This post is authored by Steven W. Pflantz, president of ISA 2017.
I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as ISA President for 2017. ISA is an organization with a long and distinguished history of providing value to our members and to the automation community at large.
I’ve benefitted greatly through my ISA membership and leadership experiences. In large part, that’s why I sought this opportunity. Simply put, I want to give back — to my profession and to the Society.
At the heart of ISA are its dedicated members, volunteer leaders, and staff. I want to express my appreciation, at the outset, for your commitment and teamwork. The common, unifying thread is the passion we all have for ISA.
My overriding goal is to build upon ISA’s financial and operational success. One way I believe we can do this is by better leveraging our core strengths and capabilities in new ways and to take advantage of new business opportunities. We have so much technical expertise, knowledge, and content we can bring to bear to solve problems across a diverse range of industries beyond the processing and manufacturing sectors.
For example, we have accumulated a vast repository of technical know-how through our standards committees and training capabilities. Many of these resources, while initially developed for and used within specialized markets, could be applicable to a much broader spectrum of industries. Of course, we have to make quality judgments about how and when to do this, but there is great potential to take better advantage of our existing investments and expertise.
Today’s businesses also must be more nimble in order to capitalize on new opportunities when they present themselves. Given competitive pressures and the pace of change, we need to become more agile, more flexible, and more open to new ideas and prospects for growth.
In some areas — such as industrial cybersecurity — we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of the potential before us. While there is growing awareness among industry leaders of the risks of cyberattack, we need to work harder to foster recognition in the marketplace that ISA offers real solutions to mitigate these risks. It’s also important to note that conversations about cybersecurity can serve as the door opener to educate those about other important ISA offerings and capabilities.
As we work to create a brighter future for ISA, we can’t overlook the significance of advocacy. Without a new generation of graduates entering STEM fields, where will the next wave of ISA members come from? ISA’s long-term viability and relevance depends on attracting new members and developing new leaders with new ideas, and an enthusiastic outlook.
Of course, investing in advocacy does much more than benefit ISA. It opens minds to what’s possible in life. It opens doors to exciting, rewarding, and well-paying careers. Think about it. What if you never — for one reason or another — had the opportunity to pursue your career? Knowing that you played a role in prompting a young person to pursue a STEM career is a very powerful, meaningful thing. I encourage you to get more details on ISA’s advocacy that’s associated with our annual recognition of Automation Appreciation Month.
As I conclude my inaugural message, I want to reiterate how enthused I am to serve as Society president for 2017. I sincerely thank the Society and its members for this remarkable honor. I look forward to working with all of you in the months ahead, and sharing with you new evidence of our success and progress.
About the Author
Steven W. Pflantz, PE, is an associate in the St. Louis, Mo. office of CRB Consulting Engineers, Inc., a global consulting, design and construction services firm. He serves as a technical leader on many of CRB’s electrical and automation design projects, applying his extensive electrical engineering experience — particularly in the areas of instrumentation and controls. A longtime ISA member and leader, Steven brings to his role as Society president a deep understanding of the automation profession, the needs and expectations of ISA members, and the value and significance of automation careers. In 2012 and 2013, he served as vice president of ISA’s Professional Development Department. He’s also served on ISA’s Executive Board (2008 and 2012) and as an ISA district vice president (2007 and 2008). In 2012, Steven was inducted into the Academy of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. He’s also a member of the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE). He earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.
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A version of this article also has been published in ISA Insights.