Celebrating Our History and Meeting the Challenges of the Future

I am honored and humbled to serve as our Society President in 2020, and I look forward to meeting many of our members during my term. I have been a member of ISA for over 25 years, not joining until after moving from Canada to the U.S. Believe me, at that time, I had no dreams or aspirations beyond involvement in the areas where I thought I might be able to make some small contribution. Fortunately, I benefited from the advice and guidance from several great mentors who helped me appreciate much broader possibilities. This is why I am so committed to providing similar mentoring and counsel to others and giving back to our profession. 

Unlike many of you, my path did not take me through a section. My original motivation was to learn more about and contribute to industry standards. Over the years I was gradually drawn into several other roles, learning more about the society with each one. Throughout my career I have been passionate about defining and executing effective strategies for growth and improvement. Sometimes this in response to technological changes and in other cases the drivers are more related to societal change or the needs of people in their professional pursuits. I have lived through, survived, led and facilitated many changes and have learned some difficult lessons in the process. I believe that I can put this experience to use in my role this year. 

Your Executive Board and other leaders have put a great deal of thought and effort into developing a strategic plan for ISA that addresses both internal needs and drivers, as well as the necessity of raising our profile in industry and with the broader community. By providing the best services to our members and offering valued products and services to our industries we can ensure that ISA is well positioned for long term success. Some of our more internal challenges are related to how we are organized and the associated governance models and processes. While I may not have shared all aspects of the section or regional experience I understand and appreciate the value that diverse perspectives bring to an organization such as ours. The word “International” in our name presents us with the challenge of serving the needs and expectations of a wide range of communities, countries, and cultures. Each of these have their own interests and priorities. My task and that of our Executive Board is to understand these as best we can and define strategy and set priorities accordingly. This is how we can give credence to catch phrases such as “The Home of Automation” and continue to improve ISA as an organization that we are all proud of. 

As someone who spent much of my career in or around the practice of industrial automation I believe strongly in promotion and advocacy for our profession. This is one of the reasons that I am thrilled to be lucky enough to serve in this role in this, our 75th anniversary year. I would like to be able to say that this was the result of some grand plan but as my mother used to say, “It was more good luck than good management.” Although the 75th anniversary of the formative meeting of our Society is on April 28th, we are planning a year-long observation. We will celebrate the milestones and contributions to industry while looking forward to the new and exciting developments in our profession. While doing so we will take every opportunity to make others aware of our contributions and the importance of the automation profession to society. 

It is this external focus that is the subject of another of our major objectives. We have named this Industry Teach and Awareness, and the focus is on making sure that we have the right channels both into and out of our Society and with partners and stakeholders to ensure that we are making contributions that have the most value and impact while providing the products and services required by our customers. This requires that we manage our portfolio of intellectual property (e.g., standards, practices, training, publications, etc.) in a way that allows us to identify new opportunities early and carefully reduce investments in areas that may no longer be of value or required. 

As you can see, our strategy must address and include many “moving parts” for us to be successful. We have to review it regularly, measure our progress against objectives and goals, celebrate where and when appropriate and adjust our course as required. To do all of this we need the help and ideas of all leaders and members. It is our membership that represents the collective needs of our profession. 

  Please contact me at President@isa.org with your thoughts and insights. I look forward to continuing this dialogue throughout 2020. Happy Anniversary!  

Eric Cosman 2020 President 

About the Author  

Eric Cosman 2020 ISA President Principal Consultant, OIT Concepts LLC  

Eric C. Cosman is the founder and principal consultant at OIT Concepts, LLC. He provides consulting and advisory services to suppliers, professional associations, and asset owners, focusing on management of information technology solutions in process automation, operations, and engineering. This includes providing guidance on the definition and leadership of collaborative teams between IT and OT organizations. 

Eric is a chemical engineer with more than 35 years of experience in the process industries. He has held positions in process engineering, process systems software development, telecommunications, IT operations, automation architecture, and consulting. His assignment have included system architecture definition and design, project management, technology life cycle management, and integration planning for manufacturing focused IT systems. This includes having worked closely with virtually all major suppliers of process automation systems and technology.  

Eric contributes to and has held leadership positions in various standards committees and industry focus groups and is a member of Control Magazine’s Process Automation Hall of Fame. He has been a contributor to the work of several standards committees with the International Society of Automation (ISA), and has served as their vice president of standards and practices, and as a member of the ISA Executive Board. He is the ISA President for 2020.  

Eric has been a leader in the development of standards and practices for industrial control systems security since 2002. He was a founding member of a chemical sector cybersecurity program team focused on industrial control systems cybersecurity and was one of the authors of the chemical sector cybersecurity strategy for the U.S. He is also a founding member and currently serves as the co-chair of the ISA99 Committee on Industrial Automation and Control Systems (IACS) Security, as well as co-chair of the MESA Cybersecurity working group.  

Eric is a frequent conference speaker and has written articles and columns for a variety of industry magazines, including Chemical Engineering, Control Magazine and Hydrocarbon Processing. 

Explore a Shifting Industry at the IIoT & Smart Manufacturing Conference

Join your fellow ISA members this April in sunny Galveston, Texas! Speakers with decades of combined industry experience will share their thoughts on the latest challenges and opportunities for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and smart manufacturing. We anticipate that IIoT and Smart Manufacturing will see major upticks in adoption across the automation community. IoT sensors are generally decreasing in cost, making IIoT more accessible at scale. Innovations in smart buildings, smart factories, and smart cities have all become possible thanks to “ubiquitous computing,” as outlined in Microsoft’s 2019 Manufacturing Trends Report.  

A recent report by Forrester Research also predicts that cheaper and more plentiful IoT sensors, combined with better connectivity and software platforms, will lead to new business models in the manufacturing space. Models like product-as-a-service, in which an operation “leases” equipment by paying for its usage as measured by IoT sensors, will become more feasible across a wider range of industries.  

We’ll dive deep into current topics like these at the IIoT & Smart Manufacturing Conference this April. Save yourself a spot and register now!

Sponsorship Opportunities are available. For questions about sponsoring, exhibiting, or to save your space, contact one of our event specialists below for more information:  

Elena Pitt +1 919-323-4023 epitt@isa.org  

Chris Nelson +1 919-990-9265 cnelson@isa.org  

Richard Simpson +1 919-414-7395 rsimpson@isa.org

Automation and the Future of Work 

Will automation cause mass unemployment? The nature of work is changing, and over the next 10 years, training will be more important than ever.  

 “Automation.” To many people, it might as well be a four-letter word—they hate to hear it. They are concerned that increasing automation will eventually put them out of a job. As an automation professional, where do you stand? Our goal at ISA is to create a better world through automation, and from my perspective, a “better world” hopefully will not include bread lines and unemployment checks. 

This anxiety over automation is widespread, however. People from diverse backgrounds and beliefs share it, and if you look around at world events, it makes sense. Automation shows up in the news a lot these days, and it is rarely good. We have a 2020 U.S. presidential candidate whose campaign is devoted to proving that automation leads to mass unemployment. We see reports like this one from Oxford Economics predicting that robots will replace up to 20 million factory jobs by 2030. It is entirely possible that many of the tasks filling your work day in 2020 will not be necessary in five or 10 years. We cannot predict what the jobs of the future will be, for the first time in history. 

That does not mean we are headed for a robot takeover out of a dystopian sci-fi film. Humans still have the upper hand when it comes to human interaction—or “soft skills,” as you might call them today. According to a recent report from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) called “Humans Wanted,” Canada’s top five most in-demand job skills from 2019 through 2022 are active listening, speaking, critical thinking, reading comprehension, and monitoring. (Virtually every other nation needs the same top five.) When it comes to these essential workforce skills, humans are still more reliable and more efficient than any technology. Even if you end up changing industries halfway through your career, maintaining and improving your abilities in these core areas will serve you well.

That leads us to the topic of education. Looking a few years down the road, education will become even more crucial. As the older generation retires, younger generations must learn the legacy systems as well as adapt to changing technologies. The existing workforce needs to continually reinvent themselves, “reskilling” on the job to learn new systems. Automation will replace tasks, as Industry Week predicts, but it will not replace the need for work. Highly automated jobs will still need a human being to give a stamp of approval or to step in and correct problems, although humans will need to learn new processes of doing so. 

Jobs in five to 10 years certainly will not look like they do today. Some will not exist, of course. There will also be new job descriptions that we cannot imagine today. As an automation professional who cares about the automation community, it will be up to you to create new opportunities to reskill yourself, your team, and those just starting their careers. You could start by signing up for an upcoming class from ISA Training, or mentoring someone in your field. Employers also need to offer more on-the-job training, or risk losing their best employees to companies that do so. The future is coming, and to weather its changes, we need to begin now.  

It's Time to Recognize the Difference Makers. Nominate a Deserving Colleague!

Nominate ISA’s Future Leaders

You can help shape the Society’s future by nominating future leaders. Take a moment to tell us who you think would do a great job. Maybe you are interested in a leadership role? Nominate yourself!  

We are seeking candidates for the following positions: President-elect Secretary (2022 President) Treasurer Executive Board Member  

Department Vice President-elect: • Automation & Technology • Image & Membership • Professional Development • Publications • Standards & Practices • Strategic Planning  

The process: 1. Review the position descriptions. 2. Submit a completed nomination form.  

Nominations due 1 March 2020.  

Celebrating Excellence Award Nominations are Open!  

The Celebrating Excellence awards salute our members, sections, and divisions for their outstanding technical contributions, volunteer service, and mentorship.  

Nominations are accepted through 15 March 2020.  

Review the awards criteria and submit a nomination!  

Elevate the Extraordinary to Fellow  

ISA elevates to Fellow only a select few members who have made extraordinary contributions in the science or engineering fields of automation.  

Nominations are accepted through 30 April 2020.  

Review the Fellow criteria and submit a nomination to recognize the difference-makers in our profession.  

Join ISA’s Smart Manufacturing & IIoT Division

The division will keep members abreast of the latest developments in IIoT, cloud, big data and machine learning.  

Click here to learn more about this division.  

If you would like to add this division to your ISA Membership at no additional charge, please contact info@isa.org.  

Make Plans Now for the AIChE Spring Meeting

Mark your calendars for the AIChE® Spring Meeting, the year’s key technical conference for practicing chemical engineers. In addition to the wide range of subjects relevant to the chemical engineering industry, the Global Congress on Process Safety will provide a deep dive into the critical needs of process safety practitioners.  

ISA will kick off the conference on 29 March 2020 with a special training course, Introduction to Industrial Automation Security and the ISA/IEC 62443 Standards (IC32C). This essential course teaches the basics of the ISA/IEC 62443 series of industrial cybersecurity standards and how they can be applied in the typical factory or plant to help protect vital automation and control systems from viruses, hackers, and saboteurs.  

Register Now!  

Analysis Division Symposium Abstract Submission Date Extended

The abstract submission date has been extended. Not enough time to write a paper? Still consider submitting an abstract for presentation or a hot topic idea for a possible panel discussion.  

Attendee registration is open! To register, visit www.isa.org/ad.  

Contact Tim Kuiken at tkuiken@mac-products.com or call him at +1 951-316-6515 if you are interested in participating in the vendor showcase. Additional sponsorship and exposure opportunities are also available.  

Apply for an ISA Scholarship!

University students who have outstanding potential in fields related to automation should apply for an ISA scholarship. For details and eligibility requirements, click here.

 All applications must be submitted no later than 17 February 2020. 

Edmonton Section Automation Expo & Conference (AEC) Edmonton Expo Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 29-30 April 2020 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (both days)  

The place to be for everything automation! AEC is one of North America’s largest automation events that happens bi-annually in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We welcome automation, instrumentation, and control system professionals from a diverse range of global industries including: oil & gas, petro-chemical, manufacturing, mining, power, water & wastewater, forestry, pulp & paper, agriculture, and more.  

Join us in April!  

2018 Class

2019 Class

Training: Fundamentals of Industrial Automation, Instrumentation and Control Revere Control Systems, Birmingham, Alabama 5-7 May 2020 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM (each day)  

The 50th Annual Fundamentals of Industrial Automation, Instrumentation, and Control training class is sponsored by the Birmingham Section. This three-day class will provide instruction on the foundational aspects of industrial automation, instrumentation, and control. It is intended for engineers, technicians, I&C team leaders, sales personnel, and other technical/automation professionals who are responsible for the specification, design, installation, and maintenance of instrumentation and control equipment and systems.  

The course will cover the basics of temperature, pressure, flow, and level measurements; process control loops and tuning, with process control exercises; Programmable Logic Controls (PLC); Distributed Control Systems (DCS); Fieldbus Technology; and final control elements selection and application.  

The instructors are highly qualified automation, instrumentation and control professionals from the Birmingham area, who are recognized as subject matter experts.  

Registration for this course is open through 20 April 2020. Register today.

Governance, Section, and Division Round Up 

Spain’s 2020 Student Mentoring Program  

The 2020 ISA Spain Students Mentoring Program has been launched. This year we expect to get more mentees and mentors than the pilot program launched in 2019.  

The objective is that students (from ISA student sections) have professional mentors who help them to learn how automation professionals work and give them an orientation to their future professional careers.  

Mentors will meet the mentees (either personally or by videoconference) at least once a month with a prepared agenda.  


Outgoing Construction and Design (CONDES) Division Director  

This fall marked the last few months of J Parsons' term as Director for the CONDES division and on behalf of his fellow division leaders, we want to extend a big thank you and vote of gratitude towards his commitment. J was instrumental in the resurrection of the Division three years ago and helped lead the team into the building of a strong structure, newsletter, and symposium involvement.  

Thank you J! 

Technical Meeting: MQTT- The Communication Model that Comes to the Industry to Stay  

Early in November 2019, the San Juan Bosco Student Section met in Cartagena, Spain for a technical meeting on a new MQTT communication standard. This new standard will be hitting the industry and the results are promising.  

Process Automation Conference 

Process Automation Day organized by the Pune Section on 9 November 2019 in Pune received excellent responses from various industry sectors of automation. A full day program was attended by over 150 professionals closely connected to process automation. The excellent teamwork of ISA Pune led to very successful and gratifying event.

Karam Rehani, ISA life member, did the welcome and provided a bird's eye of view of ISA activities and ISA Pune, particularly. Dr. Bela Liptak (USA), the guru of instrumentation and control, especially process automation; Graham Nasby (Canada), VP (Automation & Techology Dept.); and Stefan Zippel, Litmus Automation (Germany) also provided greetings for the conference. Six exhibitors/sponsors showcased their products and software. Keynote speaker Umesh Kulkarni, additional director of Serum Institute made an interesting point: end users of the product manufactured by Serum are babies under age three – they have no voice! Automation ensures no deviation. Further, as automation seeks to eliminate human errors, it is equally important to carefully listen to their thoughts as they watch the automation process 24/7.  

Ten speakers from Beckhoff, Burkert, Connectwell, Forbes Marshall, Mojj Engg, Rockwell, and Serum Institute presented interesting topics such as Smart Skids, latest trends in process measurement and control, energy efficiency through process automation, advance control systems for the process industry, ISA 88 Batch Control Standard, and more. 

The former District 14 vice president, Ramani Iyer, expressed his views and thoughts about Process Automation Day and the Secretary of Pune Section, Vikas Anwekar, gave vote of thanks.  

Process Automation Conference proceedings are under compilation for future reference and usage for ISA student members.  

Maintenance of Electric Motors in the Era of Industry 4.0  

In Zaragoza and Madrid, 13-14 November 2019, the Spain Section met to discuss new technologies that will help to achieve condition-based maintenance in electric motors. Motors are considered a robust machine, but now we can focus better on energy savings and reliability thanks to the new possibilities given by Industry 4.0.  

Fernando Cámara (ISA) introducing the speaker Javier de la Morena (Weg):  

Automation Seminar  

The Universidad Politecnica de Madrid-ETSIDI Student Section organized a seminar in November 2019 to discuss “Jobs for Chemical Engineers,” as presented by Angel Torres (CTA group) and a workshop on Control Valves and PLCs. 

David Crespo, Alvaro Raimundez, and members from the student section who led the workshop:  

SCADA Obsolescence  

The Connecticut Valley Section met in December at the Regional Water Authority, in New Haven, CT, USA, for a presentation on SCADA systems. The speaker for the evening, James Papadimitriou, is a design engineer for Wright-Pierce, and has more than 28 years of experience in the design, application, implementation, and startup of instrumentation and process control systems for the water/wastewater, industrial process, and machine control markets. His experience is applied to manufacturing, design-bid-construction, and design-build business models. Experience includes telecommunication studies and SCADA obsolescence and master planning.  

Municipality plant upgrades are typically designed with 20-year life-cycles. Limited and stressed budgets typically force upgrade cycles to extend beyond the intended designed life-cycle. SCADA (supervisory, control, and data acquisition) systems are not immune to these life-cycles and in some cases, the life-cycle of specific SCADA elements is far less than the 20-year life-cycle of plant components and systems. In this presentation, Mr. Papadimitriou helped to identify:  

  • what a SCADA system is, and is not
  • the various hierarchal levels of control and associated elements/components of a SCADA system
  • where the potential obsolescence exists and its associated interrelations with other components of the SCADA system
  • what to do about the obsolescence and how to plan your budget around addressing the obsolescence before it becomes a risk factor

Tell Us Your On-The-Job Story!  

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 cayala@isa.org, and watch for “On the Job” stories in each issue of Inside ISA.  

ISA95 to Meet at IEC Plenary in Netherlands  

The ISA95 standards development committee, Enterprise-Control System Integration, will meet March 24-26, 2020 in conjunction with the plenary meetings of IEC TC65, Industrial-Process Measurement, Control, and Automation. TC65 is the primary IEC/ISO body that ISA works with in the adoption of ISA standards as IEC international standards.  

The meeting will take place in Delft, NL at NEN, the NL Standards Institute. For more information, contact Charley Robinson, ISA Standards, crobinson@isa.org.