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ISA Names Claire Ramspeck New Executive Director

ISA has announced that its new executive director will be Claire Ramspeck. She is the founder of Hobbs Barrett, a private consulting firm that specializes in association management with a focus on development, adoption, and dissemination of standards and other technical products and services. Prior to that, she built a successful career as the director of technology at ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, and as the managing director of standards development at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

In addition to her 25-year history of leading standards and technology businesses within associations, Ramspeck also brings a wealth of volunteer experience, chairing and serving on several boards and committees for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriters Laboratory (UL.)

ISA President Steve Mustard, who chaired the executive search committee to recruit and select Ramspeck, highlighted her standards experience as a key factor in the committee’s decision. “Claire has an impressive history of collaborating with volunteers and subject-matter experts to develop standards, research, and other projects that meet the needs of industry,” said Mustard. “ISA’s value is rooted in our standards development, and we build our portfolio of market offerings around key standards that help industries lower costs, boost productivity, and improve safety and cybersecurity. Claire’s background will empower her to take ISA’s valuable content to the next level.”

ISA’s current executive director, Mary Ramsey, will retire at the end of the year. “The time I’ve spent with ISA has been a rewarding chapter of my career, and I’m grateful for the collaboration and support of our members, leaders, and professional staff,” said Ramsey. “We have been able to accomplish great things, including the creation of the ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance, a group that continues to advance automation cybersecurity on the world stage. Given Claire’s focus on technology adoption, I’m confident ISA will continue to build on its considerable strengths and continue to bring value to the industries we serve.”

Ramspeck holds a BS in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA from Georgia State University. Before working with associations, she was a design engineering contractor for the Department of Energy through Bechtel Savannah River. Ramspeck has been honored with the Meritorious Service Award from ANSI and the Norman R. Harbaugh Scholastic Achievement Award from the Georgia State University College of Business.

Fuji Oil Company Ltd. Wins ISA100 Wireless Award

Each year, the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (ISA100WCI), a subsidiary of ISA, presents the ISA100 Wireless Excellence In Automation Award to a global end-user company that has demonstrated outstanding leadership and innovation with ISA100 Wireless technology. Earlier this year, the ISA100WCI announced that the 2020 award had been presented to Fuji Oil Company, Ltd.

The company’s contributions and achievements in the promotion of wireless instrumentation over the years through the ISA100WCI have been highly regarded in the industry. The company has improved safe operations and maintenance efficiency by using ISA100 Wireless technology to visualize the operating status of existing refinery facilities.

With the introduction of a wide variety of ISA100 Wireless products, Fuji Oil Company, Ltd., has achieved many results, including safer operations and improved maintenance efficiency through enhanced site monitoring and risk management. The company was also recognized for its efforts to promote wireless instrumentation by sharing on-site know-how to maintain the stable operation of wireless networks, and disseminating requests and feedback to wireless product vendors through ISA100WCI user seminars. Find out more.

The Fuji Oil Company, Ltd., Sodegaura Refinery is located on the corner of Keiyo Seaside Industrial Zone in Tokyo Bay and has a production system that can flexibly respond to changes in product demand. It produces various petroleum products from crude oil from around the world, and supplies them domestically and internationally.

The company has various shipping facilities, such as sea shipping, tank truck shipping, rail shipping, and pipeline shipping. In particular, the marine shipping facility is equipped with one of the largest dedicated piers in Japan, where 120,000-ton class tankers can directly land. Strengthening on-site monitoring through the introduction of wireless instruments has contributed to their safe operation, environmental protection, and operational efficiency, and is drawing out the strengths of the Sodegaura refinery, according to the company. 

ISA, Endress+Hauser Collaborate to Expand Training Offerings

ISA and Endress+Hauser are collaborating to provide expanded training and certification course offerings to automation and instrumentation professionals. ISA will offer select certified training courses in conjunction with E+H’s instrumentation training courses at E+H’s process training units (PTUs) located across the U.S. These 11 full-scale process units provide hands-on experience with the types of configurations, operations, diagnostics, and troubleshooting found in modern process plants.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Endress+Hauser and leverage the strengths of our respective organizations,” says Geri McGrath, director of global education and outreach at ISA. “The combination of Endress+Hauser’s PTUs and ISA’s training services offers increased workforce development opportunities for industrial automation and control professionals.”

Through this collaboration, ISA will bring its renowned expertise in controls, valves, and drives to more students in a real-world setting. ISA will send a representative to Endress+Hauser PTUs to teach its standards-based, vendor-neutral training using a seamless, holistic approach. This joint effort helps provide a one-stop shop where automation professionals can propel their education and careers forward.

“Combining a selection from the deep ISA training offering with the many choices of instrumentation training provided at Endress+Hauser’s world-class PTUs provides a powerful set of options for instrument technicians who need help with their professional development,” says Jerry Spindler, customer training manager, Endress+Hauser USA.

ISA has long provided certification for automation professionals through its Certified Controls System Technician (CCST) program. ISA and Endress+Hauser will focus on providing training for Level 1 certification, which affirms that technicians possess extensive knowledge of calibration, maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.

The two have also codeveloped an online assessment tool for identifying technical strengths and knowledge gaps, allowing individuals to develop a training plan to meet specific needs. The tool is based on ISA’s CCST Body of Knowledge, and will be offered through both the ISA and Endress+Hauser websites in 2022.

Dow Technology Leader Keynotes Digital Transformation Virtual Conference

"Obtaining value from digital transformation is only possible if culture change is achieved,” said Dow Global Process Automation technology leader Paul Tomlin. His presentation, “Utilizing Digital Technology to Gain Competitive Advantage,” was the keynote speech of the ISA’s Digital Transformation Virtual Conference, held on 31 August 2021. The presentation set the tone for the day-long virtual event, highlighting current industrial automation operational paradigms, identifying opportunities in digitalization, and emphasizing the importance of user involvement in digital transformation.

Tomlin, who has worked with Dow since 2005 and has held his current title since 2012, noted that industrial automation professionals need to challenge their operating assumptions if they want to move forward into digital manufacturing. “When you’re improving value in a plant, there are two levers you can pull: operating cost improvement or asset utilization improvement,” he said.

Tomlin highlighted several strategies for identifying opportunities: target specific pain points, plan to measure value, and engage champions. “Champions” can be executive leadership, plant leadership, and operators, he emphasized. The operator, or end user, is the most important person to get onboard.

Before moving forward, consider user interface improvement, data platform integration, and connectivity. “The best way to get a person to adopt a tool is to make it substantially better than what they had in the past,” Tomlin said. Just because a new tool is available does not mean operators will immediately adopt it. “Make sure the end user experience is very seriously considered in terms of building those tools, because that’s going to be a very important factor in adoption.” He also reminded listeners that digital technologies are a tool, an enabler.  –By Melissa Landon

ISA Hosts Multitrack Cybersecurity Conference

ISA celebrated Cybersecurity Awareness Month with the debut of a dual-track Cybersecurity Standards Implementation Virtual Conference (CSIC). The 19 October event featured industrial cybersecurity specialists and other speakers hailing from Pfizer, the NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Forest Service to address operational technology (OT) cybersecurity issues.

This second annual CSIC again offered strategies for mitigating organizational threats and vulnerabilities through the use of the ISA/IEC 62443 series of standards. ISA/IEC 62443, endorsed by the United Nations and globally recognized, was the centerpiece of many presentations. The ISA99 committee developed the ISA/IEC 62443 series of standards to provide a flexible framework to address and mitigate current and future security vulnerabilities in industrial automation and control systems (IACSs).

Track 1 kicked off with a keynote from Zach Tudor, associate laboratory director of Idaho National Laboratory’s National and Homeland Security (N&HS) directorate. His presentation was called “Action Plan for ICS Competencies.” In his closing remarks, he offered a few key steps to move forward in OT environments: “We have to make sure everyone realizes that industrial cybersecurity is different. . . . Collaboration is key; none of us is as smart as all of us…. We have to make standard curricular materials widely available.”

Track 2 introduced listeners to six panelists, including ICS Cybersecurity Advisor’s Johan Nye and OIT Concepts’ Eric Cosman, who participated in the 62443 Standards Update Panel Discussion.

Attendees who chose track 1 heard about Pfizer’s plant floor cybersecurity journey, observed a supply chain risk management panel featuring ISA President Steve Mustard, and learned about applying ISO/IEC 27001/2 and the ISA/IEC 62443 series in OT environments from Pierre Kobes of Siemens AG, among other great sessions. Track 2 listeners heard an ISA security update from Andre Ristaino, learned from Verve CEO John Livingston, and saw several technology demonstrations and trainings.

Because this multifaceted event offered many choices, registered attendees were encouraged to come later and view what they missed in the following 30 days. A full list of all presenters can be found on the event’s website.

A related event, the Cybersecurity Standards Implementation Virtual Conference – Middle East, is scheduled to debut 7 December, running live 8:00–14:00 GMT +3. Registered attendees will also be able to watch it later on demand. Information and registration links for all ISA virtual conferences and webinars are online.

Johnson Controls Earns World’s First ISASecure CSA Certification for a Smart Buildings Product

The ISASecure Program announced that Johnson Controls has earned the first ISASecure Component Security Assurance (CSA) certification for its smart building products featuring YORK YK and YZ centrifugal chillers. Industrial control suppliers can earn ISASecure certifications for robust products that are free from recognized liabilities. The ISASecure CSA certification assures Johnson Controls customers that each chiller product meets the technical security requirements for industrial automation and control system (IACS) components, as defined in the internationally recognized ISA/IEC 62443-4-2 cybersecurity standards, and is developed in accordance with the internationally recognized ISA/IEC 62443-4-1 cybersecurity standard.

The ISASecure program has provided IACS cybersecurity certification for more than a decade, and has now demonstrated the effectiveness of the ISA/IEC 62443 family of standards for securing smart buildings technology. Cybersecurity threats are rising, and businesses are considering the potential vulnerabilities of unprotected building infrastructures. 

“We understand what’s at stake for our customers,” said Jason Christman, vice president and chief product security officer, Johnson Controls. “That’s why Johnson Controls is committed to bringing cyber-resilient building solutions to market. The ISASecure certification recognizes this commitment and provides reassurance at a time when cyberthreats to operational technology are increasing.”

Johnson Controls received the ISASecure CSA conformance certificate from exida LLC, an ISASecure- and ISO 17065–accredited certification body. “Johnson Controls continues to demonstrate leadership in cybersecurity for smart buildings,” said Mike Medoff, director of cybersecurity certification at exida. “The CSA certification of Johnson Controls YZ and YK centrifugal chillers is an industry first.” The company previously had earned the ISASecure Security Development Lifecycle Assurance (SDLA) certification.

The ISASecure CSA certification indicates that the security capabilities of components, such as software applications, embedded devices, host devices, and network devices, conform to requirements in the ISA/IEC 62443 standards. The ISASecure SDLA certification assures that Johnson Controls’ product-development security practices, including its OpenBlue platform, conform to the ISA/IEC 62443-4-1 security lifecycle standard.

Meet 2021 ISA Fellow Peter Fuhr

Peter Fuhr, PhD, was named a 2021 ISA Fellow in honor of his pioneering work in networked sensor systems for structures, wireless technologies, and mobile platforms; and for designing secure integrated network architectures for petrochemical, pharmaceutical, and military needs.

He has been involved in industrial wireless, sensors, and secure systems for more than 30 years. He has served as a NASA space optical physicist, university professor, serial entrepreneur, and distinguished scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where he is the technology director for the Unmanned Aerial Systems Research Laboratory. In the photo, he is shown standing in front of 5-GHz and 60-GHz radio transceivers, which he uses for doing research and development for rural broadband communications.

Concurrently, Fuhr also is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Tennessee, which allows him to help direct and participate in graduate student doctoral research. “I think I’m a teacher at heart,” says Fuhr. “I get asked how I know so much in the application space, specifically inside industrial applications. It’s all by being educated from people I’ve met through the International Society of Automation [ISA]. It may seem like [teaching is] only one way, but I’ve been getting taught, too—by friends, colleagues, and other individuals inside ISA.”

Fuhr is a technical instructor for ISA and is the former director of its Communication Division. He also served as the co-chair of the Secure Infrastructure Controls Society, is the co-founder and past chair of the Wireless Industrial Networking Alliance, and co-chairs the Association for Advanced Agricultural Technology. 

Automation in space

In addition to the people he has met along the way, Fuhr humbly credits much of his success to being in the right place at the right time, including for his role as a space optical physicist. “I was very fortunate to go straight from school as a neophyte to work at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and get trained on how to build a complicated automation system that’s up in space,” he says.

Two of the satellites he worked on are still in orbit. When he speaks of them, it seems like he is remembering a couple of old friends. “If the conditions are right, I can look up in the sky and every 90 minutes see the satellites go overhead. And that’s nice.”

He next had the opportunity to start a program in optical sciences at the University of Vermont, and he credits a support system there with helping to get him established in the technology area. Then, the timing was right for the professor “to start doing smart structures funded by the National Science Foundation, integrating systems into an application area, putting sensors in hydro dams and nuclear containment vessels, etc.” 

Flying sensors on drones

“Then came my introduction to ISA,” he adds, “where I got to meet so many people and hear about different needs. I was lucky to be educated by a lot of people in intersecting technologies. We put it all together. Now I’m the technology director for our national lab’s drone activities, and we’re flying those [sensors] on drones.”

He is also a contributing member of a number of ISA, IEEE, and SPE work groups and committees. Fuhr’s R&D interests are broad but principally involve secure communications, sensors, multidisciplinary applications, and control systems. He has embedded sensors into various structures worldwide, including buildings, dams, airplanes, hot air balloons, spacecraft, nuclear power plant containment vessels, and even humans. He has also deployed wireless systems in innumerable industrial, agricultural, underwater, underground, and even outer space settings.

“I’ve been lucky over the years to be on some pretty hot horses in technology, right at the forefront of different things,” says Fuhr. “Or to use a surfing analogy, it’s just riding the wave. Then you jump over to another wave—now let’s ride that technology application for a while. That’s the thing: It’s all application. I’m an engineer. I have degrees in physics and electrical engineering and mathematics, but I’m an applied engineer. That’s why we’re in this field right here [see sidebar].”

His recent activities have included R&D pertaining to sensors and systems appropriate for environmental monitoring of fracking; water quality sensing for industrial enterprises; sensing and communication systems for operation in harsh settings, such as deep water, within nuclear reactors, and in corrosive environments; and examining the intricacies of printed electronics in an additive manufacturing (3D printing) environment.

A great visionary

Penny Chen, senior principal technology strategist at Yokogawa US Technology Center, says, “Peter has a great vision of what technology is to come, and when he believes that technology can make a difference in certain ways, he is just full energy, full effort. He goes for it. That also shows in his entrepreneurship.”

As a subject-matter expert (SME) for Smart Grid Secure Communications, Fuhr has written numerous briefs for the Department of Energy, the FCC, and Congress on electric utilities’ implementation of advanced technologies. He is a frequent speaker and has served in a variety of capacities for technical meetings, symposia, and conferences around the world.

In addition to authoring and presenting more than 800 technical journal and conference publications and presentations, Fuhr has been an expert witness in communications and sensor court cases; patented technical innovations; performed many technical assessments of companies soliciting venture capital funding; and has provided technical consulting services to companies large and small. He served as an SME for JP Morgan’s venture investment division, and, as a faculty member, founded and directed the Institute for Sensors and Wireless Networking.

He continues to be a technical reviewer for proposals submitted to various governmental organizations, and routinely delivers technology overview and fundamental research presentations to cross-disciplinary audiences throughout the world.

Fuhr is the recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Research and is a Senior Member of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and International Society of Automation. Find out more about ISA Fellows and other awards–By Lynn DeRocco

Doing a Whole Bunch of Sensing

Thermal images of R&D conducted in Montana by Fuhr and his team. This photo shows a thermal image of Fuhr about to launch a batch of handheld drones.
Automation.com caught up (remotely) with ISA Fellow Peter Fuhr, PhD, in the mountains of Northwest Montana. His joy in doing what he loves was evident in the energetic, cheerful voice on the other end of the line and his easy laughter. “I’m with some of my colleagues working on a Department of Energy activity related to wildfires associated with things like transmission lines and cracked insulators,” he said. “It’s just beautiful today—about 65 degrees, blue skies, light winds. We’reflying drones and doing a whole bunch of sensing and stuff like that. Just another day!”

The photos show Fuhr’s current activities in the field. Even as ISA’s interview ended, his latest adventure was calling. “I’m going to go back out,” he said, “I want to fly some more drones by the trees and water here. . . .”

Image taken from a sensor-laden drone of a hydroelectric dam.

New CAPs and CCSTs

The following individuals have recently passed either ISA’s Certified Automation Professional (CAP) exam, or one of the three levels of the Certified Control Systems Technician (CCST) exam. For more information about either program is online.

Certified Control System Technicians

Level 1

Andrew Boone, U.S.
Sean Keane, MillerCoors, U.S.
Brad Koenig, Iowa State University, U.S.
Mansour Nasser Al Rifi, Saudi Arabia
Christian G. Ransdell, U.S.
Christian M. Smith, U.S.
Charles A. Thompson, U.S.
Thomas Michael Vigue, U.S.

Level 2

Ibrahim A. Al Meftah, Saudi Arabia
Danny Cooper, MillerCoors, U.S.
Justin Wade Davis, Transcanada, U.S.
Raymond J. Eye, M Davis & Sons Inc., U.S.
John Gowder, MillerCoors, U.S.
David Halter, MillerCoors, U.S.
Autumn D. Hansen, U.S.
Paul Kaczorowski, MillerCoors, U.S.
Jorge Maldonado, U.S.
Doug Mohr, U.S.
Zach A. Otto, U.S.
Jorge A. Vega, U.S.
Zachary Weber, Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, U.S.
Seth Young, MillerCoors, U.S.

Level 3

Brian Bruner, Xcel Energy, U.S.
JD Glenn, Dorada Foods, U.S.
Michael John Sneddon, U.S.

Certified Automation Professionals

Eric J. Anderson, U.S.
Alexander Cottengim, U.S.
Eric Kimball Jaime, U.S.
Muzammal Saud Khan, Pakistan
Sarbottam Pant, Meiden America, Inc., U.S.
Christian Djateu Pettang, DC Water & Sewer Authority, U.S.

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