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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: https://isastl.starchapter.com/images/downloads/Constitution_and_Bylaws/2009_st._louis_section_amended_constitution_and_by_laws.pdf

Link to Proposed (log-on required): https://isastl.starchapter.com/restrictedDoc/Constitution_and_Bylaws/2020_st._louis_section_bylaws_r1.pdf

Where and when do I vote?

Voting will be open from Saturday October 17th thru the Saturday October 31st in the Member Area of  isastl.org (member log-on required) via this link: https://isastl.org/survey.php?id=3 (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 isastl.org.

 

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September 2020 – To Connect or Not Connect, That is the Question

Email, Instant Messenger, Websites, Cell Phones, SMS, MySpace, WebEx, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Zoom, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, and I am sure a whole list of others. To think, when I got my first email address ([email protected] in case you are curious, and yes I still have boxes in my basement filled with various Pez Dispensers and Pez-related items) most of those things I mentioned would have just sounded like nonsense words. Heck, I might argue that even today a lot of it is all complete nonsense.

There are a lot of ways we have connected virtually over the last 25 years or so with a lot of the focus now shifting to social media platforms. You see, I am not the biggest fan of social media, having opted almost 10 years ago to socially distance myself from most social media – limiting my use to Twitter and LinkedIn primarily for professional reasons. So, when ISA announced ISAConnect, the latest way to interact with other ISA members, I was torn.

In case you haven’t heard, ISAConnect just launched about a week ago. In fact, the whole ISA.org website was completely refreshed. If you haven’t been to ISA.org in a while, I encourage you to go check out all the changes. That is, after you are done reading this top notch blog.

“What is ISAConnect?” you might be asking (well if you weren’t, you definitely are now). ISAConnect is an exclusive online community for ISA members to network, learn, and get involved with the ISA, and in this time of working remotely and virtual meetings – a much needed resource to learn about the latest in automation. Here are just a few of the ISAConnect features as listed at ISA.org:  

  • Engage in technical discussions
  • Access technical knowledge available anytime, any place!
  • Tag and locate posts by industry topic
  • Enjoy personalized notifications based on your interests
  • Build your professional network
  • Search the Member Directory
  • Add peers as contacts
  • Connect with sections and divisions
  • Stay up-to-date on programs and activities
  • Discover opportunities to volunteer and get involved
  • Enhance your personal profile
  • Add your story, your interests, and your accolades
  • Build your volunteer and expert profiles to learn about and be matched with opportunities

 

Ok Cory, what is up with the sales pitch from a guy who isn’t “the biggest fan of social media”? Well, to be honest, I was not on board at first, but I have spent the past few days poking around and am excited for the possibilities. ISAConnect promises to be a safe online community focused on advancing our education of all things automation. ISAConnect will help connect our Section to new resources that we can share with the local automation community. I do encourage you to take ISAConnect for a quick test drive. I am sure you will see many of the benefits that I see in this exciting new tool from ISA.

For anyone interested, which should be everyone by now, there is a quick start guide here: ISAConnect Guide

Let’s ISAConnect Soon!

 

Cory N. Kniepp

ISA St. Louis - President

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August 2020 – Looking Back to Look Forward

Recently I found myself reflecting on the rich history of our Section. (Side note, did you know the St. Louis Section pre-dates the ISA itself? In case of a future trivia night – St. Louis Section, originally formed in 1943 by a group of local instrumentation and process engineers; ISA formed in 1945.) The end of World War II was still 2 years away with a lot of the local work force deployed around the world. I find myself wondering what conversations the local Section leadership were having in 1943.

One of the conversations we continually have today is how to identify and engage with the next generation of engineers. I can’t help but think what this conversation must have been like during the early days of our Section. With such uncertainty in the world, and most of the next generation off serving our country, how did our founders handle those conversations and the challenges they faced? Identifying the next generation aside, with a lot of expertise busy serving our country how did they plan their technical programs?

We now find ourselves facing a different type of uncertainty – when do we get back to normal. Don’t get me wrong, my money is and always will be on science triumphing in this fight and the world getting back to work in normal conditions, but the big question is how long will that take? Other questions we are faced with: what does the local workforce look like in the future? Will this uncertainty force companies to invest more in automation or shutter completely?

Let’s look back again. In 1943, here are some of the businesses that, according to some quick research at “Google University”, were important to our local economy: Mallinckrodt Chemical Company (refining uranium), Chevrolet (military vehicles), Curtiss-Wright (aircraft), Monsanto (chemicals and compounds), and the Army Ammunition Plant. Many of these places must have been running nearly 24/7 to help in the efforts. Many of these facilities were most likely running short handed or with temporary help (short personal story here, my Grandmother worked at Allis-Chalmers in Springfield, IL during this time - helping to build heavy equipment, such as artillery tractors and bulldozers – work that was far from her eventual career as a Librarian). How did the Section engage with the membership while everyone hard at work supporting the war efforts?

To be a fly on the wall in early days of our Section. I can only imagine the discussion at those meetings about the technical hurdles those engineers had during a time of rationing and production focused primarily on the war effort. Can you imagine having to rely on their technology to properly manufacture, refine, create, and build? How did they energize the Section, find new members, and identify leaders?

Ok, back to today. Some of those businesses are still around, and many new ones have entered the area. Our Section clearly handled all those challenges they faced as we are here today, some 77 years later, to reflect on them and look ahead to our own challenges.

Our focus is still to deliver good technical content that helps develop the members in our Section. We are currently delivering that content through virtual meetings until we can meet safely in person again. Using these same tools, we are also continuing our outreach to local technical schools and universities to help deliver our shared technical expertise with the next generation of engineers. For the current membership, we are sharing ISA information for anyone that might find themselves in a hardship due to Covid-19 and we as the Section’s Board are working hard to minimize and absorb any costs associated with the virtual programs. We have increased our web presence with a revamped website, and we will continue to add pertinent content to that site for our membership. We have brought new leaders into the Board and we will continue to welcome anyone interested in volunteering in anyway to support the Section.

Looking back at our founding has given me inspiration to help face our current challenges so that we come out of this a stronger Section than ever before. Looking ahead to when we are back to the proverbial normal, I am excited to celebrate us overcoming these challenges with all of you at our first in-person event, whenever that may be. Until then, stay safe, wear a mask, and stay tuned to isastl.org for the latest program schedule.

Cory N. Kniepp

ISA St. Louis - President

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