This post is authored by Rick Roop, president of ISA 2015.
My involvement with ISA began with my introduction to the Society in 1983, when I worked as an electrical engineer for an industrial coal-fired power plant in Evansville, Ind. Through the years, I served in many capacities within ISA – from establishing local sections in the early 1980s to working on the operations side, to writing standards while serving on a divisional board, to eventually becoming an ISA board member – all of which have prepared me for the upcoming presidency.
My understanding of the changing importance of ISA and the contribution the Society makes to the world drove me to learn as much as I could from previous leaders with whom I served. The knowledge gained and the personal relationships formed from those experiences were instrumental in my success on a professional and personal level. In fact, many of those people have become dear friends to me. Although I am no longer a practicing engineer, my passion for ISA remains, and I am extremely excited about the coming year and the opportunities it presents.
As we move into 2015, ISA will continue to work toward achieving its five strategic goals in: Big Data, Content, Coolest Delivery, IACS Cybersecurity and Career Advocacy.
- Big Data – The world generates in excess of 2.5 billion gigabytes of data every day, 80 percent of which is considered “unstructured,” meaning everything from images, video and audio to social media is available in cyberspace, but who manages it? ISA is committed to operate as a market-driven organization, using internal and external data to better understand trends, improve decision-making, and better align products and services with market dynamics and demands.
- Content – ISA will consistently deliver relevant content to target audiences at the right time, across all marketing channels, and in a manner in which it was intended. Automation professionals and the industries and communities they serve can rely on ISA for essential information tailored to their needs and interests.
- Coolest Delivery – ISA will develop communication channels that deliver our content easily, in an engaging, informative, and forward-thinking way that appeals to multiple generations of automation professionals. A great example is our recently introduced InTech Plus mobile device, an interactive and easy-to-use tool that enables automation professionals to rapidly access, scan, and digest a diverse range of technical and educational content.
- IACS Cybersecurity – ISA will enhance its worldwide reputation as a leader in the development of industrial cybersecurity standards, training, certificate programs and educational resources. The ISA99/IEC 62443 series of IACS standards are integral components of the federal government’s plans to combat cyberattack because they’re designed to prevent and offset potentially devastating cyber damage. The National Institute of Technology (NIST) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) support ISA as a global authority on industrial cybersecurity.
- Career Advocacy – ISA will develop programs, products, and services that enhance the awareness and proficiency of automation professionals. We will use a cradle-to-grave approach, promoting automation careers to children and students; providing early career education for young professionals; offering leadership and management skills for mid-career individuals; and providing programs to mentor others and give back to the profession for our retirees and late-career professionals.
Throughout this year, we will fully explore each initiative as a means to bring added value to ISA, to strengthen our global brand recognition, and to provide additional revenue streams.
Adding to our momentum in 2015 and beyond is our new, wholly owned-subsidiary, Automation.com. Automation.com is a leading online publisher of automation-related content that attracts nearly 100,000 users per month. Its website features 45 topic-specific portals, providing an efficient way to deliver relevant articles, news, products, white papers and other resources.
Combining its subscribers with ISA’s members and customers, and InTech subscribers, Automation.com will deliver the co-branded Automation Weekly and other electronic newsletters to approximately 140,000 people around the world. This is very exciting indeed.
As we have learned throughout our history, the key to success is getting the “big things” right, innovating accordingly, and sharpening our organizational and operational focus. Every generation of ISA membership has the opportunity and, I believe, the responsibility to improve ISA – to move us forward in the world of automation. This is our time.
The progress we are making on our strategic initiatives is highly encouraging. I am confident in our vision and mission, and am excited about the many new opportunities before ISA. Let’s work together this year to reach our goals, to increase our brand recognition on a global scale, and to add to our membership ranks.
Please join me in the commitment to furthering the causes of this wonderful Society. Once again, I am looking forward to serving you in 2015.
About the Author
Rick Roop has been a member of ISA since 1983 and established the Society's Evansville, Ind. and Terre Haute, Ind. Sections. Rick has held a variety of ISA leadership positions including district vice president and chairman of the Council of District Vice Presidents, Power Industry Division board member, and he has also served as chairman of the Finance Committee and chairman of the Investment Committee. Rick worked as a senior instrumentation engineer at Southern Indiana Gas & Electric Company (now Vectren). He then joined Hoosier Energy, REC, first as an instrument and electrical engineer, and later as general manager at the company’s Frank E. Ratts Generating Station. Since 2012, Rick has held the position of vice president, senior portfolio manager and owner of Donaldson Capital Management, an Evansville, Ind.-based SEC-registered investment advisory firm with $1 billion in assets under management. Rick earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering technology from Murray State University and a master of business administration degree with an emphasis in finance from Indiana State University.
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A version of this article also has been published in ISA Insights.