May 2008

Automation Federation moves ahead

Change means progress, and staying static is not in the vocabulary of the Automation Federation. Forging ahead continued this year as the Board of Directors held its third annual strategic planning session in April. The Automation Federation Board of Directors includes Steve Huffman, Kim Miller Dunn, Patrick Gouhin, and Leo Staples of ISA; Ian McPherson of WINA; Sid Venkatesh of OMAC; and Maurice Wilkins of WBF.

Workforce development is one of the key issues on the docket for Federation members WBF, OMAC, WINA and ISA, and the organization has established a strong footprint on Capitol Hill as the voice of automation. (See article on engineering symposium on page 82.) ISA leaders welcomed North Carolina Representative David Price to Federation headquarters in March and have defined initiatives in an ongoing workforce development plan, working in conjunction with the other organizations of the Federation.

Phase I of the Automation Federation evolution wrapped up when the Federation's startup managing director Bruno Kisala announced his move to Virginia. Gouhin, secretary of the Federation's Board of Directors, now serves as interim managing director. His experienced transition team, working with member organizations since day one, will execute existing programs. Gouhin will oversee strategic business plans for 2009 and lead Phase II development. The Board will assess necessary skills for the next managing director.

The transition gives the Federation "an opportunity to refresh and update our strategy so that we can catch up to our accomplishments," said Automation Federation Chairman Steve Huffman.

The Microsoft Manufacturing User Group (MsMUG) is migrating to the Automation Federation to better support industry needs as a horizontal application that sprawls across the vertical disciplines. End users and integrators join MsMUG to have an opportunity to be part of one manufacturing voice. Moving the working group to the Federation will broaden participation and establish a communication channel into the manufacturing space relative to process, hybrid, and discrete industry segments.

WINA joined ISA in coordinating the technical program for the 2008 Industrial Wireless Conference in Chongqing, China, in April. This event was a worldwide collaboration of leading organizations, with the Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications hosting.

At the end of 2007, WINA announced plans to found a chapter based in Singapore, the first chapter outside North America, which will serve the Asia Pacific region.