01 August 2003

Leaders of the Pack

From the plant to academia, InTech's 50 most influential industry innovators.

By Jim Strothman

Fifty years ago, ISA Journal, InTech magazine's predecessor, debuted in January 1954. In that half century, ISA's flagship publication has provided in-depth information about every significant technical development that influenced the world of measurement and control. The experts who helped create those significant developments often bylined InTech articles.

To commemorate our 50th anniversary, InTech's editors asked more than 80 instrumentation and control experts in numerous disciplines to name specific individuals they believe should be listed among the 50 most influential people credited with advancing automation, instrumentation, and control technologies. To put icing on our (anniversary) cake, we also asked those experts to suggest the most influential events and technological developments.

Armed with those expert opinions, InTech's editors pared down the lengthy list and made the final decision. We acknowledge up front any list of "50 most influential individuals" is subjective, at best. In some instances multiple names were combined and counted as one, because they either participated in a joint effort or were considered equal innovators in the same field. However, knowing the depth of expertise among the experts invited to participate in InTech's survey, we're confident the individuals and events that made our final list are most deserving of such an honor.


James WattJames Watt Many believe the first significant "control" invention occurred during the Industrial Revolution when Scottish engineer James Watt devised the "flyball" governor for steam engine applications in 1774. That mechanical device, improved versions of which are still in use today, automatically controls the speed of a steam engine.

John G. Ziegler and Nathaniel B. Nichols The first derivative control, dubbed "pre-act," incorporated into the Taylor Model 56R Fulscope controller, which integrated previously separate proportional, integral, derivative (PID) functions for the first time. However, the new controller had one problem: tuning. Taylor engineers Ziegler and Nichols solved the problem by developing the well-known "Ziegler-Nichols" method of tuning, still in use today.

Grace Hopper One of the first programmers to transform large digital computers from oversized calculators into relatively intelligent machines capable of understanding "human" instructions, Hopper in 1952 invented the first computer "compiler"-software that makes other computer software (called programming languages) easier to write. Hopper also developed common business-oriented language (COBOL), which became the most widely used computer business language in the world.

Hyman George Rickover Father of the nuclear Navy, there is no individual more responsible for harnessing nuclear power. From his early days at Oak Ridge, Tenn. to the mid-1980s, Admiral Rickover was a key driver implementing nuclear power in both the U.S. Navy and the commercial power industry. As director of the Naval Reactors Branch, Rickover developed the world's first nuclear powered submarine, USS Nautilus (SSN 571), which went to sea in 1955.

Orville and Wilbur WrightOrville and Wilbur Wright The first fixed-wing aircraft-a kite mounted on a stick-flew almost a century before Orville and Wilbur made their historic first flights. However, the Wrights were first to design and build a flying craft they could control while in the air. Every successful aircraft since the 1902 Wright glider has had controls to roll the wings right or left, pitch the nose up or down, and yaw the nose from side to side. Those three controls let a pilot navigate an airplane in all three dimensions. The entire aerospace business depends on their simple but brilliant idea, as do spacecraft and submarines.

Charles Stark Draper The father of inertial navigation, Draper evolved the theory, invented and developed the gyroscope-based technology, and led the effort that brought inertial navigation to operational use in aircraft, space vehicles, and submarines. Founder of Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass., and professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "Doc" Draper also wrote extensively in the fields of instrumentation and control, served as a consulting engineer to many aeronautical companies and instrument manufacturers, and earned a number of patents for measuring and controlling equipment. Guidance systems used for the flying machines ranging from lunar lander spacecraft to strategic missiles bear the stamp of his genius.

Wernher von BraunWernher von Braun One of the most important rocket pioneers, von Braun as a youth became enamored with the possibilities of space exploration and quickly mastered calculus and trigonometry so he could understand the physics of rocketry. His "rocket team" developed the V-2 ballistic missile for the Nazis during World War II; it was, ironically, the immediate antecedent of rockets later used in the U.S. space program. The U.S. Army scooped up von Braun and his rocket team from defeated Germany and sent them to Fort Bliss, Texas, where they worked on rockets.

Richard MorleyRichard Morley Many consider Morley to be the father of the programmable controller; his credits include designing the original ladder-logic programmable logic controller (PLC). First demonstrated at GM in 1969 as Bedford Associates Modicon 084 solid-state sequential logic solver, Morley designed it for factory automation and continuous processing applications. The quintessential engineer and inventor holds more than 20 U.S. and foreign patents and continues to work on novel computer designs, artificial intelligence, chaos and complexity, and the factory of the future.

Odo Struger Often called the father of Allen-Bradley's PLC and credited with creating that acronym, Dr. Struger also developed PLC application software during his nearly forty-year career at Allen-Bradley/Rockwell and played a leadership role in developing National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 1131-3 PLC programming language standards. After moving from Austria to the U.S. in the 1950s, he became an engineer at Allen-Bradley in 1958, retiring in 1997 as Rockwell Automation's vice president of technology.

Hans Baumann One of the world's eminent experts on flow control technologies and control valve designs, including noise prediction methods in control valves, Baumann founded the H.D. Baumann Co. in Portsmouth, N.H. (now an Emerson/Fisher subsidiary). A director of the ISA standards and practices department, he continues to serve as the U.S. technical expert on the IEC standard committee SC65B/WG9 for control valves. He is a leader in revisions to the sizing standards for very low Cv valves. His efforts and technical expertise were instrumental in getting the IEC community to accept the technically based ISA noise prediction approach, a standard that continues to gain worldwide acceptance for predicting noise associated with valves.

Edgar H. Bristol Named for his grand-father-the founder of Foxboro Company-Edgar was the originator of relative gain analysis and of the EXACT self-tuning controller. He and Pete Hansen, a noted Foxboro electrical and mechanical engineer, broke ground in their work in multivariable and adaptive control, software, and self-tuning controllers.

Lotfi A. Zadeh Considered the father of fuzzy logic control, Dr. Zadeh, head of the electrical engineering department at the University of California at Berkeley, first used the term "fuzzy" in the engineering journal Proceedings of the IRE in 1962. Fuzzy logic shortens the time for engineering development and is used in system control and analysis design.

Walter Bajek During a fifty-year career at United Oil Products (UOP), Bajek distinguished himself in the design and application of process control instrumentation. He participated in the design of more than 230 process units and worked at 50 field assignments, holds 44 patents, and has authored numerous technical articles. An ISA fellow, he became an honorary member in 1993. He received ISA's highest award, the Albert Sperry Gold Medal, in 1981.

Dennis Wisnosky Founder and chief executive officer of Wizdom Systems, Wisnosky has published over 100 papers in the fields of management, computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing, electronics, computer science, and computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM). He is the originator of the funnel visualization of enterprise control networks. In May of 1997, Fortune magazine recognized Wisnosky as "one of the five heroes of manufacturing."

Bud Keyes A legend in the business, Keyes guided Bailey Controls during its most successful period. Keyes led the development of Network 90, and he holds many patents. Since that time, he made major contributions to Emerson, helping develop DeltaV. Keyes is in the Process Control Hall of Fame.

Ed Hurd A longtime Honeywell veteran, Hurd was a major driver of the Honeywell 2000 and its successors, and led Honeywell's industrial control organization during its fastest growth period. Hurd served as president of Industrial Control from 1993 to 1995 and, before that, was vice president and general manager of Honeywell's Industrial Automation and Control Group. Hired in 1952, he won a Sweat Award in 1967 for circuitry design and that same year was the design architect for an assignment called Project 72. Working for about two years, the group synthesized a next-generation control system. The project eventually led to the TDC 2000, a distributed control system that took the industrial automation and control group from $5 million to $500 million in five years.

Peter G. Martin Recently selected by Fortune magazine as a "hero of U.S. manufacturing," Martin is vice president of marketing at the Invensys Production Management division, Foxboro, Mass. Martin's patented dynamic performance measures approach, Dynamic Performance Measures (DPMs), provides process control operators in industrial manufacturing plants (refineries, chemical plants, power plants, food and beverage plants, etc.) with immediate feedback on how their actions impact plant profitability.


Tom Fisher Chairman of the World Batch Forum and a leading figure in the development of batch processing standards before his death in 2001, Fisher is the father of batch automation. He was a founder of ISA's SP88 committee, which formulated the batch manufacturing standards in use throughout the world, serving as chairman of the committee and editor of the standards as well. After joining Lubrizol in 1967 as a process engineer, he rose to become the company's operations technology manager. He authored several books and articles on batch control.

Lynn CrainLynn Craig One of the world's foremost authorities on batch processing technologies widely used by food, pharmaceutical, and specialty chemical companies, Craig is the president of Manufacturing Automation Associates, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in manufacturing methods and technologies for the batch processing industries. He is chairman of ISA's SP88 batch control committee, past chairman of the World Batch Forum, and also serves as convener of an international standards group addressing the same subject.

Dick Caro and Tom Phinney As chairman of ISA SP50 and IEC fieldbus standards committees, Caro played a major role driving fieldbus standards and the evolution to industrial Ethernet. Caro, a widely recognized networking consultant, has worked with ARC Advisory Group, Arthur D. Little, ModComp, and the Foxboro Company. In 1983, he created the first Ethernet-based process control system for Autech Data Systems. A twenty-eight-year Honeywell veteran, Phinney is currently convenor of the two active IEC fieldbus standards working groups and is editor for the IEC 61158-3 data link layers standards and the corresponding ISA SP50 committee standard.

John Berra The president of Emerson Process Management and Emerson executive vice president received ISA's "Life Achievement Award" at ISA 2002 in recognition of long-term dedication and contributions to the instrumentation, systems, and automation community. As of 2001, only seven people had received the honor, which was first given in 1981. Berra, who began his career as an end user at Monsanto Co., played a major role in the development of three major manufacturing communications protocols-HART, Foundation Fieldbus, and OPC.

Richard Rimbach Considered by many to be the father of ISA, Rimbach served as ISA's first executive director. In January 1928, he published the first issue of Instruments magazine, which, in effect, gave birth to instrumentation and control as a distinct discipline.

Glenn F. HarveyGlenn F. Harvey ISA executive director for thirty-two years, Harvey oversaw ISA's direction and saw the focus shift from valves and other electrical, mechanical, and pneumatic instruments, to microprocessors and PCs to a solutions-based, software-driven discipline. Under his leadership, ISA grew from a few thousand to a peak of more than 60,000 members during the 1990s.


C. William Siemens and E. Werner Siemens The German inventor brothers set up shop in London in 1844. In 1866, Werner Siemens invented the first dynamo.

Edward Brown founded Brown Instrument Co. in the mid-1800s, just before the Civil War. Many considered it to be the first known U.S. maker of process instruments. Edward Brown invented and produced the first pyrometer to measure temperature; it was the first commercial industrial instrument. (Honeywell acquired Brown in 1934.)

George Taylor In 1851, at the young age of 19, Taylor and David Kendall pooled their resources to form what eventually became Taylor Instrument Co. Their first products were a few tin-case and wood-case thermometers and mercury barometers. In 1866, George's brother Frank joined the business. The Taylor brothers soon recognized the need for thermometers for industrial processes, and began research and development about 1887.

Mark C. Honeywell The founder of Honeywell Heating Specialty Co. in 1906 built a hot-water system for homes. Giant Honeywell actually traces its roots, however, to 1885, when Albert M. Butz filed his first temperature-control patent. He formed the Butz Thermo-Electric Regulator Co., which reorganized around entrepreneur William R. Sweatt in 1893. That company merged with Sweatt's Minneapolis Heat Regulator Co. in 1913. Honeywell then acquired that company.

Benjamin Bristol and his two sons, Bennet and Edgar H. Bristol The father and sons cofounded Industrial Instrumentation Co. in 1908. It was renamed The Foxboro Company in 1914. Prolific inventors, they have dozens of instrumentation patents to their credit. Bennet and Edgar each had a son, Ben Bristol and Rex Bristol, who led Foxboro's next generation of Bristol leadership.

William Fisher Today's Fisher-Rosemount Systems got its start in 1880, when Fisher invented the Type 1 constant pressure pump governor, designed to maintain pressure in Marshalltown, Iowa's water mains when fighting fires. Fisher later founded and incorporated the Fisher Governor Company in 1888 in that Iowa town.

Morris E. Leeds and Edwin F. Northrup When starting his company in 1899, Leeds had only 25 employees and a "plant" that was a cramped second floor over a mid-center-city Philadelphia jewelry store. It originally manufactured precision instruments for laboratory applications, such as galvanometers and resistance boxes, and expanded in the 1920s to include industrial instrumentation. In 1911, the company developed a mechanically sensing potentiometric recorder.

Lynde Bradley Aided by a $1,000 loan from Dr. Stanton Allen, one of Milwaukee's leading orthopedic surgeons, Bradley founded Compression Rheostat Co., forerunner of Allen-Bradley Co., in 1903.

Ervin G. Bailey Inventor of the Bailey Boiler Meter 1915, Bailey founded Bailey Meter Co., forerunner of Bailey Controls, in 1916. A breakthrough, the meter helped boiler operators achieve and maintain maximum process efficiency. The device combined air flow and steam flow measurements on the same chart to let operators know how much steam the boiler was emitting, how much air was being used, and the condition of the fuel bed.

A.O. BeckmanA. O. Beckman ISA's seventh president, the Beckman Instruments founder was motivated by a 1930s discovery that biochemical materials, particularly vitamin A, absorb in the ultraviolet (UV) region, giving a molecular "fingerprint" that allows easy identification in complex mixtures. Beckman was quick to see the potential for a UV-vis spectrophotometer of his own design. He developed the first prototype UV-vis spectrophotometer, dubbed the Model A, in 1940. Success came to the fore with the Model D, unveiled in 1941 and built with an experimental RCA phototube.

Kermit Fischer and his only employee, George Porter In March 1937, a sign reading "Fischer & Porter Co." went up for the first time, in Philadelphia's old Germantown section. Its initial products were "rotameters," or variable-area flow rate meters. By 1940, a total of five houses and backyard shops around the neighborhood bore Fischer & Porter signs.

Coleman B. Moore One year after founding Moore Products in 1940, the company sold its first standard product, a valve positioner. In 1946, Moore developed the Nullmatic "stack" controller, a sophisticated force-balance instrument. Measuring only five inches on a side, it eschewed the circular pen-and-chart recorder and allowed construction of dense control panels. By 1948, the company employed 80 people.

Robert E. Keppel, Vernon Heath, ISA senior fellow, and Frank Werner These three founded Rosemount Engineering Co. in 1956 in the small farming community of Rosemount, Minn. Initially focused on aerospace products, Rosemount diversified into process control instrumentation. It developed the world's best-selling temperature transmitter, the Model 444, in 1969 and unveiled the Model 1151, which became the standard in pressure transmitters. It merged with Emerson Electric Co. in 1976.

James TruchardJames Truchard Chief executive officer and co-founder of National Instru-ments along with Jeff Kodosky and William Nowlin, Truchard pioneered development of virtual instrumentation software and hardware to revolutionize the way engineers and scientists approach measurement and automation applications. In 1986, Truchard and Kodosky invented the award-winning LabVIEW graphical development software, which introduced the concept of virtual instrumentation. In 2002 ISA named him an honorary member.

Fred L. Maltby Founder of Drexelbrook Engineering, Maltby developed the RF/admittance level transmitter. He holds 51 U.S. and a number of international patents in electrical measurement and is an authority in industrial level measurement. An ISA fellow, he received ISA's Life Achievement Award in 2002.

Bill Gates With Windows, the Microsoft founder developed practical graphical user interface software and taught the world how to use it. Microsoft's awesome marketing muscle created the "open systems" movement (open systems around Windows), which ultimately prevailed over dedicated systems that previously dominated process control industries.

Dennis Morin and Steven Rubin  Principal founder of human-machine interface/supervisory control and data acquisition company Wonderware, Morin "bet the company" on Microsoft's Windows software and started a major transition from dedicated, hardware-based process control to Windows-based "open" technology. Rubin, meanwhile, founded rival Intellution after extensive experience at Foxboro and EMC Controls designing large, centralized, distributed processing systems. ISA named Rubin a fellow in 1997 "for providing technical leadership developing and introducing the first DOS-based process control system for personal computers."

Betty Ruth HollanderBetty Ruth Hollander Chairwoman and chief executive officer of Omega Technologies, Hollander built a marketing and distribution powerhouse, breaking new industry ground by marketing and distributing measurement and control instrumentation through online and catalog-type sales channels. Her innovative sales strategy grew Omega from a one-product company when formed in 1962 to a full-service engineering firm that today offers more than 100,000 measurement and control products distributed as commodities. Hollander has five patents in temperature measurement products and methodology. ISA named her an honorary member in 2000.


Francis Greg Shinsky Many consider the now retired "controls guru" at Foxboro Company the father of feedforward control. He pioneered the application of good process control in general to improve plant performance in a tangible manner. Holder of 17 U.S. patents, Shinsky made significant contributions to the advancement of pH control and distillation column control and is perhaps the most well known and influential teacher in the process control field.

Theodore (Ted) J. Williams The now retired Purdue University professor and 1968 ISA president pioneered both analog control applications and digital systems. He played a pivotal role implementing the very first direct digital control computer at Monsanto Co., Luling, La., in 1960Monsanto and Ramo-Wooldridge Co. began a cooperative project using digital computers. Out of his Purdue Workshop on Industrial Control Systems came many concepts now used for fieldbus, OPC, batch control, and ISA 95.01 on levels of automation.

Gregory McMillan Known for advancing control instrumentation applications in the chemical industry, the former Monsanto Co. engineer's numerous articles and books have helped many starting engineers in the area of control and measurement.

Leader ImageBéla Liptàk Known for spreading knowledge in the instrumentation and control domain, his handbooks have become a standard in control engineering and a noteworthy contribution to the industry.

Otto J.M. Smith A professor at the University of California-Berkeley, he developed the Smith Predictor in about 1957. His model-based control strategy enables a controller to predict the future effect of its present efforts and react immediately to those predictions.


Karl Johan Åström Vice dean, dean of the department of engineering physics, and chairman of the computing board at Lund University, he also has held visiting appointments at many universities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He is an editor of Automatica and other journals. Åström's comprehensive analysis of PID implementation and behavior set the foundation for a better understanding of PID in feedback control. With F. Hector of Philips, he developed a new principle for Schuler tuning of an inertial platform, which they successfully flight tested. After working on optimal and stochastic control as a visiting scientist at IBM Research Laboratories, he was responsible for modeling and implementing computer control systems for paper machines in Sweden.

R. Russell RhinehartR. Russell Rhinehart The Edward E. Bartlett chairman and head of process control at Oklahoma State University, Rhinehart previously worked thirteen years in the chemical industry and twelve years as a professor at Texas Tech University. Russ's research interest is "process control." Focused on the "automaton of process management," his team is developing methods for nonlinear control, process optimization, computer perception, learning systems, autonomous control, and statistically based triggers. They complement theoretical analysis with experimental demonstration.

Cecil L. Smith Papers written by the Louisiana State University (LSU) researcher, later a private consultant, have benefited control engineers by providing a better understanding of how process dynamics impact control mode selection. Smith worked with Paul W. Murrill, another LSU researcher, on early research in digital system tuning methods. At LSU, he played a major part in creating a preeminent program in process control in the department of chemical engineering.

Paul Murrill A faculty member and past department chair at LSU's department of chemical engineering, Murrill could make difficult concepts easy to understand. He wrote one of the first textbooks on Automatic Process Control in 1967, and later cowrote nine other books on subjects including process mathematical modeling and computer programming. After retiring from LSU, Murrill headed research and development for Ethyl Corp., and then became chairman and chief executive officer of Gulf States Utilities (now Entergy). IT