach

Today, there are fewer than 20,000 full dues-paying ISA members. Yet ISA’s influence—through access to automation standards, training, certification and certificate programs, publishing, conferences and networking—spans to hundreds of thousands of automation professionals around the world.

I hope thousands of additional professionals find value in local networking, access to technical information, and valuable discounts on ISA products. Growing membership is a great thing, but let’s not forget that ISA is far more than a membership organization. ISA exists to serve the entire automation profession.

About the Author
Paul Gruhn-2014Paul Gruhn is a global functional safety consultant at AE Solutions and a highly acclaimed and awarded safety expert in the automation and control field. Paul is an ISA Fellow, a member of the ISA 84 standards committee (on safety instrumented systems), a developer and instructor of ISA courses on safety systems, and the primary author of the ISA textbook Safety Instrumented Systems: Design, Analysis, and Justification. He also has contributed to several automation industry book chapters and has written more than two dozen technical articles. He developed the first commercial safety system modeling software. Paul is a licensed professional engineer (PE) in Texas and a member of Control System Engineer (CSE) exam team. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

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