• Meet our Members
    Q&A with Rhonda Pelton

    As the Process Automation Lead SME at The Dow Chemical Company in Houston, Texas, Rhonda Pelton is responsible for ensuring that all tools, work processes, and project methodology are applied effectively and consistently on DCS migration projects. In addition, Pelton serves as Director-Elect of ISA’s Chemical and Petroleum Division.

    Q. Please give us a brief introduction of yourself, your educational background (degree/s received and when) and how and why you became interested in a career in automation?

    Rhonda Pelton - Insights May 2015

    Rhonda Pelton

    A. I have been married for 19 years and have two children. I earned a chemical engineering degree from Prairie View A&M University.  I was first exposed to process automation as a student and I had the opportunity to further explore the field through summer internships.

    Q. Tell us about your current role and function—both in terms of your career and your involvement in ISA.

    A. I have been with The Dow Chemical Company for 19 years. In my current role as Process Automation Manager, I am responsible for the successful execution and delivery of automation systems. An essential element of successful project execution is ensuring that industry standards are incorporated. The standards are designed to ensure that the system is predictable, reliable, and sustainable.

    Since ISA is the steward of automation industry standards, being involved with ISA has been a valuable career asset. Through newsletters, symposia, and publications, ISA provides the resources to deliver high quality automation systems.

    As Division Director-Elect of ISA’s Chemical and Petroleum Division, I assist the director in achieving the goals and objectives of the division. I also prepare to assume the duties of the division director at the expiration of the current term.

    Q. How would you say ISA has benefited you?

    A. As Process Automation Manager at a multi-national company, I routinely engage with global project teams. A critical factor for success in this role is effective communication. In the current business environment, this involves maximizing technology to coordinate meetings across time zones and deliver accurate and complete documentation.

    My participation in ISA has provided me global exposure to automation professionals and expertise. When doubts arise concerning the application of a particular standard, having access to individuals who have participated in its development is invaluable.

    Also important for today’s automation industry is continuous learning. As many installed control systems come to the end of their life cycle, the migration to new, sustainable solutions is required. The ability to provide the best products and services to our clients requires that automation professionals take the initiative to educate themselves.

    Through its seminars, symposia, and certificate programs, ISA Is ensuring that industry is supported by competent, innovative professionals. Through my ISA experience, I have been exposed to the most talented network of automation professionals. The ISA staff and volunteers are dedicated to the mission and vision of the organization. The people that I have met and had the pleasure to work and grow with have been the greatest benefit.

    Q. What advice would you give to other young professionals entering the automation profession?

    A. The automation landscape is changing at a rapid pace. It is imperative that young professionals entering the automation field be prepared for continuous learning. In fact, continuous learning is what will drive the innovation and advancement that keeps the profession strong and sustainable.