• Meet our Members:
    Q&A with Matthew Conklin

    Matthew Conklin

    Matthew Conklin

    An experienced chemical process engineer and automation engineer, Matthew Conklin is the DeltaV Technology Leader at MAVERICK Technologies, the largest independent systems integrator in North America. In his position, Conklin provides both automation and process improvement consultation and services to MAVERICK clients. Conklin also serves as Director of ISA’s Chemical and Petroleum Industries Division (ChemPID). Among the many duties he performs in this leadership role are: managing the division’s annual budget; coordinating services and programs for the benefit of the division’s 6,000-plus members; and overseeing division activities, such as symposia, scholarships, technical webinars and newsletters. 

    Q:  Could you provide some background on your studies and career development in automation?

    A:  I graduated with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech in 2002.  I started my career as a process engineer and worked mainly in process optimization and plant design. As my career progressed I kept winding up in the control room and quickly realized how difficult it was to maintain the ‘steady state’ assumptions I was trained to assume as a chemical engineer. I was working with a consultant that mentioned that "controls are the brains of a chemical plant." This viewpoint and the insights gained through my own experiences altered my career focus.

    Q:  How did you get involved with ISA and become a technical division director?

    A:  As I shifted my career from process engineering to process control engineering, I discovered that I was using several of the ISA standards, such as those relating to P&ID symbols, instrumentation specification, and batch control. I went down the path of investigating where these standards came from and my quest lead me to ISA. I then sought to become an ISA member and eventually a volunteer.

    A good friend of mine, Prabhu Soundarrajan, recruited me to get involved in the ISA Chemical & Petroleum Industries Division (ChemPID). I worked with Prabhu to guide the mission and vision of this division and learned a lot about leadership. With guidance and mentorship, I worked to become Director of ChemPID. I will complete my service in this position at the end of 2015.

    Q:  What makes participating as an ISA member and leader so worthwhile?

    A:  The most valuable aspect of serving within ISA is the people you meet and potential to gain as much leadership experience as you are willing to take on. When an engineer works for a company doing technical work, it is hard to crack through into a leadership position without leadership experience. Serving as a leader in ISA can enable a technical engineer to gain vital leadership experience and to develop friendships that will last a lifetime. Instead of being too passive about my career growth and potential promotions, ISA empowered me to get the skills I needed to achieve my goals.