2023 ALC: Where Technical Content and Lively Experiences Meet

  • By Renee Bassett
  • August 30, 2023
  • Features

Oil up those rusty social skills. ISA’s Automation & Leadership Conference is designed to educate, inspire, and have you interacting.

Plan now to oil up those rusty social skills in service of advancing your career because live events are the place to be this fall:  Debate the merits of OpenAI over dinner. Discuss process safety standards over drinks. Learn the latest OT cybersecurity strategies from a keynote speaker. Find technical solutions from exhibitors. Get inspired by stories of Olympic athletes. The second annual Automation & Leadership Conference (ALC) drops into Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA October 5 - 6 to become the place where technical content and lively experiences converge.

ISA ALC Keynote Speaker Mark Weatherford
Keynote speaker Mark Weatherford, who is chief strategy officer at the National Cybersecurity Center, will speak on national cybersecurity issues and workforce development. Source: Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs photo by Sgt. Katie Eggers
The International Society of Automation has attracted superb speakers and a global mix of automation managers, engineers, technicians, and technology experts to Colorado. These are professionals who want to stay abreast of trending industry topics including OpenAI, digital transformation, cybersecurity, IIoT, smart manufacturing, process automation and more. In addition to simultaneous tracks of technical sessions and career-skills sessions, the event also offers exhibitor booths, ample networking opportunities, and in-depth pre-show training courses.

Says 2023 Society President Marty Bince, “ISA is committed to bringing the best content and the most exciting, enriching experiences to all our conferences and events. I’ve been fortunate to be able to attend several ISA technical conferences and leadership meetings over the years, and the value I've received has been significant. I would recommend attending to advance your career—both your technical journey and in support of any moves you might want to consider into leadership or management.”

ISA ALC Keynote Speaker Dr. Lauren Goodwin
Keynote speaker Dr. Lauren Goodwin spoke at last year’s ALC. This year she will speak on OpenAI. Source: ISA
Keynote speakers include Mark Weatherford, who is the chief security officer and senior vice president of regulated industries at AlertEnterprise. He is also the chief strategy officer at the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC), which works to provide leadership and cybersecurity education to advance forward-thinking security policies and programs in the US and serves as the operational home to the Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) that helps to secure assets and systems in space. Weatherford will speak on national cybersecurity issues and workforce development.

The second keynote speaker is Dr. Lauren Goodwin, formerly bp digital security lead. Dr. Goodwin was a well-received speaker at last year’s ALC in Galveston, Texas. This year she will speak on OpenAI and its implications and applications for industry.

Educational Tracks

ALC 2022 Session participation.
ALC technical sessions are presented in overlapping tracks during the three days of the conference, which is why having access to session recordings can be important (See “Can’t Be Two Places at Once? Sign Up for the Virtual Event”). Technical tracks are divided into Digital Transformation and Cybersecurity topics. ISA standards and consortia will be represented including ISASecure, the ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance (ISAGCA), and ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI).

WCI will present its 2022 ISA100 Wireless Excellence in Automation award to Romania-based OMV Petrom, which is the first global end user to utilize ISA100 Wireless for real-time oil field monitoring. The award for leadership in digitalization and innovation will be presented during the conference and members of the OMV Petrom engineering team will host a session describing their award-winning operation.

The Digital Transformation track also has sessions such as “Where Are You In Your Digitization Journey?” and “Innovation in Sports.” The latter is presented by Boyd Smith, curator of the nearby US Olympic & Paralympic Museum, which is an immersive experience focused on America’s greatest athletes. The 60,000-square-foot attraction embodies the Olympic values of excel­lence, friendship, and respect, as well as the Paralympic values of determination, equality, inspiration, and courage. Visitors can try one of six interactive sport demonstrations such as alpine skiing and archery, see a full set of Olympic torches dating back to 1936, or experience what it was like to walk alongside Team USA members in the Parade of Nations.

US Olympic Paralympic Museum
Find inspiration for the digitalization journey at the nearby U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum. Source: usopm.org
The Cybersecurity track has sessions by noted presenters such as Chris McLaughlin, CISO of Johns Manville, who has 20 years of information security and infrastructure experience leading the vision for a highly complex manufacturing company, and Lt. Col. James I. Maher, the deputy head and assistant professor of computer and cyber sciences for the U.S. Air Force Academy, who will speak on “Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy Instruction.”

ISA Society business.
Brandon Price, senior principal engineer for industrial control system (ICS) cybersecurity at ExxonMobil, will present “ISA/IEC 62443– An Asset Owner’s Perspective.” This overview of ExxonMobil’s journey toward utilization of industry standards as a foundation for its ICS cybersecurity program includes how standards such as ISA/IEC 62443 are used and how ExxonMobil is supporting efforts to further mature and sustain the standard con­sistent with changes in the technology and threat landscape. Price is also chairman of ISASecure, and he will discuss the importance of this certification program for ensuring that off-the-shelf automation and control systems conform to ISA/IEC 62443 standards.

ALC 2022 Event participation.
A special “Cyber Incident Response (ICS4ICS) Workshop” will be presented on-site/in-person only by Mark Boddy, is a security development and support engineer with Monico Monitoring and a member of the ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance (ISAGCA). Boddy has worked in remote monitoring for more than 15 years, primarily in oil and gas, and has 25 years of IT experience. ICS4ICS is designed to improve global Industrial Control System cybersecurity incident management capabilities by leveraging the Incident Command System used globally by first responders as outlined by FEMA for response structure, roles, and interoperability.

ISA training courses are known as some of the best, and in-depth pre-conference courses are being offered on October 3 and 4. These, which have separate registrations and additional fees, include “Using the ISA/IEC 62443 Standards to Secure Your Control Systems” and “Introduction to Data Visualization (DT103).” In the latter, students will learn the different types of analytics used for visualization, how digital twins and extended reality technologies are used, and different mobility and wearable devices for visualization.

Professional networking events

ALC 2022 Event participants.
Attendees can engage with ISA subject matter experts, event speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and ISA staff to expand their professional net­work, ask questions, or find solutions. Exhibitor booths will be open throughout the three days. Networking activities by date include:

  • Oct. 4: The S.W.A.P., or Social with a Purpose Young Professionals and Student Mixer, as well as the ALC Welcome Reception.
  • Oct. 5: “Rodeos and Recognition” the ISA Honors and Awards Gala will be held at the Flying W Ranch. The Gala is ISA’s opportunity to showcase and celebrate the remarkable achievements and contri­butions of its members, volunteers and partners. This year’s dress code is dressy, but make sure you wear appropriate footwear for this working ranch. This event does require a separate fee.
  • Oct. 6: The ISA Fellow and Past President Reception, which requires a separate ticket.
  • Oct. 7: The 2023 ISA Championship Golf Tournament will be held at The Country Club of Colorado at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort. Proceeds will benefit the ISA Student Activities fund. This event requires a separate fee.

ISA Carlos Mandoesi left, Marty Bince right.
ISA Past President Carlos Mandolesi (left) and ISA President Marty Bince. Source: ISA
The technology information and creative inspiration that the ISA Automation & Leadership Conference provides is worth the investment in time and money. Like other attendees, you’ll return to your workplace personally energized and professionally ready to tackle your company’s automation projects, digital transformations, and cybersecurity challenges. ISA President Marty Bince sug­gests that, if you can, ask for company support to attend. “The benefit to the company is significant to improve the value that automa­tion brings to the corporation,” he says.

ALC Hotel and Registration Details

Registration is now open. The conference venue is the beautiful Cheyenne Mountain Resort, a Dolce by Wyndam hotel in Colorado Springs, CO, a 90-minute drive south of Denver.  Conference dates are Wednesday through Friday, October 4-6, 8:00 am – 16:00 MDT.

In-person attendee registration includes access to technical and career-skills sessions, the exhibitor showcase, appropriate ISA member meetings, conference recordings (available for 30 days after the event), and all food functions. Separate fees and registrations apply to the ISA Gala awards, the Fellows and Former President Reception, golf tournament, and pre-show training classes.

Registration for the virtual event allows access to technical and career-skills sessions, select society meetings and leadership presentations, the virtual exhibit hall, online networking events and live chat, and a virtual swag bag of valuable information and giveaways.

The conference is open to all. Non-members can join ISA and save on in-person attendance. Special student rates for the in-person and virtual events are also available.


Can’t Be Two Places at Once? Sign Up for the Virtual Event

The ISA Automation & Leadership Conference is being presented as a hybrid event to provide access for automation professionals from anywhere around the globe. The virtual conference experience, presented through ISA’s award-winning instance of the vFairs platform, is also useful for on-site attendees to see sessions they missed, like those in overlapping tracks.

The virtual event is a livestream broadcast of the on-site presentations with opportunity for live questions submitted via chat. Registered livestream attendees gain access to technical and career-skills sessions, select society meetings and leadership presentations, the virtual exhibit hall, online networking events, live chat, and a virtual swag bag of valuable information and giveaways. Virtual event attendees can obtain a certificate of completion with PDH credit for each session attended.

Registration for the virtual event is through the same website as the live event. Registered virtual attendees do not need to download or install any applications to participate, and no webcams are required. All registered attendees—both live and virtual—have access to conference recordings for a full 30 days after the live event.

Photos courtesy of ISA unless otherwise noted.

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About The Authors

Renee Bassett is chief editor for InTech magazine and Automation.com, and publications contributing editor for ISA. Bassett is an experienced writer, editor, and consultant for industrial automation, engineering, information technology, and infrastructure topics. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism and English from Indiana University, Bloomington, and is based in Nashville.