Just as it's spearheaded the investigation and implementation of new technologies for clients throughout its 25 years, the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) and its members are blazing yet another trail for others to follow—this time into the realm of digitalization, Industry 4.0, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), big data and cloud computing.
However, as even system integrators sometimes need assistance tackling these new areas, the CSIA is shifting its capabilities to lend a hand. "We want system integrators to be part of digital transformation, so we're about to launch, or relaunch, two task forces, and seeking committee leaders and members who can help," said Jose Rivera, CEO of CSIA, during his keynote address at the CSIA Executive Conference, April 30 to May 3 in Asheville, N.C. "The first committee to be created is the Digital Transformation Task Force, which will leverage input throughout the year at various events and report back at the 2020 executive conference. The second will be a recreated and restarted Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF) Task Force."
Beyond the challenges of new technology, many economic factors also have an impact on system integrators, and this financial landscape was explored by economist Alan Beaulieu in his annual report at the CSIA event. He projected a slowdown for the U.S. and global economies, including a dip below zero growth for the U.S. industrial production index. "We're in a good place, but we're on the back of a business cycle," explained Beaulieu. "However, this slowdown will give organizations that are prepared for it the time to solve problems and get rid of unproductive activities in 2019 that they were too busy to address in 2018, and get ready for more business in the 2020s. We just have to make sure to not talk ourselves out of being prepared, and talk ourselves into what we need to do."
Rivera added that, "The best time to adopt CSIA's best practices and get certified is when business is slower."
During its annual awards dinner on May 2, CSIA presented five individuals and their organizations with the association's five traditional awards, including:
- Stone Technologies Inc. in Chesterfield, Mo., near St. Louis, won the Integrator of the Year Award for being a "perfect example of an integrator of the year" due to its longtime participation in advancing the CSIA's best practices, and supporting its members and the industries they serve.
- Faegre Baker Daniels won the Partner of the Year Award for its longtime legal representation of the CSIA, as well as the advice and services it's provided to many CSIA members.
- PACIV in San Juan, Puerto Rico, won the Social Responsibility Award, which recognized its above-and-beyond response to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which struck the island in September 2017. The PACIV Foundation pledged $1 million, converted its engineering offices in San Juan into a command center, and assigned its staff, volunteers and vehicle fleet towards island recovery. The system integrator helped airlift 30 patients to U.S., hospitals; equipped 54 patients on 24/7 life support equipment with 10-12 kVA diesel generators; installed a 91 kVA generator at Culebra island community hospital; and chartered a flight to bring in 85,000 pounds of donated medicines. PACIV estimates it was able to save 151 lives.
- Becca Johnson, operational excellence manager at Concept Systems in Albany, Ore., won the Rising Star Award for promoting excellence on a variety of fronts at her organization, participating with the CSIA and its peer groups, and always being willing to help colleagues.
- P.C. Romano, president of Avid Solutions in Winston-Salem, N.C., won the Charlie Bergman "Remember Me" Award for his longtime service, many contributions to the CSIA, and "unselfish sharing" in support of his fellow members—all in the spirit of Mr. Bergman, who helped found and nurture the CSIA in its earliest years.