Jan 2021 – One Last Toast to the Year that Wasn’t – ISA St. Louis Section

March 13th, 2020. That was the date that I accepted the nomination to run for President again. I remember the scene well. It was at a crowded Ferguson Brewery at lunch. At the next table some coworkers of mine teasing me that I must be there on a secret interview. I met Ed Biggs, the then President, to discuss my thoughts and concerns.


I knew – only once in the 77 year history of our group had someone served as President more than one term (I am quite a bit too young to know the story, but Ralph Munch served as President 1946-47 and then served again in the 1949-50 year).  I spoke to a lot of people involved with the Section and asked their opinions and came away that I would accept the nomination and serve as President again if elected.


Back to that lunch. Although I still thought there were others volunteering that I might be interested as well, I began to see what a second term might look like. We had some great programs and events coming up (were we really going to go throw axes?) and I thought this will be a great opportunity to get the pulse of what the Section members wanted to see from the group going into the next year. I had always felt some regret that during my first term as President I spent too much time cleaning up some of the back-office operations of the Section that had gone untouched, and not enough time listening to what our members needed. This was going to be my chance to now be a man of the people! I shared these thoughts with Ed, we paid our bills, and then I headed back to work. Little did I know I would only regularly be in that office for one more day before the lockdown began.


I’d be lying if I hadn’t hoped many nights when I go to bed that I would wake up and it would be March 14th, and the world would be back to normal. I wonder often: 1) would I have still been elected? 2) if I was still elected, how different would my priorities have looked? 3) what would the attendance be like at the March meeting after having 30+ attendees in February? and 4) would I have been any good at axe throwing?


This program year has been an odd one, no doubt, but we have found ways to battle our “Zoom Fatigue” and still have the occasional chuckle while learning some new industry trends. Programs on Virtual Reality in automation took on new meanings as they were delivered virtually as well. Networking events turned into virtual happy hours. We made the best of the virtual world while we kept looking to the future with the hope we’d be in person soon.


Now we enter the last half of our Program Year. We are working on 4-program event on Energy Conservation, that we hope you all attend (virtually of course). We also have some IIoT updates planned along the way with an occasional virtual happy hour to come. We continue to hope that the 2021-22 Program Year gets us back to in person meetings and programs, but until then come and join us for a virtual event. Bring a friend! In fact, if you bring a friend, we’ll enter you into a drawing for some lovely ISA swag (more details to come). If you have an idea for program, drop us a line. We always want to hear what we can do for our members, especially as we work to get back to normal.


Here’s to the year that wasn’t, and all the best to you for a better year in 2021.


Cory N. Kniepp

ISA St. Louis Section, President

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Dec. 2020 – What Will the Future Hold – ISA St. Louis Section

As we enter the final month of a year that future generations will read about in history books, I can’t help but look to the brighter days ahead. Thinking about the possibilities of the future reminded me of a series of AT&T commercials from my youth. These ads perfectly conveyed the and predicted some amazing changes in the world. Also, these ads were surprisingly easy to find:

Remember those? Full disclosure, at the time I thought those inventions seemed more like props from the Back to the Future trilogy than anything reality could produce. Pretty much the only thing the ads ended up getting wrong was the continued existence of phone booths. It is amazing to think that now pretty much all of it is embedded in our daily lives with most of it accessible on phones that are more powerful than most any computer from 1993. Think about all the advances in automation that helped makes those, at the time seemingly far fetched ads, become reality.

Now let’s hop in our DeLoreans and set the time circuits for 2047, the same amount of time that has elapsed from those original AT&T commercials until today. What seemingly far away inventions will be a reality? What will the future like? There are a lot of futurologists out there that offer all types of predictions, but here are a few things I can predict in our corner of the automated world:

  • The ISA is celebrating 102 years; The St. Louis Section is celebrating 104
  • High speed rail and self-driving cars are common modes of transportation
  • The level of autonomous workers / robots continues to rise
  • “Automation Engineer” becomes a popular job title blending skills from mechanical, electrical, and computer science
  • The impacts of scientific discovery from the 2020 Pandemic will have inspired new generations of STEM learners
  • Finally - I will still be on the ISA St. Louis Section Board, but with my retirement in sight


Back to today – we hope you can join us for an upcoming ISA St. Louis Virtual Event. December marks our annual Holiday Luncheon tradition – this year to take place instead as a virtual happy hour. I encourage you to invite a friend as well to the Holiday Happy Hour, as it will be a great way to network virtually with other ISA St. Louis members. Looking further ahead, we are working on a series of energy conservation roundtables for 2021. Please stay tuned to for the latest updates on what promises to be an awesome series. We hope to be back to in person events in the near future, and we are looking forward to planning an exciting return event.

Before I sign off one last time for 2020, I want to thank all of you involved with the ISA St. Louis Section for the opportunity to lead the Section again, especially during this unique time in our history. I hope this finds all of you and your families safe and healthy.

Have a great holiday season,

Cory N. Kniepp

ISA St. Louis Section, President

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Nov. 2020 – The Results Are In! – ISA St. Louis Section

You heard me right, the results are final with all votes tallied.

No, no, no … not those results. After the required 2-week voting period, we are pleased to announce the acceptance of the proposed By-Laws. With a vote of 89% of the vote in favor, the new By-Laws are now in place.

Link to New By-Laws (log-on required):

As the one Board member who has now been through 2 of these, let me say that this task of updating By-Laws is no easy feat. This was my top priority coming into the President’s role again and am pleased that we were able to accomplish this change within the first several months. However, I am owed zero credit. Ed Biggs and Nick Erickson did the heavy lifting here. With support from Andrea and Rachel at the ISA, we were able to take work that Nick had been doing over the past 4 years and Ed had been doing over the past 2 to craft a document that we felt confident in carrying us forward. We are now in the process of informing the ISA of the official change.

Moving forward we will operate the structure of the board and committees as prescribed in the By-Laws. Our tasks and how we perform them will be defined in a new living document that allows for flexibility in our duties without breaking the structure of the organization. We will be spending time writing and refining this document throughout the rest of the Program Year.

I want to thank everyone who participate in our discussions, asked questions, and voted throughout this entire process. If you are interested in volunteering or sitting in on an upcoming Board meeting, please let us know. As a Section Member, your participation and enthusiasm are always welcome.

Please continue to stay in touch via ISAConnect and – we are in the process of planning our last program of calendar 2020 and our annual social event – Holiday Happy Hour (this year to be held virtually).


Cory N. Kniepp

ISA St. Louis Section, President

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Oct. 2020 - Notice of Proposed By-law Changes – ISA St. Louis Section

Per the current Constitution and By-Laws (amended April 4, 2009) the current Section Board has the made the required resolution to update our Section’s Constitution and By-Laws. The proposed change will become effective immediately if two-thirds of the ballots received at the end of a two-week period from the date of submittal, are in favor of the change. As a non-profit, we also must update the State of Missouri of any approved changes.

The Board unanimously recommends the proposed changes.

Below is a brief Q&A explaining the nature of these changes:

Can we review the proposed changes?

Yes! Links to the current document and proposed document are below.

Link to Current:

Link to Proposed (log-on required):

Where and when do I vote?

Voting will be open from Saturday October 17th thru the Saturday October 31st in the Member Area of (member log-on required) via this link: (Please note this link is only available during 10/17-10/31). Results will be published via email on November 4th.

Who is eligible to vote?

All members in good-standing with the ISA St. Louis Section may vote. If you have trouble accessing the web vote, please contact [email protected] to confirm membership and for updated website credentials.

Who is affected by this proposed change?

Ever ISA Member of the St. Louis Section.

Why is the Section Board resolving to change the current document?

Over the past 11 years, many transformative changes have taken place at the Society level as well as how our Section conducts business and programs. It is our goal to be a completely inclusive Section of all our Members, and one small change we are making is dropping gender-specific pronouns from all documentation. One major cue we are taking from the Society as well as our peer Sections is to separate our Business Processes and Procedures from our By-Laws. The By-Laws will be a legal record of how our Organization is structured and will continue to require Membership approval to change. The Business Process and Procedure document will be a living document that the Board uses to define and delegate tasks amongst the Board members.

Why now?

The ISA is also updating their By-Laws and Business Practices. We are using this time to update our Section’s documents to be in lockstep with the Society and their changes.

What process was used to make these recommended changes?

This process dates back to 2016 when the then Board identified the need to update the By-Laws. While several revisions were suggested, the Board declined resolution with knowledge that the ISA was also soon to revise the Society By-Laws. Jump forward to 2020, and with the Society revision moving toward a vote, we felt it was the right time to use the previous proposed revisions alongside with guidance from the ISA to undertake this change. During the September Board meeting, a motion to start a By-Law committee was passed. Nick Erickson (Chair), Ed Biggs, Mike Unterreiner, Cory Kniepp, and Hycintia Subbash made up this committee. This committee met throughout September to go over each item in the proposed document and utilized resources from the ISA Society office as guidance in creating the proposed document.

If the Proposed Document passes, when does it become effective?

Immediately. We will work quickly to file the new By-Laws with the ISA and with the State of Missouri.

What if it doesn’t pass?

We will continue to operate under the current By-Laws.

What if I have additional questions?

Please contact any Board Member via


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