ISA Water / Wastewater Symposium

Quick note for your calendar. I just received an update from the program chair of the 2012 Water / Wastewater and Automatic Control Symposium which will be held Aug. 7-9 in Orlando.

Presented by the Water and Wastewater Division of ISA, in collaboration with the Florida AWWA and the WEF Automation and Information Technology Committee, the WWAC Symposium helps professionals in the water and wastewater industries understand how instrumentation, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), and automatic control applications affect the processing and distribution of water treatment.

Thinking more broadly

Speaking of ISA, I had not seen much advance publicity for ISA Automation Week (formerly ISA Expo, the huge revenue source for ISA and meeting place for the industry) and got into a conversation with Peter Martin of Invensys, who is heading up the conference portion.

Consider the situation–large companies stopped funding their very expensive booths at ISA Expo because there were not enough attendees to justify the expense. I think some in ISA thought it should be considered something of a donation, but CEOs driven to provide profit growth just couldn’t justify the expense. Automation Week was formed, but it still has not drawn very many attendees.

The question I have raised before is just this–why can’t ISA motivate its members to attend these events? Some are very good. I no long know what membership is, but even if it’s around 10,000 in the US alone, getting only a couple of hundred to its premier events suggests that the organization is not involving its members enough.

How can it do that? How can we get more members out to the Association’s premier event? I know that Jon DiPietro is working hard to find ways to use social media to involve members. That’s one way. I’m not involved in sections, but is there a way to get section leadership more involved in promoting the event? Is there just a huge disconnect between what leaders are providing and what membership expects? Are there just too many conferences (most of which have excellent speakers, too)?

I don’t know. What do you think?

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