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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My ISA Journey

My ISA journey thus far has been one ripe with growth and knowledge. I’m lucky to say it has been one of longevity serving 20 years as a volunteer leader. Recently I have had the honor of taking on the role of President. This role has already proved to be the apex of my time within ISA. I have shared how 2024 will be a remarkable year for automation while we ascend to achievable heights. Now, I would like to share how I got here and what ISA means to me.

Prior to ISA, I started my career as a nanotechnology scientist working on sensors for U.S. Military aircraft, navy, and army warfighter safety. I licensed technology from Sandia National Labs on Hydrogen sensing and obtained venture capital funding to scale technology applications. I had known of ISA’s prestigious reputation with 78 years of legacy in driving excellence through automation and knew I was destined to be heavily involved.  

I came to ISA as a young engineer and participated in analyzers for industrial applications. ISA welcomed me with open arms, even honoring me with a “Best Paper” award in 2007, which further showed me the way to the automation landscape. When I won this award, I knew I had to pay it forward to the next generation through the incredible organization helping me grow from both career and personal standpoints. 

In 2010, I was asked by a past ISA president (Peggie Koon) to take a leadership role at ISA, which was challenged with turning around a technical division. I had so much success in the division leader role that I was honored in 2013 with the ISA Young Innovator Award and served as Division Director Chemical and Petroleum Division from 2012 to 2015.

In these roles, I always hoped to cast a wider net when spreading the message of just how significant ISA is in building professional careers. Over the last 20+ years, ISA has been an integral part of my professional growth and network and has greatly impacted the careers of hundreds of others. The relationships and networks we build at ISA are truly infinite.

As I reminisce on my favorite activities and memories at ISA, there are simply too many to list. I enjoy attending the various leadership meetings, summits, expos, and conferences. Our annual gala is always a blast and a chance to let loose a bit. One highlight that comes to mind took place in 2018 when I visited India with then-ISA President Brian Curtis. They shut down a 1,000-student university to welcome us—a truly humbling experience.  

Another favorite memory was traveling with my dad to an ISA meeting in 2016, where we both met several leaders. When my dad suddenly passed away two weeks later, I was moved by the love and support all ISA members showed me. ISA was then transcended from a professional society to feeling like my extended family. 

Then, I got the chance to help my extended family grow and develop, which is such an honor.  I have held roles like Technical Assembly Chair and led the IR&A Executive Board group. Between 2018-2023, I had the honor of being part of the incredibly talented and erudite ISA Executive Board. This wide range of experiences has allowed me the unique vantage point of understanding ISA from all angles, thus allowing me to shape the future of ISA to best serve our members and profession.  

As an ISA member, I have participated in several standard and technical groups to advance the automation profession. As a leader at ISA, I have learned how to encourage and motivate peers and young leaders alike to maximize their potential through involvement. ISA leadership blends seamlessly with ISA membership, with the hope that lines of communication are always open.  

My motivation in running for President was simply to give back to others the personal and professional advantages bestowed upon me over the past two decades. A multitude of leaders helped me when I was a young engineer, and as a leader, I want to pay it forward to future generations. Thank you for allowing me to share my ISA journey with you thus farI am both humbled and honored to lead this impeccable organization. 

Prabhu Soundarrajan
Prabhu Soundarrajan
Prabhu is an executive board member at ISA and has 20 years’ experience in Automation and ESG. He was recently elected as 2024 ISA president and has served in ISA’s executive board since 2017 and has held several leadership roles in ISA as Vice President of Industry and Sciences. He has held senior leadership positions at both Honeywell and Republic Services. He loves Golden State Warriors basketball and Golf.

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