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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