#ISAutowk: World-class technical content at Nashville automation event!


ISA’s Automation Week: Technology and Solutions Event 2013 wrapped up on Thursday (7/11/2013), in the well known Music City, Nashville in the USA. Three days of comprehensive technical sessions, keynote addresses, networking events, standards meetings, and training courses were availed of by hundreds of automation professionals.

Nashville, TN, USA. 5-7 November 2013.Follow events on twitter #ISAutowk

Releases received at Read-out from ISA and others about the event!

# Industrial Security Expert Eric Byres Receives ISA Award (David Greenfield, Automation World, 4/11/2013)

# Peter Martin speaks at #ISAutoWk as replacement keynote (Walt Boyes, ControlGlobal, 5/11/2013)

# Preventing a Cyber Pearl Harbor (David Greenfield, Automation World, 5/11/2013)

# Building an ROI for Industrial Cyber Security (Eric Knap, Security Week, 6/11/2013)

#  Maverick Technologies’ Paul Galeski explains his strategy for drawing higher attendance. (Interview with Control Engineering’s Peter Welendre, 7/11/2013)

# ISA104Meeting (Terry Blevins, Modelling & Control, 25/11/2013)

The Automation Value Proposition (Walt Boyes, Sound Off, 10/12/2013)

The ISA Automation Week program also included 24 technical sessions, organized into six educational tracks. These tracks, which included Industrial Network Security; Creating Business Value through Automation; The Connected Enterprise; Wireless Applications; Industrial Automation and Control; and Asset Lifecycle Management and Optimization/Strategy, were organised with a focus on the critical components of successful automation – safety, people, business and technology.

This was the first time we have actually been unable to travel to the event and so we had to rely on the tweets of those who were happy to share information. The number of tweeters was surprisingly small though some were very good a keeping us informed especially Control  Global’s  Walt Boyes and Joel Don who was tweeting under the ISA Interchange identity. There were one or two sharings commenting on the paradox of an excellent high class programme and the fact that the number of delegates was small. “The program is terrific. The audience is small,” said one, and another “I don’t know what we have to do to build it up again.” It has always been a bit of a mystery to me how the incredibly valuable and unaligned resource treasure of ISA does not appear to attract American professionals in the way it seems to internationally.

The event was preceded by some governance meetings of the ISA itself which had delegates from throught the world discussing and voting on important changes in how the Societ is governed. The delegates were also treated to a pre-view of a new ISA website which is the result of mammoth work behind the scenes. This will make the virtual leviathan of information already on the ISA site more easily accessible to members and other visitor. The beta-version should be on line in matter of weeks. Watch out for it!

Eric Byres accepts his award!

Eric Byres accepts his award!

Another stalwart of Automation Week is the eve event of the ISA Honours & Awards Banquet where Automation Professionals are honoured by their peers. These included Eric Byres, of Tofino, one of the pioneers in expertise and leadership in the quest for cybersecurity solutions to protect industrial control systems.

Yes! Automation can!
Dr Peter Martin, vice president of business value solutions for the Software and Industrial Automation division of Invensys, delivered the opening keynote address on the Tuesday morning, entitled “The Future of Automation.” He focused on the importance of automation professionals in solving the world’s most significant problems. “When people say you’re biting off too much of a project, they might use the expression that you’re trying to solve world hunger. I want you to understand that in the automation industry, we can solve world hunger. We can do it, and we’re the only people who can do it.”

Dr. Martin stressed that the barriers to solving the world’s most significant problems include access to energy, water, food, material goods and chemicals. Automation professionals, he said, can figure out how to solve those access problems, and “that challenge must be a rallying cry for the next generation to pursue careers in our industries and make a real difference in our futures.”

One phrase impressed our tweeters “Collaborate, it’s a nice thing to do, just doesn’t work. You need to incent for it.”

Preventing a cyber Pearl Harbour
Wednesday morning’s keynote address was delivered by an American General, Robert E. Wheeler, Deputy Chief Information Officer of the United States Department of Defense. He is responsible for Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) and Information Infrastructure Capabilities (DCIO for C4IIC) and serves on the executive staff of the US Secretary of Defense. This address focused on the importance of industrial infrastructure cybersecurity and the threats posed daily to our nation’s critical infrastructure networks.

General Robert Wheeler USAF

General Robert Wheeler USAF

“In the Department of Defense, our job is to assure mission execution in the face of cyber warfare by the most capable adversaries in the world,” said Wheeler. “We have to get the bad guys, protect the good guys, take out insurgents, and not hurt anyone else. That’s very hard.”

Wheeler went on to discuss the protection of America’s SCADA systems, power grid, and other key infrastructure assets. “Information assurance must be baked in from the very beginning of your work as engineers and automation professionals – you can’t just bolt it on,” he said and this was reported by our tweeters. The Automation Federation and ISA cybersecurity experts have been invited by the White House and NIST to participate in developing the framework for the President Barack Obama’s executive order PPD-21 calling for the cybersecurity of industrial automation and control systems and critical infrastructure.

Other tweets: “We have not gone down the BYOD (Buy your own device) road. We don’t think it’s going to save us that much money in the long run.” and “We are always going to have some cyber weakness because it is open- this is not the same view in other countries.” Perhaps more rivetting were these:  “The closed systems of yesteryear are open today” and more bluntly  “SCADA has lost its protection by connecting to the Internet.”

When asked about the importance of training and recruiting future cybersecurity professionals, Wheeler stressed the importance of STEM education initiatives combined with mentoring programs that can ignite the curiosity and intellect of future engineers, inspiring them to become the next cyber warriors in the fight to keep American companies and infrastructure safe and secure.

Workforce Development
Thursday’s keynote address, the final keynote of the conference, featured a distinguished panel of experts discussing workforce development issues within our industries. Moderated by Maurice Wilkins, Ph.D., vice president of the Global Strategic Marketing Center, Yokogawa Corporation of America, the panel included Paul Galeski, CEO & founder of MAVERICK Technologies; Dr. Martin of Invensys; and Steve Huffman, vice president of marketing and business development for Mead O’Brien, Inc. “Workforce development is one of the largest issues facing industry and one that will have a quick and lasting impact on process automation personnel,” commented Dr. Wilkins. “We need to bring together supplier, systems integrator, and educational communities to reverse the trends and inevitabilities that will affect us all – they each bring a unique and valuable perspective.”

“Our rich technical sessions and thought-provoking keynotes provided attendees with new take-home tools, tips and techniques to help them deliver even better performance in their jobs,” said ISA Automation Week Program Chair Paul Galeski. “We are very proud of the technical content we’ve put together for this unique, world-class event.” Or as we have ready quoted above:  “The program is terrific”

Attendees agreed with Galeski’s sentiments about the depth and breadth of the technical content in the program. “I have been attending ISA Automation Week for three consecutive years. The conference offers great technical sessions, always something new, and always something to learn,” said Hector Torres, senior process and control engineer, at Eastman Chemical.

In addition to technical sessions and keynote addresses, the event also featured a networking hub with ISA partner companies, technology briefings and social events.

BYVaRyjIMAAO5s_As the event drew to an end this somewhat plaintive tweet, “Need titles for the flight home? Check out the #ISAutoWk bookstore, across from the Networking Hub.” This is of course the indefatigable Publications Department which issues a regular supply of books, the Society Magazine, the incomparable ISA Transactions, the Journal of Automations and innumerable papers since the formation of the Society almost 70 years ago. The proceedings for this years are now available free to members for download!

“ISA Automation Week was a great opportunity to meet new prospects, spend time with our customers and network with experts,” noted Ned Espy, Technical Director at Beamex, which was announced as ISA’s Premier Strategic Partner for Calibration earlier in the week. “The presentation content was the best in years with relevant topics. I also learned we are part of an organization that is striving to end world hunger!”

Additional ISA partners participating at ISA Automation Week included ISA’s Premier Strategic Partner for Systems Integration, MAVERICK Technologies; ISA’s Corporate Partners, Honeywell and OSIsoft; and ISA’s Automation Week Partners, aeSolutions, ARC Advisory Group, Eaton, ExperTune, and Falcon Electric.


Automation Week 2012 – Orlando, Florida USA

Automation Week 2011 – Mobile, Alabama (USA)

Instruments to strike up in Music City USA!


Attendee registration for ISA Automation Week 2013—the premier annual event for automation and control professionals worldwide is now open.


Leading automation and control experts, authors, innovators and thought leaders across the globe will come together at the event to demonstrate how to fully leverage the power and potential of automation solutions. Attendees will learn that decisions in one organizational area can have significant, sometimes adverse, effects in others, and that the key is addressing core operational needs—safety, people, business and technology—in a more proactive, farsighted and integrated manner. See our report on last years event in Orlando (FL USA) – Not a Mickey Mouse affair.

ISA Automation Week will be conducted 5-7 November 2013 in energetic and exciting Nashville (TN USA), also known as Music City USA!  Registration by 20 August 2013, will save $150 (say €120,00) off the full-price registration fee. Register Here!

ISA Automation Week Partners
ARC Advisory Group, the leading technology research and advisory firm for industry and infrastructure.
Beamex, a technology and service company that develops, manufactures and markets high-quality calibration equipment, software, systems and services for the calibration and maintenance of process instruments.
Cooper Bussmann Wireless, the manufacturer of North American- and European-styled fuses, and the producer of inductors and transformers for power quality in electronic applications and wireless solutions.
ExperTune, the designer of pre-packaged industrial software for the process industries worldwide.
Falcon Electric, a leading manufacturer of award-winning power protection and conversion solutions.
GE Energy Management, the designer of technology solutions for the transmission, distribution, management, conversion and optimization of electrical power across multiple energy-intensive industries.
MAVERICK Technologies (also an ISA Strategic Partner), a global leader in industrial automation, enterprise integration and sustaining services for clients across a wide range of manufacturing and process industries.
OSIsoft (also an ISA Corporate Partner), the leader in real-time data and events infrastructure through the PI System, a streaming data and event management software product for use in manufacturing, energy, utilities, life sciences, data centers, facilities and the process industries.

A new Attendee Networking Hub
Attendees and vendor companies will connect with conference attendees in ISA Automation Week’s new Attendee Networking Hub.
Dedicated space at the Nashville Convention Center will be provided for solutions providers to allow for direct and interactive contact with attendees. This gathering space – known as the Attendee Networking Hub – is ideally situated adjacent to the conference session rooms. The Attendee Networking Hub will be the focal point for workshops, presentations and solutions demonstrations as ISA Partners and suppliers make their technical experts, resources, solutions and product information available to conference attendees.
In addition, the Hub will be open for evening receptions, entertainment, and conference breaks.

Keep an eye on theCorporate Partners
ISA Automation Week’s Corporate Partners (see box on right!) are committed to helping attendees get the most out of their conference experience, and introducing to them new and innovative marketplace solutions.

These companies represent a group of select companies who serve the automation and control marketplace. Their partnership agreements with ISA provide them with the opportunities to offer their technical resources and expertise to conference attendees, and to demonstrate product applications and unique automation solutions.

ISA’s Corporate Partnerships Program offers companies customized packages, combining ISA products and services with marketing opportunities across all channels, and providing a streamlined approach to corporate sponsorship. ISA’s program features three main levels of sponsorship: ISA Strategic Partners, ISA Corporate Partners, and ISA Automation Week Partners. The program, in its fourth year, is limited to a select group of companies at each level to maintain the highest level of visibility for each partner.

Not a Mickey Mouse event….

Learning the central motif in the third Automation Week.
Other Reports
How Your Plant Resembles an Amusement Park! (Paul Studebaker, Sustainable Plant)
Advanced Control Foundation at ISA Automation Week  (Terry Blevins, Blog)
A tale of two conferences (Gary Mintchel, Automation World)
ISA Automation Week 2012: Innovation in Orlando (Jim Montague, Control)
Automation Professionals Share Challenges, Solutions at ISA Automation Week 2012 (ISA Official Release)
Automation Professionals attend ISA Automation Week (Automation.com)
ISA Automation Week 2012 (Barry Young ARC)
Not a Mickey Mouse Event, ISA Week Overview (Automation Week)
Fall Leaders Meeting & Automation Week, It’s A Wrap! (ISA Interchange)

President Bob Lindemen Comments:
Real conversations start here!

Proceedings AVAILABLE

Last year we reported on the annual ISA Automation Week held in the port city of Mobile (AL USA). We said that the ISA played to its strengths and demonstrated these to be in the area of training and dessemination of knowledge.

This year in the larger venue in Florida’s Orlando, the strengths and the weaknesses of the event were clear. But the event could by no means be called a flop still less a disaster or a Mickey Mouse event. (See note at bottom of page for this reference “Mickey Mouse Event!”).

Peter Martin introduces the first keynote speaker!

Strong and relevant programme.
The strength was undoubtedly technical programme. ISA again demonstrated unequivically that its top priority was this programme it truly does serve as the cornerstone of the event. It was a world-class conference covering the latest and hottest topics in automation and control across several technical tracks. Each track offered in-depth sessions—ranging from basic to advanced—with information critical to several identified automation and control career paths.

We were unable to attend many of these sessions but those we did attend were quite remarkable in the quality and clarity of the presentations, the breadth of knowledge imparted, the intelligence of the questions asked as well as the number of delegates attending each. The Programme Chairman, Peter Martin of Invensys and his Vice-Chair, Alison Smith of Aspen certainly deserve credit for such a relevent programme.

It was divided into strands or tracks, as they called them, under two broad headings. The first such were called Operational Excellence Tracks which included Control Performance , Asset Performance, Human Perfornace and Safety/Environmental topics. The Technology Excellence Tracks included Wireless and the currently hot topic of Security. As can be seen some of the tracks would have a certain overlap with others and there were inevitably clashes in the programme as due to limitations of time sessions on say Human Performance and Security, or Wireless and Asset Performance would occur at the same times. ISA tried to alleviate this somewhat by providing the conference proceedings for delegates on line on their site. (Only attendees registered to the conference have access to these papers!).

Topics of interest included the Intriguing “Governments & Industrial Security,” “Operational Excellence – the essential Driver of increased profitability, ” “What your DCS knows but wont tell you,” “Are Humans needed in a crisis,” “Getting results from Social Media,” “Establishing an effective plant cybersecurity program,” and, from John Barth of Apprion, “Turnrounds, Real Time and Beyond: How a wireless plant network changed the way we do turnarounds.”

To help people navigate what to attend of the dozens of sessions, ISA again used “Pathfinder” indicating the job function or professional goals who would have most interest particular areas or interests. These headings were Engineer, Technician, management, Acedemia, Marketing and this year for the first time Executive for those particularly interested in how Automation drives excellence and the bottom line.

Any of the sessions I attended rarely had less than about thirty attendees and some had many more.

Walt Disney: Lessons for Industrial Production

Lessons from Walt Disney!
Each day started with a keynote event and on the first day we were addressed by Greg Hale, who is Chief Safety Officer and VP at Walt Disney. He is responsible for the safety of cast members, as staff are called and millions of visitors at the various Walt Disney parks and resorts throughout the world. Despite the name of Walt Disney’s most famous creation it was quite obvious that his organisation was certainley no “Mickey Mouse”organisation. He pointed out that this was due to Walt Disney’s “keys to success,” the four critical areas every employee learns to prioritise that lead to the company’s global reputation for excellence. The keys are “safety, courtesy, show and efficiency,” and he pointed out they ought mean as much to running a sustainable plant as they do to selling Mickey Mouse.

The second day there was an open discussion on the Future of Automation an intriguing insight into the views of suppliers, consultants and end-users into where our profession is or ought to be going. This panel included Invensys Operations Management CEO Michael Caliel, Chet Mroz, CEO Yokogawa America, and Wolfgang Morr, General Manager of NAMUR.

Finally on day three, Travis Capps, VP of Energy & Gasses at Valery Energy Corporation reinforced the oft expressed opinion becoming more and more real to us, “It’s not business as usual anymore.”

Dick Morley surrounded by disciples

Lessons from the Master!
An abiding memory for us was the “Fireside Chat” session with the “Father of the PLC,” Dick Morley, on Tuesday evening. Morley’s Chat offered attendees a rare opportunity to sit and talk with one of automation’s best known legends, a leading visionary in the field of advanced technology development and an inventor who holds more than 20 technology patents. I will hold the sight of “Father” Morley surrounded by a phalanx of devotees like a Greek philosopher of old holding his disciples enthralled with his wisdom. Long may he continue to do so!

Where were the big boys?
We’ve talked about the strengths but of course there were drawbacks and deficiencies too. I suppose the weakest point was the “Solution Providers’ Showcase.” This was the exhibition area and the main problem here was the size of the hall. It was too big for what was on display. The displays and the opportunity to meet stand personnel were good and the delegates were happy enough from what we could ascertain from visitors. The organisation allowed for a large gap in presentations in the middle of the day for eats and networking on the floor. But where oh where were the big solution providers? Where was ABB? Where was Emerson? Where was Rockwell? Where was Endress & Hauser? Where was Yokogawa? Yes some of them provided speakers but unless one attended those particular sessions how could one know?

Siemens were there however and the ISA Partners, Honeywell, Invensys, Cooper Bussman, Maverick, A3 Controls, Fluke and OSIsoft. I was a little disapointed too in the number and variety of tweets eminating from the event using the hashtag #ISAutowk, comparing it, perhaps unfairly, to company sponsored events.

A really busy stand was the ISA Book Store which seemed to be throbbing with activity anytime I passed it and included several new Books still warm from the printing presses.

50 Years of ISAT

This was my last year as ISA Publications Department VP and it was a particular honour for me to present awards on behalf of the Department to the eminent and learned authors. The 5oth birthday of ISA Transactions, the Journal of Automation was also marked. Dr Russ Rhinehart, immediate past Editor, gave a run down on the journal and how it anticipated so many trends and development in the field over the last fifty years and also the emergence of many of the papers from outside of the USA, demonstrating the true international or global reach of the profession. He then cut the Birthday cake. Fire restrictions forbade the burning of fifty candles!

Show Daily from Automation.Com & InTech
Day 1    Day 2    Day 3

The show daily newsletter was published on line each day as last year by InTech, ISA’s magazine and automation.com. This will help get a flavour of the show “as it happened!”

Speaking with ISA Executive Director, Pat Gouhin, while not alluding to its weaknesses confirmed our own view,  “We’ve had an incredible week, with dozens of true legends in their fields sharing their knowledge and insights with a motivated, excited group of attendees.”  This enthusiasm was clear in a comment by a Nigerian delegate “ISA Automation Week has been a stimulating, friendly, learning-intensive event.”  And a tweet (#isautowk)  as everybody was heading home on the last day said “Always learning!” This feature, “Learning,” was echoed again and again by delegates so much so that it could be described as a motif for the event.

This is the third year of Automation Week and hopefully ISA will be able to tweek the changes to ensure a fully successful and exciting event on all fronts in Nashville Tennessee USA for 2013.

Technical Programme Overview!

• “Mickey Mouse Event” This expression refers to something that is small and not too bright, like a mouse. No relation to the Disney Corp.

This report was quoted in the October issue of Industrial Automation & Process Control Insider as follows:

“Eoin O’Riain, of Read-out.net, now in his last year as ISA Publications Department vp, recently reported on the ISA Automation Week, held in Orlando, Florida. The strength of this ISA event was in the technical programme. Peter Martin of Invensys and Alison Smith of Aspen organized a worldclass conference covering the latest and hottest topics in automation and control across several technical tracks. Under the Operational Excellence Tracks these were Control Performance, Asset Performance, Human Performance and Safety/ Environmental: the Technology Excellence Tracks included Wireless, and a hot topic: Security.

On the second day there was an open discussion on the Future of Automation, with a panel that included Invensys Operations Management ceo Michael Caliel, Chet Mroz, ceo at Yokogawa America, and Wolfgang Morr, general manager of NAMUR.

The weakest aspect of the event was the “Solution Provider’s Showcase”, an exhibition hall for commercial sales booths, that was just too big, with no attendance from suppliers like ABB, Emerson, Rockwell, Endress+Hauser and Yokogawa. Those present, like Siemens, and ISA partners Honeywell, Invensys, Cooper Bussman, Maverick, A3 Controls, Fluke and OSIsoft had the full attention of the delegates.

As one delegate from Nigeria commented, the week was a “learningintensive event”: reflecting the ISA strength in ‘Training and Dissemination of Knowledge’”

Celebrating and recognising automation advances and achievement


Some time ago we reported on the change in the format of the well respected award system of the International Society of Automation (ISA). Their new concept in awards called  Celebrating Excellence – recognises excellence in leadership, excellence in Society service, excellence in corporate and individual technical innovation, and excellence in education.

Fellow Award Plaques at last years event!

The ISA Honours & Awards Committee met in June to review candidate nominations and provide recommendations to the ISA Executive Board for approval. There are many well known names among those listed which is a veritable who’s who of those who have made a memorable contribution to the discipline of automation during last year and throughout their lives.

“The Honours & Awards Committee recognises that much time and effort is invested in the submittal of a nomination,” said Nelson Ninan, Chair of that Committee and former President of the Society.   “I would like to thank everyone who participated in the 2012 nomination process.”.

Also announced were Fellowships of the Society and Member Choice awardees (selected by vote of members). The full slate of awards is listed below and presentations will be during the 59th 2012 Annual Honors & Awards Gala being held as part of this years Automation Week in Orlando (FL USA 24-27 Sept 2012).

See also ISA Fellow, Walt Boyes’s, article in July/August issue of InTech: ISA’s new awards program celebrates excellence in automation.

2012 ISA Fellows

Elevation to the distinguished grade of ISA Fellow is granted to ISA Senior Members in recognition of outstanding achievements in scientific or engineering fields as recognized by ISA peers.

Terrence L. Blevins
Bluebonnet Section and Emerson Process Management, Austin, Texas, USA
For contributions to the development of process control theory, hardware, and software.
See also Gary Mintchel’s “Terry Blevins is Named ISA Fellow” (6/9/2012) Also Jim Cahill’s Terry Blevins and Mark Nixon Honored as ISA Fellows (11/9/2012)

Gerald F. Gilman, P.E.
Cincinnati Section and JFG Technology Transfer LLC, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
For developing standards and training for boiler control and advances in burner management systems engineering.

Jin Jiang
Toronto Section and The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
For contributions and leadership in education and training in control and instrumentation theories for application in energy systems.

Daniel J. Lee
Power Industry Division and ABB Inc. Power Generation, Wickliffe, Ohio, USA
For advancing state of the art applications in plant wide automation of industrial and large fossil fired power plants.

Mark J. Nixon
Bluebonnet Section and Emerson Process Management, Austin, Texas, USA
For contributions to the development of process control and wireless technologies.
See Jim Cahill’s Terry Blevins and Mark Nixon Honored as ISA Fellows (11/9/2012)

Nicholas P. Sands, P.E.
Wilmington Section and DuPont, Newark, Delaware, USA
For development of global alarm monitoring applications, interlock bypassing, and alarm suppression safety standards.

Belle R. Upadhyaya, Ph.D.
Oak Ridge Section and University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
For research and development on nuclear power plant sensing and control systems leading to enhanced, fault tolerant, power reactor operation methods.

Jeffery Williams
Power Industry Division and Emerson Process Management, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
For development of embedded advanced control applications for large utility fossil fired boilers to optimize the combustion process while minimizing combustion emissions.
See also Jim Cahill on Jeff Williams in “Embedded Advanced Control Innovations Lead to ISA Fellow Recognition” (Sept 2012)

2012 Celebrating Excellence Honors & Awards Program

Excellence in Leadership

Recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the industry and/or profession to advance automation.

Paul Galeski, P.E., CAP
For creating a paradigm shift in systems integration by establishing and leading two cutting-edge firms to global prominence in less than 10 years and for advancing automation through technical and strategic business solutions.

Excellence in Analytical Technical Innovation,
Endowed by the ISA Analysis Division

Recognizes an individual who has played a critical role in the conception, design, and/or implementation of an innovative product, process, and/or service in the analytical technology field.

Phil C. Harris
For developments in ultra violet spectroscopy that have advanced both process and emissions monitoring capabilities.

Excellence in Individual Technical Innovation
Endowed by UOP

Recognizes individuals who have played a critical role in the conception, design, and/or implementation of an innovative product, process and/or service. May be presented to multiple (up to four) honorees.

Mr. Shankar Baliga – General Monitors
For contribution to the development of an intelligent optical flame detection technique which reduces false alarm, using Artificial Neural Network processing.

Mr. Bob Farmer – Siemens Industries
For development of a unique & reliable communication method for Process Analyzers.

Excellence in Corporate Technical Innovation

Recognizes the company whose contributions and innovations have enhanced social value.

Kenexis Consulting Corporation
For contribution to solve technical and economic challenges — the development of Effigy™ Fire & Gas Systems performance modeling software.

Excellence in Technical Presentation

Recognizes the author(s) of the most outstanding paper, article, presentation, or document published and/or presented on behalf of ISA that introduces a new technology or explains an existing automation process.

Mitch Johnson (JMS Southeast, Inc.)
Allan G. Gilson (Black & Veatch, Inc)
For the paper “The New ASME Thermowell Standard and Optimal Thermowell Design,” presented at ISA Automation Week 2011 in Mobile, Alabama.

Excellence in Education

Recognizes an individual who has developed and/or enhanced established educational programs to advance the automation profession in educational institutions.

Gangbing Song
For advancing the automation profession through education.

Excellence in Enduring Service

Recognizes dedicated volunteer service to the Society at the grassroots level. May be presented to multiple (up to five) honorees.
Member’s Choice Award Honorees
(Member’s Choice candidates are nominated by the Member’s and honorees are selected by vote of the members. Approval by the Executive Board is not required.)

Division Leader of the Year
Recognizes a Division leader whose activities in the previous year, in an innovative way, have provided exceptional value to a Division, or enhanced an existing conference and/or symposia, or contributed to the development of a new conference and/or symposia.
William Stange – Aerospace Industries Division.

Section Leader of the Year
Recognizes a Section leader whose activities in the previous year, in an innovate way, provided exceptional value to a local Section.
Nilangshu Dey– Qatar Section

Standards Leader of the Year
Recognizes a standards committee member whose activities in the previous year have contributed to the development and advancement of industry standards.
Bridget Fitzpatrick– ISA18 and ISA101

Student Mentor of the Year
Recognizes a member whose activities in the previous year have promoted and encouraged student involvement in automation programs.
Mary Cannon– Houston Section

Volunteer Leader of the Year
Recognizes a member who in the previous year has demonstrated exceptional leadership of a task force, committee, or board at any level within the Society (Section, Division, District, Department, Executive) resulting in a specific positive outcome.
Antonio Alves – Montreal Section

Carlos Liboni
Harriet Radvandsky
Arunachalam Ramanathan
Frank White
Douglas Zimmerman

For dedicated and enduring service to the Society.

Excellence in Society Service

Recognizes distinguished and dedicated volunteer service to the Society.

Declan Lordan
For distinguished leadership and dedicated service to the Society.

Division Excellence

Recognizes an ISA Division for development and/or execution of programs and/or services to advance the mission of the Society.

Analysis Division
For the deployment of innovative ideas and technologies in the operation of the Analysis Division Symposium and significantly exceeding financial expectations.

Section Excellence

Recognizes an ISA Section for development and/or execution of programs and/or services to advance the mission of the Society.

ISA ITMIN Student Section (Mexico)
For creating an Expo that drew students, companies, and professionals to the Institute to strengthen the knowledge of automation through direct contact with professionals.

Special Recognition – Exceptional Student Mentor

Professor Robert Glenn Allen (posthumous)
For dedication and devotion in mentoring of students.

The Society hosts an annual Honors and Awards Gala where Individuals selected for recognition are acknowledged in a prestigious formal awards ceremony that includes a gala reception and dinner.  This is usually held during the Automation Week, Technology and Solutions Event, which this year will be held in Orlando, Florida USA.

Triumph on Mobile Bay – ISA plays to strengths


To mutilate the word’s of Stephen Foster “I went to Alabama with a banjo on my knee…” The words were in my head and though the instrument in which I was interested wasn’t a banjo, I was going to Alabama to the 2nd ISA Automation week which was held in the old town of Mobile on the shore of a shimmering bay. It was my first visit to the state and the city and I was impressed by several things. The city itself was old and manageable, the people were friendly and the conference facilities were worthy of a city three times the size. Indeed better than most.

Having had some misgivings after the 1st Automation Week in Houston (see our blog Debacle or basis for development? Oct 2010) it was with some anxiety that attendees and especially exhibitors braved the sometimes convoluted skyways to the small Mobile Regional Airport.

They needn’t have had any worries. A resurgent ISA rose to meet that challenge and turned a fairly large and influential band of critics to acknowledge the success of the effort.

Lessons learned
The event learned many lessons from the first Automation Week. The Exhibition Area was open all day for a start instead of the “better than my job’s worth” closing during the conference sessions. This facilitated casual visitors and indeed interactivity between the booth personnel. The site was WiFi enabled throughout and this connection was free with no fussy procedures like registering or passwords.

Mardi Gras Party at #ISAutowk (Pic Jon DiPietro)

A master stroke was the decision to provide a free lunch to all the attendees, and to hold that lunch inside the supplier showcase. This ensured an excellent attendance at the showcase and multiple opportunities to network and for interaction between conference attendees and exhibitors. In addition there were daily themes – Students on the Wednesday and Technicians on the Thursday – as well as other events such as the presentation of awards to Authors on the tuesday and the Mardi Gras party held in association with FIRST the organisation set up to encourage young people to engage in technology and engineering. (Every denizen of Mobile proudly informed us  that Mardi Gras was first celebrated in that city in 1703 which was 15 years before runners-in New Orleans was founded!)

A daily e-newsletter was published each day of the event!

Day One
Day Two
Day Three

Picture Highlights

More pics on ISA Facebook Page

Post Event Message from ISA President Staples (Nov’11)

Another departure was the provision of an electronic Automation Week Daily comprising reports and impressions for each day. This was largely the work of volunteers and InTech & Automation.com staff, who fed articles to the professionals for formating. Sterling work here by Emily Kovac who sat patiently over a hot computer in the press room receiving the work of the writers.

Quality Content
But of course the highlight of the event was the conference sessions, a series of talks and discussions organised under various themes. These followed a keynote address each morning. The Technical Conference Organising Committee headed by veteran Automation guru, Greg McMillan ably abetted by deputy Dean Ford produced an enviable programme which with the associated training sessions were described by Control’s Editor in Chief Walt Boyes, as “a classic ISA symposium– but on steroids!”

One of these was a Tribute to Greg Shinskey which consisted of a panel lead be Nick Sands comprising Greg McMillan and Terry Tolliver, ISA Fellows, who both gave examples of how their lives in automation were influenced by Shinskey. This tribute included the first screening of an exclusive interview by Greg McMillan of Greg Shinskey on his latest thoughts on how to make the most of the PID controller for improving process efficiency and capacity – Shinskey and the Best of Process Control.

Keynotes to die for
The keynotes had Charlie Cutler on the first morning talking on “The Status of Real-Time Optimization and Multivariable Predictive Control” and held a full hall enthralled for the duration of his talk. Though hardly an exciting speaker in terms of delivery the quality of the content  held everybody’s attention.

Charlie Cutler, Greg McMillan, Terry Tolliver, Ross Rhinehart and Béla Lipták has the floor (Pic Jon DiPietro)

On day two there was a formidable “all star” panel of experts representing a probable four or five hundred years of cumulative automation knowledge at the one table (see pic)!  This gave a fascination vision of each experts perceptions of the past and looking forward to the future of automation. They shared their knowledge which they considered essential for advancing the use of process automation and optimisation. We gained insights on the best existing practices and new possibilities for the use of process automation and optimization for improving individual unit operation performance and overall manufacturing efficiency and capacity.

The keynote for day three was the incomparable Béla Lipták. This was to include a description of the latest developments in industrial automation, covering sensors, valves, controllers, optimization of unit operations, safety, and displays. His explained how the control and modeling techniques developed for industry are also applicable to build models for non-industrial processes. A copy of his presentation was given to each attendee and as his talk could have lasted a number of hours he indicated in advance those “slides” he would be using and those which we could study ourselves later. Would that all presenters were as considerate!

Tracks and finding ’em
The sessions which followed were well organised and gave valuable information to attendees. The tracks and their organisers are listed here:

Advanced Process Control Techniques: Russ Rhinehardt
Analyzers: Jim Tatera
Automation & Control System Design: John Munro
Energy: Don Labbe
Human Asset Optimisation: Brian Bridgewater
Installation, Operations & Maintenance: Greg Lehmann
Safety & Security: Ed Marszal & Greg Speake
Wireless Technology and Applications: Brad Carlberg

More than one participant remarked on the professionalism and the quality of content. All in all it was in the strong ISA tradition of utilising the volunteers unique knowledge and experience to provide top-class and useful information and techniques for use in the application of modern automation in process and manufacturing.

As in the previous event there was the possibility of planning a visit to Automation Week before hand and on-line by using the Pathfinder system to act as a guide to selecting a unique combination of sessions—a
conference “path”—suited to individual job function and professional goals. Technical tracks were designed to provide in-depth knowledge of various subject areas through comprehensive presentations and tutorials. Each sesion was catagorised under one or more of the following headings: Engineer, Technician, Management, Marketing and Academia/R&D/ Scientist.

The only real complaint we have heard is the fact that the proceedings were not available and would not be available for some weeks.

There were other peripheral events too like the Honours & Awards Gala on the Monday evening where the society honours the great and the good of the Automation world. This year the societies highest honour was bestowed on Andy Chatha, President and CEO of ARC Advisory Group who was made an Honorary Member.

The Industries and Sciences and the Automation and Technology Departments of ISA recognised
the efforts of ISA Technical Division Volunteers and Officers at the Joint A&T and I&S Awards Luncheon. That evening a short ceremony and buffet to honour authors in ISA publications including InTech, ISA Transactions, Papers and Standards. A further lunchon on the Wednesday recognised the ISA’s Analysis Division leaders and paper authors.

A view of the exhibition floor

Networking opportunities
There were two events on the show floor on Tuesday night. The Divisions Spotlight Showcase was one Membership in ISA Divisions connects members to a global network of professionals with their technical and/or industry interest. Vistors met new professional colleagues and reconnected with other industry professionals who share their interests, in a casual, fun environment.

A firm celebration at ISA events through the years has been the YAPFEST, where attendees—young automation professionals (YAPs) and college students interested in careers in automation meet and share positive experiences about being a part of a professional society like ISA.

As we mentioned above the Mardi Gras party was held on the Wednesday and a fun time was had by all. The celebrations ended with a draw for a muliplicity of prizes ranging from iPads, Fluke multimeters to tee-shirts and a free ride with NASCAR driver Jennifer Jo Cobb, and her truck on the race track. (She  had made a pit-stop with her slightly damaged vehicle, on Tuesday & Thursday to edify the small boy in many of the engineers visiting the event!)

Predatary tweeting! #ISAutowk
The ready availability of WiFi meant that people were able to share experiences with the the Automation Community unable for one reason or another. Attendees were encouraged to tweet their comments and experiences. Indeed it was an opportunity for inveterate tweeters, who had become firm friends though they had never met. Thus this correspondent while making his way to the first keynote received the following tweet on his phone, “Am at the back of the hall working on my presentation, where are you?” It was from @jimcahill, Emerson’s éminence grise of the internet and Emerson Process Experts Blogger. I was finally able to meet him and tell him how to pronounce his name properly! A flurry of tweets followed between us and many others in the hall and gradually a steady of tweets eminated from the various sessions and from other outside. These were relayed to all and sundry on a special tweet screen in the Conference Centre. In short to quote @greg_lehmann “Fun and Informative ‘real’ times were had tweeting at #ISAutowk see you next year in Orlando!” The term “Predatary Tweeter” was coined and a suggestion made for the design of a new tee-shirt bearing this epithet!

Look and see!
The intrepid work of Jon DiPietro, who also delivered one of the sessions in Using Social Media to your Advantage on Personal Inbound Marketing, ensured that some of the presentations were livestreamed or recorded on video for those not present or for looking at at a later stage. These may be found on the new ISA Interchange Livestream page.

The most pithy comments on the event may be left to the tweeters “Great job 4 #ISAutoWeek! ”
“Yes indeed! #isautowk. Let’s go back in 2013!” and “Fun and Informative ‘real’ times were had tweeting at #ISAutoWK. ” But perhaps the best accolade I’ve seen so far is this from Walt Boyes: “ISA has finally figured out what they do best, and what they can best leverage the strength and capabilites of the volunteers and ISA members to do. ISA does red hot symposia– with allied training and tabletop showcases for vendors.”

We look forward the Automation Week 3 next September in Orlando, Florida (USA, 24-27 September 2012). It has a lot to live up to and under the gifted programme chairmanship of Dr Peter Martin I am sure the Mobile event will be equalled if not exceeded.

Well done ISA!

Other Blogs/Releases
ISA Automation Week 2011 Features Knowledge and Networking (Inderpreet ShokerARC Advisory 27/10/2011)
ISA honors authors at awards ceremony (Susan Colwell ISA Interchange 30/10/2011)
ISA Automation Week Rebounds from Last Year’s Disaster (Walt Boyes Control 20/10/2010)
ISA Automation Week 2011 Wraps Up, Heads to Orlando for 2012 (ISA RElease 20/10/2010)
Other Releases etc on Automation Week (Various Dates)

ISA – a new momentum!


ISA Executive Committee Members

Many of our followers, friends, contacts and miscellaneous others may have spotted that we travelled to the Gateway City of St Louis on the banks of the Mississippi during the last weekend of June where we attended the annual Summer Leaders’ Meeting (SLM) of the International Society of Instrumentation (ISA). This was an extremely interesting meeting attended by leaders of the society from across the planet, North America, South America, Europe and Asia.
(The only person to pick up our Freudian slip here was Nick Denbow in his August issue on Industrial Automation Insider, the name of the organisation is of course the International Society of Automation! – apologies for this senior moment – EÓR 3/8/2011)

ISA has had an at best an indifferent and doubtful press in the past few years. It was felt, and this was fairly widely publicised, to have “lost touch” with its natural community, the automation community. In addition it had suffered badly in the recession. After a period when it led the world in the use of the new electronic tools, email and internet in the early and mid 1990s it seemed to have rested on its oars for the first five or six years of the new century. The social media phenomenon seemed to have passed the organisation by. It had some changes in management with three Executive Directors in a short period of time, which can’t have helped either. Then the unforseen depression/recession struck deeply and suddenly a number of these and other shortcomings became apparent.

The reactions of leaders to this crisis was not uncommon in many organisations.

Some hide their heads in the sand like ostriches, “This depression will go away and things will return to ‘normal!'” or “We’ve always done things like this in the past and it served us well!”

Others, with varying degrees of radicalism, spotted that there were a number of things happening here, not all of which had anything to do with the financials. The ISA’s web presence for instance was firmly stuck in “Web 1!” It was a “read-only” service while the web itself became and continues to become more and more interactive. Others pointed out that operation of the “market” which ISA was supposed to serve had changed. Instead of accepting products and information sent to them customers became much more selective and only accepted what they were interested in receiving. Users were telling each other what was available, i.e. networking. In automation this was the forte of ISA and here it was happening and ISA was not there. Because ISA was not “out there” in this new milieu it was felt that the membership started to fall. Members were not renewing in the same numbers and new members, especially the new young automation professionals (YAPs) did not seem to be adding their enthusiasm and verve to the organisation. They would by and large agree with the expression quoted by Seth Godin in his little book, Meatball Sundae, “….we don’t have to just change our website – we are going to have to change everything about our organisation. our mission, our structure, our decision making…”

Encouragement at start of meeting

Yet there are inherent strengths in the organisation not least in the society volunteers and staff who continue to work passionately for the society and for the profession. Sometimes, as is natural, the two viewpoints (“head in sand” versus “change everything!”) clashed or misinterpreted each other. This can lead to suspicion, lack of co-operation and eventually disintegration of any organisation.

The last two years were a worrying time for the society. A few task forces were set up to see what could be done. Many sighed “not another task force!”  However it appears that these task forces, which reported real progress at this meeting, are actually doing something to address the miriad of challenges that face a volunteer organisation in the early 21st century.

These bodies looked at streamlining the governance of the Society, which has remained fundamentally unchanged for over sixty years and a second is aimed at reorganising the web presence of the society, making it more visible as the true voice of the Automation Professional throughout the world. Yet a third stream examined the membership, the type of membership and how this could be expanded to make it a more representative body of the world of automation and the people who populate it.

The interim reports presented by the governance committee and by that on membership lookes very promising, indeed radical in places, promising a complete change in the way the society is run, from the election of officers – it is proposed that they be directly elected by the members – to managing the ongoing attitude to change and including an Audit Committee. Changes too are mooted in the types of membership and how they are defined as well as a new system of honouring automation professionals both for services to the Society and for services to Automation as a discipline or profession.

The Web and Social Media however is the area where concrete visible advances were made with the launch of a new interactive site called ISA Interchange. This is an “online source of automation news and technical content.” The idea of this initiative is “to post content that starts conversations between automation professionals.” It may also be said to be the start of a complete overhaul of the existing ISA website a consumation for which many members and non-members devoutly wish!

It is hoped that these developments may be advanced far enough to provide the society delegates with sufficient information to take at least some of the necessary decisions  in October.

While all this discussion was going on throughout the weekend the usual business of the society was progressing. Standards were furthered, Divisions discussed progress in their own particular fields, modern education and training courses in automation were developed and methods of promoting automation research and publishing results were examined. Automation professionals were selected as 2011 Honourees to be presented at Automation Week’s great Gala Event in the Autumn.

The nomination committee sat in solumn conclave with representatives for each district meeting and discussing the merits of those willing to place their names before the society delegates at the Autumn meeting – Fall Leaders’ Meeting (FLM) – preceeding this year’s Automation Week in Mobile (Al USA). They selected the following nominees:

President Elect Secretary: Terry Ives (Ives Equipment Company, Pennsylvania)

Nominated for office!



Strategic Planning Vice President-elect: Jon DiPietro (Domesticating IT, New Hampshire – pictured)

Image & Membership VP-elect: Dean Ford (Wunderlich-Malec, Maryland – pictured)

Automation & Technology Department Vice President-elect:  Stephen Allison (Oak Ridge National Lab, Tennessee)

Industries & Sciences Department Vice President-elect:  Alex Habib (Consultant, New Jersey)

Professional Development Department Vice President-elect: Jacob Jackson (Assurity Design Group, Georgia)

All in all leaders left St Louis with a feeling that things were on the up and looking forward to the next leader’s meeting in Alabama. “Excellent meetings” said one leader, “Feels like a new society when compared with 2009,” said another, while a third said, “I now believe that things are moving positively again!” ISA President Leo Staples expressed himself more than pleased when he remarked: “The SLM  clearly gave a new momentum to ISA!”

Hopefully they are right!

Some pictures from the event may be found on the Read-out Pica Site and also on Jim Keaveney’s Facebook Site.

Abstracts for posters Automation Week 2011


The International Society of Automation (ISA) is accepting abstracts for presenting technical topics as Poster Sessions at ISA Automation Week 2011: Technology and Solutions Event until 12 August 2011.

ISA Automation Week will take place 17–20 October 2011 in Mobile (AL US). The technical conference is to feature the following eight technical conference tracks that are centered on key issues facing the automation and control market:

  • Advance Process Control Techniques
  • Analysers
  • Automation and Control
  • System Design
  • Energy
  • Human Asset Optimization
  • Installation, Operations, and Maintenance
  • Safety and Security
  • Wireless Technology and Applications

All eight technical conference tracks will offer topics appropriate for each of the following job functions: Academia/Scientist and R&D, Engineer, Management, Marketing and Technician. When preparing abstracts, professionals should focus their content on a specific technical conference track and consider for which job function their paper or presentation is best suited.

Paper topics for Poster Sessions must have content applicable to attendees who are looking for depth of information within the technical conference track or for breadth of subject matter across multiple tracks according to job function. Specific topics in each technical conference track area are listed online here, while here’s  how to submit an abstract for consideration.

he Poster Sessions will be held on the Supplier Showcase floor Wednesday, 19 October, and Thursday, 20 October.

Innovation is everwhere! OpsManage EURA meeting in Paris


A 10 minute run-down for the attendees on day one!

It is a long time since Read-out actually physically attended a user group meeting. I think it was the Pantek/Wonderware event (Wonderworld) held in Northampton in England in 2006.

These events have caught on like wildfire in the last few years and Read-out has been an enthusiastic follower on the internet since and as the advancement of technology allowed. In fact in some ways I think that following these events from afar can be fairly exhausting as one tries to keep up with all the other things that fill a busy day.

We were particularly delighted to receive an inviatation to the Invensys OpsManage EURA, not only because it was being held in Paris (F) but because we were anxious to see for ourselves the transformation in this company over the past few years and how it had made liars of the naysayers and purveyors of doom. Or had it?

Way back in the sixties the king pin in process automation was Foxboro. It was regarded as the Rolls Royce of instrumentation. Then it sort of disappeared almost without trace replaced by some newbies and some others who were subsumed into vast conglomerates. Foxboro itself was bought out by Siebe a realatively unknown but adventurous British company which went on to buy Eurotherm and Wonderware. Overstreched financially they then merged with BTR and named the new company Invensys. The new company was a hodgepodge of companies which seemed not to interact with each other and this “biggest company you never heard of,” of the launching advertisements, started a spiral downwards starting the predictions of its eminent demise among the chattering classes.

From this somewhat unpromising base durning the past five or six years the company has managed to reinstate itself in its rightful place among the top five automation companies in the world. It has not been an easy task and we hoped to be able to see what the ‘culture” of the company now was.

There was remarkably little tweeting from this event as a whole which means that unless somebody was there one would not have much idea what was happening!

We arrived late on the first morning, during a coffee break and in the sizeable lobby area we were first struck by the large crowd chatting excitedly about the first two keynotes, including words for the charismatic President and CEO, Sudipta Bhattacharya. This left at least one Invensys employee with whom we spoke, ready to burst out of the auditorium and conquer the world! I was sorry to have missed that.

"Applying old remedies will not work!" Thierry Bonte

In fact the first keynote I attended was by Thierry Bonte, President Factory Systemes/Wonderware France. It was a talk on Strategic Innovation and its direction was refreshingly optimistic and open. Was this a clue as to how this company is progressing? Productivity innovation is needed now more than ever he declared. If we look around us innovation is everywhere. 90% of products in supermarkets were not there five years ago. (Another fact is that 90% of pharmaceutical products will come out of patent by 2013, which will have an impact on production too). Things are changing and will continue to change.

Press Releases
OpsManage 10 EURA

  • #OpsManage Virtual reality training
  • #OpsManage Partnership NC DIT and TimeZYX
  • #OpsManage Algerian expansion
  • #OpsManage Three added to partner ecosystem
  • #OpsManage Contract with Bluewater
  • #OpsManage Data recorder/controller
  • #OpsManage New standard for HF analysis
  • #OpsManage affordable Environment & safety excellence
  • #OpsManage Integrated hybrid control and data acquisition at PLC prices
  • #OpsManage Smart Glance Mobile Reports
  • #OpsManage New offerings can easily communicate and integrate as part of a unified ECS
  • Product Facts
  • 928 Official Photos (Flickr)


    OpsManage People

    Other Reports

    Invensys sets the scene for operational excellence through enterprise control (Control Engineering EME 6/12/2010)

    For global companies the world is village and everything we do has an impact everywhere. We must respect the environment we find ourselves.

    He realised a fact that many people in automation and elsewhere do not understand, “Applying old remedies will not work!” But the point he made that most resonated with this correspondant because it was most obvious, was “Be aware! Make a decision on it!”

    After this talk we were entertained with a ten minute express-train type run-down of the format of the rest of the event(See picture at top-of-page). There were nearly nine hundred people attending this event and they then divided up into sessions over the two days. There were industry solutions sessions highlighting power, chemical, life sciences and oil/gas. The product sessions were designed for users and potential users who wanted to expand their product and technology strategy, direction and application knowledge – empowering users to deliver real-time results.

    There were also training sessions of various intensities, from half-day technical training workshops, ninety minute seminars or 45 minute hands-on experiences.

    A track called Enterprise Technology & Services concerned topics relevant to IT asset management, networking, cyber security, virtualization, consulting, delivery, support and learning services. Cyber security was a subject which attracted much interests considering the Stuxnet malware discovered earlier this year.

    Finally all through the event, the Collaboration EXPO was open for more casual involvement. This was an area with about 30 stands of companies both Invensys and ecosystem partner companies which offered further possibilities of plant improvement not only by use of Invensys products but also by using the additional expertese and specialist knowledge of many innovative and “niche” smaller companies. This EXPO area had four theater areas dedicated to Control Excellence, Asset Excellence, Productivity Excellence and Environment & Safety Excellence where listen and learn how to improve their performance in these areas.

    During each day a stream of announcements were made some of which were concerning the European Region, Russia and Africa, and others which had already featured in the larger OpsManage’10 North America held some weeks previously in the United States.  We have listed these in a box on the right.

    We took particular interest in the announcement, Three added to partner ecosystem, of the endorsement of three new Europen companies into the unique partnership of Invensys System Integrators (SI) – what they call their ecosystem. These companies from France, Ireland and Norway. This is not an easily achieved qualification. All SIs must undergo a detailed business process assessment and have been certified for several years on their expertise in implementing Invensys technology at customer facilities. They have been identified as providing comprehensive software solutions with a track record of increasing customer efficiency, reducing costs and maximizing customer profits. And of course we were delighted for the Irish company, ONG Automation, which is the only company in either Ireland or Britain to achieve this status.

    VP Portfolio & Strategy

    Rashesh Mody

    During the second day Rashesh Mody, Invensys Senior VP, Portfolio and Strategy, gave two keynotes, one at the start of the day giving an illustration of the company’s shorterm roadmap, “Enabling the customers’ operational excellence journey!” These were through the excellences highlighted in the theaters at the Expo part of the event: – Control Excellence, Asset Excellence, Productivity Excellence and Environment & Safety Excellence. He also delivered the final keynote on the longterm roadmap of Invensys. They have a clear understanding of the way ahead, sometimes difficult, sometimes unexpected but we got the impression that here was a company, or rather a group of companies with a common goal and working together to achieve it.
    One of the most fascinating items was spoken about by Gaetano De Santis, of the Italian ENI company.

    Gaetano De Santis

    It had the fascinating title Refinery Safety by Gaming.  This was about using the technology used in computer games for training personnel in refinerys (and in other sensitive areas). This type of training is used in the training of pilots as well. There was also an opportunity to “play” with this equipment in the Expo area. An announcement on Virtual Reality Training, which is the co-operation between Invensys and ENI, was also made during the day.

    During the meeting, Invensys Operations Management signed a strategic alliance with Russia’s National Center for Development of Innovative Technologies (NC DIT) and TimeZYX Group ( an organisation within the NIC DIT). This partnership is to deliver reservoir and surface facilities simulation to the oil & gas industry.

    In one way all these user conferences cannot be said to be entirely objective. They are not meant to be are they? Here we heard of the advances being made by one company in Africa, Russia and other territories. But are these stories that much different from those among the others of the big five? The important thing in the new paradigm is that the old way of doing business is changed utterly and what I saw in Paris told me that Invensys realises this but the transformation that is happening is an on-going development. The message is permeating through the company itself but some, perhaps many, customers remain to be convinced.

    We said earlier that we had felt that Invensys Operation Management has advanced much in the last few years in the cooperation between its various component companies while maintaining their valuable identities: AvantisEurotherm, Foxboro, InFusion, IMServ, SimSci-Esscor, Skelta, Triconex and Wonderware are without doubt Invensys companies but they are also identifiable trade names and or technologies interacting and influencing each other. Their literature though obviously a corporate design also lists these product names so the identities and traditions of each component company is alluded to. This loose-tight relationship if it continues as it has in the past should enable “the customers’ operational excellence journey!” So long as they continue to realise that “Applying old remedies will not work!” and that they continue to “be aware and make decisions on it,” Invensys Operations Management  will without doubt proudly continue to be in the top five automation companies.

    Debacle or basis for development?


    Since the doors closed on the first ISA Automation Week in Houston on the seventh of October there has been a veritable plethera of comment, counter comment, praise and vilification to an extraordinary degree. One thing we can be sure of is that people still care about ISA.

    Back to the glory days!

    We wrote our own impressions on the blog Much done more to do after our return from Houston and little we have read has made us change our mind.

    Carl Henning in ProfiBlog (ProfiSafe at ISA) the next day was obviously disappointed and remembered the glory days in the eighties, when he remembers going to the event in horse-drawn carriages, or so he says!

    Ian Verhappen (aka The Great Kanduski), another attendee, wrote in his blog and pointed out those things which could be changed like the iron-rule that nobody could enter the exhibition hall until the appointed time irrespective of whether your particular session was completed and the eating arrangements. There were many new things tried some worked and others did not.

    Walt Boyes in his Sounding Off blog reported on what people had told him of the shortcomings. He reported on the announced EIT membership of the Automation Federation which he called in his usual forthright style “the tail wagging the dog.” With regard to the event itself he says “Was Automation Week 2010 a success or a failure? I have an opinion, but you do the math yourself.”

    In marked contrast is Greg McMillan’s contribution, ISA Automation Week 2010 – The Most Important Week in my Career. He examines the technical programme on his Modeling and Control site. “The renewed emphasis on technical presentations particularly in automation and control rejuvenated my interest in the International Society of Automation. I moderated a panel discussion on loop tuning.” Greg McMillan was awarded the ISA’s coveted Life Achievement Award at the Gala Dinner the night before.

    Automation World’s Gary Mintchel refers to ISA Automation Week in his Video Essay on conference season in automation on his FeedForward Blog, where he again reported on what he had heard of the event, called, he says, by some “Automation Weak!”

    Few vendors have been willing to put their thoughts on paper into the public domain, but it is fair to say that feelings were decidedly mixed.

    ISA finally issued a wrap-up release on the 19th where Pat Gouhin, Executive Director of ISA, acknowledges the problems “Hosting a new type of conference is always exciting, yet it can be very challenging too. Early indications show support for this new type of event, with a flow and functionality that would be different from past events. And though ISA has been hosting both large and small conferences for more than 45 years, we found that an all-new format like this one, can indeed present some struggles. There are quite a few areas where we can improve our format and our execution, and we will.”

    But by far the most devastating criticism came from the pen of Jim Pinto in his Growth & Success periodical e-letter. In an article entitled ISA continues downhill slide, he moves from the reports he has heard of the event to a more general criticism of the ISA management itself. “The debacle of Automation Week now stands as witness to a serious lack of understanding as to where ISA is going, and clear confirmation that volunteer leadership is not competent to proceed. They must either change their thinking, with wrenching resolve and under full disclosure, or membership will simply wither away!” His criticisms of ISA have hardened because he feels no progress has been made in revifying the organisation as the membership numbers seem to be relentlessly declining especially in the United States.

    One of the good things to come with Automation Week was what was refered to as  Conference 2 or the Automation Week On-line Community. This was open to conference registrands and although slow to get started did manage to get a few conversations going. Dean Ford started a thread of comments after the event which gave rise to a few recommendations one of which was a pet peeve of mine: “free wireless will make it easier for people to attend (they can stay in touch) and promote AW (through social media and sharing).  We ought really to promote that, it’s a big deal for attendees.” Another concerned the extension of the symbols used in the unique Pathfinder concept, used at the event. “I think the graphic symbols for each pathway is a great concept.  Let’s use them more on the signage and in the Conference program detail section.” Yet another comment concerned the exhibition sector: “Don’t you realize the instrument technician is your end user? Sure, he doesn’t represent direct sales, but, in operating companies at least who do you think the engineers purchasing the equipment listen to? Charging a technician a minimum of $300. to step into the exhibit room which was closed most of the time anyway is hardly encouragement is it?”

    There has been some comparison with the Emerson User Group meeting which was held to great accolades the previous week. It is not altogether a fair comparison but certainly some aspects could be used with profit at Automation Week! “We could ‘borrow’ Emerson’s idea and set up a social media help booth.  They signed up hundreds of people and showed them how to use Twitter.  This created a small army of people promoting their event,” was a reasonable suggestion. There were also suggestions on how to improve the service to journalists which was so misunderstood by those who did not attend. In fact the Journalists who did attend were welcome to all sessions, meals on all the days and to the Dick Morley event on the final evening. But there was no press room as such and as mentioned earlier the wifi system at the hotel was expensive and unreliable.

    There is an ISA Automation Week LinkedIn Group too but that was generally used for announcements. There was a more spirited response on the ISA LinkedIn Group under the provocative question posed by Joe Kaulfersch: Are You attending ISA Automation Week 2010? WHY or WHY NOT?

    No doubt the coverage will continue for a while and where we know about it we will update our original blog, Much done more to do! with links to them.

    Our own view is that it was not in any way as good as we hoped but neither was it the abject failure that some had predicted or claimed. Like the curate’s egg it was good in parts. There is something there to be built on but it is going to be a tough uphill battle.  As Patrick Gouhin said, “There are quite a few areas where we can improve our format and our execution, and we will.”

    The next ISA Automation Week is to be held in Mobile, (Al US). This has led to a number of comments not all of which are complimentary to that location. The chairmen of the 2011 event, former ISA President Ken Baker says “As we begin planning for ISA Automation Week 2011, we’ll build upon the strengths of this year’s event and adjust to the dynamic environment in which we operate. We’ll review the format and what we’ve learned, and we’ll look at ways to optimize all aspects of the experience for everyone.”

    The wealth of interest in ISA and the genuine affection held for the organisation among its members is not enough to see a triumphant Automation Week. No! A lot of very hard work from a professional staff, a realisation among them and among the members that the world has changed and an ability and imagination to harness those changes, and a marked dedication to detail that ensures that silly pin-prick problems are eliminated combined with the good will of the automation community must ensure that #ISAwk 2011 in Mobile will assume the status  for a twenty first century Carl Hennings that Philadelphia in the eighties had for the twentieth century one.

    We shall see.

    Much done more to do Automation Week 2010


    See other opinions from blogs linked at the bottom of the page!

    The last ISAExpo took place in Houston (TX US) in 2009. It had been flagging somewhat in the previous years and it was thought that a new format would better serve the automation community. The format decided upon was a “Technology and Solutions Event” which would have streams of talks and forums with a small support exhibition. This was to be called Automation Week and the first occurred in the first week of October 2010.

    Greg McMillan, ISA Life Achievement Award, with President Nelson Ninan and 2008 President Kim Dunn

    The event started, like all good events, the night before with ISA’s annual – it was the 48thHonours & Awards Gala, during which fourteen awards were presented to thirty individuals or organizations who had made invaluable contributions to the automation profession. Among these Greg McMillan achieved the life achievement award of the society: “In recognition of a 40-year career of innovation in process control technology through invention, publication of articles, papers and books, as well as teaching the application of control theory.” (He recounts his memories on his blog, The most important week of my career!)

    ISA Automation Week’s various tracks were to offer conference topics centered on the most critical issues in industry including safety, energy concerns, and compliance at industrial facilities, best practice and applications. The tracks were run under the broad headings

      • Automation and Control
      • Energy
      • Environmental
      • Human Asset Optimization
      • Safety
      • Security
      • Wireless and Networking

    The pre-event blurb stated: “ISA Automation Week is an in-depth technical conference with a focused exhibit component featuring over 100 vendors. It will deliver critical knowledge on the theory and application of automation technologies in processing and manufacturing environments through vendor-neutral content across seven technical tracks. As an integral part of the conference, vendor exhibits will supplement technical sessions with hands-on, real-world solutions and networking opportunities. Each session has been designed with specific content for five identified career paths: Engineer, Technician, Management, Marketing, and Academia/R&D/Scientist. Using the PathFinder tool, attendees can create a unique combination of sessions covering topics across all tracks, for a comprehensive look at their profession.”

    So was it?

    Well yes and no!

    Certainly it was a comprehensive if unadventurous conference programme. I understand that conference attendance was up on the conference component of the old ISAExpo with a figure of over 1500 quoted.

    Jon DiPietro delivers "Social Networking Tools for the Engineer."

    Discussions on security were particularly apt in view of the Stuxnet worm discovered in July.  The talks on Human Asset Optimization were also good featuring items on education, training and how to attract youth to the automation profession. (This latter drawing on mentoring experience in the Atlanta ISA section (delivered by Glynn Mitchell of the section), the US defense industry and Canadian expertise). This track also featured the only exposé on social networking and how it is changing  (has changed?) our way of getting out there using the “inbound marketing” model from DomesticatingIT’s indefatigable Jon DiPietro, who is also received the ISA’s Emerging Leader Award. Safety too is an important issue and was the subject of one of the keaynotes as we will mention later.

    The rooms in which the presentations were made has a design problem in that they tended to be too large and without side aisles which would have facilitated late entrants not disturbing the more prompt attendees. The talks were by and large well attended and as far as I could see there was excellent audience participation despite these drawbacks. Problems like this could have been surmounted without much difficulty or any cost and I think  the organisers will have been on a steep learning curve for the next event.

    The talks were unbiased as one has come to expect from ISA. This is an important aspect when one considers the number of vendor supported user group meetings which are no proliferating the scene. As against that it seemed to lack a certain excitement that some of the user group events generate.  There was no “tweet-up” for instance, which would have been nice. However there was some web broadcasting of sessions which was good and more importantly was in fact used by people who could not attend. The forum for attendees called Conference 2 was a brave initiative and after a slow start people seemed to get the idea and some interesting posts ensued. Contributors were those who had registered for the Conference and further signed up to this forum. Using this facility attendees could make out a personal schedule for the event. 235 of the attendees signed up, which was not at all bad for a new kind of participation. Kudos to ISA for intiative in this but there was one small catch if you hadn’t paid the exhorbitant fees demanded by the host hotel or did not have an internet connection -and as an European I had not – then you could not access or refer to this schedule. But more on this later.

    They deserve kudos too for the PathFinder tool, unique as far as I can make out for such an event, which allowed various career individuals to customise the event to their individual job function and goals. Technicians, Engineers, Management, Marketing, and Academia/R&D/Scientists were guided as to the best conference path to take.

    Part of Exhibition Area (pic marketguy48)

    The venue itself was, to my mind, unsuitable as it did not allow for a  cohesive event, some meetings being across a shopping mall from the main events and up a lift (to the 24th floor. The exhibition area was an odd shape, although the eating, and drinking, areas were arranged to facilitate the viewing of stands or booths in areas that otherwise might have been missed. The design of the main registration area also was not very open, hidden as it was in part by a formal staircase which led to the exhibition area. Finally, and perhaps most seriously of all, as we have mentioned earlier, there was not free internet or wi-fi available at the venue. This was not entirely the fault of ISA as the hotel venue (Westin Galleria),  follows an unfortunately common policy of charging exhorbitant rates for this most basic of facilities for the modern business. An unfortunate byproduct of this lacuna was that live tweets from the event were few and far between in marked contrast with the almost constant tweet traffic engendered by the Emerson even in nearby city of San Antonio the previous week.  (By contrast this correspondant stayed in a hotel nearby with free internet access as part of the service.)

    I have heard various reports, unrelenting bad from people who were not there and a mixture from those who were. The main complaint that I heard was that the exhibition area was closed during the time that the seminars were in progress. I think that there is a case for closing the exhibition floor during say the first half hour of the conferences sessions, and then to re-open. This would facilitate the conference registrends going promptly to their chosen topic.  It would also enable these same people to go into the exhibition if their particular talk finished earlier than indicated on the timetable.

    The other complaint voiced, not only at the event itself but also prior to it at the ISA governance meetings that preceded Automation Week, was that the Exhibition was not open to non conference attendees, not even to people who were attending the various ISA Standards meetings being held during that week unless they had paid the conference fee. I did in fact speak to some of these “standard bearers” who  could only attend the exhibition component on the Monday afternoon when it was freely open.This seemed to me a bit shortsighted of the organisers.

    I also heard from exhibitors but didn’t see first hand nor was I able to confirm. Some exhibitors (who presumably had not read the pre-event literature) had invited possible customers to meet them at the exhibition who were turned away at the door unless they paid the day fee for the conference. As I say I cannot confirm this particular complaint. Teething troubles like these perhaps might have been expected to have been ironed out before hand.

    OK that’s enough of the cribs.

    ISA has to be congratulated on providing two excellent keynote speakers in Dean Kamen, founder of an organisation that fosters and encourages young schoolgoers to embrace science and technology, called FIRST. We have written our comments on his address in another blog “Dean Kamen enthuses Automation Week!”.  Suffice it to say of the many ISA Keynotes I have attended this was by far the most inspirational. Yes it was an appeal for support for his organisation but it was also inspirational and moving.

    The speaker on day two was also extremely interesting. David Cummins of  the DuPont organisation. He outlined the strategys that should be used to ensure personnel and plant safety colouring his presentation with the forward thing attitude of the DuPont founder,  E. C. DuPont, in the early 19th century, an attitude that many companies could well emulate in formulating safety policies the 21st.

    The meals, provided as part of the entrance fee, was of excellent quality, though the lack of a place to sit down in the Exhibition area and outside foyer was a problem.

    Dick Morley - Father of the PLC

    For many however the highlight of the event was on Tuesday night when we took off  our spurs and moseyed on in for a cowboy buffet dinner and bar, served in a light-hearted Texas setting straight out of the Old West!  The blurb said, “Grab some vittles – and then hang on to your 10-gallon hat! You’re in for a unique evening of music and entertainment, culminating in a very special appearance by one of the most recognized, creative and extraordinary intellects in these here parts – automation’s own Dick “Barn Stormer” Morley.”

    And he was in superb form giving his unique perspective in stories with unique and abandoned mixture of  fiction and stimulating fact. That and the fact that he shared his extraordinary orgasmic chocolate as a climax to the presentation. Nuff said!

    Carlo Schafer - from freak to geek!

    An unexpected highlight of this evening however was ISA’s very own Carol “Cow Tip” Schafer and her famous Red Guitar as she set the stage with some music and fun to get the evening  started. I doubt if many will forget her “Geek Song “ where she recounted her transformation from “freak to geek,” and had everyone in stitches with her topical verses. Hopefully somebody sometime – and I hope soon – will put her on utube. She deserves to go viral.

    All in all I think we can say it was an interesting conference, a learning experience for exhibitors and for ISA, not as good or exciting as we might have hoped but by no means an abject failure. We might say “they done good but they could’ve done better!” And from what I have seen of the preparations for the next Automation Week they will provide an event and a venue much more close to the promise for this year’s.

    Mark you diaries therefore for ISA Automation Week 2011, in the deep south of the United States, in Mobile, Alabama from 17-20 October, 2011.

    See you there.

    Here are some more links:

    BLOGTwo hectic Automation Weeks! The tweeting Hashtag is #ISAwk 

    Dean Kamen enthuses Automation Week!

    Recorded webcasts at Automation Week

    Tour the Cosa & Xentaur booth (YouTube ca 4 Minutes)

    News releases at Automation Week:

    ISA Automation Week: Wrap-up (ISA Release 19th October)

  • ASCO Numatics announces scholorships
  • FDT Group Releases
  • Iconics Releases
  • IET joins Automation Federation

  • Comments on other blogs!

  • ISA Automation Week Conference – Gary Mintchell looks forward and back 24th Jan 2011
  • Profibus at #ISAwk
  • Ian Verhappen comments
  • ISA’s Automation Federation Wags the Dog Walt Boyes – 14th Oct 2010
  • ISA Automation Week 2010 – The Most Important Week in my Career Greg McMillan – 15th Oct 2010
  • Video Essay on conference season in automation from Gary Mintchel – 16 Oct 2010
  • ISA continues downhill slide (Jim Pinto – 21 Oct 2010)
  • Debacle or basis for developement? (Eoin Ó Riain 22 Oct 2010)
  • ISA Automation Week 2010 Wrap-up (Automation.com 27 Oct 2010)
  • Some pictures taken at event – not good quality but perhaps give a flavour!

    Honour & Awards Dinner (4 Oct)

    The Official H&A Photos

    #ISAwk Days 1 & 2 (5th & 6th Oct)

    Jon DiPietro’s Pictures(On Facebook!)

    More Pics (marketguy48 on yfrog)

    More pics on the ISA Automation Flickr Site.

    ISA Automation Week 2011 will be held at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, (AL US), on 17-20 October, 2011.


    Did you attend Automation Week 2010? What did you think? The Automation Week Forum would like your honest (and positive) opinions. Only registered attendees can participate so it will be a truly “experiential” critique!