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2004 Process Automation Hall of Fame

Feb. 12, 2004
This Year's Inductees Embody the Leadership, Knowledge and True Spirit of the Process Control Profession

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. ~ Peter F. Drucker.

Drucker is right on when it comes to describing the elemental nuance that separates our Hall of Fame inductees from their highly competent and professional peers year after year.

Each year CONTROL celebrates achievement among the ranks of process control engineering professionals because of the important work they do collectively and individually for literally billions of people each day. Walk over to your sink and turn on the tap"from the water you fill your glass with to the glass itself"somewhere out there a process control engineer is touching your life in some positive way or form.

Think about it some more and you realize just how much we owe to these often-overlooked heroes and how deserving they are of recognition for doing the right things and doing them well to boot. But, they will be the first to fend off the praise""just doing my job," is about as much as you'll get out of many of these guys when you point out the good work they do.

Here at CONTROL, we refuse to let that be the end of it. We created the Process Automation Hall of Fame three years ago to ensure the profession has its own version of the Golden Globe's or Academy Awards to honor outstanding achievement in the field. Members are drawn from the heavy hitters of the industry, elevated above their peers for the significant contributions they've made, not only to the industries they serve and the craft, but to the advancement of the profession as a whole.

Heavy Hitters

This year's trio of heavy hitters was selected, as tradition and practice dictate, from a list of candidates drawn from current Process Automation Hall of Fame, editor, reader, and editorial advisory board nominations. To help us perpetuate this well-deserved honor and highlight the good work of the profession, please send in your nominations at any time this coming year"we welcome your input and want to know who you think is worthy and why.

We are pleased to announce that joining the likes of industry giants Marion "Bud" Keyes, Bela Liptak, Greg McMillan, Greg Shinsky, Terry Toliver, and Harold Wade in the Hall of Fame are this year's honored inductees:

·Terry Blevins, principle technologist, Emerson Process Management and seminal Foundation fieldbus developer.

·Thomas M. Stout, (retired) past vice president of ISA's Professional Development Department and recognized for developing the first online digital computer installation for a refining process.

·Ted Williams, past president of ISA and Organizer and Chairman of the International Purdue Workshop on Industrial Computer Systems.

Terry Blevins

DCS Visionary

Although Terry Blevins has worked for the same vendor for nearly 30 years, his accomplishments read more like an end-user, or a super-engineer consultant. "My first 15years at Emerson were almost entirely in the field, doing startups, projects and getting real plant-floor experience," he says. "I can still remember the first time I tuned one of the major process loops in a plant."

Terry was born in Monticello, Kentucky, in 1947, which makes him the "youngest" of this year's inductees. Terry graduated from the University of Louisville in 1971, and joined Western Electric on a special program that allowed him to work half-time and attend Purdue to pursue his Master's degree at the same time. He received his Master's in Electrical Engineering from Purdue in 1973. In 1974, Western Electric tried to transfer him to Chicago, so he went to work for Fisher Controls in the System Engineering Group in Marshalltown, Iowa.

First Real Experience

"This was my first real industrial controls experience," Blevins relates, "and this group was really new. There were only nine people in the group when I joined Fisher. Monsanto had given Fisher the control electronics they'd developed in-house and it was our job to go around and figure out what people wanted us to do with it. First we had teletypes and graph paper, then we graduated to black and white CRTs with thermal printers. Finally, we got disk drives, and more memory. Eventually, all this led to the Fisher PROVOX system."

Terry worked in the Systems Engineering group for 10 years, working with McMillan-Bloedel to develop control systems for recovery boilers, and with Georgia Pacific on their re-causticizing process, and the instrumentation of lime kilns. Along the way, he developed the algorithm used in PROVOX's modified Smith Predictor. In 1984, he moved to Austin, Texas to become Group Manager of the Pulp and Paper Systems Engineering group at Emerson.

Team Leader

"I got a reputation for asking for new features, or complaining that such-and-such didn't work right," he says, "because of that, in 1990 they asked me to become a technical consultant on advanced process control." This led almost directly to the development of the Emerson DeltaV system. He was the team leader, first, of the Common Control Language development team, and then the technology team leader for DeltaV itself.

"In 1991 I had joined the SP50 committee to work on function blocks, and wound up chairing the IEP committee that eventually created Foundation fieldbus," Blevins relates. By 1995, we had all the spec's done for Foundation fieldbus, but nobody was building anything. So I worked with David Taylor at Dow on the first fieldbus DeltaV project, and we installed the first true Foundation fieldbus transmitters there. Lots of what people take for granted in Fieldbus projects now was what we did right then."

Married with Children

Terry has been married to Karen for 26 years, with two sons. One attends Texas A&M. The other, an Eagle Scout, is a senior at Round Rock High School. Terry's hobbies include woodworking and photography, although he's given up his darkroom. He has also been active in Boy Scouting since his sons were Cub Scouts. He is proud of his work as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, and his service on various committees of the church.

Terry believes the future will bring "full integration of all plant systems like SIS and the others that are just hanging out there, not really part of the control system now."

Tom Stout

Father of the Profession

Tom Stout is known best now for being the "Father" of the control systems engineering profession. He says, "I am an activist for registration and certification for control systems engineers and technicians." It is due largely to Tom's efforts that most states recognize and license Control Systems Engineers. It is also due largely to Tom that the Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society (ISA) has certification programs for control system technicians. Tom also made a significant contribution recently to establishing a Public Policy committee within ISA to take positions on issues important to the profession. But this is just his retirement job.

Cheaper by the Half Dozen

Tom was born on Thanksgiving Day in 1925, in Ann Arbor, Mich., where his father was a professor (and later one of the founders of ISA). He remembers it was Thanksgiving Day because his mother told him later that when he was born, she was truly thankful. "Much later, after seeing my wife through six pregnancies, I think I know what she was talking about," Tom says. Tom is one of the very few (perhaps the only) second-generation ISA Fellows.

Tom made his mark early, working for TRW on the project for Texaco at Port Arthur, Texas, which is now commonly recognized as the first online digital computer installation for a refining process. Even before that, Tom had worked for some big names. He worked for Emerson Electric, designing servomechanisms for military applications. He took some time away from commercial activities to serve as an Assistant Professor for the University of Washington Electrical Engineering Department, and came back as a researcher for Schlumberger Instrument Company.

Computer Control Pioneer

At TRW/Bunker-Ramo, in the early 1960s, Tom participated in and supervised feasibility studies and detailed design and evaluation of computer control systems in many industrial verticals. He worked in petroleum refining, chemical, cement, steel, and pulp and paper. It is almost easier to list what Tom hasn't worked on, than fields in which he has contributed. Tom has written over 60 scientific papers, and holds four patents.

In 1965, he founded Profimatics Inc., and served as President until he sold the company in 1983. Once part of Honeywell, but now a division of KBC, Profimatics was one of the very first process simulation companies. Profimatics continues to be a market leader in the simulation of refinery processes, just as Tom intended.

Tom has had a remarkably vigorous retirement. He was vice president of ISA's Professional Development Department, served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), and continues to serve as a board member of the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB) an organization created to accredit certification programs. Tom is an honorary member and Fellow of ISA, and a member of IEEE, as well as other societies.

He and his wife Marilyn have been married since 1947, having gone to the same high school together. They love to travel together, and have visited all 50 states. He is also a frustrated ex-tennis player, having had to give up the sport recently.

Tom's accomplishments, both in the field of science and engineering and the field of professional activism, make him an honored addition to the Process Automation Hall of Fame.

Ted Williams

Industry Navigator

Ted Williams is a significant figure in the history of control systems. He has taught one of the few university courses on controls for years, and led the development of one of the oldest and most well-known research centers for automation: the Purdue Laboratory for Applied Industrial Controls.

Ted has taught many of the brightest contributors to the profession, including fellow inductee, Terry Blevins. In fact, Terry tells of taking a class from Ted Williams when he was in graduate school. "Ted Williams," says Blevins, "had a great deal of influence on me and everybody else who took his classes. I was a grad student in the Electrical Engineering department, but he took pity on us and came over and taught a class."

Before turning to teaching in 1965, Ted was responsible for the computer control research program at Monsanto, that resulted in the minicomputer control system that eventually became the Fisher PROVOX system.

Farmer, Flyer, Father

Ted grew up as a farm boy in western Pennsylvania, and graduated from high school in 1940 at the age of 16, just in time to enlist in the Army Air Corps. He was commissioned at 19, and served in the South Pacific until 1945, as a navigator. After the war, he married his high school sweetheart, went to college on the GI Bill, and, "she was carrying our first son and we decided I should get a part time job. The next Monday morning one of my professors asked for volunteers to work on his research project to solve the dynamic equations for a batch distillation column by digital methods on desk calculators. Of course, I was first in line when he returned to his office. This, as you know, can and did lead to simulation and control which has been my technical life."

Ted has had an illustrious career outside the classroom, as well. He served as President of ISA in 1969. He has also served as President of the American Federation for Information Processing Societies (AFIPS), and the American Automatic Controls Council (AACC). He was also Chairman of the Automation Research Council, a national body funded by the National Science Foundation, in the late 1970s.

Global Consultant

Ted has served as a consultant to national bodies and governments all around the world, from Argentina to Switzerland. He has served as a consultant to the United Nations, and he has lectured in over 27 countries on automation, controls, and integrating manufacturing with the enterprise.

Ted has dedicated his career to strengthening the links between academe and industry. He was the Organizer and Chairman of the International Purdue Workshop on Industrial Computer Systems for over 20 years. He was the first Chairman of the IFAC/IFIP Task Force on Architectures for Integrating Manufacturing Activities and Enterprises. He began that activity in 1990, many years before MES and Enterprise Integration became buzzwords in the automation profession.

Ted is well recognized for his efforts. He's received the Sir Harold Hartley Silver Medal, the Albert F. Sperry Founder Award Gold Medal from ISA, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from ISA. He is an Honorary Professor of the Institute of Automation of the Academia Sinica (The national Academy of Sciences of the People's Republic of China). It is therefore, fitting that we induct him this year into the Process Automation Hall of Fame.

Awards Ceremony at the World Batch Forum

Inductees will be formally recognized for their achievements at the Process Automation Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony at a CONTROL magazine-sponsored dinner held the first evening of the 11th annual North American World Batch Forum "Meeting of the Minds," at the Lincolnshire Marriott near Chicago, Illinois.

The conference dates are May 16-19, 2004. Highlights of the 2004 event will include staples of past conferences, plus some new twists The Midwest location will give the conference a different "flavor," with special presentations for the food and beverage industries.

According to the WBF's promoters, besides the Hall of Fame dinner, attendees will have ample opportunity to network with other individuals throughout the conference, including Monday evening which has been set aside to enhance the opportunity. Dinner will be outside on the hotel grounds, weather permitting, with plenty of opportunity to mix and match with your peers in the industry. For more information or to register call 314/576-1116, see http://www.wbf.org, or e-mail: [email protected].

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