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Thirty-nine years of professional development

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I retired at the end of January 2019 following 42-plus years in the power industry and more than 39 continuous years as a member of ISA and its Power Industry Division (POWID). At that time, I also retired from ISA and other professional society activities to make room for other volunteer leaders. I was blessed to work with a great group of people over the years, and that is what I miss the most. With ISA now celebrating 75 years, it is a good time to share what ISA has meant to me and my career.

I was a student member of a different professional society during college, but it wasn’t a good fit for my chosen career in instrumentation and control (I&C). A few years into my career, a coworker suggested that I join the Instrument Society of America (ISA). The monthly InTech magazine and the newsletters from the two ISA divisions that I also joined were my first contacts with ISA. Those publications helped me to see that I was a part of a much larger group of professionals who had the same technical interests as myself. In the pre-Internet world, the publications catalog that I periodically received by mail gave me the opportunity to purchase books that also related to my career.

A year or two after joining ISA, a change in employment brought me to Birmingham, Ala., where there was an active local ISA section. It provided regular face-to-face contact with people with the same interests who did not work for the same company; that is where my professional network really began to develop. I also had the opportunity to volunteer for leadership roles, which preceded leadership roles with my employer.

My first volunteer role with ISA was as registration co-chair for the 1985 ISA Southeastern Conference and Exhibit. After that I participated in some of the local education night activities of our local section and eventually found myself as the education chair for the section. In this role I worked with one of our state universities in continuing the production of an annual Fundamentals of Industrial I&C Short Course, which still is given in May each year.

My first two employers did not support me traveling to conferences or doing much in the way of outside training, so ISA was very helpful to furthering my career by providing local technical and leadership educational opportunities. When I moved to Southern Company, my third employer, I learned that if you write technical papers and offer to present them at conferences, it furthers your technical growth and makes your company more likely to let you go to those conferences.

As I progressed at Southern, I was able to represent the company by joining the POWID Executive Committee and the ISA77 standards committee. My most notable roles in POWID were as general chair of the 2003 POWID Symposium in Williamsburg, Va., and then a fairly long assignment as the ISA POWID newsletter editor.

Throughout my career, ISA allowed me to increase my technical knowledge and my leadership skills, expanded my technical and social network, and helped me to grow in other ways and become more widely known in my industry. I highly recommend that all early and mid-career automation professionals get and stay involved in ISA. I wish you all success and happiness in your careers and life in general.

Dale Evely, PE and ISA Life Fellow
Southern Company (retired)
ISA POWID Executive Committee (retired)

See more anniversary content at ISA.org/75in2020.

Scenes from the Strategic Leader Meeting

ISA’s upcoming 75th Anniversary was on the minds of volunteer leaders who gathered in Austin, Texas, for training and fellowship 6–9 March. “A major theme for the 75th anniversary will be the ever-changing face of the automation profession,” said Eric Cosman, ISA Life Fellow and ISA President-Elect and Secretary. The idea of change also dominated the meeting agenda, driven by forces ranging from changing markets and business models to the emergence of disruptive technology.

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See more ISA photos at www.flickr.com/photos/isaautomation.