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ISA adds four to distinguished list of ISA Fellows

The esteemed member grade of “Fellow” is one of ISA’s highest honors. To earn this distinction, a Senior Member must possess “outstanding and acknowledged engineering or scientific attainments [and] must receive peer evaluations leading to recommendation for election by the Society Admissions Committee.” The nominations are reviewed annually, and those receiving a majority vote of the Society’s executive board are elected.

The Admissions Committee, chaired by Bridget Fitzpatrick, and the ISA executive board are pleased to announce that four outstanding individuals have been elected as Fellows for 2020:

Donald Dunn of Waldemar S. Nelson & Co. in Highlands, Texas. Recognized for the education and standardization of terminology, as well as requirements and guidance related to alarm management and process industry safety.



David Rahn of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Rockville, Md. Recognized for developing and implementing new methodology and acceptance criteria to establish the reliability of critical safety equipment of nuclear power plants.



John Sorge, retired, of Birmingham, Ala. Recognized for leading, advocating, sponsoring, and technically contributing to activities, projects, and organizations to advance instrumentation and control research on and application of new power-generation technologies.



Richard Van Fleet of Andritz Inc. in Cumming, Ga. Recognized for providing subject matter expertise and technical support relating to sensor development and implementation of advanced process control and sustained process optimization of pulping and bleaching processes.



Upon being elected an ISA Fellow, Rahn said, “I am very honored to be recognized by my colleagues . . . and feel very fortunate to be a part of the good work that is being accomplished by ISA to identify and establish good standards and practices in the instrumentation and automation field.”

In ISA’s 75-year history, this professional recognition has been bestowed on 495 distinguished individuals. See the entire list at www.isa.org/members-corner/isa-honors-and-awards/fellow-member. Profiles of 2020 ISA Fellows will appear in future issues of InTech.


2020 ‘Celebrating Excellence’ award winners announced

Annually, ISA recognizes and honors the outstanding efforts of ISA members to support and advance the Society and the automation community at large. This year, the Honors & Awards Committee, chaired by Brian Curtis, is pleased to announce 14 Celebrating Excellence award winners.

“The Celebrating Excellence awards stimulate, enhance, encourage, acknowledge, and reward outstanding contributions to ISA and the automation profession by providing an avenue for individuals to compete for recognition within established categories,” said Curtis. The 2020 winners are:

  • Excellence in Technical Innovation (endowed by Honeywell UOP) to Soliman Almadi of Saudi Aramco in Dhahran, Eastern Saudi Arabia.
  • Excellence in Technical Presentation to Abdulkadar Susnerwala of Air Liquide in Houston.
  • Excellence in Education to Himanshu Patel of the Institute of Technology at Nirma University in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.
  • Mentoring Excellence to Greg McMillan of Emerson in Austin, Texas.
  • Excellence in Enduring Service to Catherine Andrews of Hile Controls of Alabama in Pelham, Ala.; James Haw of La Porte, Texas; Ian Verhappen of Industrial Automation Networks in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Clifford Wuertz of Cypress, Texas.
  • Division Excellence to ISA’s Analysis Division.
  • Division Leader Excellence to Ed Naranjo of Honeywell’s Process Measurement and Control Division in Eagan, Minn.
  • Section Excellence to ISA’s Bangalore section in Karnataka, India.
  • Section Leader Excellence to Dattatray Sawant of the ISA’s Maharashtra section in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
  • Standards Excellence to Donald Dunn of Waldemar S. Nelson & Co. in Highlands, Texas.
  • Volunteer Leader of the year to Cheri Haarmeyer of Pearland, Texas. 


Digital Transformation in Deepwater Production Virtual Conference debuts

ISA hosted the Digital Transformation in Deepwater Production Virtual Conference on 16 September 2020, featuring 11 speakers and panelists representing Shell, VisCo, BP, and more. “This program has been carefully crafted to offer a broad-based overview of the latest technology and best practices in this critical area of automation,” said Ken Nguyen, conference chair and program manager at BP. He said the speakers were asked to keep their presentations brief to allow more time for questions and interaction. Like ISA’s previous virtual conferences, the event featured a virtual Exhibit Hall as well as several chat rooms for networking opportunities.

In the opening presentation, Andrea Course, venture principal for Shell Ventures, described Shell’s digital transformation, highlighting lessons to encourage success in the increasingly IoT-connected digital era. Course has 14 years of experience in the energy sector and worked with Schlumberger Technology Investments before joining Shell.

Shell IT CTO Johan Krebbers spent his presentation exploring the following question: What is the role of standards and technology in getting data ready for analytics? He asserted that good models start with good data and that sharing data can help identify megatrends. Setrag Khoshafian, PhD, who has 30 years of experience as a senior executive in the software industry, discussed virtualizing access to data, championing the importance of preserving a single version of the truth (master data).

The final three sessions focused on digital twins. Satyam Priyadarshy, PhD, the first chief data scientist in the oil and gas industry, spoke about the digital twin value chain. Digital maturity and disruption in this field “unlocks the potential to structurally lower costs, shorten time to first oil, increase optionality in exploration and production, and enhance performance across the entire value chain,” he said. VisCo CEO Oystein Stray and Bendik Bendiksen presented a digital twin and augmented reality case study.

To find out about the next webinar or conference in ISA’s Digital Transformation event series, visit https://isaautomation.isa.org/virtual-events-program-digital-transformation.


SMIIoT: ISA’s newest division turns one

A two-and-a-half-year journey to create the Smart Manufacturing and IIoT Division of ISA resulted in big news to report: As of 15 September 2020, this newest ISA division has 822 members from 54 countries, with membership steadily increasing.

Carlos and Sujata celebrating after division approval.
Sujata Tilak is cofounder and director of the division. Carlos Mandolesi, ISA president-elect secretary 2021, is also a cofounder. According to Tilak, “My company started working in the Industrial Internet of Things [IIoT] space as early as 2012. I would often think about how industrial automation and control systems play a very vital role in IIoT and is the foundation for IIoT. Conversely, all major areas of automation are impacted by IIoT. I remember my conversation about this in Mumbai with Jim Keaveney, then ISA president, in October 2015. He agreed that ISA should look at these areas.

Tilak said she talked up the idea of a new division during SLM in 2017 and got mixed reactions, but that is when Mandolesi came forward to work with her on it. The SMIIoT division was approved in October 2019. Now more than IIoT, SMIIoT encompasses eight aspect of smart manufacturing: IIoT, cloud technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), communication and networking (industrial Internet), cybersecurity, cyber-physical systems, digital twin and simulation, and virtualization technologies (virtual reality and augmented reality).

Division members have formed technical committees focused on the above areas, each with a leader and eight to 10 members. The largest TC has 28 members. Adds Tilak, “We hope to catch all the action happening in the SM and IIoT space via our diverse membership and contribute to this action.


Inclusion, diversity, and mentoring: A Q&A with ISA member Rhonda Pelton

Rhonda Pelton, the operational excellence leader for the Global Process Automation Technology group at Dow and a former director of ISA’s Chemical & Petroleum Industries Division, was recently named eighth on the EMPower Top 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders list for 2020. This list honors outstanding business leaders who use their platform to make significant contributions to ethnic minority people at work in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, and Europe.

Pelton serves on the leadership council of the Global African Affinity Network at Dow and on the Dow Promise Advisory Council. She also volunteers with the Dow Promise Program, which seeks to mitigate educational and economic challenges faced by African American communities near Dow sites. Pelton has worked with Dow University relations as a team lead for diverse talent recruitment, resulting in a record number of minority interns and co-op students during the 2018–2019 school year. She is a Dow STEM Ambassador, a facilitator at Girls Construction Camp, and a Girls STEM Academy speaker at NASA Space Center Houston.

ISA staff writer Kara Phelps interviewed Pelton for the ISA Interchange blog. The full text of her interview is at https://blog.isa.org/.

ISA: Describe your career at Dow.

RP: I started my career at Dow as a process control developer in our engineering services group, developing software solutions for various Dow businesses. I progressed from a developer to a process control project lead and a Six Sigma Black Belt. Dow provides a wide array of opportunities, and I served as a production engineer in a manufacturing facility before returning to a role as a process automation lead in one of Dow’s Technology Centers. In my current role, I ensure effective and consistent implementation of process automation technology and resources.

ISA: Describe your involvement in the Dow Promise Program.

RP: Dow Promise started as a vision of Dow employees to positively impact African American communities near Dow locations, where economic and educational challenges may be barriers to success. It was a promise to give something back to kids and their communities. As part of the Dow Promise initiative, I have worked with students in the African American community to deliver projects addressing financial literacy, STEM education, health and safety, and college and career preparation.

ISA: What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?

RP: In engineering and other STEM fields, we are problem solvers. Diversity and inclusion in these fields means that all people and perspectives are considered. It means we invite everyone to the table and work together to find solutions. Diversity and inclusion do not start in the workplace, but in our homes, our communities, and our classrooms.

ISA: What can leaders do to help create/sustain an inclusive environment in their organizations?

RP: As engineers and scientists, we are conditioned to follow the data. In discussing what leaders can do to create and sustain an inclusive environment, leaders should start not with “what,” but with “why.” When a leader understands why an inclusive environment in the organization is important, then the “what” will be driven by the value that inclusivity brings. When the leader understands the “why,” then the “what” can be measured and sustained. Eventually the “what” becomes the culture of the organization. Building a pipeline of diverse talent is critical for our future. I challenge ISA leaders to explore the ways that you can use your influence to bring the best STEM minds to your organization or to your committee.


The importance of the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam

Graduations may have been disrupted in this pandemic year, but one ISA member wants to make sure engineering grads remember that in addition to whatever form the celebration takes, there might be one more thing to do to help ensure their future success: “You ought to think about taking the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, also called the Engineer in Training (EIT) exam,” says Brad Stephen Carlberg, PE, a control systems engineer with more than 30 years of experience and a volunteer ISA leader. “You owe it to yourself, after spending all that time in engineering school, to get this certification.

Many U.S. universities have a class for the FE exam review, but many engineers do not take it, says Carlberg. They think they will never need it.

"I was lucky that the professors at my alma mater, Washington State University, told us all to take the EIT exam our last semester in college,” Carlberg says. “Over the past 36 years since I graduated, however, I am often amazed that so many people—recent graduates as well as those who graduated many years ago—claim that they did not need to take [it].” They say they see no need to proceed to the next step, which is to sit for the Professional Engineer (PE) certification.

"For me, getting a PE was my default goal after graduation,” Carlberg says. “Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was a pretty poor student and I simply felt I had to show people I was a real engineer—but that’s a discussion for later. It comes down to the basic fact that, throughout the United States, every state’s Board of Engineers legally requires those who practice engineering to have a PE.

Carlberg says the FE exam is actually harder than the PE exam, because it is so much broader. “It’s best to take it as close to graduation as you can, with all that schooling still fresh in your mind,” he says.


ISA young professionals create ‘fireside chat’ video series

Learning from the wisdom of those who have come before is a long and useful tradition within associations and good advice for life. Add a little new technology, and the wisdom can be shared farther and wider than before.

Invoking the spirit of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt who conducted a series of evening radio addresses between 1933 and 1944, ISA’s newly created Young Professionals (YP) committee has begun conducting “fireside chats” with former ISA presidents.

Radio was the new technology then, but today’s young professionals are asking their questions via the 2020 virtual meeting platform of choice for everything from the Emmys to campaign conventions: Zoom. The format is socially distant, 20- to 40-minute video interviews distributed via the Internet. Most of these are prerecorded and will be shared over the next couple of months. The group will also be doing a couple live versions, where people sign up to watch at a scheduled time and can ask their own questions.

"Although we were forced to cancel our annual leadership conference planned for Puerto Rico, we are committed to accomplishing as much as possible using virtual meetings,” said ISA president Eric Cosman earlier this year. “I am particularly pleased with the emergence of a formal Young Professionals group in our Society, bringing a fresh perspective on how to create a valued experience for those who are the future leaders in our profession.

A list of on-demand and upcoming fireside chats was being compiled at press time. Find out more about them and all the YP Committee initiatives and activities by visiting www.isa.org/membership/young-professionals.


ISA members elect 2021 officers

Fall is time for leadership changeover within the International Society of Automation, so ISA members are welcoming a new executive board for 2021. The executive board is the managing body of the Society and as such sets the strategic direction for ISA, approves the annual budget, and acts on matters of policy to advance Society objectives as specified by the bylaws.

The makeup of the board includes four Society officers: president, president-elect secretary, past president, and treasurer. For 2021, Eric Cosman becomes past president, allowing Steve Mustard to take on the mantle of president. Carlos Mandolesi joins the presidential chain as president-elect secretary, and the fourth officer is treasurer Scott Reynolds.

The rest of the board is made up of six members with experience in geographic aspects of ISA, three members with leadership experience in operational aspects of ISA, three members with leadership experience in technical aspects of ISA, up to three at-large members, an executive board parliamentarian, and ISA executive director Mary Ramsey.

Look for more information about them and other executive board members in the coming months. In the meantime find out more about society governance groups at https://www.isa.org/governance.


2021 ISA Virtual Conferences

Tentative schedule

ISA virtual conferences are a safe, convenient alternative to in-person conferences, providing attendees with insight into key operational and business topics through online sessions, panels with live Q&A, virtual exhibits, and networking opportunities.

ISA Data Analytics Conference
22 February 2021
This all-new conference will use case studies from early adopters to identify real-world applications that help asset owners shift their focus to building and implementing more robust analytics models, rather than cleaning up and formatting data. The conference will address these emerging issues from both the data capture and data analytics perspective.

ISA Analysis Division Conference
22 April 2021
This industry event is recognized as the outstanding forum for discussions of new and innovative analytical techniques, developments, and applications for process and laboratory applications.

ISA Cybersecurity Standards Implementation Conference
20 May 2021
Join ISA, the developer of consensus-based industrial cybersecurity standards (ISA/IEC 62443), for a rapid fire, elevated conference event, focusing on expert discussions surrounding awareness and solutions for organizational threats/vulnerabilities with the implementation of a standards-based cybersecurity program.

ISA IIoT & Smart Manufacturing Conference
24 June 2021
This technology-focused event will encompass topics regarding advances in connectivity, automation, and security within the operational context of hybrid manufacturing applications across multiple vertical industries.

ISA Digital Transformation in Deepwater Automation Conference
19 August 2021
An abundance of recoverable reserves offshore has presented its own challenges to the upstream oil and gas industry. The new watch word is “efficiency,” as operators focus less on discovery and more on efficient, uninterrupted production. ISA looks at applications of technology that accelerate the facilities design, certification, and startup processes, while improving safety and efficiency. Operators will discuss applications of enabling technology that have made deep water projects financially viable.

ISA Energy & Water Automation Conference
23 September 2021
This industry event will highlight infrastructure supporting power generation and municipal water and wastewater systems, which are at the heart of “smart city” initiatives, as well as critical industrial water process applications, processes, and concerns.

ISA Process Industry Conference
18 November 2021
This event offers comprehensive technical content from experts in the energy processing and process manufacturing industries covering critical areas including: process instrumentation/control, cybersecurity and safety systems, open architecture and infrastructure, and operational excellence in light of our change to “new normal” operations.
See the full calendar of ISA virtual conferences, webinars and other events here

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