The Ball Is In Your Court Now

I have used this column every month to inform you of the various resources and activities going on within the society that are available to benefit you and your employer. Our standards, books, journals, training, certificate and certification programs, conferences, licensure, divisions, sections, leader meetings, new vision/mission/values statements, affiliated organizations, and our new strategic objectives (along with associated goals and tactics) are all intended to increase your technical competence (i.e., your employability) and the operational performance of your company (e.g., safety, security, and profitability). We have made great strides this year ranging from a surplus budget, membership growth, and getting all the volunteer leaders to row their collective boats in the same direction to achieve our collectively agreed-upon strategic objectives. It has taken a lot of work from a lot of people, and we are not “done” by any means.  

It has been an honor serving as your 2019 society president and seeing the advancements we have made. While there will be various activities for me to remain involved in serving as your 2020 past president, your incoming 2020 president Eric Cosman will be leading the society in the coming year. New volunteers will be serving in various leadership roles. While we do have a professional staff, setting the strategic objectives of the society and leading many of our programs are activities performed by volunteers. If there is something you are not satisfied with, if you think there is something we should offer that we currently do not, or if you think the society could do something better, do not sit back on the sidelines and complain; step up to the plate, get involved, and help improve the situation.  

I have used this quote from Teddy Roosevelt before, but it is worth mentioning again. “Every person owes part of their time and money to the business or industry in which they are engaged. No person has a moral right to withhold their support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within their sphere.” If you are early in your career, get involved to build up your network of connections, learn from mentors, and advance your career faster than you would be able to do on your own. If you are more experienced, get involved to give back to your industry and mentor those entering the field.  

90-plus percent of members and volunteers I know of joined ISA and/or became volunteers because someone asked them to. Who have you suggested lately to join ISA to increase their knowledge and further their career? Who have you asked lately to come to a monthly meeting that you knew would be of interest to them? Who have you recruited lately to become a volunteer and put their career on fast track by getting involved? This stuff does not just happen on its own; you need to drive it. It’s your society. The ball is in your court now.  

Paul Gruhn 2019 ISA President  


About the Author  

Paul Gruhn 2019 ISA President

Paul Gruhn PE, CFSE, and ISA Life Fellow, is a global functional safety consultant with aeSolutions, a process safety, cybersecurity, and automation consulting firm. As a globally recognized expert in process safety and safety instrumented systems, Gruhn has played a pivotal role in developing ISA safety standards, training courses, and publications. He serves as a co-chair and long-time member of the ISA 84 Standard Committee (on safety instrumented systems), and continues to develop and teach ISA courses on safety systems. He also developed the first commercial safety system modeling program. Gruhn has written two ISA textbooks, numerous chapters in other books, and dozens of published articles. He earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in Texas, and both a Certified Functional Safety Expert (CFSE) and an ISA 84 Safety Instrumented Systems Expert.

ISA & University of Akron Team Up to Offer Cybersecurity Courses

ISA’s curriculum will help Ohio universities offer comprehensive workforce development training for industrial cybersecurity professionals.  

AKRON, OH—December 9, 2019—The International Society of Automation (ISA), a globally recognized authority for industrial automation training since 1945, and the University of Akron, an influential public research university in Northeast Ohio, have entered into a workforce training agreement to offer the ISA IEC62443 Cybersecurity Training and Certificate program in Akron.  

Through this arrangement, the University of Akron will now host ISA courses, taught by subject matter experts, on the university’s campus. This ISA Open Enrollment Center will complement the University of Akron’s curriculum for workforce development of industrial cybersecurity professionals. Associates in both IT and operations technology (OT) should attend these classes for information on how to assess risk, design, and implement cybersecurity plans to protect vital automation control systems based on ISA IEC62443 Cybersecurity Standards.  

“Our mission in education is clear: answer the workforce needs of industry,” says Dr. Elizabeth Kennedy, dean of the University of Akron’s College of Applied Science and Technology. “With an investment from private donors, we have created an Industrial Control System Testbed for industry use in maintaining their systems and exploring new ways to protect them. The ISA site use agreement is a perfect complement to this critical need.”  

“ISA is pleased to add an open enrollment location in Akron for cybersecurity short courses,” says Mary Ramsey, executive director of ISA. “The state of Ohio has shown its commitment to IT and OT cybersecurity training and education through its new Cyber Range co-hosted at the University of Akron and the University of Cincinnati, as well as the University of Akron’s control systems testbed for industry use. These actions complement our vision to create a better world through automation, and we are pleased to build this relationship to serve the need for cybersecurity workforce development in Akron.”  

Ohio universities are working together to offer comprehensive education on the rapidly changing world of cybertechnology. The ISA curriculum will enhance these offerings and will help fulfill the regional need for workforce development opportunities for OT cyber professionals.  


About ISA: The International Society of Automation ( is a non-profit professional association founded in 1945 to create a better world through automation. ISA advances technical competence by connecting the automation community to achieve operational excellence. The organization develops widely-used global standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; hosts conferences and exhibits; and provides networking and career development programs for its 40,000 members and 400,000 customers around the world.  

ISA created the ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance ( to advance cybersecurity readiness and awareness in manufacturing and critical infrastructure facilities and processes. The Alliance brings end-user companies, automation and control systems providers, IT infrastructure providers, services providers, and system integrators and other cybersecurity stakeholder organizations together to proactively address growing threats.  

ISA owns, a leading online publisher of automation-related content, and is the founding sponsor of The Automation Federation (, an association of non-profit organizations serving as “The Voice of Automation.” Through a wholly owned subsidiary, ISA bridges the gap between standards and their implementation with the ISA Security Compliance Institute ( and the ISA Wireless Compliance Institute ( 

About The University of Akron: The University of Akron (UA) offers a wide range of unique, in-demand and top-ranked associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degree programs in engineering, the arts and sciences, business, health care, law and education. Its beautiful metropolitan campus, located in the heart of Ohio’s fifth-largest city, is surrounded by thousands of businesses, providing diverse experiential learning opportunities — such as internships, co-ops and part-time employment — to students from throughout the country and around the world. With award-winning residence halls, hundreds of student organizations, championship-winning NCAA Division I sports teams, and a highly ranked Student Recreation and Wellness Center, UA provides the full campus experience.  

Automation Trends for 2020 & Beyond  

The year, as well as the decade, is drawing to a close. We find ourselves reflecting on the past, looking back at the strides industrial automation has made in the last 10 years. As an automation professional and member of the International Society of Automation (ISA), you are in a unique position to witness all these changes firsthand. How has your career changed since 2009? Has your company adopted any new systems? What new technologies have you learned and taught to others? 

We are also taking the time to envision how the next 10 years in the automation industry will unfold. Here at the ISA, we are always on the lookout for new technologies that have the potential to shake up the industry. Automation is at the very beginning of a period of rapid change, and we all need to anticipate how our field might evolve—not only to stay competitive, but to realize the potential for new technologies to create a better world.  

Here are three trends in industrial automation that could play a major role in the coming decade. 

Smart Factories Trend forecasters have predicted the coming dominance of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) for years, but have we finally turned a corner? Thanks to the increased connectivity brought on by the IIoT, a fully integrated, “smart” factory is now within reach for more companies than ever before. “The smart factory is a flexible system that can self-optimize performance across a broader network, self-adapt to and learn from new conditions in real- or near-real-time, and autonomously run entire production processes,” Deloitte consultants describe in a white paper. Smart factories represent a sea change in the way we think about automation, moving from the automation of linear, discrete tasks to the automation of interconnected, flexible systems.  

A recent report from Capgemini found that 68% of manufacturers have ongoing smart factory initiatives in 2019. That is a dramatic increase from their last report in 2017, when they found that just 43% of manufacturers were pursuing smart factory projects. On average, the surveyed organizations have transformed about one-third of their factories into “smart” operations, and they plan to upgrade 40% more over the next five years. The next major challenge for these manufacturers will be translating small-scale successes with “smart” experiments into plant-wide wins.  

Emphasis on Data Analytics In a Forbes article, Louis Columbus, principal, IQMS, says that the growth of smart manufacturing depends heavily on organizations’ collective expertise in analytics. Not only do manufacturers need to hire more data analysts, they need to understand which metrics are worth measuring. Columbus outlines 10 metrics that he argues are most essential to the success of smart factory pilot programs. The right data offers visibility into how, precisely, smart manufacturing breaks down silos and improves efficiencies. The importance of data analytics will only continue to grow as smart manufacturing begins to scale. 

5G 5G, the fifth generation of cellular network technology, promises significant improvements in wireless connection speeds—which has major implications for virtually every industry. 5G will connect the IIoT faster than ever before, allowing for real-time or near-real-time transfers of enormous amounts of data. 5G coverage is expected to become more widespread starting in 2020, with usage expanding in 2021 and 2022. Manufacturing use cases for 5G range from large-scale predictive maintenance to time-critical hazard detection to deployment of robotics, according to a recent report from Catapult Digital addressing 5G applications in the UK manufacturing sector.  

What Is Next As an ISA member, you have an advantage when it comes to staying on top of new developments as they arise. Keep an eye on this newsletter for updates and check out our webinar recordings that address hot topics in an easily digestible format.  

2019 ISA Conference & Events Wrap-Up 

ISA’s final technical event of 2019—its Process Industry Conference (PIC)—was held last month in Houston, TX. To round out the year, this three-day industry networking opportunity brought together 300 registered attendees and 60 session speakers, with more than 125 different companies represented. The event also boasted a nearly 20% international audience from outside the US, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, and United Arab Emirates. We have 6 events planned in 2020—see our upcoming schedule below!  

2020 ISA Conference Events Calendar

IIoT & Smart Manufacturing Conference Training: 14 April Conference: 15–16 April Galveston, TX, USA  

Analysis Division Symposium Training: 26 & 30 April Conference: 27–29 April Long Beach, CA, USA  

Cybersecurity Standards Implementation Conference Training: 12 May Conference: 13–14 May Galveston, TX, USA  

Energy & Water Automation Conference Training: 4 August Conference: 5–6 August San Antonio, TX, USA  

Digital Transformation in Deepwater Production Conference Training: 15 September Conference: 16–17 September Galveston, TX, USA  

Process Industry Conference Training: 17 November Conference: 18–19 November Houston, TX, USA  

Call for Abstracts Announced for ISA Q2 Events 

Cybersecurity Standards Implementation Conference Training: 12 May 2020 | Conference: 13-14 May 2020 Tremont Hotel | Galveston, TX  

Abstracts Due: 13 January 2020 Abstracts are currently being accepted from industry professionals interested in presenting in the area of continuity across applications of the ISA 62443 standards. This new event will focus on building a cybersecurity culture through people, processes, and technology.  

Join ISA, the thought leader and developer of the world’s only consensus-based industrial cybersecurity standards (ISA/IEC 62443), for a rapid-fire, elevated two-day conference event, focusing on expert discussions surrounding awareness and solutions for organizational threats/vulnerabilities with the implementation of a standards-based cybersecurity program. Visit for details as the program develops.  

Join ISA at Texas A&M University’s 75th Annual Instrumentation & Automation Symposium in January  

Texas A&M University is celebrating 75 years of its annual instrumentation and automation symposium—and ISA is celebrating its 75th anniversary, too! We’re collaborating with TAMU on this event and would love to see our members there.  

Texas A&M University 75th Annual Instrumentation & Automation Symposium 21-23 January 2020 College Station, TX, USA  

STANDARDS ISA-88 Batch Control Standards to be Reviewed & Revised

Each year at ISA’s Annual Leadership Conference (ALC), the Standards & Practices Department recognizes individuals whose leadership and expertise have been especially noteworthy over the year in advancing the development and application of ISA standards.  

At the recent ALC in San Diego, California, Glenn A. Merrell received a 2019 S&P Department Award in recognition of his “outstanding leadership and technical contributions in advancing the use and understanding of the ISA/IEC 62443 standards, Security for Industrial Automation and Control Systems, across global industry.” A long-time leader within ISA99, Merrell has been instrumental in promoting the growing use of the standards worldwide.  

Of particular note were Merrell’s efforts on behalf of ISA99 that helped lead to a decision by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in late 2018 to integrate the ISA/IEC 62443 standards into its Common Regulatory Framework on Cybersecurity, which serves as an official UN policy position statement for Europe. At the same time, the UNECE formally recognized the ISA99 committee for its primary role in conceiving and developing the widely used standards.  

“I am honored to receive this award from the Standards & Practices Department in recognition of my efforts in the development and promotion of the ISA-62443 standards,” stated Merrell. “Promoting the ISA-62443 standards was made easy for me because I stand on the shoulders of giants who have built a solid foundation, allowing me to see opportunities for the standards. Promoting ISA99 as the primary standards development organization of ISA/IEC 62443 to the UNECE was only one of those many opportunities in that view to achieve global standing.”  

Merrell is an ISA Certified Automation Professional and the owner of Industrial Control Systems Security/Freelance Consulting.  

Have an idea for a book, training course, conference topic, or other product related to ISA standards? Send it to  

Glenn Merrell (left) receives a 2019 S&P Department Award from ISA99 co-chair and ISA president-elect Eric Cosman.

MEMBER ACTIVITY Section & Division Round Up 

IIoT, Data, and Artificial Intelligence: The Heart of Industry 4.0 Vigo, Spain January 2020 4:00 PM  

Join the Spain section for a technical meeting on data analysis and artificial intelligence. These topics are taking a big role in IIoT and Industry 4.0. The meeting will dive into how these technologies can help to get a better plant efficiency.  

Visit the ISA Spain section website at for more on this event and future events in 2020.  

The Next Bhopal Matrix Technologies, Inc. Maumee, Ohio 15 January 2020  

Many of the precursors that led to the Bhopal disaster occur daily in minor forms throughout industry today. Preventing disasters — and the incidents of lesser consequence leading up to them — requires probing deeper beneath their seemingly superficial, distracting, and highly-visible exterior. Doing so shows how similar all industrial disasters are. Recognizing the patterns that led to the Bhopal disaster in many of the processes that we operate today indicates there is a weakness deserving our attention. This paper will summarize fundamentals of a portion of the Bhopal plant’s process design, changes that were made contrary to the original specifications, problems encountered, numerous design and operational changes that were made (with the best of intentions) that simply led to further problems, and how these issues came together to cause the worst industrial disaster in history. Relating these events to issues commonly encountered in other facilities around the world today creates many parallels. This awareness is needed to prevent major industrial disasters and the more frequent “minor” process safety events that precede them today.  

Speaker: Paul Gruhn, P.E., CFSE 

Bio: Paul Gruhn is a Global Functional Safety Consultant with aeSolutions in Houston, Texas. Paul is an ISA Life Fellow, a 25+ year member and cochair of the ISA 84 standard committee (on safety instrumented systems), the developer and instructor of ISA courses on safety systems, the author of two ISA textbooks, and the developer of the first commercial safety system modeling software. Paul has a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in Texas, a member of the Control Systems Engineering PE exam committee, and both a Certified Functional Safety Expert (CFSE) and an ISA 84 Safety Instrumented Systems Expert. Paul is the 2019 ISA President.  

For more on this meeting, please contact the Toledo section program chairs, Josh Peeno and Bryan Curtis.

Power, Petroleum, and Process Automation 2020 Hotel Taj, Santa Cruz, Mumbai, India 7-8 February 2020 9:00 AM – 6:30 PM  

The ISA Maharashtra section is pleased to announce the one-of-a-kind technical symposium of the Power, Petroleum, and Process Industry on the 7th and 8th of February, 2020 (Friday & Saturday) at Hotel Taj, Santa Cruz, Mumbai, India. The 2020 theme includes three very closely connected industry segments under the ambit of automation technology, one of the leading domains in India. Conference sessions by India’s leading experts will cover critical issues in process instrumentation, safety, security, communications, control systems, advanced control and simulation, cybersecurity, Big Data systems/analytics/readiness, asset management, metrics that matter, artificial intelligence (AI) in process control, and Internet of Things (IoT) in manufacturing. An exhibit showcase will feature the latest products along with technical papers. The latest trends and information will be used to help engage participants, supplier exhibits, and decision makers. Networking luncheons and dinners will set the stage for mingling, meeting new people, and reconnecting with old friends. 

This two-day program is expected to be attended by more than 200 eminent professionals from India’s leading organizations, such as NPCIL, BARC, NRB, NTPC, TATA Power, IOCL, ONGC, GAIL, HPCL, BPCL, IFFCO, MRPL, Reliance, Deepak Fertilizers, etc. from the End Use segment. EIL, PDIL, Udhe TKIS, Toyo, Petrofac, Technimont, Technip, Haldor Topsoe, etc. from the Consulting and EPC segment are expected to send their delegates, along with the participation of various system integrators and solution providers like Honeywell, Vega, Smar, Doosan HF Controls, Schneider, and many others.  

Please visit to learn more.  

Training Course on PID Tuning: Concepts, Methodologies, and Practical Aspects Madrid, Spain 25-27 February 2020 8:30 AM – 6:30 PM  

Rafael González and Ismael Pereda will teach this course on PID tuning. The course combines theory with practical aspects, where the student will be able to practice with different methodologies and know the limitations of each technology, as well as the economic impact of a specific tuning.  

For more on this training, please check out PID.pdf.

Universidad del Cauca's First Meeting of the Second Semester and Members Integration Day (Colombia) To kick off the second semester of 2019, student section members of Universidad Del Cauca in Colombia held a meeting to discuss accomplishments and activities of the previous semester, as well as to discuss events and activities for development in the current semester. They also introduced members to the new leaders of the section. 

 Assembled above are student members of the Universidad del Cauca section.  

In mid-October, members of the Universidad Del Cauca student section met outside the city of Popayán, Colombia, for a day of games, sports, and socialization activities—integrating new members, forming friendships, and promoting teamwork.  

Seminar on Automation Organized by Universidad Politecnica de Madrid/ETSIDI Student Section (Spain) The meeting began with a speech on jobs for chemical engineers by Angel Torres from CTA Group. It was followed by a workshop on control valves and PLCs with David Crespo and Alvaro Raimundez from the ISA Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia student section. 

David Crespo and Alvaro Raimundez (ISA UNED) help the UPM/ETSIDI students on the workshop on control valves and PLCs. (Right) Algen Torres (CTA Group) speaks about jobs for chemical engineers at the seminar organized by the UPM/ETSIDI student section.

Technical Meeting on Maintenance of Electric Motors in the Era of Industry 4.0 in Zaragoza and Madrid (Spain)  

This meeting covered the topic of new technologies that help to achieve condition-based maintenance in electric motors. Motors are considered robust machines, but now we can focus better on energy savings and reliability thanks to the new possibilities presented by Industry 4.0. 

ON THE JOB Insights Into the Real World of Automation & Automation Careers  

As practicing automation professionals, ISA members grapple with fascinating technical challenges on a day-to-day basis. Through their problem-solving skills, experience, and knowledge, they apply technology to improve the efficiency, quality, security, and safety of manufacturing and operational processes.  

At Inside ISA, we want to highlight the real-world experiences, responsibilities, and contributions of the Society’s automation professional members. Tell us about your job. 

  • What do you do? 
  • Exactly how do you use automation in your position? 
  • Why did you choose a career in automation? 
  • What do you find most rewarding and motivating about your career? 
  • Do you have any career suggestions or workplace advice for other automation professionals in your field?  
  • What has, to date, been your favorite or most fulfilling career experience? 
  • Was there an instance when you overcame a particularly vexing challenge, thought “out of the box” to solve a problem, or saw first-hand the positive difference you and your colleagues were making?  

This is not about tooting your own horn. It is about sharing your perspectives and experiences about the value and importance of automation and automation careers. It is about broadening the awareness of what is possible and what is being achieved in the vast world of automation.  

Please email your insights (ALL entries are highly valued and appreciated)—including your name and job title—to Christina Ayala at, and watch for “On the Job” stories in each issue of Inside ISA.