July 2020

Taking the Next Step in Your Commitment to ISA

Fellow Society members,

We are now more than halfway through 2020, which has been—and will likely continue to be—one of the more interesting and challenging years that we have faced in recent memory. As we face the challenges in our personal and business lives, we all should try to learn from our experiences and ask ourselves how this may change our plans for the future. This could be as simple as a decision to make working from home semi-permanent to finally pulling the trigger on a long-considered career change.

This need to learn, reflect, and adjust also applies to our Society. We are dealing with immediate difficulties and uncertainty forced upon us by current events, but we are also considering and planning what more fundamental changes may be required for us to be successful. As difficult as our current circumstances may be, we must do our best to position ISA well for the long term. Your Executive Board and other leaders remain committed to communicating with you whenever and however we can to make sure that you are fully informed and that we address your questions.

As I am sure that you are aware, increasing membership and active participation have long been key elements of our vision for the long-term success of ISA. If we are to make meaningful progress toward our mission to "advance technical competence by connecting the automation community," there are many steps that we must take. These include reaching out to automation professionals of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds to retain and attract members; promoting our Society with employers; and engaging with other organizations on matters of common interest. At the same time, we must adapt our governance and operating procedures to meet changing member needs and expectations, and to allow us to act quickly in changing situations.

Much of this has been captured in the Society's strategic plan, which I described briefly in my January message. The Executive Board and other Society leaders remain committed to this plan, even in the face of our current challenges. We have working groups addressing each of the plan's key elements:

  • Industry Reach and Awareness
  • Member Development and Engagement
  • Technical Education and Certification
  • Leadership and Business Skill Development

In the second half of the year, we will take a critical look at the plan to see if any changes may be required. The high-level objectives are unlikely to change, but some adjustments may be made to more detailed goals and tactics.

I want to stress that, while the Executive Board is accountable for our strategy, other leaders and society members are welcome—even encouraged—to contribute to its execution. If you have an interest or passion in one or more of these areas, please raise your hand and we will put you in touch with the appropriate people. This is our strategy, and we all have a stake in its success.

In my June message, I stressed that our Society is a community, and said, "You don't have to have a formal leadership role to contribute and help us to move forward." I suggested that the easiest and simplest way to contribute is to vote in our elections.

As you read this, our 2020 election is over. I can say that the number of votes casts was higher than in most recent years. Nonetheless, it is still a relatively small fraction of our total membership. I encourage those who did not vote to reflect on their reasons and resolve to do so next year. To all of our members, we welcome your interest, experience, perspectives, and expertise. Our future leaders are among you. Help us to take ISA forward!

I close with my wish that you and your family and friends are safe, well, and happy. Remember your friends and colleagues in the ISA community. Stay in touch and support each other.

As always, you can contact me at President@isa.org with your thoughts or questions on this or any other topic. Stay safe and well, and I look forward to continuing this dialog throughout 2020.

Eric C. Cosman
2020 President


About the Author  

Eric Cosman 2020 ISA President  

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 the 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 assignments 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 ISA. Erice has served as the 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. 

Welcome to Inside ISA!

Welcome to Inside ISA, the Society’s quarterly newsletter. As the feature member publication for ISA members, we aim to provide quality content that engages all of our readers. All ISA members are encouraged to submit ideas, suggestions, and provide content to be considered for inclusion. Please contact Christina Ayala at ISA Marketing (cayala@isa.org) for more details and to submit ideas and comments.  

ISA Transactions Earns High Scores for Citations, Impact

RTP, NC—July 20, 2020—The International Society of Automation (ISA) announced that its monthly scientific journal, ISA Transactions, has earned a 2019 CiteScore of 8.0. The 2019 CiteScore for ISA Transactions was calculated by Scopus on 6 May 2020 and made available by ScienceDirect.com, both divisions of Elsevier, the global information analytics company specializing in science and health.

ISA Transactions covers state-of-the-art developments in the science and engineering of measurement and automation. Its intended audience is research and development personnel from academe and industry in the fields of control systems, process instrumentation, systems, and automation.

ISA Transactions “seeks to bridge the theory and practice gap. This balance of interests requires simplicity of technique, credible demonstration, fundamental grounding, and connectivity to the state of the art in both theory and practice,” said ISA Transactions Editor-in-Chief, A.B. (Ahmad) Rad, who is with Simon Fraser University School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering in British Columbia, Canada. He has headed ISA Transactions for the last nine years.

ISA Transactions has significantly evolved in the last decade and is now among the top international scientific journals,” Rad said.

Peer Reviewed, Peer Cited

First published in 1962, ISA Transactions is the flagship academic journal of ISA. It is currently published by Elsevier at a cadence of 12 issues per year. In 2019, the journal received 2450 submissions from all over the world and published 330 papers.

ScienceDirect.com is a platform for peer-reviewed literature used by 25 million researchers a month, published by Elsevier. Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, including scientific journals, books and conference proceedings. Elsevier launched CiteScore in 2016 to provide a comprehensive metric to rate and rank scientific journals.

Scopus metrics track the number of citations peer-reviewed journal articles receive each year, then creates a CiteScore rating so journals can be compared to others in the same topical category. CiteScore measures the average citations received per document published in a particular issue. CiteScore values are based on citation counts in a given year (e.g. 2018) to documents published in three previous calendar years (e.g. 2015-17), divided by the number of documents in these three previous years (e.g. 2015-17).

Contributing to its overall CiteScore, ISA Transactions ranked 12th out of 510 (97th percentile) on the topic of applied mathematics and 6th out of 129 (95th percentile) on the topic of instrumentation.

ISA Transactions also earned an Impact Factor of 4.343. The Impact Factor measures the average number of citations received in a particular year by papers published in the journal during the two preceding years.

The journal is one of 15 that Scopus has grouped into the Signal Processing and Control category. Automatica (CiteScore: 12.4) and Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing (10.6) were the top journals in the category, while Flow Measurement and Instrumentation (3.4) and European Journal of Control (3.3) were at the bottom. Information about the score for ISA Transactions can be found at https://www.scopus.com/sourceid/29805.

Significant Research

“This is big, big news for ISA, Ahmad, and the whole ISA Transactions team,” said Shari Worthington, ISA member and industry consultant. “People may not understand the brilliance of the research published in ISA Transactions, and this is a significant measure.”

A sample of recent topics cited include:

The journal’s CiteScore has improved significantly since 2018, when it received a 5.17. In 2019, Elsevier changed its CiteScore scoring methods based on feedback from the scientific community. The changes included a longer citation window: instead of including citations made in one year, the new version covers four years. Because of this, articles’ citation impact is measured earlier, and older articles get their full citation impact, rather than reflecting only one year.

Further information about ISA Transactions’ 2019 scores can be found at https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/isa-transactions.

ISA Member Expertise

Developing Industrial Machine Learning Projects: 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Originally published on ISA Interchange, ISA's official blog.

The use of artificial intelligence techniques, and more specifically machine learning, has been increasingly seen as a revolutionary tool. But what is machine learning?

An interesting description was proposed by Francois Chollet. In his book, "Deep Learning with Python," he defines machine learning (ML) as a new computational paradigm. In conventional computing, we provide the computer the rules and the data, and we expect correct results. Using machine learning, this order is changed. We provide the data and the results to the computer, and expect the rules as an answer.

This new computational paradigm significantly changes our way of solving everyday problems and opens a big a range of opportunities in all fields of study. In the past few years, machine learning has been used widely, including in the industrial sector. Despite this wide scope and having many great professionals working in this field, some common mistakes have been observed (and should be avoided) in industrial project development. Although there are many others, this article aims to discuss three of these possible mistakes.


1. Forgetting the Basics

Concepts like Industry 4.0, digitalization, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and IIoT are the top trends in the industrial world nowadays. Projects with this kind of approach frequently get special attention in a professional's portfolio, and some professionals tend to choose this kind of solution during a project design to improve the chances of getting their project approved. But the point is: is this tool (machine learning or any other) the right one to solve your problem? You need to ask yourself some questions before choosing any of these "modern" tools. I have listed a few here, although there are many others:

  • Have I tried a simpler algorithm to solve this problem (like PLC logic)?
  • Does a well-syntonized regulatory control lead to similar or better control results?
  • Do we have an appropriate, well-trained team to keep these new applications working?
  • Would a different set of quality tools (such as pareto charts or cause-and-effect diagrams) give enough data to get good insights?

Note that I am not saying that tools like machine learning can't deliver great results, or that these tools are too complex. It's important to keep in mind, however, that simple solutions frequently deliver good results and normally should be the first step for an Industry 4.0 journey.


2. Not Paying Attention to Data Quality

Machine learning tools for processing data are now widespread. Big companies like Google and many open source groups have developed great ML libraries. These libraries are available on the internet, some of them at low or no cost. When we look at the big picture, however, any machine learning project involves four major phases:

  • Understanding and preparing data
  • Processing this data
  • Analyzing results
  • Acting wisely based on data analysis

That said, when we look at the entire process of developing machine learning projects,  it is not uncommon for some professionals to go straight to the middle stages (processing data and analyzing results) without paying enough attention to the data collection and preparation.

The basis of any machine learning project is data. Like in cooking, where the starting point of any good dish is to use good ingredients, an essential factor when developing a good ML project is to obtain and use good data. Especially in industry, getting this data may be a challenging task. A non-exhaustive list of potential challenges is shown below:

  • Lack of instrumentation (missing data)
  • Less accurate data due to improper installation, maintenance, or configuration of instrumentation
  • Wrong data labels due to misconceptions in analysis—supervised learning tasks

Even with these challenges, with a correct preparation of the data (sometimes with industrial adequation), it is possible to build a strong enough database to obtain great results.

So, take your time on this important task!


3. Ignoring Experts' Knowledge

This may be a controversial argument. Some professionals may say that if you want an expert opinion, you should opt for an expert system using fuzzy logic, for example. In an opposing point of view, when we investigate the great amount of knowledge that our companies possess, just ignoring it does not sound the best way to evolve our processes.

When we implement ML projects, the best way is to get a multidisciplinary team combining the ML developers (people who are knowledgeable about ML techniques—i.e., deep learning, natural language processing, ensemble methods, clustering, and so on) with the proper expert advisors (professionals who knows the process reality and the real problems to be solved). With this multidisciplinary team, good results are catalyzed. You will probably get more accurate solutions, with a higher likelihood that you will be able to implement them in the real world.


Going Further

Despite the great challenges and cautionary tales that exist, machine learning is increasingly showing itself as a powerful tool. ML, and the dozens of other tools aimed at modernizing and evolving the industrial world, are a trend and a natural (and necessary) evolutionary process. However—especially in critical processes in industrial, medical, and other fields—care must be taken. So, do not skip steps: keep your project as simple as possible, take good care of your data, and do not forget the experts. 

As we can see, a machine learning project is not a short run, but a long journey. Like any journey, this one is made from single steps, and the last step has the same importance as the first one.

ISA 75th Anniversary Logo

About the Author

Luiz Rogério de Freitas Júnior, MSc, CAP, has spent his automation career of more than a decade designing, developing, and maintaining industrial control systems, especially in the mining industry. Currently, Luiz works as a senior automation engineer at Vale SA and is a senior member of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

ISA Member Expertise

An Emerging Role for IoT in the Health Care Delivery System

Originally published on ISA Interchange, ISA's official blog.

COVID-19 was first discovered in China less than a year ago. Since then, it has rapidly spread across the world, causing untold misery. Lives and livelihoods have been lost, the global economy has taken a severe blow, and the world is experiencing a type of crisis never witnessed in our living memory. While desperate attempts are being made to mitigate the suffering, for many, uncertainty hangs over their future.

The crisis has triggered a debate about the present health care delivery system. If ongoing developments are any indication, the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to become a game changer. It can help clinicians provide health care services from remote locations and, if the situation warrants, shift from patient-centered care to community-centered care. 

The World Health Organization recently issued an interim guidance called "Home care for patients with COVID-19 presenting with mild symptoms and management of their contacts" that says, "as hospitalization may not be possible because of the burden on the health care system," patients "with mild illness and no risk factors may need to be isolated in non-traditional facilities, such as repurposed hotels …or managed at home." It goes on to state that "a communication link with health care provider or public health personnel, or both, should be established for the duration of the home care period."

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) systems gather patients' physiological parameters and transmit the data to health care providers. RPM can serve as this WHO-recommended communication link—and at the core of RPM is IoT. Remotely managed health care can lead to more efficient use of resources and the safety of patients and clinicians, limiting the spread of infections like COVID-19.


COVID-19 Poses Challenges to the Health Care System

As of yet, there are no specific medicines or vaccines for this highly contagious disease. The present approach of the health care system, focused on patients and hospitals, is under severe stress. There are not enough health care professionals. There are not enough hospital beds, mechanical ventilators, or oxygen cylinders—even in developed countries like Italy, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S. There is a shortage of intensive care units and high-dependency beds in hospitals required to treat the large number of COVID-19 patients who are queuing up for admission in large numbers.

This hinders the treatment of other patients requiring hospital care, jeopardizing their safety as well. In addition to these systemic issues, health care professionals themselves are under intense pressure. There are also worrisome reports about the transmission of the disease to health care professionals from COVID-19 patients under treatment, with some workers even succumbing to it themselves. The number of such cases is on the increase.

Based on their personal experience, Dr. Mirco Nacoti and his colleagues of Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in the province of Bergamo, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, recommended a home care approach for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms in a recent article. The article argues that, under pandemic conditions, patient-centered and hospital-centered care "is inadequate and must be replaced by community-centered care. Solutions for COVID-19 are required for the entire population, not only for hospitals."

The article goes on to elaborate that, lacking a sufficient staff and necessary equipment, overwhelmed by large number of patients to be attended, health care professionals are not able to give pandemic patients the necessary attention. Palliative care and hospitals are not able to maintain the expected standard of care. Doctors are often forced to choose between attending to pandemic patients and delivering regular services to other patients, such as child delivery.

Hospitals likely also facilitate virus transmission to other uninfected patients, contributing to the spread of the disease as ambulances and personnel rapidly become carriers of the virus. Front line medical staff can also become victims to COVID-19. According to the article, such disasters could be "averted only by massive deployment of outreach services." This approach would limit hospitalization to a focused target based on disease severity, thereby decreasing contagion, protecting patients and health care workers, and minimizing the use of protective equipment.


Home Care with a Surveillance System Has Its Advantages

To provide sufficient health care support to COVID-19 patients and to slow down the spread of the virus, the medical community needs tools to obtain patients' disease information. This data can help them decide on the course of treatment and to learn more about the disease itself. 

Using clinical-grade sensors (often referred to as biosensors or biometric sensors) that are connected to RPM systems, it is possible to gather patients' physiological parameters and analyze them. RPM is akin to PC-based data acquisition systems that are typically used in industrial applications. IoT is at the core of RPMs now being engineered and built, just as it plays an important role in industrial automation systems. The sensors used for measuring physiological parameters, such as the body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, are typically non-invasive, however—unlike the commonly used sensors in industrial automation applications.

Biosensors and biomedical sensors often come in the form of wearables or patches. They have built-in transducers that convert sensor outputs into electrical signals and transmit them from the patient's location to the monitoring systems at the health care provider's location for assessment and recommendations. Biosensors and biomedical sensors are the equivalent of multivariable transmitters used in industrial process plant applications.

With the help of analytical software, the patients' historical physiological parametric data can be analyzed to detect or predict improvement or deterioration. At the individual level, such analysis helps health care professionals understand when to initiate appropriate remedial actions. At the collective level, analysis helps better understand the disease itself. RPM allows the data to be compiled, stored, and distributed in a structured and clinically relevant format, thus making better interpretation possible. 


RPM and IoT Facilitate Remote Health Care  

RPM systems built around IoT and wireless communication technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth—with their processing and connectivity capabilities—are emerging as potential solutions that will allow patients to stay in their homes while receiving the appropriate treatment. With the help of these RPMs, clinicians can direct treatment from remote locations.  Even in the case of hospitalized patients, these systems will minimize the need for personal doctor visits to the patients' beds and decrease the likelihood of spreading the infection.

Health care providers and authorities have found an ally in RPM typically built around IoT. Health care authorities, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services of the US Department of Health and Human Services, have recognized the situation. To respond effectively to the serious public health threats posed by the spread of the COVID–19, they have issued notifications that permit physicians and other health care practitioners to furnish services using remote communications technology to avoid exposure risks to themselves, their patients, and the community. The writing is on the wall—as the synonym of remote communications technology in the health care sector, IoT is headed for extensive use in the future. IoT offers a way out of some of the challenges of the health care industry, and may prove to be a game changer.

ISA 75th Anniversary Logo

About the Author

Rajabahadur V. Arcot is a life member of ISA, a member of ISA's Smart Manufacturing & IIoT Division, and an ISA-accredited mentor and trainer. He authors industry and technology trend articles, market research reports, case studies, and white papers, providing insights into automation and manufacturing IT.

Mark Your Calendar

ISA Conferences & Events Update

CSIC+, a virtual conference addressing automation cybersecurity, is scheduled for 25 August 2020. Please visit the Virtual Events Program schedule for more event details.

Be sure to mark your calendar for these upcoming virtual conferences and webinars:

  • 15 September–Virtual Digital Transformation in Deepwater Automation Conference (Registration coming soon!)
  • 22 September, 1–2 PM ET–Webinar–Control System Cybersecurity for Water/Energy Utilities
  • 27 October–Virtual IIoT & Smart Manufacturing Conference (Registration coming soon!)

Member Activity

Attention: Important Website Announcement

In preparation for the launch of our new website, ISA's systems will be offline from approximately 27 July until 4 August for data conversion and final integration testing. No new transactions related to membership, books, training, or additional products and service offerings will be processed after 24 July at 6 PM ET. We will promptly resume the processing of orders starting on Tuesday, 4 August.

We kindly ask that you be patient with us during this time and through the next several weeks as we adjust to these new platforms. We will make every effort to accommodate our customers and members during this time.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out directly to our customer service team. We appreciate your patience during this transition, and we thank you for your continued support of ISA.


Leader Election Results Are In

The results of the ISA 2020 Society Elections are in! Thank you to all the nominees for their willingness to serve and all those who voted in the election.

Results for each role are provided at the following link.


What's Next in the World of Automation? We Want to Hear Your Thoughts

As ISA reflects on 75 years of rich history, we're also looking closely at predictions and analysis of what's to come—the megatrends that will shape our future. We invite you to read more on our Megatrends microsite and share your thoughts on what's next in our 15-minute survey.

We also invite you to visit www.isa.org/75in2020 to reflect on unique stories about our history and browse insights into our future. We hope you will celebrate with us when the time is right. If you have already held celebrations, please submit photos to 75in2020@isa.org. We realize that many celebrations may be postponed, so we will continue to ask for photos throughout the year. #75in2020

75th Anniversary Fun Fact: Do you know how many female presidents we have had at ISA? Just two!

To commemorate International Women in Engineering Day on 23 June, we featured two of our own ISA members on our social channels, Emily Henry and Heena Patel. Learn more about these two engineers and how they are making a difference at ISA and beyond.


ISA Gives Back

As part of our 75th anniversary celebration, we have also launched ISA Gives Back. In honor of our 75 years, we challenge every member to complete 7.5 hours of service in the community. We realize that many opportunities to serve in your community are not possible currently. We encourage members to go ahead and pledge service, even if it can't be completed until later in the year. Now more than ever, we need to stand together in support of our communities. Together, we can create a better world through automation.


ISA Connect is Coming Soon

Our exclusive, members-only community is coming soon! It is a platform for you to connect, share, and get the most out of your ISA experience anytime, anywhere.

  • Engage in technical discussions
  • Build your professional network
  • Connect with sections and divisions
  • Enhance your personal profile

Confirm your ISA membership is current to take advantage of this member-only benefit. We look forward to welcoming you to ISA Connect.


Council of Society Delegates Voting via Ballot

After careful consideration, the Executive Board made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 meeting of the Council of Society Delegates. In accordance with our Bylaws, we will proceed with an electronic ballot to vote on amendments to Society bylaws. Voting will open in mid-September. Delegates will have 45 days to cast their vote.


Attention Volunteers: Raise Your Hand as a Potential ISA Content Contributor

We need you! Elevate your personal brand, increase your recognition and visibility in relevant industries, and showcase your knowledge and expertise. We're seeking new contributors in several emerging priority topic areas. Visit www.isa.org/volunteercontent for details. (The two ISA Interchange articles above were written by ISA members who submitted abstracts through this platform.)

ISA Educational Foundation Scholarship Awardees

ISA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 ISA Educational Foundation Scholarship. ISA Educational Foundation Scholarships are awarded to college or university students who demonstrate outstanding potential for long-range contribution to the fields of instrumentation, systems, and automation. 

Please join us in recognizing the 2020 awardees. We wish them the best in their future endeavors!


TWO-YEAR APPLICANTS

Betina Chaon, Fox Valley Technical College - Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA

Hansel Armando Castilla Caballero, Universität Duisburg Essen - Duisburg, North Rhine Westphalia, DE


UNDERGRADUATE APPLICANTS

Mikhail Afanasev, Saint Petersburg State University of Aerospace Instrumentation - St. Petersburg, RUS

Somya Gupta, Nirma University - Ahmedabad, Gujarat, IND

Shailly Maheshwari, Nirma University - Ahmedabad, Gujarat, IND

Edward Moton, Arizona State University Online - Tempe, Arizona, USA

Sergey Nenashev, Saint Petersburg State University of Aerospace Instrumentation - St. Petersburg, RUS

Prashant Somaiya, Nirma University - Ahmedabad, Gujarat, IND


GRADUATE APPLICANTS

Eugeny Grigoriev, Saint Petersburg State University of Aerospace Instrumentation - St. Petersburg, RUS

Lionel Ouedraogo, Iowa State University - Ames, Iowa, USA

Adrian Taylor, Imperial College London - London, UK

Elizaveta Vataeva, Saint Petersburg State University of Aerospace Instrumentation - St. Petersburg, RUS

"I'm honored to have been selected. The scholarship will help me to be successful in earning my engineering degree. In the future, I look forward to continuing to be a part of ISA and giving back by making positive contributions to the automation industry." Betina Chaon

"I am thankful for the opportunity provided by ISA." #ISAFOREDUCATION
Prashant Somaiya

Hansel Castilla Caballero

"I am very glad that you chose me for this scholarship, and I will do my best to meet your expectations. This scholarship will help me a lot in my scientific work."

Eugeny Grigoriev

ISA Celebrating Excellence Honorees

We are pleased to announce the 2020 Celebrating Excellence Honorees. The Honors and Awards program provides the Society with the opportunity to formally showcase and celebrate the remarkable achievements and contributions of its members, partners, and other automation professionals. 

Please join us in congratulating our honorees!

Excellence in Technical Innovation, Endowed by Honeywell UOP
Recognizes an individual who has played a critical role in the conception, design, and/or implementation of an innovative product, process, and/or service.

Soloman Almadi, Saudi Aramco, Dhahran, Eastern, Saudi Arabia


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.

Abdulkadar Susnerwala, Air Liquide, Houston, TX USA


Mentoring Excellence
Recognizes a member who has, in the previous year excelled in mentoring students and/or young professionals in automation or student sections in advancing the mission of the Society.

Greg McMillan, Emerson, Austin, TX, USA


Excellence in Enduring Service

Recognizes dedicated volunteer service to the Society at the grassroots level. May be presented to (up to five) honorees.

Catherine Andrews, Hile Controls of Alabama, Pelham, AL, USA

James Haw, La Porte, TX, USA

Ian Verhappen, Industrial Automation Networks, Calgary, AB, CAN

Clifford Wuertz, Cypress, TX, USA


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


Division Leader Excellence

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

Ed Naranjo, Process Measurement and Control Division, Honeywell, Eagan, MN, USA


Section Excellence

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

Bangalore Section


Standards Excellence

Recognizes an ISA standards committee member for exceptional efforts in organization, development and/or administration to further the development of ISA standards and for services to advance the mission of the Society.

Donald Dunn, Highlands, TX, USA


Volunteer Leader of the Year

Recognizes the volunteer who, in the previous year, has provided the most outstanding service to advance the mission of the Society unmatched by other leaders.

Cheri Haarmeyer, Pearland, TX, USA

Section & Division News

ISA Houston Section Scholarship Recipients

Pictured left to right top:
Abigail Wyatt, Auburn University
Ana Moreno, Texas A&M University - College Station
Bradley Churchman, University of Houston
Kaitlin Boudreaux, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Faizaan Khan, Texas A&M University - College Station
Rachel Sims, The University of Alabama School of Law 

Pictured left to right bottom:
Shaan Parekh, University of Texas at Austin
Meredith Hollek, Texas A&M University - College Station
Matthew Poston, University of Arkansas
Miguel Montemayor, University of Houston
Landry Seitz, Texas A&M University - College Station
Catherine Sims, Louisiana State University
Not Pictured: Tony Young, Texas A&M University – College Station


ISA Fellow Honorees for 2020

The distinction of ISA Fellow is given to qualified ISA members who have made exceptional engineering or scientific contributions to the automation profession based upon peer evaluation.  

Congratulations to our newest ISA Fellows!

Donald Dunn, WS Nelson, Highlands, TX, USA
For the education and standardization of terminology, requirements, and guidance for the process industry-wide safety area of alarm management.

Donald Rahn, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Rockville, MD, USA
For the development and implementation of new methodology and acceptance criteria to establish the reliability of critical safety equipment of nuclear power plants.

John Sorge, Retired, Birmingham, AL, USA
In recognition of his leading, advocating, sponsoring, and technically contributing to activities, projects, and organizations to advance Instrumentation and Control research on an application of new power generation technologies.

Richard Van Fleet, Andritz, Inc., Cumming, GA, USA
For providing subject matter expertise and technical support relating to sensor development and implementation of advanced process control and sustained process optimization of pulping and bleaching processes.


Do You Know About the New ISA Smart Manufacturing and IIoT Division?

Did you know that ISA created the SMIIoT division to focus on the developments within smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0, and IIoT? The goal is to become an influencer in the smart manufacturing and IIoT world. ISA's SMIIoT division has eight technical subcommittees: Cloud Technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML), Digital Twin & Simulation, Virtualization technologies (VR and AR), Cyber-Physical Systems, Communication and Networking (Industrial Internet), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and Cybersecurity.

If you have an interest in any of these areas or would like to collaborate, please contact the division at isa.smiiotdiv@gmail.com.


Third Annual Houston Section Pipeline Cajun Cook Off & Table Top Show

Houston Sections' growing Cajun Cook-Off & Table Top Show included over 48 companies and 660 attendees. Over 40 different Cajun food types were showcased at the event, including specialty desserts, and judges weighed in on the best theme, food, and desserts. The event raised over $9,900 for scholarships in 2020.

Check out a video from the event here


Colombia Section Forum and Virtual Courses During the Pandemic

Every ISA Section faces a similar challenge in organizing exciting and topical events for its members. Since mid-March, a second challenge arose in Colombia, South America, to create more virtual events due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The Colombia section hosted a couple of activities: a virtual forum and two virtual courses to address issues and share experiences.

The forum, "Automation – a challenge to face up to digital industrial transformation," was held on 7 April, and included speakers Alejandro Becerra, Fabián Lara, Oscar Amaury Rojas, and José Luis Villa. The forum's objective was to provide a common place to exchange ideas and views about technical, professional, and personal challenges that automation professionals face.

In April, Oscar Amaury Rojas taught the Automation of Production Systems course based on the ISA-88 Standard. The course created a space for discussion on the best practices for modeling production processes in the development of Industrial Digital Transformation projects.

Likewise, the Fundamentals on Industrial Cybersecurity course was also held in May. The instructor, Alejandro Becerra, guided the attendees through many conceptual cybersecurity topics. The course had several objectives, including providing attendees with a greater understanding of the importance of cybersecurity in industrial control networks, allowing attendees to become more acquainted with the ISA 62443 standard series, and providing deeper insights into how IT and OT converge in cybersecurity.


Pune Section Webinar: Digital Transformation: Key to Post-COVID-19 Era

The Pune Section held a webinar panel discussion to discuss the manufacturing-related struggles and challenges amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel of experts included Mr. Datta Kuvalekar (Forbes Marshall), Mr. Somnath Chakraborty (Siemens), Mr. Maneesh Pant (Capgemini), and Dr. Arvind Tilak (Ascent Intellimation).

In this challenging phase, leaders are considering new ways and opportunities to emerge from this situation rapidly. One definitive conclusion addressed is that “digital” will become the new norm. Some of the challenges related to this transition include:

  • Visibility of production: Assets, WIP, raw material, etc
  • With frequent changes to the production plan to handle changing priorities of customers, agility is critical
  • Workforce hand-holding: there may be many new operators due to migration back into rural areas, and these new operators will need support from supervisors and other maintenance personnel
  • Ensure high productivity and minimum downtime, despite growing challenges 

Smart manufacturing and remote asset monitoring and management are two significant areas where solutions and technologies already exist that can be leveraged quickly. Pre-architected solutions and use case deliverables will be the best way to move forward.

The webinar was well-received and included active participation from over 100 attendees.


Houston Section’s April Meeting

During the month of April, ISA Houston Section members were invited to view the previously recorded webinar “Cybersecurity for Control Systems in Process Automation” presented by ISA 2020 President Eric Cosman and Robert Thompson of Siemens. 

While we have no way of knowing exactly how many of our members listened to this webinar, if any, by the end of April the number of views had gone up from 8,700 to 9,131, so hopefully some of those additional 431 views were by our members.


District 9 Student Section’s Stay-at-Home Activities

During quarantine, District 9 student sections continued to work together and create opportunities to showcase ISA's growing communities.

The student sections met three times. On 4 May, the first meeting was held and the following student sections attended:

a.       El Salvador:

i.      UDB - Universidad Don Bosco

ii.      UTLA - Universidad Técnica Latinoamericana

b.       Perú:

i.      UNAC – Universidad Nacional del Callao

ii.      UNI – Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería

c.       Venezuela:

i.      ULA - Universidad Los Andes

d.       Colombia:

i.      UNICAUCA - Universidad del Cauca

e.       México:

i.      ITCM - Instituto Tecnológico de Ciudad Madero

ii.      UAQ - Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro

iii.      ITMIN - Instituto Tecnológico de Minatitlán

iv.      UAT - Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas

v.      IPN - Instituto Politécnico Nacional


The objective of the meetings were as follows:

  • To join together the student sections of District 9
  • To develop a multicultural team, share experiences as student sections, and support each student community with growth strategies.
  • To improve skills to develop training activities such as workshops, courses, webinars, or meetings according to each section's experience.

Following these activities, Edith Mendiola, vice president of ISA's IPN Zacatenco student section, provided an interview on her experience. She commented that generating these links is very important to students and added that it strengthens students' soft skills and allows for a broader picture of District 9's student sections to be represented. We want to integrate all of the student sections of the district and generate new sections since these opportunities would provide significant voluntary contributions to ISA. She added that it would help create a global network with other districts and allow for more activities focused on professional development.


ISA Pittsburgh Section Technical Tour – Control Analytics, Inc.

This past May, the Pittsburgh Section met for a technical tour. The tour provided a behind the scenes look at how an analyzer integration project moves from conceptual engineering phase through system integration and QA/QC. The tour included a hands-on look at several analyzer integration projects in various stages of engineering and construction, including:

  • 16-point Bio-Gas process analytical system that includes a 32’ shelter housing dual mass spectrometers, H2S and Total sulfur analyzers, 3 hydrocarbon analyzers, and 12 heated hazardous area gas sample systems
  • Petrochemical plant flare monitoring system and analyzer shelter including a mass spectrometer for measuring speciated hydrocarbons, BTU, moisture, and sulfurs in a flare
  • A Refinery flare system and shelter employing a calorimeter for flare BTU measurements
  • A total organic carbon analyzer system integrated into a freestanding custom fiberglass enclosure
  • Six 19” rack mount CEM systems measuring NOx, SO2 and CO2 in a coal-fired power plant SCR process

The tour included a look at the CAI analyzer engineering department and the use of AutoCAD 2016 and AutoCAD Electrical and Vault software packages to streamline the system design and documentation controls.

The tour also provided a demonstration of the use of CAI’s state of the art ERP/MRP system, which controls the implementation of workflows for project management, purchasing, manufacturing, quality, and service.

The tour, attended by approximately 22 attendees, included a Q&A during a beverage service and dinner.


Houston Section’s May Meeting

On 23 May, the ISA Houston Section held its first live online monthly meeting via Zoom. More than 30 members joined online to hear Rocky Chambers', of Maverick Technologies, presentation on "State-Based Control the Iterative Agile Way" and the application of ISA-109.

The response was very positive regarding the content and format of the presentation.


"How-to" with ISA Elections: Experience from District 9 (Latin America) Sections

The ISA election is an opportunity, but it is also a challenge. It is a challenge that involves electing the leaders that will advance our Society, and making a good decision is important for the members of Sections in District 9–Latin America. However, deciding is an even bigger challenge when one does not know the candidates. Sections in District 9 chose to remedy this situation by extending an invitation to the candidates for President-elect Secretary (2022 President) to have a virtual conversation with members. Mark Arkell, Jim Haw, and Carlos Mandolesi accepted District 9's invitation to connect and were supported by ISA's current President, Eric Cosman. The candidates discussed the importance of participating in the election, gave a brief presentation of their plans, and answered a few questions. Attendance for this virtual meeting included members from Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina. The District 9 DVP-elect Yesid Yermanos served as moderator and translator.

President-elect Secretary Candidate, Mark Arkell

President-elect Secretary Candidate, Carlos Mandolesi

District 9 DVP-elect, Yesid Yermanos


2020 Online Trainings – ISA Curitiba Section

The ISA Curitiba Section developed an online training program to meet the needs of professionals in the industrial automation field. The courses include basic theory and instrumentation applications, among other subjects of interest. The meetings will be held in July and August, and the main topics consist of “Instrumentation and Measurement Information,” “Industrial Network Technology,” and “PLCs Programming.” These courses are ideal for engineers, technologists, and technicians. The virtual classes will be taught by field-experienced technical experts.

Due to the pandemic, all live training courses have been canceled for 2020, but registrations remain open for online courses.

To register for upcoming training classes, please click here.

ISAGCA & Standards

Listen In! ISA in Conversation with Newsweek

2020 President Eric Cosman and Executive Board Member Steve Mustard recently sat down with Nigel Holloway from Newsweek Vantage to discuss ISA's involvement in one of their recent reports, "Weathering the Perfect Storm: Securing the Cyber-Physical Systems of Critical Infrastructure." Eric and Steve shared insights regarding cybersecurity for critical infrastructure as well as how the field is changing due to COVID-19.

You can listen to the audio recording of the conversation with Eric, Steve, and Nigel, and/or read the transcript. Both are featured in this recent ISA Interchange blog post.


ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance Updates

The ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance (ISAGCA) has been busy in the last several months. Our collaborative body of automation cybersecurity leaders is building connections and raising awareness about the implementation of ICS/OT cybersecurity, as well as its importance.

ISAGCA is working with top cybersecurity experts, including Dale Peterson of S4, to facilitate development of a crowd-sourced "Top 20" field guide for securing PLCs. The initial draft will be placed on a dedicated forum to get community input and possible revisions before putting out a more final document.

ISAGCA is also preparing a whitepaper with Nova Systems and TUV SUD on Asia Pacific's adoption of the ISA/IEC 62443 Series of Standards and how they tie into recent guidance from the Singapore government. If you have use cases from asset owners in these regions who have implemented ISA/IEC 62443, please send to aristaino@isa.org.

ISAGCA publishes a weekly blog addressing automation cybersecurity issues. Please feel free to check it out at gca.isa.org/blog and subscribe at gca.isa.org/blog-subscribe.


Updated Guidelines for Using ISA/IEC 61511

The ISA84 standards committee, Instrumented Systems to Achieve Functional Safety in the Process Industries, is continuing its comprehensive program of developing and updating set of technical reports providing guidance and practical examples in applying the widely used ISA/IEC 61511-2018 standards, Functional Safety - Safety Instrumented Systems for the Process Industry Sector, Parts 1-3. Those ISA/IEC standards, the first version of which was completed by ISA84 in 1996, set forth requirements for the specification, design, installation, operation, and maintenance of a safety instrumented system (SIS) so that it can be entrusted to achieve or maintain a safe state of a process.

ISA84 recently completed an update to one of several technical reports on specific phases of the SIS lifecycle. ISA-TR84.00.04-2020 Part 1, Guidelines for the Implementation of ANSI-ISA-61511-1-2018 (IEC 61511-1), provides an overview of the SIS lifecycle with references to several annexes containing detailed guidance on key aspects of the safety lifecycle, including: "grandfathering" existing SISs, operator-initiated functions, separation of the basic process control system (BPCS) and SIS, field device and logic solver selection, manual shutdown considerations, and design/installation considerations (for example, wiring, power, relationship to BPCS, common mode impacts, and fault tolerance).

Another ISA84 technical report in revision, ISA-TR84.00.02, Safety Integrity Level (SIL) Verification of Safety Instrumented Functions, serves as a tutorial on the fundamentals of data selection and the reliability calculations. The revision is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

This work follows the late 2019 publication of ISA-TR84.00.03, Automation Asset Integrity (AAI) of Safety Instrumented Systems, which presents guidance on establishing an effective AAI program that demonstrates through traceable and auditable documentation that the SIS and its equipment are maintained in an "as good as new" condition.

Previous ISA84 technical reports also include:

  • ISA-TR84.00.09-2017, Cybersecurity Related to the Functional Safety Lifecycle
  • ISA-TR84.00.08-2017, Guidance for Application of Wireless Sensor Technology to Non-SIS Independent Protection Layers
  • ISA-TR84.00.07-2018, Guidance on the Evaluation of Fire, Combustible Gas and Toxic Gas System Effectiveness
  • ISA-TR84.00.05-2009, Guidance on the Identification of Safety Instrumented Functions (SIF) in Burner Management Systems (BMS)

ISA84 web-based meetings in mid-May drew over 90 attendees from across the globe. Based on that success, ISA84 is planning another week of web meetings to be held Oct. 12-15.

ISA standards participation and meetings are open to all interested parties, and experts from any country are welcome to join the ISA84 committee.

For more information, contact Charley Robinson, ISA Standards, crobinson@isa.org. For information on viewing or obtaining the technical reports described above, visit www.isa.org/findstandards.

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.