- By Brian Curtis
I'm excited to announce that the ISA Executive Board, meeting earlier this month during the Spring Leaders Meeting in Raleigh, NC, USA, has approved new ISA vision and mission statements.
ISA's new vision is to: Create a better world through automation. (This replaces: ISA sets the standard for automation by enabling automation professionals across the world to work together for the benefit of all.)
ISA's new mission statement is to: Advance technical competence by connecting the automation community to achieve operational excellence. (This replaces: Enable our members, including world-wide subject matter experts, automation suppliers, and end-users, to work together to develop and deliver the highest quality, unbiased automation information, including standards, training, publications, and certifications.)
Why is this exciting? ISA now has mission and vision statements that are short, aspirational, and memorable. The previous iterations were too wordy and unwieldy, making it difficult for ISA members to concisely state why we exist and where we're going, and for everyone else to understand why we exist and where we're going.
This is all part of an effort to better define our Society-both within our walls and beyond them-and take a hard look at our organizational mainstays, including our values, strategies, goals, and metrics. Stay tuned for updates as we hone our strategic focus, global brand recognition, and operational priorities.
As most of you well know, an essential, near-term priority is the IT infrastructure upgrade project. Funding for the project has been approved by the Executive Board and staff, consultants, vendors, and leaders are hard at work envisioning all the plans and steps that will be involved in this project.
The ultimate goals for the project include improved digital content delivery and user engagement, a personalized user experience, a mobile responsive environment, and a fully streamlined e-commerce process. ISA will be leveraging an open architecture built upon a Salesforce platform, adding overlays and applications based on best-in-breed solutions available in the market. We've hired a full-time project manager to oversee all aspects of the project, Leo Nevar, and he will be in RTP as a staff member for the duration of the work. Project plans, approaches, timelines, and milestones will be vetted and monitored by the ISA Executive Board.
I also want to take this opportunity to recognize the contributions of ISA and Automation Federation staff and volunteer leaders at two highly visible STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) events that took place in April.
Approximately 350,000 people-mostly primary and secondary students and their families-attended the USA Science & Engineering Festival, 7-8 April in Washington, D.C. At the ISA/Automation Federation exhibit, hundreds of young people and their parents (assisted by ISA and AF volunteers) competed in a computerized game based on an actual industrial automation and control system. The game, powered by a programmable logic controller (PLC), demonstrated essential control panel design concepts and computer game programming.
Later in the month, 18-21 April, more than 15,000 students, ages 6-18, from 43 countries competed in three robotics competition championships and a LEGO® competition championship at the FIRST® Championship Houston. ISA and AF volunteers met with FIRST competitors and their family members to answer questions about career opportunities in automation and engineering.
Maintaining a strong presence at these premier STEM events is rewarding for all involved. ISA members who take part can reconnect to the excitement that ignited their own drive to pursue an automation career and, at the same time, inspire others to follow their path toward success in the profession.
While most STEM initiatives like these target students enrolled in elementary, middle and high schools, ISA also recognizes the need to better engage with those young people further down the educational pathway: new engineering school graduates-particularly those active in ISA student sections.
All too often, ISA student section members at engineering schools lose their association with ISA when they graduate and leave their student memberships behind. ISA is exploring ways to help new college graduates maintain their connection to ISA as they enter the first stage of their automation and engineering careers. More to come on this in a subsequent column.
I'll also be sharing with you any actions relating to the Executive Board's review of recommendations from the ISA Globalization Task Force, which was established in 2016 by former ISA President Jim Keaveney. The task force was created to explore financially viable ways to improve ISA's international growth and presence. Long-time ISA leader and current Co-Chair of the ISA99 Committee Eric Cosman presented the recommendations at the Spring Leaders Meeting.
I'm eager to provide you with more details on these and other promising initiatives in upcoming columns. As always, I thank you for your support of and contributions to ISA.
2018 ISA President