“More of a Networking Event than a Techology Exhibition”
From the Jim Pinto e-News
The ISA Exhibition in Chicago, October 2005 registered 10,532
attendees, a 27.5% decline compared to 2004. To most neutral
observers, it seemed more like a networking event rather than
an industry exhibition.
And the penguins were there, perched atop the melting ice-berg:
the past Presidents and old-boys club congregated faithfully at
the annual dinner and award ceremonies every year, back-slapping
and basking in past glories. I didn’t attend.
ARC Advisory Group reports that a large percentage of attendees
came from offshore locations seeking sales partners. ARC wrote:
“The health of the health of the automation industry is much
better than what ISA Expo 2005 presented.”
Some exhibitors were pleased with their booth traffic and the
sales leads that were generated. But, to many visitors it was
the same old story – vendors visiting each others’ booth to see
what was new. And there was nothing new – all the same-old,
same-old stuff. (See a major end-user’s e-feedback below).
ISA leadership working bravely to infuse new life into the Society
that still has great value as a Standards coordinator and automation
industry bellwether. 2005 President Don Zee and 2006 President Ken
Baker have contributed significant amounts of their time and effort
to organize and implement major changes. And the search is still
on for a new Executive Director.
I’m happy to report a ray of sunshine: industry guru Dick Morley
has been appointed as “Innovation Czar” and will be embarking on
an innovation initiative that will culminate in “Innovation Alley”
at next year’s ISA Expo. The goal is to give attendees a sense of
where technology and industrial application are headed in the future.
I have known Dick Morley for ages and have always been impressed with
his imagination, positive attitude and pragmatic approach to solutions
that work. He’s now engaged with the growth and success of ISA, and
you’ll see a steady stream of practical ideas emerge. Dick has ways
to get hordes of young engineers involved – watch for that to happen.
Dick insists that he has “no silver bullets”. But I’m convinced that
he has at least a couple up his sleeve to stimulate new growth at ISA.
Pinto’s number agrees with what the exhibitors told me they’d been told during the event. It is also too darn bad that ISA would only let Morley honcho a part of the exhibit…rather than letting him be czar of the whole thing.
The comment about the “penguins” is right on point, especially since one of the former president penguins was heard to remark that nobody has been elected Society President-Elect/Secretary that he hasn’t “run” for office, except once, in almost fifteen years. Said penguin has held no official office at ISA for at least that long. And therein lies the rub.