Galvanized by the disastrous debut of ISA's big trade show replacement, some very senior and notable volunteers worked many hours to put together what was one of the best symposia I've ever attended. Under the guidance and leadership of Process Automation Hall of Fame inductee and Control columnist Greg McMillan, the volunteers put together eight tracks of very high level papers and presentations.
Russ Rhinehart, another Process Automation Hall of Fame inductee, and professor and Amoco Chair at Oklahome State University chaired the Advanced Process Control Techniques Track, with several outstanding presentations that complemented MPC guru, Charlie Cutler's Tuesday morning keynote address, "The Status of Real Time Optimization and Multivariable Predictive Control."
Jim Tatera, long time active volunteer and ISA Fellow chaired the Analyzers Track, Jeff Arbogast and John Munro chaired the Automation and Control Systems Design Track; Don Labbe from IOM chaired the Energy Track, Brian Bridgewater of Elanco Animal Health chaired an excellent Human Asset Optimizaton Track; Greg Lehmann from URS hosted the Installation, Operations, and Maintenance Track. There was a fantastic Safety and Security Track chaired by Ed Marszal, ISA Fellow and CEO of Kenexis, and Graham Speake of Yokogawa. Brad Carlberg of Invensys Operations Management chaired the Wireless Technology and Applications Track.
The presentations at the conference were peer-reviewed. Over 60 reviewers worked on the peer-review, including some major names in automation like Bob Sherman, Frank Hurtte, James Conboy, Graham Nasby, Harold Wade, James Bouchard, Paul Gruhn, Victor Maggioli and many, many more. And frankly, this assured the high quality of the presentations I witnessed.
Co-located within Automation Week was the ISA Training Institute, and the Standards and Practices Committee meetings. And the Supplier Showcase worked a heck of a lot better than last year. It was open all day, lunch was served in and among the booths, and there were receptions and ceremonies in the showcase in the evening. Much better organization than last year, where many suppliers said they weren't going to come back.
There were times during the day when the bowling ball effect was evident, but because of the decision to provide a free lunch to all the attendees, and to hold that lunch inside the supplier showcase, there were times when the showcase was packed. One vendor told me he had gotten an engagement from a meeting on the showcase floor.
ISA has finally figured out what they do best, and what they can best leverage the strength and capabilites of the volunteers and ISA members to do. ISA does red hot symposia-- with allied training and tabletop showcases for vendors.
ISA Automation Week is a classic ISA symposium-- but on steroids.
Bela Liptak closed the conference with his keynote this morning...talking about what applying automation and control methods and techniques could do to improve life on the planet. How utterly fitting.
Way better job, ISA.
Next year's chair will be Peter Martin of Invensys, who will have a really hard act to follow. Greg McMillan and his team put together an excellent symposium.