As an active member of the ISA Edmonton Section, I participated in the Sections biannual Conference and Exhibition http://www.isaedmontonshow.ca/ this past week. Being there in person rather than seeking out information via the web, which I often do because of my location not only gave me a chance to meet with my many friends in the industry but because I was looking for specific answers the chance to discuss the problem with people face-to-face. This is the idea behind AutomationXchange (http://www.automationxchange.com/) but there is nothing to prevent each of you with a little work from creating your own AutomationXchange at EVERY conference and exhibition you attend. All it takes is a little advance research to see who is exhibiting, what presentations are being made and a highlighter to identify the booths you need to visit, papers you need to attend, and problems you need to solve.
ISA has a number of opportunities to meet and exchange ideas with specialists in many different areas and the spring is when the majority of the Division symposia are scheduled including the Analysis Division symposia starting April 25 in Baton Rouge http://www.isa.org/Template.cfm?Section=ISA_Conferences1&template=/Conference/ConferenceDescription.cfm&ConferenceID=4255 but also the upcoming 56th International Instrumentation Symposium www.isa.org/iis in Rochester New York May 10 – 14 where you can learn from industry experts about electronic instrumentation, wireless technology, Cybersecurity, aerospace systems, process measurement and control, virtual instrumentation systems, laser and electro-optics instrumentation, geo-science and remote sensing certainly relevant in these times of global events such as global warming, volcanic eruptions, and other “natural disasters.”
I therefore encourage you to get out your highlighter, look at these events or similar local industry events to identify who there can help you solve YOUR problem. With the problem and solution source(s) identified (remember you can often get multiple opinions/solutions to your problem in one place at these events) you now have a justification to go to your management for your attendance. It’s worth the effort because the worst answer you will get is no, and without trying you have that answer already.