CG’s Local Heroes

Sept. 5, 2008
Normal Everyday Professionals are Also Stars. Our Process Automation Writers Have Fans Following Each and Every Word They Type
By Katherine Bonfante, Managing Editor, Digital Media

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Superman? Major-league baseball player? Brain surgeon? Astronaut? President? Whatever your answer, I’m sure none of you wanted to grow up to be, to steal Garrison Keillor’s phrase, “just above average.”

I’m always reading, writing and posting articles for I get to see all of our writers’ stories before they even hit the newsstand. I hear our writers talk about their article ideas before those stories get written. To me, this is everyday work. To me, Control’s writers are colleagues, people I see walking the halls, with whom I have everyday phone and face-to-face conversations and share jokes about silly viral email or videos. But these folks are far from ordinary. Their work and insights touch people far beyond the walls of their offices—or mine. Today, I stopped to wonder how famous are my colleagues in the process automation world? I wondered, do they have a secret fan club they don’t even know of? What I found out surprised me. Many Control editors and writers do have fan clubs.

Control’s largest fan club belongs to a man that does not blog and has never posted a viral video on the Web. Control’s most popular personality is columnist and control consultant Béla Lipták. He wrote three of the top five most requested articles during the last month. “Fuel Cell of the Future,” which talked about how process control will play a key role in the transition from the fossil/nuclear economy to the solar-hydrogen economy of the future, was the most popular. Second was “Green Energy Can Stop Recession” and his “Ask the Experts” column on “Cavitation in Control Valves” was third.

Other close players in this unofficial popularity contest were Dan Hebert and Greg McMillan. Hebert’s July cover story, “Contenders or Pretenders?” talked about the skills necessary to create a successful process automation environment, while McMillan’s “Unlocking the Secret Profiles of Batch Reactors” drew a large number of fans as well.

When I think of famous people, I think of red carpet events, camera flashes, autographs and all the glamour of Hollywood life. It never occurred to me that the person sitting in a cubicle the same size as mine, who wears khakis, eats at the fast food joint at the corner, and who drives an average American car is famous and admired by many. Normal everyday professionals are also stars. Just as Hollywood stars, our process automation writers have fans following each and every word they type. 

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