July 2020 - ISA St. Louis 2.0 or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Webinar

First off, I’d like to thank Ed Biggs. As you hopefully know, Ed served as our President the past 2 years. He did an amazing job. Streamlined a lot – seriously a lot - of behind the scenes work that the Board does, engaged new members, identified new leaders, made sure we had good monthly programs, and injected some enthusiasm that I had not seen in the section in some time. If you haven’t done so already, please thank Ed for all his hard work.

Secondly, I am pleased to introduce the 2020-22 ISA St. Louis Board:

  • Cory Kniepp – President, Membership Chair, Newsletter Editor
  • Mike Unterreiner – Vice President, Secretary
  • Hycintia Subash – Treasurer, Social Media Chair
  • Ed Biggs – Past President, Society Delegate
  • Nick Erickson – Standards & Practices Chair, Webmaster, Section-Division Liaison, Alt. Delegate
  • Kevin McLaughlin – Program Chair


Please feel free to reach out to any of these Board members if you are interested in volunteering.

When I was approached about running for President again, I was flattered, but hesitant. See, this is round 2 for me, and while I have stayed engaged holding multiple volunteer positions over the past several years, I never thought I’d hold an Executive Board position again with the Section. After speaking with many, and given the current state of the world, I came a way with this: the Section and the World are in a state of transition. I plan on using my previous experience as President to bridge to the new leaders we have identified and others that will follow. Here are just a few of my goals for my term:

  • We will be working on updating our Bylaws to be in lock-step with the Society.
  • We will continue to identify and grow new Section Leaders.
  • We will hold regular meetings and programs that engage an engineer’s natural curiosity.
  • We will improve our outreach to local companies and schools to share our resources as we are the local representatives of the organization that sets the Standard in Automation.


Now, the elephant in the room, something happened as the calendar turned to 2020. The world was struck with a pandemic and work went virtual. Programs that the Board was excited about (including a social one involving axes being thrown) were indefinitely postponed and the Webinar Meeting/Program became the standard.

For those that don’t know me, I am usually the social type. Love the face-to-face engagement and built a great career in Sales & Marketing based on my love of getting to know people. During one of my roles I managed a remote team spread across the US. The biggest pain-point I had in that role was the constant WebEx/Conference Call. I muddled through many a remote presentation to our team, but I always wanted a personal touch with anyone outside of our organization – either professional groups or customers. To make a long story only slightly longer, we are currently in a situation that for safety sake the Webinar is the best setting for all meetings and I’ve learned to adapt and love the convenience.

What does it all mean for the ISA St. Louis Section? We will be utilizing the webinar format until we, as a Board, are comfortable enough to know that face to face meetings are safe. Over the past several months we’ve had some excellent Webinar speakers on best practices for working remotely, poultry processing (anyone else still avoiding chicken?), and some social Happy Hours as well.

While I really do miss seeing all of you in person, I’ve learned to quit worrying when we will be able to meet in person again and I have embraced the convenience of Zoom or WebEx or Teams or whatever your preferred webinar tool is. I’ve kept in mind that the traffic from the fridge to the kitchen is always light with only an occasional dog or toddler jamming up the hall, the beverages and meals are always on the house, and my chair is always at its optimal setting for my comfort.

Stay Safe, wear a mask, and together we will push forward to a better tomorrow. Automation is playing its most important role yet, and ISA is at the forefront of Automation Standards. I hope that you all continue to be a part of this wonderful organization.


Cory N. Kniepp

ISA St. Louis - President

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