How has ISA changed your professional life?

By Renee Bassett, InTech, Chief Editor

The International Society of Automation is a septuagenarian.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of ISA—formerly the Instrument Society of America. For 75 years, this nonprofit organization has set the standard for those who apply engineering and technology to improve the management, safety, and cybersecurity of modern automation and control systems in industry and critical infrastructure.

Even if you’ve never been a member, ISA has likely been a part of your professional life. So, this is the year to tell your story and listen to the stories of others. Maybe you are one of the 400,000 people around the world who have bought an ISA book, attended an ISA conference, or enhanced your professional standing with an ISA accreditation, certification, or training course. What do you remember about the people you met, or the lessons learned?

Maybe you stood on the shoulders of those who came before by creating systems or solving problems using ISA-95, ISA-88, or other standards as your foundation and guide. How did that affect your career? Maybe the ISA Automation Conference and Exhibition was the first professional event you ever attended? Whether it was in Abu Dhabi or Atlanta, who brought you there, and what did you discover?

Maybe you were around when Mike Marlowe worked to get the ISA-99 standard adopted by the U.S. government as the foundational standard in the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure. Or maybe you’re a current member of the newly formed ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance. What are you hoping to contribute to our industry?

Maybe you’re John Berra, president of Emerson Process Management and recipient of an ISA Lifetime Achievement Award, or you have a story about one of the three industrial communications protocols he developed: HART, Foundation Fieldbus, and OPC. What do you think industrial automation will look like in the next 25, 50, or 75 years? More importantly, what skills will automation professionals need?

Throughout the six issues of InTech magazine in 2020, but especially in our September/October 75th Anniversary Commemorative Issue, we will celebrate and reminisce and look toward the future. We will ask volunteer leaders to share their insights, and ask the people working to transform industrial automation within or adjacent to ISA to help identify the trends shaping automation. We’ll review the technological milestones, starting in 1945 when the then-fledgling Instrument Society of America was founded, shine a spotlight on the technologies of the most-recent 25 years, as the third industrial revolution has given way to Industry 4.0, and speculate on the needs for the next 25.

And we’ll celebrate 75 years of industrial automation evolution and professional development. Member leaders will celebrate together at the ISA Annual Leadership Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA this October. In the meantime, consider renewing your membership and adding your voice to the celebration of ISA’s 75 years of setting the standard for automation. Email your stories to 75in2020@isa.org.