What's next for Automation Federation?

Feb. 29, 2008

Research Triangle Park, N.C., Feb. 28 - The Automation Federation Board of Directors will engage in its third annual strategic planning session in April to discuss the accomplishments, developments, and future plans of the umbrella organization. The Federation members WBF, OMAC, WINA and ISA have been focused on the critical industry issue of workforce development, and the Federation has started to establish a strong footprint on Capitol Hill as the voice of automation.

Phase I of the Automation Federation evolution was completed recently when current managing director and start-up maven Bruno Kisala announced his intention to relocate to the Virginia area. Patrick Gouhin, secretary of the Automation Federation's board of directors, will serve as the interim managing director. He has established an experienced staff team that has been working with the member organizations since the inception of the Federation. This transition team will ensure that existing programs and plans are executed and oversee the Board's creation of strategic business plans for 2009 and beyond that will lead to Phase II of development.

Consistent with the revalidation of vision and mission for Phase II, the board will assess necessary skills and competencies needed in a managing director moving forward prior to deciding on how to find a long term replacement for Kisala. 

"The Automation Federation, along with its member organizations, has achieved so much during Mr. Kisala's tenure as managing director," said Gouhin. "Each organization has enjoyed numerous successes, and we're confident that the leadership team we have in place will transition the Federation to an even higher level of success in the future."

"The vision for the Federation has been met and exceeded in the past year, and this transition gives us an opportunity to refresh and update our strategy so that we can catch up to our accomplishments," said Automation Federation Chairman Steve Huffman. "We are definitely positioned well for ongoing success, and the board is looking forward to continuing to serve both the member organizations and the broader objectives of the Federation."

The member organizations of the Automation Federation have all experienced areas of growth in recent months. ISA has been an active participant in the Automation Federation's government relations initiatives, with ISA leaders welcoming North Carolina Representative David Price to AF headquarters last month. ISA has also defined several initiatives in an ongoing workforce development plan, working in conjunction with the other organizations of the Federation.

OMAC's Microsoft Manufacturing User Group (MsMUG) is migrating to the Automation Federation to better support industry needs as a horizontal application that sprawls across the vertical disciplines. End users and integrators join MsMUG to have an opportunity to be part of one manufacturing voice, and moving the working group to the Automation Federation will broaden participation and establish a communication
channel into the manufacturing space relative to process, hybrid and discrete industry segments.

WBF's North American Conference, to be held March 24-27 in Philadelphia, boasts the "highest quality selection of presentations and papers that we've ever had," according to WBF Chairman Maurice Wilkins. WBF has also held many successful web seminars and is conducting an ongoing membership drive to attract new sponsors.

WINA will join with ISA to coordinate the technical program for the 2008 Industrial Wireless Conference in Chongqing, China, 31 March-4 April. The event represents a worldwide collaboration of leading organizations, with the Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications hosting. At the end of 2007, WINA announced that it will found a chapter outside North America. The chapter, based in Singapore, will serve the Asia Pacific region and is the first chapter outside of North America for the organization.

"We have a lot of exciting work going on in the member organizations and in the Federation as a whole, and that pace will only get faster after we've had a chance to meet in April and clarify our strategy and goals for the future of the organization," commented Huffman.

The Automation Federation Board of Directors is made up of Steve Huffman, Kim Miller Dunn, Pat Gouhin, and Leo Staples of ISA; Ian McPherson of WINA; Sid Venkatesh of OMAC; and Maurice Wilkins of WBF.