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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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ISA President's Column: ISA or a Snack—Why Not Both?

The 2021 International Society of Automation (ISA) President Steve Mustard is featured monthly on the ISA Interchange blog with a column directed toward ISA members around the world. The column speaks to current membership priorities, challenges, news, and perspectives. We invite ISA Interchange readers to engage and dialogue with Steve, and if you are not currently a member of ISA, visit to learn more about membership.

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”


What do a sausage roll from the UK, doubles from Trinidad & Tobago, a meat pie from Australia, and a dosa from India have in common? These are all great snacks that I highly recommend. They also are all more expensive than the US 35-cent daily cost of ISA membership.

If you are reading this, I hope you already understand the benefits of being an ISA member and see the great value for this daily cost.

Living in Houston, I am well-aware of the many people who are facing financial hardships caused during this pandemic. If you are experiencing lay-offs, furloughs, or significant salary reductions, please contact ISA to request a waiver. In difficult times, I believe it is important to stay even closer toand engage inyour community.

steve mustard snacksInternational snacks. Image courtesy of Steve Mustard.


Now for the real challenge. You understand the value of ISA, but have you shared this information with anyone else? I challenge each one of us to recruit at least one new member to ISA this year. Just imagine if our membership doubled! Imagine more discussions in ISA Connect, more networking at our local sections, more conversations with our divisions in Connect Live.

Since I became active in ISA, I have recruited at least a dozen new members from various parts of the world. It was simple in some cases: when discussing ISA-related standards, such as ISA/IEC 62443, I was able to point out the fact that members get access to read all ISA standards for free. This, on its own, is worth the price of membership. Not only can you read the standards, but you never have to worry about whether you have the latest update.

Sometimes the person I spoke to was interested in training, so I pointed to the discount they would get if they joined ISA first. I would add that they would also get discounts off book purchases in their quest to learn more about their discipline. In one case, the person joined, completed the ISA/IEC 62443 certificate program, and then went on to become a certified ISA trainer himself.

Sometimes the person I spoke to had let their membership lapse. Often it was because of work pressures or relocation. In most cases, a simple conversation reminded the person of all that ISA had to offer. Perhaps they had seen some gaps in training in their organization and had ideas about how to address these with the help ISA. Perhaps they wanted to start a local section to network with other professionals. The global pandemic has affected many in our profession. Finding a trusted network is of significant value.

Will you take up the challenge?

  • Will you share with people in your organization the value of ISA membership?
  • Do you see younger professionals who would benefit from networking with experienced members, as well as developing their skills and improving their knowledge?
  • Do you know someone who might want to become a Certified Control Systems Technician or Certified Automation Professional?
  • Is there someone who wants to develop skills in a new area, such as cybersecurity? What about the organizations you work with?
  • If you work for an asset owner, do you have trusted vendors who could benefit from additional training?
  • If you are a system integrator, can you recommend to your customers that they might benefit from access to ISA standards?
  • If you are a vendor, do you want to get your development lifecycle, device, or system certified to ISA/IEC 62443?

If all else fails, remind people while they are eating that snack that it costs more than ISA membership, but the membership offers so many more benefitseven if the snack is tasty.

I want to hear about your efforts! When you recruit a new member, send me an email with the new member’s name.

And one reminder: ISA is your organization. You can and should join any number of our technical divisions, engage in your local section to network with peers near you, or volunteer to help ISA with global projects. Get connected by creating your profile on ISA Connect at

I look forward to working with youand all these new membersto create a better world through automation.

Steve Mustard
February 2021


About the Author

Steve Mustard is an industrial automation consultant with extensive technical and management experience across multiple sectors. He is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE), ISA Certified Automation Professional® (CAP®), UK-registered Chartered Engineer (CEng), registered European Engineer (EUR ING), GIAC Global Industrial Cyber Security Professional (GICSP), and Certified Mission Critical Professional (CMCP).

Backed by 30 years of engineering experience, Mustard specializes in the development and management of real-time embedded equipment and automation systems and cybersecurity risk management related to those systems. He serves as president of National Automation, Inc.

Mustard writes and presents on a wide array of technical topics and is the author of “Mission Critical Operations Primer,” published by ISA. He has also contributed to other technical books, including the Water Environment Federation’s “Design of Water Resource Recovery Facilities, Manual of Practice No. 8, Sixth Edition.”

Mustard’s previous and current client list includes the UK Ministry of Defense; NATO; major utilities such as Anglian Water Services and Sydney Water Corporation; major oil and gas companies such as BP, BG Group, and Shell; Fortune 500 companies such as Quintiles Laboratories; and other leading organizations.

Steve Mustard
Steve Mustard
Steve Mustard is an independent automation consultant and a subject matter expert of the International Society of Automation (ISA). Backed by more than 30 years of engineering experience, Mustard specializes in the development and management of real-time embedded equipment and automation systems. He serves as president of National Automation, Inc., and served as the 2021 president of ISA. Mustard is a licensed Professional Engineer in Texas and Kansas, a UK registered Chartered Engineer, a European registered Eur Ing, an ISA Certified Automation Professional (CAP), a certified Global Industrial Cybersecurity Professional (GICSP), and a Certified Mission Critical Professional. He also is a Fellow in the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), a Senior Member of ISA, a member of the Safety and Security Committee of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), and a member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

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