The Richard E. "Dick" Morley Innovation Scholarship | ISA
International Society of Automation
Setting the Standard for Automation

The International Society of Automation announces the Richard E. “Dick” Morley Innovation Scholarship


Dick Morley

In honor of Dick Morley—whose breakthroughs in research and development blazed a pathway for ongoing discoveries and innovations in automation and control, computer design, artificial intelligence, and factories of the future—ISA has created the Richard E. “Dick” Morley Innovation Scholarship.

ISA has endowed the fund with an initial $50,000 contribution and has pledged to match the next $50,000 in donations. This is an opportunity to support the education and R&D pursuits of the next generation of engineers and automation professionals determined to change the world for the better.  

Morley, who died 17 October 2017 at the age of 84, certainly did. Morley was an engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, consultant and author who contributed significantly to a wide range of revolutionary, high-technology advancements over more than four decades.  

As the initial designer of the first Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), he paved the way for modern-day factory automation and industrial processing. Responsible for more than 20 US and foreign patents (on products such as the parallel interface machine, hand-held terminal and floppy disk) Morley also played an important role in the development of anti-lock brakes, automated vehicle control, building automation and the cool shaft. 

If you would like to donate to the Richard E. "Dick" Morley Innovation Scholarship, you can do so by clicking the button below.  

More about Dick Morley

Dick Morley founded Modicon (now part of Schneider Electric) as well as several other technology companies. His initial PLC—which he designed for continuous processing applications—was demonstrated at GM in 1969 as Bedford Associates Modicon 084 solid-state sequential logic solver.  

Morley’s education in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology formed the basis for his interest and expertise in computer design, artificial intelligence, automation and futurism.  

For many years, Morley he served as a contributing columnist for Manufacturing Systems magazine. He also wrote articles for magazines and journals worldwide, including Manufacturing Automation magazine and Wired, Control, and inTech magazines.  

Morley’s peers acknowledged his outstanding contributions with numerous honors and citations. Morley has been honored by several leading organization, such as Inc. magazine, the Franklin Institute, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the Engineering Society of Detroit. He also has been inducted into the Manufacturing Hall of Fame. Other awards and recognitions he received include:  

  •  ISA and SME life member
  • SME Manufacturing Enterprise Council Member
  • Process Automation Hall of Fame (Control magazine)
  • Automation Hall of Fame Prometheus Award
  • SME Fellow
  • Parallel Processor Design — Flavors
  • Howard N. Potts Award
  • Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Gould Science & Engineering Fellow
  • Boeing Technical Excellence Award


Morley previously served as: Chairman of the Board of National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, Inc. (NCMS); Director at Large for the Society Manufacturing Engineers (SME); Member of the Manufacturing Advisory Board for Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI); Member of Advisory Board at Agilepath Corporation; and Director of Memex Inc.  

Notable Interviews with Dick Morley

In 2003, Contemporary Control Systems published a lengthy interview with Morley. 

In 2008, Manufacturing Automation interviewed Morley on the 40th anniversary of the PLC.  

In 2014, Patti Engineering profiled Morley in the October edition of its Patti Perspective newsletter. 

In 2015, Control Design magazine interviewed Morley to gain his insights on a range of topics. In these brief videos, Morley explains:

Select Dick Morley Quotes

"Most engineers want a solution that's the same size as the problem. The programmable controller is a solution for all problems."

“If we always agreed, one of us would be redundant.” 

"It's never the dog that's the problem. It's the owner."

dick morley