November is Automation Appreciation Month

  • By Jim Keaveney

Did you know that both ISA and the Automation Federation recognize November as Automation Appreciation Month? This initiative, driven by our Advocacy goal, emphasizes the importance of automation in our world as well as the value and rewards of careers in automation.

When you think about it, automation and process controls touch just about everything in our lives. In North America, the impact has been so positive that we often take things like reliable power, clean water, and safe food for granted. As automation professionals, we should take pride that we make our world better by improving product quality, efficiency, and safety. It is a really big deal and all of you are working to make it happen.

To bring attention to it, we’ve been promoting four primary advocacy activities that ISA and AF members can get involved in:


To drive home the importance of advocacy, during each Monday in November, we’re featuring a different ISA member who is involved in one of the four activities. The first advocacy testimonial, which was distributed on Monday, 7 November, featured one of my District 2 colleagues, Tony Cacioppo, President of the Long Island Section. The second advocacy testimonial, which went out on Monday of this week, featured William Dugary, ISA District 2 Vice-President Elect and ISA Food & Pharmaceuticals Division Director-Elect, of ISA’s Philadelphia Section.

Be sure to watch for the next two testimonials, which will be distributed 21 November and 28 November. Also, I encourage you to find out more about Automation Appreciation Month and learn about the many ways you can get involved in advocacy by visiting ISA’s AAM landing page.

Just last week, I had the honor to attend the first two days of our Process Control & Safety Symposium in Houston. This was a world-class event with an agenda built on process safety, security, and communication standards. It was also the ideal venue to network with other process automation professionals and share best practices.

Paul Gruhn kicked off this event with a thought-provoking presentation on process safety and the responsibilities of corporate leadership. Bonnie Dunbar, Ph.D., retired NASA astronaut, then kicked off Day Two, sharing her experiences that include five space shuttle missions. Her discussion about controls, redundancy, and safety was a perfect and inspiring fit for the symposium. Now a Distinguished Professor at Texas A&M University, Dr. Dunbar continues to serve our profession by reaching the next generation of engineers and automation professionals.

I was so disappointed to miss Day Three and the kick-off address on cybersecurity by ISA and Automation Federation subject matter expert, Steve Mustard. However, all of us have the opportunity to hear Steve speak on industrial cybersecurity during a special free webinar ISA and the Automation Federation is co-sponsoring with the National Rural Water Association (NRWA). The webinar will take place on Wednesday, 30 November from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. 

More than ever, the world needs dedicated automation professionals. However, that pool of talent is shrinking not growing. ISA, the Automation Federation and each one of us have an opportunity and obligation to make that pool bigger and better. Let me know how I (or ISA) can help. Better yet, please contact me at and let me know what you are doing to help promote our great profession.

Jim Keaveney
2016 ISA President