March/April 2012
Association News

Optimism, opportunity flourish as ISA leaders visit sections, customers in the Middle East

ISA's global relationships in the economically booming Middle East are expanding in positive directions, as two key leaders visited constituents and sparked discussion and camaraderie. 

Leo Staples, ISA's 2011 president, visited ISA sections and customers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar in December, opening discussions on opportunities to help fill the growing needs for workforce development, training, and certification that companies in those sections are experiencing.

At the Abu Dhabi Section meeting, Staples addressed more than 75 attendees from the UAE and Oman. Section President Mohammed Ibrahim organized the event, which was the first meeting of the section in two years. "Mr. Ibrahim has infused great energy into this section with this event. The technical presentation was top-notch, very educational, and timely. The dinner and reception were first-class, with lots of networking and discussion about the benefits that ISA training and certification can bring to the companies in this area. ISA looks forward to working with the automation professionals throughout the UAE and Oman," said Staples.

Staples also conferred with executives at the Zakum Development Company (ZADCO) to discuss their continuing workforce development needs. ISA had already conducted successful onsite training for the company in September 2011. 

In Doha, Qatar, as a delegate to the 20th World Petroleum Congress, Staples spoke to approximately 125 attendees of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Qatar Section. After dinner and a technical presentation, he discussed training needs and solutions with representatives from Dolphin Energy, Qatar Gas, and Qatar Oil. 

Leo StaplesISA's 2011 President Leo Staples (center) recently visited ISA sections and customers in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

District 12 Vice President Jean-Pierre Hauet also reported on the optimism and opportunities he saw for ISA and automation professionals in this rapidly developing, financially important area of the world. District 12 includes Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Traveling to four Middle East sections in February, Hauet experienced first-hand the enthusiasm ISA members and customers had for the Society's training, education, and certification programs. Hauet's trip was the first visit from a district vice-president in many years, and he received a warm welcome. The ensuing discussions uncovered focus areas for future dialogues. One popular topic was technical events in the region in the coming months, at either the Society or district level.

Hauet's visit began with the Kuwait Section meeting, which was chaired by Section President Ali Hasan Alhashemi. Next, Hauet visited Dubai, UAE, where he met with Abu Dhabi Section President Mohammed Ibrahim and attended a section meeting. The Abu Dhabi section will soon be renamed "UAE Section," as its members come from the various emirates of the UAE.

Hauet's next visit was Qatar, where he gave a keynote address at the opening of the ISA Wireless Symposium 2012 organized by the Qatar Section. More than 125 people attended this event. Hauet also attended a section leaders meeting chaired by Nilangshu Dey, Qatar Section president.

Jean-Pierre Hauet (District 12 Vice-president) met with Ali Hasan Alhashemi (Kuwait Section President).

The final visit in the tour was Dharan, Saudi Arabia, where Hauet met with Luay Al-Awani, Saudi Arabia Section president, and other section leaders at the Aramco facility. After the Saudi Arabia Section meeting, Hauet opened the section's monthly technical event, which featured the presentation, "Diagnostics Standards for FF Physical Layer."

"The sections total nearly 600 members. They're located in countries whose economies are booming, and they're all are very active. My visits gave me a great opportunity to expand our relationships and to learn more about our members' needs for successfully operating safe, secure, and profitable automation and control systems in these expanding petroleum, petrochemical, and industrial areas," said Hauet. "I look forward to seeing these section leaders at the next District Leadership Conference in Nice, France, on 5-6 October."