Gerald Wilbanks, PE, 1995 Society President, ISA Fellow

1995: ISA’s 50th and the advent of ‘smart’

With the initial formation of the Society in 1945, ISA celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1995. I had the privilege and honor of being the ISA president that year.

The 1995 ISA executive board was composed of an outstanding group of individuals who served the Society well at that time and into the future. Along with past president Blair Ives, treasurer Bob Lindner, and president-elect Ron Jones, there were five future presidents of ISA on that board. They were Paul Arbuckle (1997), Perry Grady (2000), Lowell McCaw (2004), Steve Huffman (2007), and Gerald Cockrell (2009).

A coffee table book, Milestones in Measurement and Control – Celebrating Fifty Years of ISA, was produced by an assigned task force. This publication outlined the many achievements and activities of ISA over the first 50 years and was made available for members and others in the industry to purchase. It remains a primary document to summarize the founding, expansion, and maturity of ISA. A historical collection of technology advances, created for the anniversary, remains on display in the lobby at ISA in Research Triangle Park, N.C., U.S.

The executive board that year approved the establishment of the Certified Control System Technician (CCST) program. This was the first step in setting up the qualifications and process for individuals to obtain this important professional credential. Lowell McCaw was the instrumental leader in coordinating this major step for ISA.

This was in the years of rapid advances in instrumentation and control technology internationally. The Foundation Fieldbus group had been formed in 1994, and its use was growing in all industry segments. The automation community was interested in more efficient and effective means of controlling processes. With the advent and application of the microprocessor technology in the 1980s and early 1990s, electronic transmitters were undergoing rapid changes. They were now “smart” and much smaller because of their digital technology, which brought about changes in engineering, design, and manufacturing processes.

The year 1995 was exciting for the automation, instrumentation, and controls industry, as well as for ISA. The Society was at full maturity at 50 years old, with a track record of leading the industry in standards, training, credentialing, conferences, and publications.
Gerald Wilbanks, PE, 1995 Society President, ISA Fellow

This article is part of September/October 2020 InTech—the ISA 75th Anniversary Special Edition