Page updated Dec 1, 2015

    Director's Message

    What you missed at this year's ISA Process Control & Safety Symposium in Houston this November.

    This year’s event was packed with peers from around the globe gathered together in Houston to learn from each other and industry experts in continuous process industries. The event was sponsored by the ISA Technical Divisions including Process Measurement and Control, Safety and Security, Chemical and Petroleum Industries, Education, Communications, Pulp and Paper Industry, and Management.

    The symposium consisted of workshops, training, an exhibit hall, and session tracks including continuous process topics, safety instrumented systems, cyber security, communications, alarm management, instrumentation, advanced control and simulation, fire and gas detection. There were also specific sessions aimed at ChemPID and Pulp and Paper. 

    New this year, was a track MESA hosted on integrating manufacturing data and analysis. This year marked the first year that MESA participated in the conference to bring a new discussion topic of integrating production information and the analysis of that information to improve operational results. We look forward to continued support from MESA in this event. 

    I personally learned a great deal listening to operations and engineering personnel discuss projects and challenges they faced recently, and the process to arrive at a solution, develop and deploy it. One particular session of interest to me, was the challenge that a global company faced in getting a handle on their industrial cyber security situation. In this session, the engineer explained the challenges faced from the beginning including awareness, sponsorship, and finding and then the method ultimately utilized to generate a consistent analysis globally. 

    We ate and took breaks in the exhibit hall where you could see the latest technologies and solutions and discuss your application challenges with experts. In 2016, the exhibit hall will be expanded to support more exhibits and content.  

    Armadillo races, country music and the Texans Cheerleaders, were part of Thursday evening as many of the symposium attendees headed over to the ISA Houston Chili Cook-Off at the Houston Farm & Ranch nearby. Over 50 teams competed with the cheerleaders for attention with their own concoction of chili (without beans).   

    Prior to the 2015 PCS, we began preparation for next year’s event to insure it would be even better. As you make plans for 2016, consider attending the 2016 event in Houston at the same location from November 7-10. 

    Jim McGlone
    ISA Safety & Security Division Director


    From Dec 1, 2015

     Is the ISA relevant today? 

    Several times in the last few months, I have been asked about the relevance of the ISA today. My standard answer used to be something like “If not the ISA, then what?” That always came out a little odd and felt like a negative even though it was meant to be a positive. I have changed my answer, and I would like to let you know why.

    On a recent business trip overseas, I had the opportunity to talk about ISA84 and ISA62443 (ISA99) in length. The president of our business had the opportunity to talk about TR84.00.07 to a room full of eager engineers. We were overwhelmed with questions and sincere interest both at the booth and after the presentation. This is not the way it usually goes in the USA. In fact, most people tend to yawn a little when we discuss the importance of robust safety systems and industrial control systems cyber security. So what was different?

    Well, for starters, we were in Ningbo, China and we were almost the only western people in the entire city. After the novelty wore off and everyone took our picture and practiced their English, the real interest started to surface. People came to talk to us that were responsible for operating processes safely in China. They had a sincere interest in what we knew and they had read the ISA standards and technical reports in detail. In fact, some of them had deep knowledge of the contents of these documents.

    I had a similar experience with our friends in the U.A.E. earlier this year. During an industrial cyber security conversation, one of the engineers realized that one person in our conversation was one of the authors on a ISA document. You would have thought the guy just met a rock star.

    These opportunities provide a window to see the real value of the ISA and how it can be an agent for change in every region of the world. Even if the ISA standard is not considered the local operating standard, it has value and is read and understood with the intent to prevent problems. The ISA actually affects people we never meet and we should all recognize the value our organization provides to the engineers trying to build and operate equipment all over the world.

    If you have never served the ISA in a capacity other than member, I would like to encourage you take that step and consider sharing your knowledge and experience with your peers. We can use your help in our division. Division members are encouraged to write content to share ideas, best practices, and findings with the entire division of peers. Additionally, the ISA provides standards, training courses, publications (almost 200 books including the industrial cybersecurity one I bought just last week), certifications and certificates (both for safety and cybersecurity), and conferences. These activities benefit the entire industry, not just our members. Members receive additional benefits including discounts on events and purchases of ISA products. The extensive articles and information available on our division web site are only available to ISA division members. Last, please consider encouraging our peers worldwide in their similar endeavors.  

    So, today I will answer the question by stating that “the ISA is a leading provider of knowledge and standards from engineering peers focused on operating their facilities safely and securely."  


    Jim McGlone, GICSP

    ISA Safety & Security Division Director