Get involved early and often
I received my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Kansas State University in 2012 and am currently an instrumentation and controls engineer at Burns & McDonnell in Kansas City, Mo. During my first month of working, I found out that my department manager was the membership chair for the ISA Kansas City section. He invited me to a Kansas City section meeting, and from there I was hooked.
ISA has benefited me technically and professionally. I got involved in my ISA section right out of college as a new professional. This helped me meet other automation professionals from all over the Kansas City area from different companies and industries. The section’s technical meetings helped me grow tremendously in my new profession, especially considering I came from a ChemE background with very limited instrumentation and control knowledge. After a few years of being heavily involved in my ISA section, I attended a fall leaders meeting (now known as the annual leaders conference), and that is where I got connected into ISA’s ChemPID (Chemical and Petroleum Industries Division). Being a part of a division has helped me interact with automation professionals all over the globe. My involvement in the division helped me gain exposure to more of the society which allowed me to be elected on the ISA Executive Board.
I am just one example that shows you don’t have to be an experienced professional to get involved (or even be a leader) in ISA. Pick the ISA area you want to get involved with or try them all. You will learn so much technically and professionally just by getting involved.
Ashley Weckwerth, Executive Board Member. Kansas City Section Leader, District 8 Education Chair, Chemicals & Petroleum Industries Division (ChemPID) Past-Director