Congratulations to these CSIA Certified members
M.C. Dean/CIM Automation Systems
Bachelor Controls, Inc.
M.C. Dean/CIM Automation Systems
M.C. Dean/CIM Automation Systems
Johnson City, TN
M.C. Dean/CIM Automation Systems
Martin Control Systems Inc.
Welcome new members
Broughton Technology Consultants LLC
Burrow Global Services, LLC
Custom Automation, Inc.
Eramosa Engineering, Inc.
Nexon Automation SA de CV
Productividad en el Origen
Silver Lake Systems & Design
Transcode International Technologies Limited
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.
Conference breaks the records - again!
by Bob Lowe, CSIA Executive Director
Record-breaking attendance, an outstanding lineup of speakers, and an expanded expo marked the 2013 CSIA Executive Conference. Registrants from 21 countries and five continents attended the conference last month in St. Pete Beach, Fla.
Here are some of the highlights:
Equally important as the educational sessions is the relationship building that occurs. Our conference has become a meeting point for automation vendors, media, peer-to-peer, peer group meetings and others. Be sure to reserve April 23 - 26 for the 2014 CSIA Executive Conference in San Diego.
- The opening reception sponsored by Anixter was a grand kick-off of the 2013 CSIA Executive Conference. CSIA appreciates Anixter's support.
- The Town Hall meeting featured Steve Goldberg providing a wrap-up of his time as chairman, followed by PC Romano, the incoming chairman of the board, outlining the future plans for CSIA.
- Economist Alan Beaulieu gave his insightful and humorous view of the world economy, particularly the United States.
- Can an attorney really give a lighthearted presentation on a multitude of legal issues that are important to an integrator and have it be meaningful? CSIA Attorney Mark Voigtmann managed to do it, as usual.
- We experimented with opening the Partner Exhibit mid-afternoon, concurrent with the Partner member presentations. Not many folks went to the exhibit; apparently the presentations were too enticing.
- We gambled by having Nick Setchell of Realtime CEO present for a full morning. Never before have we placed that much trust in one presenter for such a long time period. All feedback was positive. One comment was that it's good to give a guy like Nick ample time to dive deeper into his topic and not just skim the surface. Score!
- Friday afternoon and Saturday morning were an array of topics that are important to managers and owners. Some topics were business valuation, marketing, human resources, media, automation trends, challenges that integrators face, client relations and the value of industry standards. On Saturday the sessions ended with a high-energy SPEED presentation by Ted Garnett.
- The Friday evening awards banquet featured Vance Van Doren giving the Control Engineering Integrator of the Year awards, followed by Steve Goldberg presenting the annual CSIA awards. And the dinner was fabulous!
- The conference concluded with an afternoon on the beach or golf course, followed by an evening beach party.
- Almost 40 people participated in a pre-conference boot camp for sales training. Expect optional, pre-conference workshops to be offered in conjunction with future conferences.
Three strategic initiatives identified during Board meeting at Executive Conference
by PC Romano, Chairman
It was great seeing so many of you at this year's Executive Conference. It was another record attendance, and our staff delivered a fantastic event! The conference also marked the point where Steve Goldberg hands over the chairman's baton to me.
It is truly an exciting time to be a part of CSIA. Our growth and success have created new opportunities and value to our membership. And it also requires us to continually assess our strategy and map out our future. Leading up to the conference, our Board of Directors gathered for strategic planning meetings, and set our three strategic initiatives.
The first strategic initiative is to increase organizational clarity, and to ensure that we make the most effective use of our resources. We're fortunate to have a lot of smart, passionate members who contribute to CSIA with their time and ideas. We need to ensure that the use of that time is highly effective and rewarding. In addition to committees, we'll use task forces and other formats, and ensure that staff is available to contribute to and to support those efforts.
The second strategic initiative is to clearly define the value that we provide for our different constituents. System integrators, partners, and our clients have different needs and CSIA needs to deliver value to each accordingly. Our constituents are further segmented by size, geography, and language. We have begun defining the value CSIA provides to each, both today and in the future. And we are engaging each of these constituent groups to validate these value propositions.
Our third strategic initiative is to develop a more powerful online presence. This began as a push to enhance our Find an Integrator directory, and is evolving into an online marketplace, with enhanced interaction between our three constituent groups. A task force has been formed, and we've engaged third party experts to help us on this journey. Stay tuned for updates!
Thank you to all of our members, volunteers, and staff for their contributions to making CSIA the go-to resource for system integration. And, as always, please drop me a note on Connected Community with any questions, ideas, or interest in getting more involved!
|The CSIA Board met in St. Pete to set a strategic plan for the association and identify key initiatives.|
Award winners honored at 2013 Conference
CSIA announced winners of three awards during the association's 2013 Executive Conference in St. Pete Beach, Fla.
Jeff Miller, PMP, director of project management at Interstates Control Systems Inc., Sioux Center, Iowa, U.S., was awarded the Charlie Bergman Award. The award recognizes an individual member for outstanding service to the organization through leadership, education, mentoring and advancement of CSIA's goals. Miller has served on the Best Practices and Benchmarks Committee for 12 years, including four years as chair. During his time as chair, the committee released the fourth major revision of the CSIA Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual and made the manual available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
"Everyone on the committee has day jobs, customers and urgent commitments, yet Jeff manages to shine through and remain the consistent force that holds all of us together," according to Laurens VanPagee, JMP Engineering, one of the people who nominated Miller. "Jeff presents at the conferences, helps mentor new members, contributes to the online community, and shares his templates and best practices. It is people like Jeff that consistently help push the CSIA to new levels."
Randall Powell, engineering manager, General Control Systems Inc., Green Island, N.Y., U.S. was named CSIA Rising Star. The award recognizes young professionals who have demonstrated a commitment to the profession and exhibited leadership potential.
"Randy has been instrumental in the implementation of standards which have significantly benefited our integration business. Over the past two years Randy has been involved deeply with the streamlining of procedures and best practices that are enabling us to commit to CSIA Certification by year's end. Without his enthusiasm, help and commitment, there is little way we would have attained our recent growth amid pending economic and regional issues," said Clay Robinson, president of General Control Systems.
MatrikonOPC, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, received the Partner of the Year Award. The award recognizes a company that has significantly contributed to the betterment of CSIA and its members and promoted CSIA certification. Candice Ducharme, global channel program manager, MatrikonOPC, has been an active member of the association's partner committee and instrumental in developing membership in Latin America.
"Candice has been instrumental in developing a strategy for the global growth of CSIA, with a particular interest in serving the needs of system integrators in Latin America," said CSIA Executive Director Bob Lowe. "We are indebted to Candice and Matrikon for translating CSIA information into Portuguese for access by Brazilian system integrators."
Romano elected chairman of the CSIA board
Piercarlo (PC) Romano was selected for a two-year term as chairman of the board of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) at the association's annual executive conference. Jeff Miller was appointed treasurer by the board.
|CSIA Chair PC Romano, Avid Solutions|
New directors elected during the association's annual executive conference are: Michael Miller, president, ESCO Automation, Marion, Iowa, U.S. Don Ulrich, president, Stone Technologies Inc., Chesterfield, Mo., U.S.
The new directors join the following directors, whose terms continue: Eduardo Acosta, chief executive officer, Omnicon S.A., Cali, Colombia; Richard Brueggman, president and chief executive officer, Data Science Automation, Pittsburgh, Penn., U.S.; and Sam Hoff, president, Patti Engineering, Inc., Auburn Hills, Mich., U.S.
Lynda J. Patterson, FASAE, CAE, continues as president. Robert Lowe is the association's executive director.
Romano is president of Avid Solutions Inc., a CSIA Certified control system integrator based in Winston-Salem, N.C., U.S. "It's an exciting time to be a part of CSIA. We're focusing our resources on creating maximum value for our members and their clients, plus we're rolling out innovative new benefits," says Romano. "With our continued growth, we can expect CSIA's influence to expand and elevate the industry and everyone associated with it."
Romano succeeds Stephen Goldberg, director of information technology at Matrix Technologies, a founding member and CSIA Certified member headquartered in Maumee, Ohio, U.S. During Goldberg's term, interest in CSIA membership by system integrators located outside of the United States grew significantly, and the organization adopted a global strategy to serve an increasingly diverse, international membership. In addition, great gains were made in educating system integrators' potential clients about CSIA. Goldberg will continue to serve on the board as immediate past chair.
Joe Martin, president of Martin Control Systems Inc., Dublin, Ohio, U.S., concluded a four-year term on the board of directors.
No rebound yet, according to recent
The operating environment remains stable and CSIA members expect gradual improvement in demand in the quarters ahead, according to results of the most recent JP Morgan survey. Compared with the first survey in December 2012, the end markets that showed the most improvement were industrial OEM equipment and metals/mining/ cement, while water/wastewater, building automation, and defense remain weak.
JP Morgan survey
The December survey was a full survey. The recent survey was abbreviated to minimize the time required for our integrator members to complete it. In the future, surveys will be conducted in September and March, with September being the full survey.
Understanding the past, present and future of the control system integration industry is important to financial experts and to CSIA. The performance of the CSI industry is an indication of industrial automation hardware and software sales and, therefore, of interest to JP Morgan. Understanding the health and demographics of CSIs is important to CSIA because it enables good strategic planning.
The Survey Results library in Connected Community has the raw data of both surveys. In recognition of their participation, the 160 participants of the April survey received a compiled report from JP Morgan.
Integrators: Watch for the next survey in September. The survey link is sent to the primary contact in CSIA's database for your company.
CSIA panel addresses The Automation Conference
|CSIA Past Chair, Steve Goldberg, Matrix Technologies|
What a great opportunity The Automation Conference was to educate end-user clients on managing their relationship with system integrators! The panel of four people from CSIA Certified members consisted of Jim Sellitto of Martin Control Systems who described some of the important up-front questions to ask your integrator; Ed Diehl of Concept Systems explained why an integrator with a project process, not just technical abilities, is critical for project success; Eduardo Acosta of Omnicon (all the way from Colombia SA) explained the business model of successful integrators and also on ongoing support; and lastly Steve Goldberg of Matrix Technologies summarized it all by explaining why CSIA Best Practices and our certification program makes the merits of the three previous presenters possible.
Tom Walther of ESE, another CSIA Certified member, did a wonderful solo presentation called "Integrating a Quality Management System into the Process Management Environment."
We are grateful to Summit Media Group for inviting us. I'm pleased that four members were willing to contribute their time to further the CSIA cause. Of course the exposure was good for them also, considering that most of the audience was end-user clients, several of whom are interested in learning more and may make CSIA Certification a corporate standard.
June WebinarIs it time for your business to begin moving to the cloud?
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
11 a.m., EDT (New York)
Rick Rietz, Director of Consulting Services at DMC, Inc.
Are you using an older server and worried about its security and maintenance costs? Are you looking for technology to help meet your business's mobility and collaboration needs as you grow? Are you having trouble managing too many software and server technologies? Do you wonder how a move to the cloud would impact your business?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, attend this webinar and learn how Microsoft's new Office 365 cloud offerings (Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Office Web Apps, and CRM) deliver significant business value and enhanced productivity with little disruption and minimal upfront investment.
CSIA webinars are recorded. See the webinar archives to listen in again or find out what you've missed.
Thank you, ABB and Rockwell Automation
Two CSIA partners - ABB and Rockwell Automation - invited CSIA Executive Director Bob Lowe to participate in their recent events. Both events were opportunities for integrators, end-user clients, other automation vendors and distributors to learn more about CSIA and the value we provide to each of these constituent groups. The number of CSIA new members in 2013 has increased dramatically and exposure at the ABB and Rockwell Automation events contributed significantly.
At industry events, as with the website, CSIA has expanded its outreach efforts beyond integrators to include other constituents. CSIA seeks to educate end-user clients about the value of CSIA Certification and its use as a means of reducing risk and improving automation results. Our partners provide a valuable link to our growing audience.
Cybersecurity presents opportunity for CSIs
by Rob Cotner, Anixter
At a recent industrial ethernet conference, a speaker relayed a story of an industrial manufacturing network being shut down for hours from an intrusion. The culprit was not the deliberate action of foreign government, but a vendor who was looking for a quick place to charge his smartphone and plugged into an empty USB port on the front of a control cabinet. The system identified an unrecognized device on the network and shut down production.
From an organized cyberattack by a hacker to a vendor with a low cell battery, threats to the integrity of industrial controls systems continue to challenge to our customers. At the CSIA Executive Conference, common discussion topics were training and new business opportunities for control system integrators in the cybersecurity space.
Anixter's deep and wide solution offering in industrial cybersecurity offers many opportunities for CSIA members. A part number for a rubber insert to cover the USB port might seem like the easy fix for the client. However, there are many opportunities for CSIA organizations to offer a "defense in depth" approach and expand their solution and training offering in this area.
Consider reaching out to Anixter for cross training in different technologies that your teams could offer customers, including:
* Correct installation of fiber optic cable
* Access control for secure areas
* Integration of video surveillance
* New methods to secure control devices
* Cyber security applications.
If any of these are of interest, please feel free to contact Rob Cotner
Certification is a key differentiator for clients
selecting an SI
When customers evaluate potential systems integrators for their automation projects, they must carefully weigh the reputation, experience and technical capabilities of the companies being considered.
Successful implementation of the solution and the ultimate value delivered depends on the technical talent and delivery skills of the project team members. Customers want to avoid situations in which a solution provider is "learning on the job" at their expense and have the assurance that the solutions work once deployed, and get finished on-time.
A key measure for customers going through this evaluation process is certification - at the vendor and industry level. At Invensys we have two value measures to help with this selection. First, partners authorized at the certified and endorsed SI Partner levels of the Invensys SI Partner Program have met technical and business performance criteria including a rigorous assessment process and experience implementing multiple complex solutions. Second, the Wonderware SI Certification Program provides an objective, quantitative measure of the technical skills of the developers who implement complex systems using advanced technologies. Combined, this provides a measure of both the company and the individual application developers and engineers who will be working on the customer's project.
Many of our SI partners are also active members of CSIA, including Don Ulrich, president of Stone Technologies and a new CSIA board member, and PC Romano, president of Avid Technologies, who was recently appointed chairman of the CSIA Board of Directors. Both Stone Technologies and Avid Solutions are Invensys Wonderware Certified SI Partners.
"We believe that the CSIA Certification process is the best way to support our goal of continuous improvement to be a premier SI," said UIrich. "The only way we really know if we are getting better is to have an independent auditor certify us against the CSIA Best Practices, which defines the gold standard for SI operations. Stone has been audited four times since 2002, and we believe it is a great return on our investment of time and money. It also helped insure that we able to maintain a high level of quality project delivery while growing 550% during that period. The certification is aligned with Wonderware's goals of ensuring that their endorsed SIs are the best of the best and have a way to document it."
As CSIA expands across the regions, we are seeing new members joining from the Asia Pacific region who are seeing membership and attaining the CSIA Certification status as a valuable market differentiator.
Ashtad Engineer, vice president, enterprise sales and partner ecosystem, software business, Invensys, noted that "Out of the thousands of SI companies participating in our global Invensys SI Partner Program we are seeing a trend with those who are both Wonderware and CSIA Certified. They are better prepared when asked to collaborate with Invensys on a business opportunity, which is key when we need partners to work with complex solutions requiring high levels of project methodology and product expertise."
Quick Update on PTMA
by Don Roberts, Exotek LLC
I had a chance to give some of you an update at the conference on the progress made toward finding effective accounting solutions for integration companies and I thought I would follow up here.
TigerPaw has been very supportive and are willing to set up a channel to focus on this industry. You may recall this is the package that can be used with QuickBooks for an effective solution. I have been working with Cindi Shannon at TigerPaw. Unfortunately they could not adjust their schedule to make it to the conference but want to put on a webinar or group call. I will work this through with staff and see what we can get set up.
There was a VAR at the Partner pavilion demonstrating the Epicor solution. If you missed it contact John Preiditsch directly at John@SixSPartners.com and mention you are with CSIA.
We contacted Deltek and had a lengthy conversation about the future direction of the Vision product. For those companies that want a stronger materials component we have been told that it is not on the product roadmap and our best bet is to look for a third party app to fill that need. Deltek did commit to provide access to the product engineers to help with any integration if needed. There currently is a Deltek group in the connected community; however there have been a few requests to set up more of an active users group that meets on a regular basis. Peter Blume from Bloomy Controls, a CSIA member and Deltek user, has taken the initiative to spool one up.
If you are a Deltek user send me an email DonRoberts@exotek.com and I will post a list of companies on the PTMA community in case you want to talk to a peer.
|Mentor of the Month:
Jim Cummings, TSD, an Optimation Company
by Joe Martin, Ambassadors Committee Chair
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in the Philadelphia area, attending local schools and playing several sports. I was not really sure what I wanted to do career wise. In high school I worked a summer as an electrician's helper, which steered me a bit in that direction, so I chose to attend Drexel University majoring in electrical engineering. I also attended Villanova University graduating with a business degree. My first job in industry was working for a large gear and equipment manufacturer in sales support and eventually managing a test facility, which started me on the path to instrumentation, data acquisition and control systems. I next worked for two manufacturers representative, selling instruments, control valves, data acquisition equipment and control software.
In 1990 I went to work for one of the initial systems integrator in the industry as a sales manager. The founder had just sold the business to new owners, and the new owners decided the business was not for them a year later. At that point, a couple of us decided to continue our work creating a new business entity working with the same clients and so TSD was born. In 2009 we decided to become part of Optimation. My wife and I have three daughters, a University of Penn grad in pre-med, a Penn State grad in Finance/Accounting, and a third year ChemE at Penn State. For many years I played softball, touch football and basketball but I was advised by my wife I was getting too old to play anymore. I next coached the three girls in soccer and basketball but they have now grown and moved on. I am now left playing golf as much as I can.
Tell us about TSD and Optimation Company.
We started TSD in 1991 as a control systems integrator working for several clients in the mid-Atlantic region. Our client base spanned several industries, which included life sciences, an industry in which I had spent a bit of time working prior to starting the company. I recognized validation of computer-based systems was in its infancy and decided we should become experts. Despite working in several different industries we became very successful working in life sciences, which led to global opportunities. TSD was a founding member of CSIA, I was on the executive council for five years, and was chairman for two. I met Bill Pollock and became friendly during our time on council together. In 2009 we decided TSD should become part of Optimation, which had grown considerably since its beginnings in 1985. Today Optimation is a company of about 400 people, headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., with eight regional operations. In addition to control and information systems integration, Optimation has a general engineering group (process, mechanical, electrical), a fabrication group, and a construction group (mechanical and electrical).
What has CSIA done for you and your company?
As indicated above we founded TSD out of necessity and with little planning. We were a group of engineers, a bookkeeper, and a sales guy starting to play for real on our own. We needed to learn in a hurry about ourselves, about the SI industry and partner companies so coming together with other SIs within CSIA was extremely beneficial. CSIA's Best Practices & Benchmarks gave us the ability to better organize our company with industry specific metrics guiding us. CSIA gave us the opportunity to meet other SIs, to share ideas, to partner on occasion and to build friendships. I know my wife loves a bunch of CSIA wives.
What can you offer as a Mentor?
I have been part of starting and growing a SI business. I have been part of organizing an alliance of SI companies. And I have been part of a consolidation of SI companies. Obviously I've seen a lot about our business. I've made a bunch of good decisions, and I have made some bad decisions. I was part of a CSIA founding member company, we were guinea pigs for the certification process and we have continued to be certified for a number of years. I would hope my experience might be helpful to some.
What one piece of advice would you give to a new member?
Although we all might think we know it all, there is plenty to learn.
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 contact Jim Cummings via e-mail.
Looking for a member mentor? In the Connected Community go to Directory > Find a Member. Check Mentor search box, then Find Members.
LoLs - no laughing matter
Limitation of liability provision can cap risk
by Brian P. Clifford, CSIA Attorney
A limitation of liability (LoL) provision is a powerful contracting tool that you can use to cap your overall risk for a particular project. However, such provisions are rarely included in the standard terms and conditions that you receive from your clients. Here are three questions to consider regarding LoL clauses in your future integration agreements.
1. How much risk are you willing to take? LoL provisions generally apply "notwithstanding any other provision" of the contract - they are basically "trump cards" that control over the agreement's other risk allocation terms. Often LoL provisions use a dollar value cap, e.g., $50,000. Your comfort with the amount used for such a cap may depend on the risk of the job (i.e., a routine project for a regular customer versus an experimental system for a new client). For large projects it may be more appropriate to propose a variable amount, such as two times the final contract value, or five times the effective mark-up on the total services and materials provided.
2. Can you "carve out" exceptions to the liability cap? LoL provisions often include "carve-outs" - specific exceptions to the negotiated liability cap. One common exception applies to your liability for "bodily injury and property damage." Since this risk may be covered by your insurance policies, which often have much higher liability limits than the LoL cap, this carve-out may be acceptable. Consider capping your risk under this carve-out to the amount of available insurance proceeds. Another exception may be damages caused by your or your employees' "willful misconduct" or "gross negligence." Because you have more control over these risks, you may be comfortable eliminating the liability cap that would otherwise be applicable to these damages. Other common carve-outs include damages from a breach of a contract's confidentiality provisions and liability arising from violations of intellectual property rights.
3. Can specific types of damages be waived? Related to LoL provisions are "damages waivers." These contract terms state that the parties agree not to go after one another for specific types of damages in the event that they occur in the future. At the least, you should be sure that your agreement includes a waiver of "consequential damages." Such a provision can protect you from being responsible for the enormous liability that can result from a problematic control system, such as the client's lost productivity and its lost profits resulting from a delay in proper system operations. Of course, if you have a strong LoL provision, you can be less concerned about the scope of the damages waivers in the agreement. If your maximum liability under the LoL provision is $5,000 (and there are no significant carve-outs), you can accept responsibility for more categories of damages than you would otherwise be comfortable taking on.
Brian Clifford is a member of the automation practice at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP. He can be reached at +1.260.460.168.