As director of product management for Rosemount flame and gas detection at Emerson, Edward Naranjo, Ph.D., specializes in wireless-enabled flame and gas detection, ultrasonic gas leak detection, and optical gas detection. Within ISA, Dr. Naranjo has assumed many leadership roles in support of ISA’s International Instrumentation Symposium, including session chair, technical program chair, and general chair. He currently serves as general chairman for an ISA conference in the Middle East.
Could you provide some background on your education (degree/s received) and academic areas of emphasis?
I received bachelor of science and doctorate degrees in chemical engineering from Caltech (California Institute of Technology) and the University of California at Santa Barbara, respectively. In graduate school, I studied the visualization of the supramolecular ordering of surfactants by means of transmission electron microscopy. Later in my career and after several years of experience working as a chemical engineer, I attended the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where I obtained a master of business administration (MBA). At Booth I concentrated in finance and strategic management.
What initially attracted you to the field of automation...and when was it? Was there any specific thing that triggered your interest?
I became interested in industrial automation when I joined General Monitors in 2004. While managing the development of new products, it became apparent to me that my background in chemical engineering, and particularly my experience with experimental techniques to make complex fluids compatible with high-resolution microscopy, gave me a unique vantage point for developing flame and gas detectors.
Please tell us about your current career responsibilities (specific position, company) and background, and area of specialty in automation.
I am the director of product management for Rosemount flame and gas detection at Emerson. I have been with the company for three years and specialize in wireless-enabled flame and gas detection, ultrasonic gas leak detection, and optical gas detection. I have a special interest in the use of complementary detection techniques to improve detection efficiency and the study of environmental and manmade factors that affect detection coverage.
How did you get involved in ISA and what is your current level/degree of involvement in ISA (leader positions, section involvement, etc.)?
I became involved in ISA in a way that was probably similar to many other members. One of my colleagues, who later became my supervisor, suggested I attend ISA conferences. The two of us attended the ISA EXPO as well as several meetings conducted by ISA’s Orange County Section. In time, I began contributing papers for the Society’s International Instrumentation Symposium. After several years I became a session chair, technical program chair, and general chair for the same event. At this time, I serve as general chairman for an ISA conference in the Middle East.
How would you say ISA has benefited you?
If I have a fulfilling career in industrial automation, it is due in no small part to my involvement with ISA. Through the Society, I have met professionals who share my same interests in modern automation and control systems and who have tackled similar problems in adjacent areas of study. It’s been highly valuable to have these professionals as advisors and friends. They’ve helped me steer clear of many pitfalls in research and have contributed to making every day experiences all the richer.
In addition, ISA has helped me become a better manager. Thanks to ISA, I have become more adept at influencing people across organizations; I think and act more often on succession planning and I invest a greater share of my time recruiting and mentoring volunteers. Likewise, ISA’s standards have given me greater insight into many of the vexing problems that industrial automation professionals face. This, in turn, and has shaped my thinking on technology development.
You were recently elevated to ISA Fellow. Could you describe or explain what this distinguished achievement means to you?
Becoming an ISA Fellow is a terrific honor. It is also a call to educate and contribute with greater vigor to the advancement of technologies that improve instrumented process safety. I hope to continue to do so with the support of my new peers.