In a surprise move during the April 21 awards dinner at their 2016 executive conference, members of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) revealed that they recently gave "father of the PLC" Dick Morley the organization's first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award was presented to Morley at his assisted-living residence in March by CSIA CEO Jose Rivera, veteran system integrators Rick Pierro and Rick Caldwell and software engineer Chuck Schelberg. However, it wasn't announced until the evening of the CSIA's annual business meeting and awards dinner at the Grand Meliá Golf Resort in Puerto Rico.
"The whole system integration profession started with the PLC, and the first one was Dick's Modicon 084, and that's why he's the first recipient of the CSIA Lifetime Achievement Award," says Caldwell. "He's truly the father of the PLC, but he's often said, 'The PLC was an idea whose time had come. I was just the guy working on it.' "
Caldwell adds that Morley was a crucial mentor to him and other system integrators, engineers and students, and that his legendary red barn in Milford, N.H., was more of a think tank than a building where he and his many colleagues also developed other innovations, such as Andover Controls, Flavors Technology, magnetic, thin-film floppy disks, antilock brakes, potential cancer cure and Wolf Rock chocolates.
"Dick followed a mentoring philosophy for me and many others," adds Caldwell. "A very few innovators not only change the way we think, but change the course of our lives, and that's what Dick has done for us."