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ISA’s Strategic Leader Meeting moves organization forward

By Paul Gruhn, 2019 ISA President

This past month, ISA leaders convened in North Carolina for the first of two in-person meetings. This was our Strategic Leader Meeting (SLM) and is intended to be a meeting of a relatively small group (around 50) of volunteer leaders to discuss strategic issues and operational details.

Our second in-person meeting, the Annual Leadership Conference, will be in October. This event has a larger and broader audience (around 150 volunteer leaders) and includes the Council of Society Delegates business meeting, professional development training, and the Society's annual Honors and Awards Gala. Many of our standards committees also meet before or after the annual conference.

I believe that all members have a voice in our future, and I am excited to share some of the work that happened during the Strategic Leader Meeting. I hope that you will get some sense of the excitement and optimism that I feel for where we are going based on the compelling conversations at this event.

Before I give more details, let's remember the journey we have been on as an organization. During the past year, we have revised our vision and mission statements. Our vision is to create a better world through automation. Our mission is to advance technical competence by connecting the automation community to achieve operational excellence. We have also developed five core values: excellence; integrity; diversity and inclusion; collaboration; and professionalism.

Leveraging these concepts, the Executive Board worked to develop strategic objectives that will move our mission forward over the next three to five years:

  • Establish and advance ISA's relevance and credibility as the home of automation by anticipating industry needs, collaborating with stakeholders, and developing and delivering pertinent technical content.
  • Enhance member value and expand engagement opportunities to nurture and grow a more diverse and global community to advance the automation profession.
  • Become the recognized leader in automation and control education, providing training, certifications, and publications to prepare the workforce to address technology changes and industry challenges in the most flexible and relevant ways.
  • Create opportunities for members to improve critical leadership skills, to build a network of industry professionals, and to develop the next generation of automation professionals.

With the long-term focus of the objectives established, your Board also discussed possible goals (9-18 months), tactics (up to 6 months), and key performance indicators.

The Board also knew it was important to tap into the collective wisdom of the Society, and that became the purpose of the Strategic Leader Meeting. After a brief dialogue about each objective, the leaders worked in small groups and brainstormed ideas. They summarized their suggestions for the group, which were captured in an online mind-mapping tool. With all the ideas captured, each leader identified the top two priorities under each objective. There were so many great ideas-you could feel the energy in the room, and we came out of the sessions with great input.

We are thrilled to report that 100 percent of attendee survey responses confirmed "the strategic discussions were valuable to me." Some comments on the overall meeting included:

"I really enjoyed the format, content, and people. Definitely a valuable experience."

"I found the people at the meeting intelligent, passionate, and willing to do what it takes to improve the society."

"I better appreciate the vision and challenges of ISA."

"ISA is in a much better place, financially and strategically."

I have personally been attending ISA leader meetings for close to 30 years. The positive vibe at this SLM was apparent to everyone. Many used the words "positive," "exciting," and "optimistic" in their feedback. There was more levity and laughter than any other leader meeting I can recall. One leader stated it was the most positive meeting he has been to in 15 years.

At the close of the meeting, leaders and staff were asked to pledge what they would do differently moving forward. Some of the responses were:

"Think collectively. Let others share ideas and listen carefully."

"Keep an open mind to new opportunities and ideas."

"Pitch in to help solve a problem that I have been waiting for others to solve." (There were several variations of "stop complaining.")

"I will encourage others to join and participate in leadership at my local section."

If you care about the future direction, success, and health of your society, I strongly encourage you to get involved. If you have ideas on what we can be doing better, we want to hear from you! You will be seeing tools and resources soon that will make getting involved much easier. Exciting times are ahead! Thank you for being part of the ISA community.

Congratulations to new CAPs and CCSTs

Qualifying for and passing one of ISA’s certification exams is a noteworthy accomplishment. The exams are rigorous and require a solid command of various disciplines in automation and control. Below is a list of individuals who have recently passed either our Certified Automation Professional (CAP) or one of the three levels of our Certified Control System Technician (CCST) exam. Congratulations to our new certification holders! For more information about the ISA CAP and CCST certification programs, please visit: www.isa.org/certification.  

Certified Control System Technicians


Certified Automation Professionals


Level 1

Eddy Wang, Linde

Alexander Bryant

Ben Fabling

Shawn Blake

Jordan Foushee, The Dow Chemical Co.

Christopher Hickman, Seward County Community College

Dustin Robelia, Xcel Energy

Chris Snavely

Clinton Thompson

Shannon Vasseur, Williams Energy Services

Cody Webb

Matthew Jacko, Xellia Pharmaceuticals USA

Travis Donovan

Jeremy Krause

Robert Vanvalkenburg

Fortunato Alvarado Fernandez

Robert McNiel, Prime Controls

Jordan Crisler, Georgia Power

Jonathan Waker, Browns Hill Engineering

Ty Evans

Joshua Lee

Colton Moore, Prime Controls LP

Stephen Reich

Robert Shearer

Charles Jenkins

Stephen Blessing

Olson Dahl, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company

Nathan Eisenbarth, Williams

Kevin Fallon

Daniel Atha, Dominion Transmission Inc.

Scot Brain, Performed Line Products

Matthew Burton, Dominion Energy

Robert Grier

Gerald Gunsley

Michael Lewis, Dominion Energy Transmissions, Inc.

Gerard Mach

Joseph Reese, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

Daniel Dirzuweit

Ryan English, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Joseph Foland, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Carlos Morales Otero

Thomas Matt Boyer

Jose Castillo Villa, Utilities & Energy Services

Ryan Hawkins

Stephen Horgash

David Moore

Cordero Flores, Prism PSG

Adam Eishen, Prime Controls LP

Juan Anda

Arthur Imai

Jose Lozano, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Tad Milliken

Justin Nanney

Somphop Piapakdee, Instrument and Control Systems Technician

Ryan Tschimperle, Hollyfrontier

Isaac Baylis

Ronald Cavicchia

Dennis Gorlock, Mark West

Kevin Highley

Jason Martineau

Ronald Reed

 Brice Bettinghausen, Orange County Sanitation District

 Joseph Pratt

Level 2

Jacob Enoch

Christian Djateu Pettang

Delroy Menzies

Ricardo Valencia

Matthew Abrell

Joshua Boyd

Terence Jokwa Mukete

John Pittman, Instrumentation Technical Services

Daniel Brewer, Jacobs

Joshua Smith

Charles Bethke, Tourgee & Associates Inc.

Robert Blanchard

Eric Gutierrez, Flint Hills Resources

Barry Phillips

Andrew Jones

Joseph Lawdanski, Custom Controls Unlimited

Matthew Tofte

Rafael Martin Anaya Figueroa

Paul Sexton

Juan Anda

Robert Cefalu

Eduardo Cervantes, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Heriberto De La Torre, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Darryl Gross

Arthur Imai

Charles Lane

Somphop Piapakdee, Instrument and Control Systems Technician

Enrique Young

Level 3

Eldon Thomas

James Robles

Peter Giannotti

Christopher Angie

Jeremy Kibler


Certified Automation Professionals


Chris Farajian

Taylor Russell

Manoj Rana

Sheikh Nauman Iqbal

Mack Seagro

Eric Swanberg, Excel Engineering

Fernando Enrique Pacheco

Ali Naveed Khan, NCB Capital

Nick Butterbaugh

Nithin Nasimudeen, Schem

Wilfredo Ramos

Daniel Porter

Kameran Tajdini, Solvay

Carlen Wallace

Khaja Afsar Hussain Khaja

Remya Sreenath

Benjamin Oser

Okon Solomon

Mustafa Alkhulaitit, Honeywell

Steven Martz, Crane Composites

Shams Ul Islam Haleem, Saudi Electricity Company

Stuart Britten

Nilesh Lal, Banks Integration Group

Elton Amirkhas

Ramesh Gurav, Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (India) Private

Jelaine Angelica Ang, MHPS Technical Services Corporation

Rajesh Kharavalikar

Sandeep Sidhu

Ronald Rodriguez, AMEC

Luiz Rogério De Freitas Júnior

Adeel Ahmed

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