1 September 2005
Invest in knowledge, change
Rockwell CEO advises on industry growth.
By Ellen Fussell Policastro
Using knowledge gained from automation on the plant floor has been an industry practice for years, and the plant floor has squeezed as much profit out of the process as possible. Now, to gain more profits and productivity out of the manufacturing environment, that information has to reach the entire enterprise and be understandable.
As Rockwell Automation Chairman and Chief Executive Keith Nosbusch said, that "next level of productivity growth will come from using the information contained in the automation system to make better real-time business decisions." Nosbusch said he believes "investing heavily in next-generation technology and people" will help achieve that goal.
He credits the company's "100-plus years of plant floor experience, knowledge, and expertise" with boosting his strategy "to help customers use manufacturing as a competitive advantage and become more competitive globally."
"It's amazing what the R&D people in our labs are able to do today," he said. And Nosbusch said he plans to continue to do his part in improving the performance of automation and information investments "at the machine, line, plant, or enterprise level throughout the entire manufacturing life cycle."
The industry is in a constant state of change, and Nosbusch, who will receive ISA's Honorary Member Award at the ISA EXPO 2005 Honors and Award ceremony in October, sees that as a good thing.
"Be willing to learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime. Embrace change," he said. "I've worked for the same company for 30 years, but it is not the same company as 30 years, 20 years, 10 years, or even 5 years ago. And it'll be very different 5 years from now," he said.
Nosbusch will receive honors for his leadership in the advancement of the arts and sciences of instrumentation, systems, and automation. As a member of the company's Board of Directors, with 31 years of experience in the industry, Nosbusch has served as president of Rockwell Automation Control Systems and senior vice president, Control and Information Group.
Throughout his career Nosbusch said he's worked with great leaders and associated himself with change in different parts of the company. "Both experiences helped my growth and showed me I could be successful in a world of ambiguity and uncertainty," he said. "A key competency for success today is the ability to drive change. I just read a quote from the founder of Federal Express: 'Change is short-hand for opportunity.' I couldn't agree more."
Lifetime of achievement
Others receiving honors from ISA include Béla G. Lipták, president of Béla Lipták Associates P.C. Lipták will get ISA's Life Achievement Award for his history of dedication to the instrumentation, systems, and automation community.
"Béla's Instrument Engineer's Handbook has been the bible for two generations of instrument engineers around the plant," said Ian Gibson, an ISA Life Senior Member. "Hopefully, he will continue his editorial career into helping another generation of engineers."
Lipták has published over 200 technical articles and has written 34 technical books, including four editions of the multi-volume Instrument Engineer's Handbook. He is a licensed professional engineer, listed in Who's Who of American Scientists and Engineers, an ISA Fellow since 1973, and a past professor at Yale University. In 1995, he was invited to teach as a Fulbright Scholar. Lipták has been an active member of the Fairfield, Conn., Section of ISA for 35 years.
"We can make a difference in process safety," said Angela Summers, Ph.D., president of SIS-TECH Solutions in Houston and this year's winner of ISA's Albert F. Sperry Founder Award. Summers said her inspiration for standards development lies in her strong belief in the standards process. "I enjoy going to the meetings and participating in a leadership position," she said. "The most important thing I get out of the meetings is the dialog."
So many people rely on wording, she said, but being there and actually composing the text gives her a greater level of understanding of the standards. Having conversations helps her understand the intent and subtleties rather than just the interpretation. "We do have some heated discussions, but in the end, we manage to come up with a compromise everyone can live with."
Summers will be awarded for her technical contributions and leadership in the specification, development, and implementation of safety instrumented systems for the process automation industry. As the ISA Standard & Practices Board Director at Large, Summers has served on four standards committees, sits on the Editorial Advisory Board for ISA Transactions, and has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston in Clear Lake, Tex.
Summers said one example of how her work makes a difference is representing ISA in appeals, especially as chair for the latest technical report and addressing an appellant's concerns.
"We actually wrote a 300-page guidance document as well as a 400-page book to make sure we addressed his concerns," she said. "The greatest challenge for end users is to understand the difference between fact and fiction. That's what we've been working so hard on, to develop guidance documents to help people understand what we intend."
Summers gives stellar advice to young engineers hoping to make a difference in the standards world. First you should know the subject. "Of course, if you don't know about the subject, you're probably not that interested," she said. But even if you think you don't know enough, it's also a great place to learn.
"I pride myself on having the common sense to recognize when I can learn something from others to shut up and listen," she said. "You can do a lot of that at a standards meeting. We have an open committee at SP84. Anyone who wants to come is more than welcome. There are rules associated with who can be a voting member, but we won't silence a voice that wants to be heard in our meetings," she said.
More technical awards
Other industry innovators receiving technical awards at the Honors and Awards event include:
W. Wayne Wittenberger of Joshua Innoveers in Chicago will receive the Douglas H. Annin Award for his development of an improved automatic control system for the food industry. An active member of the Chicago Section, Wittenberger, will also receive ISA Fellow grade.
Donald E. Labbe of Invensys will receive the E.G. Bailey Award for his application, design, and implementation of model predictive control and non-linear based controls on coal, oil, and gas fired boilers. Labbe will receive ISA Fellow distinction as an active member of the Boston Section.
Charles J. Carter, principal investigator and center director of Lee College Fieldbus Center in Baytown, Tex., and a member of the ISA Texas Channel Section, will receive the Donald P. Eckman Education Award for his outstanding educational and training contributions to the fields of instrumentation and process control and for his vision for programs in automation. Carter developed a college and industrial training curriculum in fieldbus technology, received two NSF grants to study advanced instrumentation, and conducted ongoing research and application of fieldbus technologies.
James W. Harris of UOP LLC in Chicago and a member of the ISA Chicago Section will receive the UOP Technology Award for contributions made to the development of improved refinery and petrochemical plant process controls applications. Harris will also receive distinguished ISA Fellow grade.