Some comments on ISA from various interested people:
Nels Tyring, longtime ISA volunteer: “I don’t see how ISA is in any position to make extensive changes or to successfully acquire some organization that will help to solve it’s problems. Right now it is without a CEO. Acquiring a new CEO or ED will take time and the best applicants are very likely to be very cautious about joining an organization that has gone through two EDs in less then five years. There are conventionally two reasons to acquire or be acquired. The first is to acquire something by way of product or service that you don’t possess and the second is to acquire the financial and real assets of a failing organization. I believe that ISA represents the second case. It is bankrupt of ideas, purpose, personnel and challenge but has great wealth in it’s financial and real property assets. Let’s save ISA by finding a functioning organization to acquire it.”
I nominate a consortium of WBF, MCAA, MESA and CSIA. We were all talking about how to coordinate together when Renner up and quit.
Frankly, the likely suspect is WBF. WBF had better be making plans to take over at least the manufacturing based standards programs S88, S95, S97, S99, S100.
I think that the likelihood of ISA being fixable is slim. The bylaws are written such that it is extremely close to impossible to change them, and to do things outside of the Executive Committee. Somehow I don’t see the Executive Committee having the intestinal fortitude to be able to really take over and run things. I’d love to be wrong. I think Don Zee and Ken Baker, Lowell McCaw, and Leo Staples and Steve Huffman could do what is necessary if they simply decided to do so.
Dan Miklovic, longtime ISA volunteer: “Can we change ISA? – Unfortunately, not unless “they” want to be helped. Since I am not a member, I can’t vote to change the organization. All I can do is offer insight and expertise. Frankly I am not sure it is worth the effort. Since alternatives like CSIA, WBF and such are filling the need, what would fixing the ISA really solve. Given its cash position it can limp along another 10-12 years (at most) at which point it will fade away. In the meantime I have saved thousands of dollars (my dues plus the travel expenses I would have likely spent if I had remained part of ISA) for my company and avoided the pain of watching the organization suffer.”
Yes, Dan, but there are thousands of people in the automation marketspace, vendors, end users, and integrators, who desperately need the information, education and training that ISA purports to provide, but really doesn’t anymore.
Terry Molloy, longtime ISA volunteer: “First have ISA Staff look at every product or service ISA currently provides and rank these services in the order of the number of members they can potentially serve and then provide data on the last three years of how many members they did serve.
Next take the “raw” cost (no overhead, just staff time, materials, and equipment) of each of these services for the last three years and put it under the members served column for each of the last three years. For any product or service that has not reached at least ten percent of our North American members in one of the last three years document how this product or service integrates into our business plan, the current book value of all assets used only by this product, and the current market value of this asset were we to sell it. This would be as they say, “A good start.” I would then recommend that we take the results and after a little adjusting, break the “products & services” that meet the “serves ten percent or more” criteria into a true non-profit organization. A separate corporation would run the remaining products and services as a for-profit business. The non-profit ISA would provide annual funding to the for-profit business for a period of five years based on an annual guaranteed return and the non-profit’s approval of the for-profits budget for the upcoming year. If the for-profit business loses money and cannot pay the guaranteed return to ISA for two consecutive years, ISA shall have the right to terminate funding of the For-profit activities. ISA will have the first right of refusal for purchasing the assets of the for-profit business should they be made available at any time during the five year period.”
That’s a plan.
What I think ISA needs is a “turnaround” specialist, who can make the hard decisions, do the surgery, and then nurse the patient back to health.
Maurice Wilkins, longtime ISA standards volunteer: “Your blogs have been great on both WBF and also the plight of ISA – it seems like an old aunt that is dying of cancer – knows she needs to be
treated, but is above all that and thinks she can ride it out….”
I know Jim Pinto sent copies of this blog to Don and Ken. I dunno if they are interested in the ideas of a certified troublemaker like me. I know that there are a number of people who have been in leadership roles at ISA who participated in the attempt to get Putman to rescind my employment when I joined CONTROL. I hope that any of those hard feelings still existing at ISA can be put aside, because, as I said in my May editorial, “If ISA didn’t exist, we’d have to create it.”
Murray Death, longtime ISA member and vendor: “Maybe we’ll have to go through some disintegration before we can build it back up.”
I didn’t know how prescient that would seem.