New ISA president talks global goals for 2010
Volunteer leadership, global knowledge, and membership growth are uppermost in the mind of 2010 ISA President Nelson Ninin, president of Yokogawa America do Sul SA. InTech explored Ninin’s vision for the society in the upcoming year.
InTech: What do you see as ISA’s biggest challenge in the upcoming year?
Ninin: ISA is changing due to the financial crisis, and this aligns with an opportune time to prepare for the future. One of our main challenges is to properly inform members and leaders that ISA is headed in a sound direction based upon considerable analysis and deliberation. Volunteers should take on more of a leadership role and engage in specific activity that aligns with our strategic plan. Leaders should be more deeply involved with the association, not only in committees, but in all section and division activities.
As ISA expands worldwide, we will see even more challenges, including those of a financial nature. We need to maintain a sound financial position so we can leverage the success of the past and create a sustainable future.
InTech: What do you think today’s members want most from ISA as a global society?
Ninin: In becoming more global, we also need to be more virtual. ISA can make a big contribution by connecting everyone to the world of automation, and ISA is the best connection to improve networking of its members. To help with this connection, members in the U.S. (users in automation who are self-sufficient in information and technology) need to know of the new applications in different processes outside the U.S.
In addition, new or emergent countries are building plants using the latest technologies. ISA is already a strong source of knowledge and information for so many in automation. With the emergence of global knowledge, professionals who are part of a global entity could access people and information online any time. Such a global association can minimize the gaps between regions.
InTech: What are some of the most important changes you would like to see in the association?
Ninin: Membership growth is crucial, as well as building more volunteer activities with regional events. I’d like to combine conferences, training, exhibitions, and the symposia. I would also like to reinforce worldwide recognition that ISA is the entity that sets the standard for industrial automation. It’s important for the profession that ISA’s leaders are at the forefront of all that is automation—changing minds about automation and telling of all the good stories out there.
InTech: What are some of your strategies to get there?
Ninin: The key is to develop leaders at the local level. We need to guide sections and divisions with successful conferences, symposia, and training and combine these with social events. We need to expand ISA activities around the world and to secure student members as professional members after they finish school.
InTech: As president of a major supplier in the industry, how do you think your business perspective will affect the way ISA operates?
Ninin: I usually make decisions autonomously, but ISA is different. I will adjust to the ISA model to contribute more in the promotion and business of ISA.
During 2009, I had the opportunity to attend several events, not only in the U.S., but in Canada and Malaysia, as well as with several sections from India, Singapore, Japan, and Portugal. I also met with leaders in Spain and of course in South America, which is my home land. In all these countries, I found enthusiastic leaders working hard as volunteers for ISA. I can bring my business strengths—starting new companies in different countries.
InTech: How will your presidency be different from a global perspective than the past few U.S.-based presidents?
Ninin: Because I travel frequently to different countries, I can work closely with different regions and districts in the international area. These face-to-face meetings could be a positive step to motivate professionals to be more involved with ISA. I will also be able to share our technically focused division success stories with our members around the world, further engaging them in a very important aspect of the society.
InTech: You told Silvia Pereira of Automation World in January that your goal was to increase membership to 60,000 by 2015 and 100,000 by 2020. Is that still your goal?
Ninin: ISA has strong potential to achieve these targets. I mentioned these targets in Automation World magazine before the financial crisis, but my opinion remains the same. We need to reinforce and support the ISA section activities that have direct contact with each member and to build upon the division activities that provide technical credibility to who we are.
We need to motivate section leaders to host local events and have close contact with the members.
In South America, we saw a membership increase of 82% in two years. Other districts also grew by a significant percentage. We need to focus on the positives and strive to strengthen all sections, all districts, all divisions and all other entities that come together to form the International Society of Automation. If we all work together, we can make ISA bigger and better than it has ever been.