Category Archives: Uncategorized

Walt Boyes Appointed to Neighborhood 360 Advisory Board

Walt Boyes has been appointed to the Community Advisory Board of the Neighborhood 360-Degree Project, designed to improve the health and well-being of the people who live in Tower Grove East neighborhood and the Fox Park neighborhood in St. Louis, MO.

In 2015, DeSales Community Development started the Neighborhood 360° Initiative to support health and well-being in the Tower Grove East and Fox Park neighborhoods. The Community Advisory Board meets four times a year.

Walt is very pleased to have been selected. “We all need to recognize that we are not islands, and that we owe a lot to our community and our society. This is another way for me to give back,” he said.

ISA Fires Pat Gouhin, Longtime Executive Director

ISA has announced the firing of Pat Gouhin. I suppose that if you weren’t in the know, this will come as a huge surprise. I heard about it a few days ago and was sworn to secrecy. Now the announcement has been made:

International Society of Automation Plans for New Leadership of Professional Staff
Research Triangle Park, NC (21 August 2017) – The International Society of Automation (ISA) announced today that Executive Director and CEO, Patrick Gouhin, will be stepping down. ISA’s President, Steve Pflantz, announced that a Search Committee will be formed in the immediate future to identify Mr. Gouhin’s successor. The selection and announcement of a new Executive Director are expected to occur in the months ahead. Peggie W. Koon, Ph.D., CEO & Founder of Leading Change, LLC, will serve as Interim Executive Director.

“Pat has been our Executive Director since 2006 and has been a dedicated employee of ISA,” Pflantz said. “Under Pat’s leadership, ISA has progressed on many fronts. We will continue to ensure ISA’s long-term vitality as we continue our commitment to advance the profession of Automation. The Board is committed to the strategy work that has been done thus far and is grateful for Pat’s leadership in bringing us to this point.”

“This is an exciting time in the history of ISA, and I am proud of what we have achieved and the work we are doing,” Gouhin said. “A strong foundation has been laid based on the effort of many passionate volunteer leaders and a wonderfully dedicated staff team that will allow the next Executive Director to hit the ground running.”

During his 11+-year tenure at ISA, Gouhin has overseen many significant milestones in the Society’s history, including the expansion of ISA’s brand family to include the founding of The Automation Federation and the Automation Standards Compliance Institute, and the acquisition of digital media powerhouse The world’s only consensus standard for industrial cybersecurity, IEC 62443, was also developed and expanded under his tenure.

Before joining ISA, Gouhin served as the Chief Operating Officer of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He also served as the first Vice President of Operations and Technology Transfer for the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) at Langley Research Center, a start-up resulting from $69 million government contract award to build a world-class research and education institute.

Interim Executive Director Dr. Koon’s experience and expertise lies in strategy development and execution, leadership coaching, and change management. Dr. Koon is the former Vice President of Audience for the Augusta Chronicle/TAC Media, Morris Communications, LLC. She has over 25 years of experience in IT, process control, and process automation for both discrete and continuous process industries. She was a General Motors Scholar, earning a B.A. degree in Mathematics from Smith College. She also completed 2 years of graduate studies in Industrial and Systems Engineering as a General Motors Graduate Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and she has a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from Kennedy Western University.

In addition to her experience managing strategic change, Dr. Koon has also been a member and leader at ISA for more than 20 years. She has held a variety of prominent roles in the Society, including Society President (2014), Chair of the Automation Federation (2015), member of the ISA Executive Board (2016), and Chair of Workforce Development for the Automation Federation (2016).

For additional information, contact ISA Director of Marketing & Communications, Jennifer Halsey, at

ISA Announces New Honorees

While the blog was away…
Fellows and Celebrating Excellence Award Honorees to be Recognized at 55th Annual ISA Honors & Awards Gala

ISA is proud to announce those ISA members elevated to the distinguished membership grade of Fellow and the Celebrating Excellence award honorees for 2017—including Member’s Choice honorees who were selected by a preponderance of votes cast by their peers.
Elevation to the distinguished grade of ISA Fellow is granted to Senior Members in recognition of their exceptional engineering scientific contributions to the field of automation. ISA’s Celebrating Excellence Awards honors companies and individuals, both members and non-members, for significant contributions in leadership, technical innovation, and contributions to education that have advanced the automation profession. 
Award presentations will be made at the 55th Annual ISA Honors & Awards Gala on 29 October 2017 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay, Florida, USA.
2017 ISA Fellows
Elevation to the distinguished grade of ISA Fellow is granted to ISA Senior Members in recognition of outstanding achievements in scientific or engineering fields as recognized by ISA peers.

* Penny P. Chen, Ph.D.
* Communications Division, Yokogawa Corp of America, Mclean, Virginia, USA
* For innovation and leadership in industrial wireless as related to process automation and instrumentation.
* Gerald Combs, Ph.D.
* Analysis Division, Retired (Siemens Industry), Kemp, Texas, USA
* For contributions to process analytical technologies for environmental monitoring.

David L. Neal, PE
* Louisville Section, Advanced Industrial Systems Inc, Harrods Creek, Kentucky, USA
* For contributions to the field of computer based programmable data acquisition and test systems.

Brent Shumaker
* Power Industry Division, Analysis & Measurement Services Corp, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
* For development and implementation of online technologies to assess the health and remaining useful life of critical components in nuclear power plants.

Iwan Van Beurden
* Chemical & Petroleum Industries Division, Exida, Sellersville, Pennsylvania, USA
* For development of probabilistic analysis safety verification data, methods, and tools used to improve the safety lifecycle in the process industries.

* 2017 Celebrating Excellence Honors & Awards Program
Excellence in Leadership
Recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the industry and/or profession to advance automation.
* Judith F. Marks
* Siemens USA, Washington D.C., USA
* For taking a leading role in STEM issues through apprenticeships to fill the skills shortage in manufacturing.  
Excellence in Analytical Technical Innovation, Endowed by the ISA Analysis Division
Recognizes an individual who has played a critical role in the conception, design, and/or implementation of an innovative product, process, and/or service in the analytical technology field.
* Dale Harrison, Ph.D.
* VUV Analytics, Cedar Park, TX USA
For his contributions in the development of vacuum ultraviolet absorption spectroscopy instruments.  
Excellence in Technical Innovation, Endowed by UOP, a Honeywell Company
Recognizes an individual who has played a critical role in the conception, design, and/or implementation of an innovative product, process, and/or service.

Mr. Manikandan Pandiyan
* Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, Karnataka, India
* In recognition for developing a portable real-time Electrocardiogram device for local on-chip data acquisition of health parameters and remote diagnosis.
Excellence in Corporate Technical Innovation 
Recognizes the company whose contributions and innovations have enhanced social value.
* APERIO Systems
* Haifa, Israel
* For developing an innovative solution in recognizing and protecting Industrial Control Systems against data forgery.  
Excellence in Technical Presentation 
Recognizes the author(s) of the most outstanding paper, article, presentation, or document published and/or presented on behalf of ISA that introduces a new technology or explains an existing automation process.
* Cyrus Taft
* Taft Engineering, Harriman, TN, USA
* John Sorge
* Southern Company, Birmingham, AL, USA
* Mircea Lupu
* Emerson Process Management, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
* Rick Kephart
* Emerson Process Management, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
* For paper, “Application of Model Predictive Control to Improve Steam Temperature Control on a Pulverized-Coal Unit” presented at ISA 59th Power Industry Division Symposium.
Excellence in Education
Recognizes an individual who has developed and/or enhanced established educational programs to advance the automation profession in educational institutions.
* Chetan B. Bhatt
* Government Engineering College, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India
* For developing university courses in India using the Automation Competency Model and developing Web-based Intelligent tutoring system for I&CT students.  
Excellence in Enduring Service
Recognizes dedicated volunteer service to the Society at the grassroots level. May be presented to multiple (up to five) honorees.
* Kenneth Belteau
* Process Measurement and Control Division
* Spectra Energy Transmission LLC, Kingwood, TX, USA
* For outstanding service and contributions to the Society and its members.
* M. Venkatram
* Maharashtra Section
* The Tata Electric Power Co., Airoli, Maharashtra, India
* For outstanding service and contributions to the Society and its members.
* Richard O. Williams
* Process Measurement and Control Division
* Cypress, TX, USA
* For outstanding service and contributions to the Society and its members.
Division Excellence
Recognizes an ISA Division for development and/or execution of programs and/or services to advance the mission of the Society.
* The division will be revealed at the Gala. The top three nominees are:
* Analysis Division

For promotion of student participation at the 61st ISA Analytical Division Symposium through collaboration with local colleges that hold analyzer and instrumentation certificate programs.
* Food and Pharmaceutical Industries Division

For organizing ISA Food and Pharmaceutical Industries Division Symposium in collaboration with the Ireland Section, and promoting society goals.

Process Control and Measurement Division
For collaboration with ChemPID, Safety, Pulp and Paper, Communication, and Education and Management divisions in organizing 2016 ISA Process Control and Safety Symposium.
Section Excellence 
Recognizes an ISA Section for development and/or execution of programs and/or services to advance the mission of the Society.
* The section will be revealed at the Gala. The top three nominees are:
* Bangalore Section

For hosting the Food Safety Symposium, attended by automation experts to discuss technical solutions, and for organizing 8 technical presentations.
* Ireland Section
* For hosting the third ISA International FPID Symposium in Ireland and conducting training courses on alarm management and security.
* Texas Channel
* For reactivating a student section, sponsoring student team’s travel to the International Instrumentation Student games and adopting two FIRST robotics teams.  
Standards Excellence
Recognizes an ISA standards committee member for exceptional efforts in organization, development and/or administration to further the development of ISA standards and for services to advance the mission of the Society.
* Nicholas P. Sands, CAP
* ISA18.2
* DuPont, Newark, DE, USA
* For years of dedication to ISA standards, and especially the development of ISA18.2  
Member’s Choice Award Honorees
Member’s Choice candidates are nominated by the Member’s and honorees are selected by vote of the members.
Division Leader of the Year 
Recognizes a Division leader whose activities in the previous year, in an innovative way, have provided exceptional value to a Division, or enhanced an existing conference and/or symposia, or contributed to the development of a new conference and/or symposia.
* Sohail Iftikhar
* Chemical and Petroleum Industries Division
* Honeywell Process Solutions, Houston, TX, USA  
Section Leader of the Year 
Recognizes a Section leader whose activities in the previous year, in an innovative way, provided exceptional value to a local Section.
* Rajesh Rathi
* Bangalore Section
* Control Infotech Ltd, Bangalore, Karnataka, India  
Student Mentor of the Year
Recognizes a member whose activities in the previous year have promoted and encouraged student involvement in automation programs.
* S. Vivekanandan
* South India Section
* VIT University Vellore, Thiruvannamalai, Tamilnadu, India  
Volunteer Leader of the Year
Recognizes a member who in the previous year has demonstrated exceptional leadership of a task force, committee, or board at any level within the Society (Section, Division, District, Department, Executive) resulting in a specific positive outcome.
* Dr. Veena Hegde
* Bangalore Section
* BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

The PR Wall of Shame

For years I have run the occasional “PR Wall of Shame” post when I get irked enough by something in a press release. It takes a lot to get me that irked. Something like sending me a press release in a PDF that is copy-protected. Or when their email has the disclaimer that the content may not be reproduced or reused. Or when they do send a .doc or ..docx file, they’ve embedded the press release in an invisible table that defeats cut-and-paste into the content management system. Or when the release is seven pages long and they don’t get to the point until the bottom of page six.

Now that Soundoff!! has been moved and I’m blogging again, be sure there will be more PR Wall of Shame blog posts.

(Eeevil Grin)

Who Should We Believe?

There are a huge number of contradictory predictions out there right now concerning the stock market, the price of oil, the world economy, the internet of things, and just about everything else you can imagine. If you look hard enough, you could probably find conflicting predictions on whether Little Johnny will jump over the fence to chase the cow.

Since the control automation industry is so closely linked with oil production, let’s take a look at oil price predictions. Chris DeHaemer, the founder of Crisis & Opportunity and Managing Director of Wealth Daily posted on April 7 that he expects oil to hit $87 by Christmas.  He bases this prediction on past history, which shows that when the market for a specific industry’s stock crashes at the beginning of the year, it typically rebounds and prospers for the remainder of the year.  He cites the crash of 2003 and the banking industry crash of 2009 as examples.

Is he correct? Maybe in the short term. Brent Crude has shown a fairly steady increase from its January low of $28.55 to today’s price of $44.73, and the outlook for additional increase is favorable based on Saudi Arabia and Russia agreeing to freeze production, but it is still down over $70 a barrel from its 2014 high.  Will the increase continue in the long term? There are other factors to be considered.

Some analysts are touting that petroleum/crude oil is being replaced by lithium (aka metal oil) and that the demand for oil will begin to decrease in the near future as more and more companies move toward electric power using lithium ion batteries, which Tesla has supposedly now figured out a way to enhance and produce cheaply.  For example, on April 12, Laurence Knight, a business reporter for BBC News Magazine wrote that, “Lithium, a key ingredient in lightweight batteries, is already powering the modern world, and could be key to getting the world to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.”

We are already seeing improvement in both the price and range of electric cars.  For example, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is priced at around $30k and has a range of over 200 miles.  Tesla announced on April 9 that it has already accepted 350,000 orders for its Model 3, a sleek vehicle priced at $35k, which also has a range of over 200 miles, and which won’t even be released for another two years. Because burning fossil fuels is detrimental to the ecosystem, and there is a push on several fronts to reduce their use, the production of a vehicle with extended range and an affordable price could well be attractive to a growing number of consumers, which would drive oil demand down considerably.

Who’s right?  I think I’d rather bet on whether or not little Johnny will jump the fence.

The Current Industry Situation-What’s causing the increase in stock prices?

There has been a 7% increase in the Health Watch Index for the industrial automation and process control industry over the past month, but what is leading to that increase? After much investigation it appears that the increase is directly related to the increase (15%) in crude oil prices that occurred between Feb 25 and March 7. It is our belief that the increase crude oil prices had a halo effect on the industry, bringing with it the hope that oil prices will continue to increase, allowing many of the mining and other oil related endeavors that are currently shut down to reopen and/or expand, thus improving the revenue stream for the products our industry produces. It is our hope, but not our belief, that this will indeed be the case. The industry wide increase and the issues surrounding it are discussed in the March issue of the INSIDER magazine.