Q&A with Eloise L. Roche

As a Senior SCAI Consultant at SIS-TECH SOLUTIONS, Eloise L. Roche, is an expert on sustainable process safety lifecycle management and assessing instrumented protection systems. Within ISA, she contributes to many ISA84-related working groups and serves as an ISA84 liaison to the ISA108 committee working on the standard for intelligent device management.

Could you provide some background on your education (degree/s received) and academic areas of emphasis?

I originally aspired to obtain a double major in chemical engineering and computer science. Given the limitations of my college scholarships, however, I focused on a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering, which I received from Rice University.

What initially attracted you to the field of automation (and specifically your selected field)...and when was it? Was there any specific thing that triggered your interest? 

Early in my career, I had an opportunity to fill a process automation role. About 11 years later, a significant process safety incident sparked my passion for the field of functional safety. Over my last 10 years in the chemical industry I have focused on the specification, installation, and operation of instrumented safeguards.

Please tell us about your current career responsibilities (specific position, company) and background, and area of specialty in automation.

In 2015, I joined SIS-TECH SOLUTIONS. As a Senior SCAI Consultant, I support sustainable process safety lifecycle management for our clients, including: process hazard analysis (PHA) and layers of protection analysis (LOPA) facilitation; safety controls, alarms and interlocks (SCAI) specification and verification; functional safety assessment and auditing; and related curriculum development and delivery.

Could you tell me how you are currently involved with ISA? 

SIS-TECH SOLUTIONS supports my participation on many of the ISA84-related working groups. I am also an ISA84 liaison to the ISA108 committee working on the standard for intelligent device management and a member of the US Technical Advisory Group providing national experts to the IEC61511 maintenance team.

How did you initially get involved in ISA ?

When I attended a past ISA Automation Week event, I sat in on an ISA leader meeting. The connections I made that week led to me to participate in several ISA84 working groups. Years later, when I filled a functional safety technical leader role in my company, I became an ISA84 voting member.

You recently received an award from ISA’s Standards & Practices Department relating to your involvement on ISA-TR84.00.09, Cybersecurity Related to the Functional Safety Lifecycle and the ISA84 committee. Do you have any reaction to receiving the award? Also, why do you feel volunteering on an ISA standards meeting is important or valuable to you?

I was nearly speechless when ISA’s Charley Robinson informed me that I had been selected to receive an ISA Standards & Practices Department Award for 2017. I feel deeply honored to be so recognized. The consensus standards and guideline documents developed through the ISA are essential resources in my technical field.

What ways would you say ISA has benefited you?

The most rewarding part of my career has been sharing my knowledge of sustainable functional safety management practices with new engineers. ISA has enabled me to share my experience through contributions to multiple ISA-84 working groups and presenting at industry symposia, such as the ISA Process Control and Safety Symposium.

Do you have any advice or suggestions to young automation professionals entering the profession? Are there things that you have learned that you might pass on…to help them better develop their careers?

There are many roles for automation practitioners within the process sector. Use your early years to experience a breadth of opportunities. Find a position in a field you are passionate about, with colleagues who share that passion. That can turn a job into a career and a career into a vocation.