• Meet our Members

    Q&A with Elden Andrew Plettner, Jr.

    Elden Plettner Jr.
    Elden Andrew Plettner, Jr.

    Please provide me with some general information about yourself, such as your current ISA involvement.

    I currently reside in Gering, Nebraska, which is located in the western part of Nebraska, in the area referred to as the Panhandle.  It is located about 30 miles from the eastern border of Wyoming in ranching country. 

    I joined ISA through my involvement with instrumentation while working at a nuclear power facility. I am currently semi-retired and work part time for ISA, teaching various classes that ISA offers.  In addition, I am a program evaluator for ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) representing the Society; and I serve as the section president for ISA’s Omaha Section in Omaha, Nebraska. I have been the president for the past 16 years. I’m also a previous ISA District 6 vice president (2010-2012).

    Please furnish a brief introduction of yourself, covering your educational and career background?

    I spent six years in the US Navy during the Vietnam War. Upon discharge I attended Iowa State University, where I worked in the Nuclear Engineering Department and received my bachelor of science degree in May 1983 in industrial administration. I then went to work for the US Nuclear Regulatory commission for 13 years. While in my position there, I earned a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from Aurora University in November 1995.  Following that, I went to work at a nuclear power plant in its Instrument and Controls Department. 

    Tell us about your involvement in advocacy initiatives—in encouraging young people to pursue STEM-focused learning and career paths?

    I have always been willing to coach and mentor young people interested in automation careers as well as developing their professional and leadership skills. I gladly continue to serve as president of ISA’s Omaha Section for the good of the Society and members of the section.

    During my tenure as president, our section established three ISA student sections, which we have supported for more than 15 years. These student sections of ISA are based at the following three area schools:

    • Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon, Iowa.
    • Mitchell Technical Institute in Mitchell, South Dakota
    • North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, North Dakota


    The graduates from these student sections usually go on to become regular full members of ISA and, in doing so, help keep our local section in Omaha active.  It’s gratifying to know that a lot of these young people are experiencing and taking advantage of the benefits of ISA membership.

    A significant challenge we are facing here—and one facing ISA in general—is getting more young people to assume leadership roles in the Society.  Attracting young, new leadership is essential if ISA is to survive and thrive.  

    How would you say ISA has benefited you?

    Being a member of ISA helped me significantly in my job and career. Access to the standards that are so important in the nuclear power industry was a big part of that. Being an ISA member enabled me to access the standards at reduced and, at times, no cost. This saved my employer money as well.

    I also have to single out the value of serving as an ISA District 6 vice president.  That experience taught me a lot about the Society and its importance to automation in the international arena. 

    Overall, my association with the Society has been immensely positive. My membership experience has benefitted me in many ways in my professional life.  Joining ISA is one of the best things I did in my life!