From the CSIA: Transitions & new initiatives
The Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) has been under new leadership for six months, with the transition occurring at the CSIA Executive Conference in May. The previous leadership team was Norm O’Leary as executive director, and his administrative assistant. Norm retired after 10 years of exceptional service to CSIA.
The new leadership team consists of myself as executive director, Lynda Patterson, CAE as president, and Ed Diehl, chairman of the Executive Council. Lynda’s company, Association Acumen in Madison, WI, is CSIA’s association management company and headquarters.
The executive council is the official governing body of CSIA. Association Acumen’s role is strategic, marketing and financial planning, organization of the annual executive conference, collaboration with the executive council, and all administrative responsibilities. My primary role is to be the “statesman” for CSIA at association and partner member events, to enhance relationships with both system integrator and partner members, and to work with the executive council on pertinent initiatives.
At the time of the transition, CSIA was very healthy in regard to membership numbers and financial position. That continues to be the case—in spite of the difficult economy, which has impacted some of our member companies. However, those members that serve industries such as food, pharmaceutical, oil & gas, alternative energy and water/wastewater are generally doing well.
Delivering best practices
CSIA continues to be committed to the core value of improving the business skills of control system integration companies through implementation of best practices. Improvements are always being made to the Best Practices Manual to continuously “raise the bar” for members and keep the manual relevant as factors that affect plant automation evolve.
A natural extension of the application of best practices is CSIA Certified member status, which is a cornerstone of CSIA. The path to certification requires an integrator to prepare for and pass an audit that is based on the best practices. The preparation process always results in improvements to the integrator’s business operations, and then the CSIA Certified status provides a significant marketing advantage. A major goal of CSIA is to help end user companies understand the benefit of using CSIA Certified companies so that certification will be required to do control systems integration work in their plants.
There are several new initiatives at CSIA. A mentorship program matches a new system integrator member with a long-standing certified member company that understands the value of membership. The intent is to have the new member understand and take advantage of the opportunities available to them.
A Web 2.0 project will create a new CSIA Website that uses popular social media concepts, similar to LinkedIn and Facebook. The key component will be a private, online CSIA-member-only community that emphasizes collaboration and sharing of information and ideas through groups, blogs, and discussion boards. Some information will be made available to end users and prospective members to provide a taste of what is available to CSIA members.
Further good news for members is that, in addition to the successful U.S. business insurance program, two new programs have been launched. First, a surety bonding facility has been established for members requiring bonding within the United States. Second, a professional errors and omissions facility is available for membership based outside the U.S. All three insurance programs are available exclusively to members of CSIA.
Another new initiative is Webinars, offered throughout the year to provide integrator members with educational opportunities year round. CSIA’s partner members, who are automation product vendors, often provide the Webinars.
Partner members continue to be strong supporters of CSIA because strong, professional control system integrators provide a healthy, low-risk channel to market for their products.
Thank you for this opportunity to serve CSIA. Lynda Patterson, Ed Diehl and I—along with the entire executive council and staff—look forward to continued success with the support of the membership.
For more information on CSIA, visit: www.controlsys.com.
From the 2009 edition of the Automation Integrator Guide, a supplement to Control Engineering magazine. This annual print guide to nearly 1,800 automation system integrators is searchable online at http://www.controleng.com/integrators .
See other articles in the 2010 Automation Integrator Guide .