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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Tempus Fugit

“But after a while
You realize time flies
And the best thing that you can do
Is take whatever comes to you
'Cause time flies”
- Steven Wilson (“Time Flies,” Porcupine Tree)

It feels like it was only yesterday when Eric Cosman passed the gavel to me, and yet here we are at the end of my term as ISA President. Time really does fly!

Being ISA President is a unique experience. ISA has a diverse portfolio of activities, from membership to events, standards, training, and certification. Being responsible for the strategic direction of such an organization is quite a challenge. There are almost as many viewpoints on strategic direction as there are members and staff. Even if we had a perfect strategy, there are so many external factors that can derail it.

The COVID-19 pandemic could have been a disaster for a society that relies on in-person activities such as training and events for revenue. Thankfully, the team of staff and volunteers responded to this challenge. And, despite everything, I believe ISA is in a much better place now. Online training and events have created new opportunities for engagement in our global profession. I believe these opportunities are going to continue to grow as we create more training and develop more events.

It was disappointing that I was unable to meet many of you in person this year, but our virtual Executive Board meetings, District Leadership Conferences, and Connect Live meetings ensured we were able to keep in touch.

I enjoyed the opportunity to meet ISA members around the world—to hear about successful initiatives to grow membership from Pakistan to Portugal. I was able to participate in excellent technical discussions with Divisions on subjects such as project management and cybersecurity. I particularly enjoyed informal virtual meetings with former ISA Presidents. Being in the presence of such a distinguished group of leaders really brings home the significance of this role you all entrusted me to do.

Being President also allowed me to work closely with the staff. ISA has a very dedicated staff who work hard to create a vibrant society for our members and the wider profession. Back in May, I wrote about mutually beneficial volunteerism, where volunteers and staff work together, building on each other’s strengths. I really believe we are better when we work together. With this in mind, we took the opportunity to introduce our volunteer leaders to the team during monthly all-staff meetings. These meetings were a great way of encouraging collaboration between staff and volunteers.

And this new year brings a lot of “new” to ISA—a new Executive Director and a new office. But we do not lose our steadfast focus on our strategic objectives. In my column last month, I asked for everyone’s patience. We all want ISA to be the home of automation, the place where everyone in our profession goes for guidance, instruction, and support. I know we can be that place, but it will take time, and we need your support to make it happen.

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any thoughts or comments. How was your 2021? What would you like to see ISA achieve in 2022 and beyond?

I close out my last official column with my heartfelt gratitude for this opportunity. It has been my honor and privilege to serve as ISA President. While my term comes to an end, I am very pleased to pass the gavel to my friend, Carlos Mandolesi. I know that he will continue to lead ISA toward bigger and better things. Please help him, as you have me, create a better world through automation.

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), a board member of the Mission Critical Global Alliance (MCGA), and a member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

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