CSIA bucks the economy and the swine flu--

April 30, 2009

#CSIA #PAuto

#CSIA #PAuto

The sun is out, the golf course is green, there isn't any swine flu within miles, and we're all in a conference room in a hotel--one that looks like every other conference room in any given hotel.  The CSIA annual conference is about to begin. Yes, CSIA tends to meet in places where there are golf courses, and beaches, and they tend to bring their wives and families, but this is a dead serious business. This is the place that peers gather to discuss the automation industry from the inside. Every CSIA member is a successful business person in a very difficult industry, where one bad job can break your company permanently. There are no mulligans, no do-overs, and there's no nonsense about the business at this meeting.

I have been attending CSIA meetings since before they allowed the press in for free...I paid to come for quite a few years. Why? Because control system integrators have their fingers more tightly glued to the pulse of the automation industry than anybody else, including vendors. And because I used to be a system integrator, back in the 1980s and I miss that part of the business more than almost any other part I've ever been involved with. So, I get to see busy people that I don't get to see during the rest of the year, and I get to hear about application stories that I'd never get to hear anyplace else.

This meeting is a little bittersweet. Norm O'Leary, who has been Executive Director since before I became involved, is retiring. Lou Zimmer, who has done public relations for CSIA has already retired, and Nels Tyring, who was one of the founders of CSIA and the acknowledged father of the discipline of control system integration passed away a few months ago. Times are changing-- as they always do, and there are dozens of new faces at this meeting that I haven't seen before.

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