CSIA breaks attendance, growth records

May 14, 2018

Its longtime call for sound business practices for members continues to pay big dividends for the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA), which broke all previous attendance and exhibitor records at its 2018 Executive Conference on April 24-27 in San Francisco. Almost 600 attendees registered for the annual event, which featured numerous informative conference sessions, as well as a record-breaking 70 exhibitor booths.

In his keynote address, CSIA CEO Jose Rivera took on the persona of Steve Jobs to point out that Apple Computer's co-founder and visionary—like many entrepreneurs and system integrators—started out in a garage, but grew through a combination of innovation, persistence and sound business practices. "This is not different from system integrators, who also dream big, learn from failures, and rely on teamwork," Rivera said. "And, just as Jobs was obsessed with the customer experience, CSIA is obsessed with advancing the industry of control system integration and our members, which is demonstrated by the recent release of our Best Practices, Version 5.0, and our white paper linking best practices and better company performance." 

Rivera reported that CSIA is also experiencing steady growth, and at the end of 2018, it's projected to have 583 members, including 358 system integrator members, 129 partners and 96 certified members. Last year's uptick in certified members means it now has 25% that have successfully completed its auditing and certification/recertification process.

To meet its inclusiveness goal, CSIA has been reaching out to end users through its year-old End User Advisory Board and just reestablished its task force to collaborate with the Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF), which is seeking to develop an open, interoperable process control system. "Our next opportunity with OPAF is direct involvement in its technical working group to provide input into the specification being created," Rivera said. CSIA has also been working with the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), Organization for Machine Automation and Control (OMAC), and the International Society for Automation (ISA) and its Automation Federation. 

"We're also planning to concentrate on another growth opportunity, which is smaller system integrators in the U.S.," Rivera said. "It's estimated that the total system integrator market in the U.S. includes about 3,000 companies and independent contractors, and we believe we could realistically increase CSIA's membership by about 130 SIs, though we'd have to adjust our offer to them, be less dependent on their attendance at the executive conference and focus more on web-based content."

During its annual awards dinner on April 26, CSIA honored five individuals and their organizations. They are:

  • A&E Engineering Inc. in Greer, S.C., won the Integrator Company Member of the Year Award. A&E has been a CSIA member for 15 years, and its president, Wright Sullivan, has been a driving force, peer group leader, mentor and friend to many CSIA members.
  • Mitsubishi Electric Automation won the Partner Company Member of the Year Award. It's been a CSIA member since 2011 and supported the association with sponsorships and its Mitsubishi Electric System Integrator Program (MESIP).
  • MR Systems in Norcross, Ga., won the Social Responsibility Award. Primarily a water/wastewater SI firm, MR as been supporting the Wine to Water project that's rebuilding the water/wastewater infrastructure in the Dominican Republic following recent damage caused by hurricanes. MR also donated 150 membrane filter systems to Puerto Rico as part if its hurricane-related rebuild efforts.
  • John Binion, PE, of Hargrove Controls + Automation in Mobile, Ala., won the Rising Star Award. He implemented safety instrumented systems (SIS) while at Schneider Electric and has focused on project management, implementing DCS and PLC systems in the chemical and refining industries, and SIS and safety lifecycle activities at Hargrove, including SRS documentation, PHA and LOPA reviews.
  • Luigi De Bernardini, CEO of Autoware S.R.L. in Vincenza, Italy, won the Charlie Bergman Award. In that spirit, CSIA reports that he's been an invaluable asset during his 10-year membership, provided an international perspective and served in many leadership roles, including treasurer and now vice chair.

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