Other ARC stuff...

Craig Dupler from Boeing Sets Us All Straight I've never heard an IT person talk like this. Craig Dupler, and his compadre Steve Venema, must be really atypical, even at Boeing. Dupler said that it was stupid for IT to insist on making control systems follow enterprise IT rules about patching, patch management, and stuff we've all been arguing about for years, and made a cri de coeur for vendors to provide edge firewall hardware to separate the control systems from the stuff IT really should be managing on a full time basis. I was standing in the back of the room, and I could see Eric Byers bouncing in his chair, and I figured the father of the Tofino edge device firewall was going to jump up and say, "Me! Me! I can do that!!! ME! ME!" but Eric restrained himself. I'm sure he'll be talking to them, though. Convenient that it's about a three hour drive either way for them, since Boeing's in Seattle, and Byers Security is in Nanaimo, BC. After the talk, I asked Dupler and Venema if they would be willing to write an article for Control about how IT should behave with respect to control systems, and how automation professionals should respond. I think that they will do it, if Boeing's legal staff agrees to it. Stay tuned to this space. Is Dow wierd, different, or just so far out in front that it is incredible? Dow's Lina Cano and ARC's Dick Hill (who will be featured discussing the subject in this month's Control/ARC Monthly Podcast) did a fantastic job in first, discussing the issues around workplace training and improvement, employee recruitment, employee retention, and what Dow is doing to make sure they get and keep the best and the brightest. Dow is doing, with a completely integrated program, much more than I've heard from most people to preserve, protect and defend the automation professional. One of the other participants in the audience noted that "automation isn't a core competency at our company...we make chemicals, not automation, and it is hard for me to find a career path for automation engineers." But Dow appears to have such a path or series of paths worked out. Other companies do, too. For example, at Honeywell, "fellows" rank approximately with "director" and "senior fellows" rank approximately with "vice president" and are compensated accordingly. Quite a few other companies employ similar systems of making sure that the technical track gets credit and reward. But many companies do not. One conference participant shared with me, "in my company the technical track is a joke. It is looked down on with disdain by the business track, because they think they make money for the company and we don't." Again it's the fact that automation professionals spend lots of time watch-building and not enough time learning and speaking in the language of business. With a forest of hands still in the air, the moderator, Larry O'Brien had to call a halt since the next presentation was already late. Seems this is a major hot button for lots of people, just as I get asked to give my "future of the automation professional" speeches several times a year now.