Traveling to meet with other industry practitioners is a valuable learning experience. There are the formal presentations, which are just fine. Sometimes the best experiences are just chatting with others in the hallway or at lunch or even the bar afterwards. This is where people share what works and what doesn’t. I’ve learned a lot in these experiences.

A month or so ago, ISA issued a press release that it has, indeed, decided to go forward with its “Automation Week” conference for this year. Several of us were quite surprised given the reception it got last year.

It turns out that the press release was both a little premature and incomplete. They probably wanted to announce the general chairman for the year and dates. Information is beginning to slowly come out. This year all pretense of an Expo is gone. It will be a conference only. And if you have something to share, you can visit this page for details about the call for papers (abstracts due April 2).

When focused groups within ISA plan conferences (Water/Wastewater and Marketing for example), the results have been good. When it sets its sights higher and broader, then results have been less than gratifying. I don’t know much about this year’s plans, but I hope the leaders begin to seriously think about targeting a demographic rather than being something for everyone.

Targeted events, marketed appropriately to the targeted audience with a relevant message will bring results. There are tons of talented and knowledgeable engineers and managers within ISA. We just need to get them active.

ISA Automation Week 2013 is planned for November 5-7 in Nashville, Tennessee. From what I’ve heard as part of a couple of ISA Committees, there are tracks planned that are references to ISA88, ISA95, and ISA106 – or to issues directly impacted by the work of the three committees. I’ve also heard that there is a safety track. I hope this isn’t too much, but many of you have experience and expertise to share. Not sure if I’ll be there in person, but keep me posted.

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