Jerry Cockrell Signs Off
Today is the first day of the rest of our lives: Reflections by 2009 ISA President Jerry Cockrell
As the year is coming to an end, we’ve taken the opportunity to sit with Jerry Cockrell as he reflects upon his year as the International Society of Automation’s president to almost 30,000 Members. His year was marked by financial struggles and one of the worst economic downturns in decades. Under his presidency several difficult decisions had to be made, including the establishment of the 2010 society budget. Despite this, we can see that Jerry’s year represent something very different—a beginning of a new era and a sense of pride. This year has brought out the best in people and brought us together, something that can only come from the deep belief that encompasses the real reason why we initially join an association; pride in belonging, camaraderie, the determination to succeed, and for us, a confirmation that ISA is important to our Members.
It’s on such positive note Jerry is wrapping up his ISA presidency year. Here are some of the highlights of our interview:
ISA Insights: This has been a rough year for ISA as a whole. What would you tell Members who might be concerned about benefits, product offerings, and ISA as a whole?
Jerry: ISA is still here and our core competencies remain: we’re still producing standards; offering top-notch training and events; publishing technical references and books; hosting technical conferences and symposia—all of those benefits of belonging to ISA remain. We’re still unbiased, vendor-neutral, and our mission has not changed: “Become the standard for automation globally by certifying industry professionals; providing education and training; publishing books and technical articles; hosting conferences and exhibitions for automation professionals; and developing standards for industry”.
ISA Insights: You’ve had the opportunity to travel quite extensively and to meet ISA Members from all corners of the world this year. What are some of the most memorable moments of your travels?
Jerry: From Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Ireland, Holland, Canada, India, and all over the USA, I am continually impressed with the passion, commitment, loyalty, and overall dedication that our wonderful ISA members possess. I am convinced more than ever that we have something quite special in our association. You not only see a focus on the profession, but more important, a deep concern for fellow Members of ISA. I have seen the compassion and concern for out-of-work Members in many locations. I have been touched by the power of ISA in helping many of these Members find employment in automation professions in a short period of time. This is a dynamic that can’t be measured or reflected by our dues. In my presentations to local ISA Sections and Divisions, I mention that our ISA is like our professional family next to our real and work relationships. Now, more than ever, I believe this to be true. We may argue and disagree, but in the end, we all seem to come together as One ISA.
ISA Insights: If you had to summarize your ISA presidency into your top three moments, project areas, or accomplishments, what would they be?
1. Automation Competency Model
2. Workforce Development efforts
3. Working with the greatest leaders, staff, and Members ever
ISA Insights: You mention in your latest blog, “Today is the first day of the rest of our lives”—what are some of the opportunities for ISA and for its Members looking ahead?
Jerry: ISA Automation Week has in a sense become the symbol of ISA’s change. It represents an opportunity for us to focus on developing and sharing knowledge. Somewhere in the world sits the next greatest automation invention, product, or process, and ISA Automation Week is an outlet to share those ideas, build upon ISA’s thought-leadership, and to give academia an opportunity to bring knowledge back to their environment to encourage further research. We have an opportunity to help shape the future of ISA. Active participation and volunteering are two of the most important factors for the survival of any membership society. I encourage all Members to go out and tell a colleague, neighbor, or friend about ISA and why they decided to join—it’s time to show our pride and our colors! Don’t be afraid to step up to help—volunteering for ISA is such a great opportunity to get involved and to influence. It’s OUR society and our success is determined by our participation.
ISA Insights: On 1 January 2010, you’ll pass the torch of presidency over to Nelson Ninin, 2010 ISA President and take on a different role as ISA Past President. In addition to that, in what capacity will you continue to serve ISA?
Jerry: Automation Week Technical Content Co-chair, Automation Federation Chairman, C&E Global Oversight Board Chair, and Honors & Awards Committee Vice Chair. I will also hold a non-voting, ex officio position on the Society Nominating Committee as Sergeant-At-Arms.