Phone: (919) 549-8411
Sixty years ago on
November 9, a group of forty-six interested persons gathered at the old Selwyn
Hotel in Charlotte to establish a local section of the Instrument Society of
America, a national organization that was only five years old. The groundwork
for this meeting and, to a large extent, the original development of the
section was due to Earl Seagrave, Bob Stoveken, Eugene (Gene) Finch, Frank
Lawrence and Bill Simons, Sr.
The group selected
Earl Seagrave as their temporary chairman and Frank Lawrence, Bob Stoveken, Ed Fiss,
Gene Finch, and Frank Mendes III as the other temporary officers.
The original name,
"Carolinas Section", did not meet the approval of National
Headquarters because it might confuse and hamper the formation of future
sections in this area, a judgment that has proven to be prophetic. On January
8, 1952, the section, now recognized as "Carolina Piedmont Section"
was chartered and formally started its growth and development. The interest and
purpose of the originating group and the foresight of the National Headquarters
has borne fruit over the years in the chartering of the Carolina Golden
Triangle, Columbia, Cape Fear, Tar Heel Capital Area and Western Carolinas
It was later, on
October 16, 1967, that these precepts acquired legal stature when, on the
advice of National Headquarters and others, the Section became incorporated
under the laws of North Carolina to be "organized exclusively for
educational and scientific purposes". (However, later in 1972 following
an audit by the IRS the sections exempt status was changed to 501 (c)(6)
In the fall of 1954,
the Section sponsored an instrument symposium at "North Carolina State
College" - now NCSU. This humble beginning was an immediate success and
prompted the Savannah River Section to develop a similar regional meeting and
exhibit. This filled the need of local people wanting to see the products
offered by area vendors without having to travel to the distant national show.
Although National Headquarters had some misgivings about the possible dilution
of appeal for the Annual Conference and Exhibit, the idea persisted and became
the Southeastern Conference and Exhibit (SECON).
Since the beginning
symposium the Section has hosted successful SECON meetings in 1961, 1967 and 1977.
Although viable for many years, the interest in SECON waned in the 1980's as
costs escalated and the travel required did not satisfy the needs of the
increasing number of sections with blossoming membership. Could the
Carolina-Piedmont Section show the way again? In the late 1960's there
developed an occasional meeting program wherein a number of the local vendors
would bring in one of their new or interesting products and make a five-minute
presentation to the attending membership. The idea fulfilled a need for local
participation and dialog.
In 1976 the concept
gave in to natural development and the annual "Vendor's Night" was
moved into a hall large enough to accommodate booths and more formal displays.
Symposia and tutorials are now being offered in conjunction with the exhibits.
Emulated by the other sections in the area, the problems of conflicting
schedules and exhibitor expense are being addressed by cooperation between the
sections. Each section enjoys an attendance of several hundred at each exhibit.
No narrative of the
progress of this section would be complete without the mention of the many
interesting plant tours and visits to local facilities. Virtually every type of
industry doing business in this area has been kind enough to show us around.
Since this has been almost an annual event, a listing would be unwieldy and any
other acknowledgment would unfairly represent the diverse interests of the
membership. Certainly the organizations representing endeavors in the fields of
government, health, education, municipal and private utilities, pulp and paper,
textiles, chemical fibers, tobacco, electronics, transportation, machine tools,
etc. have our gratitude.
The Section has
matured over the years and is now in its sixth decade of activity. In a 1990
meeting the recorded voices of some of the membership captured on tape
twenty-five years earlier where played back. The subject matter was their
conjectures on the future of instrumentation. The results were essentially
correct in content but had been delayed in time. Many meetings offer the
membership introduction to new devices and concepts by learned speakers. Both
analog and digital technology is explored. The most popular meeting
presentations have involved membership participation in round-table discussions
of contending concepts. Note should be made that outside "experts"
were not required for these programs; our own authorities have been fully
The membership can be
justifiably proud of its pioneering ideas and the recognized stature of its
people who have contributed their talents beyond the local area to the regional
and national level. Through the hard work of all involved in the SECON and
Vendor's Night exhibits (now know as Product Education Days) the section has
succeeded financially. This now enables us to emphasize the original exempt
status as incorporated "educational and scientific purposes" of our
charter by cooperating with the Community College and University of North
Carolina through awards, grants, student chapters and other scholastic
The original purpose of the Section is as valid and
vigorous today as it was in 1951. The membership, in 1992 over four hundred
strong and including some second-generation family members, is moving
purposefully in the final decade of the millennium.
In 1999 we roasted a long
standing member, John Rodgers and you can view some of the photos of the even
on our Photos Page
An all out effort was made
in 2006 to host an exhibit and conference in Charlotte, NC at the Lowes Motor
Speedway. The out come was luke warm with 27 vendors manning table tops
and about 100 attendees for the seminars. It turned out to be a great
place to hold such an event. There was plenty of parking, the food was
very good, and the accommodations for the exhibit and presentations couldn't
have been better. Advertising was sent to over 3000 members and
instrument types in both Carolinas and we had hoped for at least 200 attendees,
but fell short.
November 1st 2007 we
roasted a member, Albert S. Warren, Our Historian who has been with ISA for 50
years. Photos Page for PDF file
And now, in 2012, the
work and camaraderie continue. Times and techniques have had major changes. The
originators of the section are no longer with us, sadly some have passed away.
Many of the corporations, both users and vendors, have changed names or are no
longer in business. The dominating industries of the area have changed from
Textiles to Nuclear Power, which has certainly magnified the importance of a
sophisticated technical background.
Our section still
honors the charter commitment to "educational and scientific
purposes". The SECON conference/exhibits are now a thing of the past. The
bulk of the technical data is no longer passed out at local, sectional, or
national conference/exhibits but rather via the Internet.
The most popular of
our meetings in the prior period focused on the differences of analog and
digital technology. Presently the interest level focuses on the configuration
of the field databus. Multi-conductor cables with distribution connector boxes
are “frowned” upon. Robotics is becoming increasingly prevalent in the
manufacturing industries. “Driverless” automobiles are an infant reality. Not
only must we formalize the safety/risk analysis of a process area but also
prepare for the ravages of possible cyber attack and malware. All of which can
descend on us in microseconds.
[email protected] (614)595 2021
[email protected] (803) 5787328
Charlotte, NC is home for our meeting
We meet September through May
Last Update: 9/20/2015Web Master: Cliff T. Johnson, PE