The automation world was a bit stunned to read the following tweet from major automation pundit and personality Walt Boyes: “I will be leaving Putman and Control magazine to return to Spitzers & Boyes. My last day will be December 13.” He made the same announcement on his face book page! Later he amended it “Oops, now it seems I will be leaving Putman November 30, not December 13.”
Of course we don’t know the full story nor I suppose should we pry too much. Indeed one of the responses to the news on social media says “Realising there is untold backstory here, I hope this turns out as a super good thing for you!” Suffice it to say that nearly all print publications, especially, those in dedicated or dare I say, niche, markets are struggling to find a position in a world dominated by electronic communication. How they react is perhaps a measure of their understanding of their audience.
Control Magazine, like all automation periodicals has shrunk somewhat in size although, under Walt’s editorship through its internet presence, ControlGlobal it has managed to reach audiences far beyond the shores of North America. Another comment hearing the news, “It will be Control Global’s loss and Spitzer & Boyes gain! If I remember….they didn’t have an on-line magazine until you took over as editor. You and your connections brought them world-wide exposure.” Probably true but in fact an on-line presence would have happened whether Walt was there or not. It is valid however, to surmise that it would not be as effective as it is without his lively input!
Walt, needs little introduction in the area of automation. This writer has known him since the eighties at least and indeed maybe further back through his involvement as a leader in the International Society of Automation. His authoritative presence in the ISA Publications Department, including as Publications VP, was an inspiration to many. When he was appointed as Editor in Chief of Control Magazine his ethical side came to the fore and he disengaged immediately from involvement in any ISA activities which could have been seen as compromising to the society’s interest. This was not universally recognised and led to some estrangement from some members especially in the early days. However thankfully the Society has recognised his expertise and dedication when he was created a Fellow some years ago. He continues to support ISA in those areas where there is no clash of interests and indeed at the ISA Automation Week earlier this month was presented with another award by the Management Division recognising his “special contributions,” to that division.
He is a man who calls a spade a spade. Sometimes people might think him to be too forthcoming in his opinions but what no one can deny is his sense of devotion to what he sees and understands as the truth. One might say that in automation terms his motto might be “Fiat justitia ruat caelum!” His robust interventions in the wireless standard debates are a case in point. His well named “Sound-Off Blog” is a never to be missed yet at times very personal commentary on the automation sector. It is to be hoped that Putman sees fit to leave these postings on the control website rather than remove all trace of his prodigious input.
His venture with David Spitzer in Spitzer & Boyes, is another useful resource and David’s monthly e-zine is a welcome delivery in many automation mailboxes advice and explanations of the various technologies. This is a consultancy providing flow and level measurement engineering, market research, and related consulting services to instrumentation users, manufacturers, and representatives on a worldwide basis. We look forward to Walt’s & David’s strengthening of this input into our discipline. “You have an amazing ability to improve things wherever you may be. Best of luck with this, and all your endeavours.” says another on hearing the news!
We mentioned previously that we have known Walt for many years. A very human being who has had his share of sadness especially when his wife of many years died suddenly a few years ago. He has recently found happiness with a lady called Joy (in name and in nature!) and indeed we in Read-out cherish their visit to us in Ireland during his honeymoon in the Summer. All his many friends were delighted that in Joy he has again found a soul-mate.
Hopefully in this development automation professionals throughout the world will be able to continue to benefit from Walt’s unique expertise and opinions for many years into the future.
Reading this it looks like an obituary but of course it isn’t thank God. It is however an opportunity for this writer at least to express appreciation and perhaps gratitude for a contribution to the world of automation that is the life to date of Walt Boyes!
Good luck Walt, and every good wish for success in this new phase of your life.