Register now open for the 2013 CSIA Executive Conference,
May 1-4 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Congratulations to these CSIA Certified members
Welcome new members
Brown Summit, NC, United States
Automation Systems Interconnect, Inc.
Mechanicsburg, PA, United States
Integrated Controls, Inc.
JDP Automation Inc.
Moorhead, MN, United States
Metz Connect USA, Inc.
Tinton Falls, NJ, United States
Micro-Comm, Inc.Olathe, KS,
Nexus Electronica cyo S.A.
Curridabat, San Jose, Costa Rica
SAIC Energy, Environment & Infrastructure, LLC
Walled Lake, MI, United States
SPI Engenharia de Automacao
Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil
Refer a new member!
Tell your colleagues about CSIA. Find member benefits and an application at www.controlsys.org.
The go-to resource for control system integration.
"I wish my staff could hear this."
If you've attended a past CSIA Executive Conference, you've probably heard this comment. Sure, you can share the presentation slides, but nothing beats being there in person.
Reasons to bring your staff . . .
Awareness of the business side of control system integration: Engineers and other technical staff benefit from understanding their role in the success of your company. Exposure to CSIA Best Practices and Benchmarks: Learning about best practices helps individuals and teams achieve their personal best.
Opportunity to learn firsthand about new applications and system integrator programs from Partners.
Investment in the future: Professional development promotes loyalty and demonstrates a commitment to the future of the individual and the profession.
Consider sharing the CSIA experience by bringing one or more staff members to the CSIA 2013 Executive Conference.
Got Credits? Most CSIA members are missing the boat offered by the federal R&D tax credit
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013
11 a.m., Eastern Standard Time (New York)
Brian Lefever, VP of Operations, Titan Armor
Dawson Fercho, National Director Channels/Awareness, Titan Armor
The federal research and development tax credit (based on congress' definition) could certainly improve with a title like the "trial and error" tax credit. These incentives are for taxpayers of any size that use their heads and problem solve daily.
This includes designing, developing or improving products, processes, techniques (think waste reduction or efficiency improvements), formulas or software. At its most basic level the credit is available to all successful U.S. businesses.
Please join us for this highly informative webinar. This information will be invaluable to your growth and ability to compete this year!
CSIA webinars are recorded. See the webinar archives to listen in again or find out what you've missed.
| Don't lose out on any of the many benefits of CSIA membership, including access to the newest Best Practices Manual, connections with peers on the CSIA Connected Community and discounted registration for all your key players at the 2013 CSIA Executive Conference. |
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If you have any questions or need further assistance please contact Kim Siebecker
at 800-661-4914. Thank you for your continued support of CSIA!
Reduced dues for CSIs in lower-income countries
CSIA has great news! In late 2012, CSIA developed a new dues structure for our members. Included is a reduced rate for integrators in lower income countries. The applicable countries can be found near the bottom of the CSIA membership application.
If your country is on the list and your annual revenue from system integration is less than US $2 million, your annual dues are only US $500.
This type of discount structure is typical in other industry associations. The reduced rate puts CSIA membership within financial reach for small companies in developing countries.
We are excited to inform the automation community of this important news and hope many CSIs will join the CSIA team. We want to help CSIs everywhere prosper and grow - and serve their clients well!
Best Practices - now in Portuguese
The CSIA Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual is now available in Portuguese to our members! This is great news for our members in Brazil. We are grateful to Candice Ducharme of MatrikonOPC for this accomplishment. It was her commitment to CSIA and influence in MatrikonOPC that enabled the translation to occur. Although many people on staff at system integration companies in Brazil communicate in English, we recognize that some do not, and it's critical that employees at all levels in the company can make use of this document to improve their business.
For CSIA members, the manual can be found in the "Member Resources for Managing Your Business" resource library. For non-members, there is a sample of the manual on our website. Our hope is that you will see the value of it and consider being a member.
The system integrators and automation partners in Latin America are very important to CSIA and this document is evidence of that.
Additional documents will be translated to Portuguese in the future but this is the most critical, and the largest, so we did this translation first.
The manual also is being translated to Spanish by Omnicon in Colombia. We are grateful to Eduardo Acosta of Omnicon. It will be completed soon.
|Mentor of the Month:
Ed Diehl, Concept Systems
by Joe Martin, Ambassadors Committee Chair
Tell us a little about yourself
I was born and raised on a ranch in western Montana. I discovered my passion for control systems while working a GM Scholar internship at General Motors in Warren, Mich. From that point on I focused my education on controls and mechatronics. I have been working in the controls field since I graduated from college (Stanford University, BSME '87, MSME '89). Over the years I have worked as a project engineer, controls engineer, engineering manager, operations manager and sales manager. I founded Concept Systems with my two partners in 1999. My wife, Jamie, works in the company as our vice president of finance and human relations. I have two children, both attending college, and one beautiful granddaughter. In addition to my company, my family, and my faith, my other passion is flying. I am an instrument rated private pilot and fly my Cirrus SR22 whenever I can.
Tell us about Concept Systems
We are a control systems integrator extraordinaire. Since starting the company in 1999, we have grown to 70 employees with offices in Oregon, Washington, Denver and South Carolina. We have systems in critical production environments all over the world. We are control and automation technology experts; we team with our customers to deliver the right control solutions for their business. We are not tied to any particular industry or industries; we work in food, metals and mining, recycling, aerospace and wood products, among many others. Our operation includes a full UL-508A/698A panel shop. Our management structure includes a true co-CEO arrangement. While I share CEO responsibilities with one of my partners, I also manage engineering and operations and he manages sales and marketing.
What has CSIA done for you and your company?
We joined CSIA in 2003. At the time we knew little about the organization other than is sounded interesting and we received extra points toward our Rockwell Solution Partner status if we were members. We attended our first conference in New Orleans shortly after joining and had an amazing experience. We knew then that we were part of something special. We quickly adopted the best practices and were certified in 2005. The benefits for my company and me are numerous. The relationships with peers and the amazing conferences have helped me grow professionally. The best practices have helped us win business, improve our quality, and increase our bottom line.
What can you offer as a mentor?
I believe my experience bootstrapping a controls systems integration firm from three guys meeting in a coffeehouse (relocating to a pub in the afternoon) to where we are now will be of interest to some of our members. There have been a number of changes to our organization and infrastructure that have worked (and not worked) along the way. Our experience with three certification audits will help those members starting down the path of adopting the best practices. And as a past chair, board member, and committee member, I have some insight into the organization and how to get the most out of a CSIA membership.
What one piece of advice would you give to a new member?
Engage! Participate in the annual Executive Conference and year-round via the online Connected Community. To paraphrase our CSIA founder, for every one idea you share you are going to get 10 in return!
If you're a new member or just want to find out how you can get more benefit from your CSIA membership, please feel free to email Ed.
Looking for a member mentor? In the Connected Community go to Directory > Find a Member. Check Mentor search box, then Find Members.
Anixter offers year's worth of opportunities
by Rob Cotner, Director of Marketing, Anixter, Industrial Communication and Control
Anixter looks forward to an exciting year of providing industrial communication and control knowledge and expertise to system integrators. From sensor to server, Anixter can assist control system integrators with power quality, industrial ethernet, connectivity, and cybersecurity solutions.
Anixter's industrial security message for 2013 - Defense in Depth - will look to provide inclusive solutions for clients to make sure they have the appropriate security levels for their plant control systems. In addition to cybersecurity, there are several opportunities to leverage Anixter's network security experience to integrate access control and video surveillance for a total security solution for your clients.
For the fifth consecutive year, Anixter is hosting an opening reception at the CSIA Executive Conference at the stunning Mahaffey Theater in the heart of St. Petersburg. Held on Wednesday, May 1, the reception will provide an excellent opportunity for CSIA members, partners and associates to explore the latest in the industrial communication space while enjoying beautiful views, delicious food and networking with their peers.
Later in May, Anixter will participate in the Automation Conference held in Chicago. This event offers educational tracts in data collection and interconnectivity trends. The participants at the conference include a unique mix of corporate engineers, equipment builders and system integrators.
In 2013, Anixter will participate in the PI North America Free Training Classes for PROFIBUS and PROFINET that are offered across North America and throughout the year. Designed for instrumentation engineers, control system integrators, IT personnel or anyone interested in learning about industrial communication protocols, the sessions feature detailed technical explanations along with practical demonstrations. These no-cost classes are ideal for new members of your organization.
Your client's network is critical for process control, data collection and product quality. Anixter will provide the expertise to help you select the best solutions for network security, system monitoring and robust connections and make sure that your next project is supported by a highly reliable industrial network.
Marketing questions to ask in 2013
by Chad Ritterbusch, president of The Ritterbusch Group
It's hard to believe we're a month into 2013 already. If you're like a lot of business people you want to market your business more effectively in the New Year. Here are a few questions to ask as you move forward.
1. How well do you know your ideal customer? Typically, a company's best customers provide a disproportionally high degree of revenue - and an even higher degree of profit. So it's essential to really know what makes these people tick.
2. What's your niche? A focused strategy is usually a successful strategy so I encourage you to consider what industries, service offerings, geographic markets or other niches you want to target in the future.
3. Is your website helping or hurting? In a referral-based field like system integration, it's usually sufficient to have a site that looks good, is easy to navigate and speaks effectively to what your company does. Before spending time and money on bells and whistles make sure the basics are in place.
4. Who are your referral sources? Spend time identifying those who have sent business your way. Most system integrators rely upon "word-of-mouth" marketing in order to grow. Whether the referrals come from clients, distributors, manufacturer partners or others, the "20/80" rule typically applies. Think about how you can encourage future referrals.
Then consider how to even grow the list.
Keep things simple. For most CSIA members it is sensible to identify no more than one marketing goal, two strategic initiatives and three tactics for accomplishment in the year.
Chad Ritterbusch is president of The Ritterbusch Group, a Brookfield, Wis.-based marketing firm whose clients include CSIA. He can be reached at chad@TRG-Marketing.com and will provide two talks on marketing at the upcoming CSIA Executive Conference in St. Petersburg. To learn more about the sessions, visit the conference website.
by Paul Barnard, CSIA insurance program manager
First we welcome the latest participants in our insurance programs: QDS Systems of Baton Rouge, La., U.S.; and LT Software Solutions, Portsmouth, N.H., U.S.
2012 was another great year for our programs. Since partnering with First Niagara Risk Management back in September 2009 our U.S. participants have grown from 47 insured to 78. Our participants range in annual revenues from $300,000 to $80 million. Our desire has always been to provide a unique range of control system integrator-specific insurance policies for all our members irrespective of their size, and you can see that we continue to achieve this goal.
In addition to the United States, we are now able to offer coverage to our Canadian members and those in the EU. In Canada, we partner with insurance brokers, Jones Brown. In the EU, it's insurance brokers Thompson, Heath & Bond. Both these new programs are in their infancy, but I am pleased to advise that we now have five insured in Canada and one in the EU. We expect to see rapid expansion of participation within these additional territories.
For information regarding CSIA insurance programs or for a review of your current insurance coverage please contact Paul Barnard at firstname.lastname@example.org or (001)-610-507-6595.
Cyber security notice
US Dept. of Homeland Security
NIST announces the release of Special Publication 800-53, Revision 4, Security and Privacy Controls for Federal information Systems and Organizations. CSRC website: http://csrc.nist.gov/
Also, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Control Systems Security Program (CSSP) has released Version 5.0 of the Cyber Security Evaluation Tool (CSETŪ). This new version of the tool can be downloaded from the CSSP website.
Protecting your most valuable assets - your employees
by Brian P. Clifford, CSIA Attorney
CSIA members are frequently involved in complex, unique and sophisticated projects. In order to meet your clients' needs, you depend on your experienced employees that have the specialized skills needed to timely perform your contracts. The loss of an employee can adversely impact a major project or an important customer relationship. However, you can use several techniques to protect your ability to provide value to your clients through your key employees:
1. Non-recruitment clause: In your service contracts, you can propose a non-recruitment provision that forbids your customer from hiring (or attempting to hire) your employees. These provisions usually are narrowly drafted to cover only those employees who are actually performing services for your customer and typically are applicable only during the term of the contract and a limited period of time (a few months or perhaps a year) thereafter. Sometimes these provisions include a payment provision in the event an employee is hired away from you by the customer. This payment term could be based on your expected "head-hunting" costs. Or the amount due could be based on your anticipated loss of revenue from that employee's departure.
2. Non-compete agreement: For key employees, you may want to include a non-competition provision in their employment agreements. These provisions can be written to prohibit an employee from working in the same field as your business - so long as the restrictions are reasonably limited in scope, duration and geographical application.
3. Non-solicitation provision: If a non-compete agreement doesn't fit the circumstances, it is also possible to draft a more limited agreement that simply prohibits an employee from soliciting work from your current customers on behalf of a competitor. There are already laws that may protect you from a former employee's theft of your confidential business information (such as customer databases and pricing information), but inserting protective clauses in your employment agreements can give you some "breathing room" to retain important clients during a period of employee transitions.
4. Non-interference provision: Similar to a non-solicitation provision, these clauses prohibit a former employee from seeking to interfere with your company's business relationships. For example, they can be written to prohibit your former employee from trying to end your relationship with an important subcontractor, distributor or supplier.
The legal rules that impact each of these types of provisions can be complicated and often vary from state to state, so it is best to consult your attorney to craft an effective clause or group of provisions that helps you protect your company's most valuable assets.
Brian Clifford is a member of the automation practice at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP. He can be reached at +1.260.460.1687 or Brian.Clifford@FaegreBD.com.
|CSIA members receive a 10% discount off the registration fee. Contact Kim Coffman to register.
CSIA is sponsor of 2013 ARC Process Management Academy
ARC Advisory Group's ninth annual Process Management Academy (PMA) will be held March 4-5, 2013, at the Radisson BLU Astrid Hotel in Antwerp, Belgium. With an emphasis on practical strategies, best practices, and maximizing the business benefits of safe and sustainable manufacturing, ARC's PMA takes the theme "Boosting Profitability & Efficiency" to the next level. CSIA is an industry association sponsor of this event.
For more information about ARC's 9th Process Management Academy, please sign in on ARC's website: www.arcweb.com, then select the "Events" section and click on "ARC Process Management Academy."
CSIA and The Automation Conference team up
CSIA will be one of four content partners for The Automation Conference (TAC), May 14-15 in Chicago. This educational forum is produced for engineering and management professionals within discrete manufacturing, packaging, and continuous and batch processing.
CSIA will also be a presenter at the conference, discussing the topic of "Selecting a System Integrator and Managing the Relationship." Speakers participating in the panel presentation will be CSIA's Executive Director Robert Lowe and four directors: Steve Goldberg, Matrix Technologies; Joe Martin, Martin Control Systems; Eduardo Acosta, Omnicon; and Ed Diehl, Concept Systems.
CSIA members will receive a $100 discount on registration for the conference. Learn more about the conference and registration at The Automation Conference.