In mid-April, a core team of executives and volunteer leaders from ISA and Automation Federation (AF) took a seat at the table with several engineering societies to discuss the future of the engineering profession. More than 30 engineering groups participated in multiple events including:
- The National Academy of Engineering's (NAE) Annual Convocation of Engineering Societies
- The United Engineering Foundation's (UEF) Engineering Public Policy Symposium,
- American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) Board of Directors Meeting
- Congressional Visits
This is an annual meeting and the fifth year in a row that ISA and AF have participated and sponsored. This meeting looks at both public policy and the engineering discipline as a whole. After participating the first year, Pat Gouhin and Mike Marlowe saw the need to take an active role and make sure that the discipline of automation was represented. This has been and remains a multi-year objective of both organizations. They also learned about NAE's "Grand Challenges", initiatives that engineering must solve in the next 10 years and saw synchronicities with ISA and AF programs:
- Make solar energy economical
- Provide energy from fusion
- Develop carbon sequestration methods
- Manage the nitrogen cycle
- Provide access to clean water
- Restore and improve urban infrastructure
- Advance health informatics
- Engineer better medicines
- Reverse-engineer the brain
- Prevent nuclear terror
- Secure cyberspace
- Enhance virtual reality
- Advance personalized learning
- Engineer the tools of scientific discovery
Pat Gouhin stated "We felt it was important for ISA to have a seat at the table when it comes to far-reaching discussions about the discipline of engineering. Up until our participation, automation engineering was not a field that was represented, or recognized as a viable discipline within the engineering field. In addition to building key relationships, we are broadly representing automation as a core element to address some of the grand challenges set forth by NAE, especially in cybersecurity efforts. We are working collaboratively to see that our ISA Standard 99 gets funded at a larger level to complete the work to protect our critical infrastructure in plants globally."
Mike Marlowe concurred "The work we are doing for Workforce Development was very well received, as it was a hot topic of discussion especially with our Congressional representatives. The Automation Competency Model was discussed at length with the representatives from the American Association Community College Consortium, and good things are happening there. By taking a top down approach to adopting our model, we can make a bigger impact and provide automation curriculum to more community colleges across the United States."
Many more positive outcomes happened a a result of these meetings. More details to unfold in upcoming blog posts about cybersecurity and workforce development.