Celebrating Our History and Meeting the Challenges of the Future by Eric Cosman, 2020 Global Society President and his opening message to the membership all over the world.

“I am honored and humbled to serve as our Society President in 2020, and I look forward to meeting many of our members during my term. I have been a member of ISA for over 25 years, not joining until after moving from Canada to the U.S. Believe me, at that time, I had no dreams or aspirations beyond involvement in the areas where I thought I might be able to make some small contribution. Fortunately, I benefited from the advice and guidance from several great mentors who helped me appreciate much broader possibilities. This is why I am so committed to providing similar mentoring and counsel to others and giving back to our profession.

Unlike many of you, my path did not take me through a section. My original motivation was to learn more about and contribute to industry standards. Over the years I was gradually drawn into several other roles, learning more about the society with each one. Throughout my career I have been passionate about defining and executing effective strategies for growth and improvement. Sometimes this in response to technological changes and in other cases the drivers are more related to societal change or the needs of people in their professional pursuits. I have lived through, survived, led and facilitated many changes and have learned some difficult lessons in the process. I believe that I can put this experience to use in my role this year.

Your Executive Board and other leaders have put a great deal of thought and effort into developing a strategic plan for ISA that addresses both internal needs and drivers, as well as the necessity of raising our profile in industry and with the broader community. By providing the best services to our members and offering valued products and services to our industries we can ensure that ISA is well positioned for long term success. Some of our more internal challenges are related to how we are organized and the associated governance models and processes. While I may not have shared all aspects of the section or regional experience I understand and appreciate the value that diverse perspectives bring to an organization such as ours. The word “International” in our name presents us with the challenge of serving the needs and expectations of a wide range of communities, countries, and cultures. Each of these have their own interests and priorities. My task and that of our Executive Board is to understand these as best we can and define strategy and set priorities accordingly. This is how we can give credence to catch phrases such as “The Home of Automation” and continue to improve ISA as an organization that we are all proud of.

As someone who spent much of my career in or around the practice of industrial automation I believe strongly in promotion and advocacy for our profession. This is one of the reasons that I am thrilled to be lucky enough to serve in this role in this, our 75th anniversary year. I would like to be able to say that this was the result of some grand plan but as my mother used to say, “It was more good luck than good management.” Although the 75th anniversary of the formative meeting of our Society is on April 28th, we are planning a year-long observation. We will celebrate the milestones and contributions to industry while looking forward to the new and exciting developments in our profession. While doing so we will take every opportunity to make others aware of our contributions and the importance of the automation profession to society.

It is this external focus that is the subject of another of our major objectives. We have named this Industry Teach and Awareness, and the focus is on making sure that we have the right channels both into and out of our Society and with partners and stakeholders to ensure that we are making contributions that have the most value and impact while providing the products and services required by our customers. This requires that we manage our portfolio of intellectual property (e.g., standards, practices, training, publications, etc.) in a way that allows us to identify new opportunities early and carefully reduce investments in areas that may no longer be of value or required.

As you can see, our strategy must address and include many “moving parts” for us to be successful. We have to review it regularly, measure our progress against objectives and goals, celebrate where and when appropriate and adjust our course as required. To do all of this we need the help and ideas of all leaders and members. It is our membership that represents the collective needs of our profession.

Please contact me at President@isa.org with your thoughts and insights. I look forward to continuing this dialogue throughout 2020.

Happy Anniversary!”