ISA Interchange

Welcome to the official blog of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

This blog covers numerous topics on industrial automation such as operations & management, continuous & batch processing, connectivity, manufacturing & machine control, and Industry 4.0.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. ISA blog posts may be authored by ISA staff and guest authors from the automation community. Views and opinions expressed by a guest author are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent those of ISA. Posts made by guest authors have been subject to peer review.

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The Ball Is in Your Court Now

I have used this blog every month to inform you of the various resources and activities going on within the society that are available to benefit you and your employer. Our standards, books, journals, training, certificate and certification programs, conferences, licensure, divisions, sections, leader meetings, new vision/mission/values statements, affiliated organizations, and our new strategic objectives (along with associated goals and tactics) are all intended to increase your technical competence (i.e., your employability) and the operational performance of your company (e.g., safety, security, and profitability).

We have made great strides this year ranging from a surplus budget, membership growth, and getting all the volunteer leaders to row their collective boats in the same direction to achieve our collectively agreed-upon strategic objectives. It has taken a lot of work from a lot of people, and we are not “done” by any means.


It has been an honor serving as your 2019 society president and seeing the advancements we have made. While there will be various activities for me to remain involved in serving as your 2020 past president, your incoming 2020 president Eric Cosman will be leading the society in the coming year. New volunteers will be serving in various leadership roles. While we do have a professional staff, setting the strategic objectives of the society and leading many of our programs are activities performed by volunteers. If there is something you are not satisfied with, if you think there is something we should offer that we currently do not, or if you think the society could do something better, do not sit back on the sidelines and complain; step up to the plate, get involved, and help improve the situation.

I have used this quote from Teddy Roosevelt before, but it is worth mentioning again:

Every person owes part of their time and money to the business or industry in which they are engaged. No person has a moral right to withhold their support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within their sphere.

If you are early in your career, get involved to build up your network of connections, learn from mentors, and advance your career faster than you would be able to do on your own. If you are more experienced, get involved to give back to your industry and mentor those entering the field.

Ninety-plus percent of members and volunteers I know of joined ISA and/or became volunteers because someone asked them to. Who have you suggested lately to join ISA to increase their knowledge and further their career? Who have you asked lately to come to a monthly meeting that you knew would be of interest to them? Who have you recruited lately to become a volunteer and put their career on fast track by getting involved? This stuff does not just happen on its own; you need to drive it. It’s your society. The ball is in your court now.

Paul Gruhn
Paul Gruhn
Paul Gruhn is a global functional safety consultant at AE Solutions and a highly respected and awarded safety expert in the industrial automation and control field. Paul is an ISA Fellow, a member of the ISA84 standards committee (on safety instrumented systems), a developer and instructor of ISA courses on safety systems, and the primary author of the ISA book Safety Instrumented Systems: Design, Analysis, and Justification. He also has contributed to several automation industry book chapters and has written more than two dozen technical articles. He developed the first commercial safety system modeling software. Paul is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in Texas, a certified functional safety expert (CFSE), a member of the control system engineer PE exam team, and an ISA84 expert. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Paul is the 2018 ISA president-elect/secretary.

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