CSIA Conference reflects international membership

System integrators from 17 countries attend annual event.

By Mike Bacidore, editor in chief

Nearly 500 individuals attended the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) Executive Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which was held April 19-22.

Highlighting CSIA’s growing global presence, 65 non-U.S. system integrators, partners and guests from 16 countries were welcomed to the conference at a special reception for international guests.

A two-day workshop, Best Practices Training, was held prior to the conference. It covered the application of the principles behind CSIA’s cornerstone document, its Best Practices and Benchmarking manual.

New this year was a CSIA Women in Industry networking breakfast designed specifically for women in all aspects of control system integration. The conference also featured sessions, panel discussions, an expo and a field trip to the Amgen Pharmaceuticals plant in Puerto Rico. Rounding out the three-day meeting was keynote presenter Alan Beaulieu, president of ITR Economics.

Also read: Dick Morley receives CSIA first-ever lifetime achievement award

During the annual Awards Dinner, CSIA recognized five outstanding organizations and individuals for their contributions to the system integration industry.

Hargrove Controls + Automation in Mobile, Alabama, was named 2016 Integrator Member of the Year. Hargrove Controls + Automation was founded in July 2012 with a team of five and has rapidly grown to include 75 control systems engineers and specialists spread across 11 office locations. It is one of the few fully integrated automation groups in the country for safety systems, industrial IT and plant automation in addition to engineering, construction management and project execution, and Hargrove has received numerous recognitions, rankings and awards.

National Instruments was recognized as 2016 Partner Member of the Year. It received this award for its achievements within the industry and for the way it works with and encourages CSIA’s integrator members.

The 2016 Rising Star award was presented to Chris Schleich, Enterprise Automation in Irvine, California. Schleich was recognized for traits that set him above his peers, including a ferocious appetite for learning, an inherent ability to identify and mitigate risk and the drive to follow through on his initiatives. These traits were recognized right away when he was first hired at Enterprise Automation as a junior engineer in 2007, and he was subsequently fast-tracked to a management position.

Don Ulrich, Stone Technologies, St. Louis, Missouri, received the 2016 Charlie Bergman Award. The Charlie Bergman “Remember Me” Award, named in honor of CSIA founder and visionary, Charlie Bergman, remains the highest distinction for CSIA members. This award recognizes a member for upholding the principles of sharing, leadership and promoting the profession. Ulrich was recognized for his ongoing and consistent contributions to CSIA, as well as his proactive willingness to support his peers.

A newly created Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to the Automation Industry was awarded to Dick Morley, a well-known figure in the automation world. Primarily known for his invention of the programmable logic controller (PLC) in 1968, he has enjoyed a prolific life as an engineer, consultant, inventor and serial entrepreneur. He set up several companies, including Modicon and Andover Controls, and he also published three books and numerous articles.

The Modicon brand of PLC and Andover Controls are now owned by Schneider Electric. Morley’s ideas allowed other companies to bring products like the floppy disk and anti-lock brakes to market. He was also a mentor to a large community of younger engineers, several of whom are CSIA members today.

Download our 2016 special report on trends in PLCs, PACs and PCs