In This Issue
Strategic planning focuses on three initiatives
Sandler designs Solution Program for CSIA
CSIA Webinar Series
Bienvenida, Marcela!
Latin America initiative kicks off in October
BP&B Committee report
Results of JP Morgan survey
Executive Conference poll
Google Translator installed on web
CSIA members make headlines
CSIA membership value
Just added: Social Media Tool
The most important task for an SI
Contract tips
Mentor of the Month: Eric Schaeffer
SIA members, clients will present at ARC Industry Forum
HARTING owner Dietmar Harting shares success story at MIT
Welcome new members

Intelligent Systems Integrator EST
Saudi Arabia

Matador Controls LLC
Palm Bay, FL

NNE Pharmaplan
Morrisville, NC

Outbound Technologies
New Hudson, MI

Phantom Technical Services, Inc
Colombus, OH

Charlotte, NC

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Congratulations to these CSIA Certified members


Newly Certified
General Control Systems, Inc
Green Island, NY



Newly Recertified
Tata Consultancy Services Limited
Maharashtra, India


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April 23-26, 2014

 The go-to resource for control system integration.  

November 2013  
(l to r) Piercarlo (PC) Romano, Avid Solutions, CSIA chair; Mike Miller, ESCO Automation; Eduardo Acosta, Omnicon S.A.; Jeff Miller, Interstates Control Systems, CSIA treasurer; Richard Brueggman, Data Science Automation; Bob Lowe, CSIA executive director; Lynda Patterson, CSIA president; Samuel Hoff, Patti Engineering; Greta Mattison, CSIA global coordinator; Don Ulrich, Stone Technologies; Jeanne Rosen, CSIA communications director; Mark Moriarty, Rockwell Automation; Steve Goldberg, Matrix Technologies, CSIA past chair. 
Strategic planning focuses on three initiatives
by PC Romano, CSIA Chair

As a part of our annual strategic planning, the CSIA board meets face to face for two days each fall. We review industry trends and engage in long-term and annual planning, as well as address current items and initiatives. This meeting leads directly into the annual operating plan and budget.

This year's meeting was recently conducted at CSIA's headquarters in Madison, Wis., with the full board in attendance, along with select guests and staff. It was a great meeting, covering a number of strategic and general business topics. We devoted much of our time to the three strategic initiatives identified earlier this year. Here are some updates on each:

Organizational structure and clarity: Making the most effective use of our resources. After the Executive Conference we worked with each of our committees, re-evaluating their objectives and structure. Improvements were made, and all committees have updated their charters and are off and running. Now, our focus has turned to defining our overall organizational structure to support CSIA's growth over the next five years. We're currently forming a task force, including current board members and association experts to help us with this.


Increased value to our constituents. Earlier this year, we defined our constituent groups as system integrators, automation suppliers and clients. Now, there are three committees that will map out the increased value that CSIA will provide to each constituent group, as well as subgroups based on criteria such as size, geography and language. Then, they will begin work creating that value.


A more powerful online presence. We assembled a task force to develop a concept with a working title of "Marketplace," to increase system integrators' visibility in the market and to provide enhanced interaction among integrators, automation suppliers and clients. The team developed a user requirement specification for the site and researched a number of different strategies to roll it out. At the meeting in Madison, the board unanimously voted to move forward with Diamax, a firm that specializes in providing multichannel digital communications solutions and executive information services to organizations like CSIA. We are beginning work on Marketplace now, so stay tuned for updates over the next few months!


Sandler designs Solution Program for CSIA 
Take the survey!
by Bob Lowe, CSIA Executive Director

CSIA receives feedback regularly on the most significant business challenges facing our members. Among the feedback is a desire to improve selling capabilities, a skill that does not come naturally and that is particularly difficult for technology people. To meet this challenge, CSIA and Sandler Training have designed a Sandler's Solution Program to deliver sales training to sales professionals and those who manage sales professionals. The program is tailored to the system integration industry. With 250 training centers around the world and more than 600 certified Sandler Trainers, Sandler is uniquely positioned to support CSIA's members' sales and sales leadership teams for the 2014 calendar year and beyond.

The program offers options to meet the needs of members in all areas, and those with small or large sales training budgets. Regardless of location or budget, the recommended first step is Initial Training, a two-day workshop tailored to the system integration industry that will build a Sandler sales foundation. Following the Initial Training are two options: 1) local training at a Sandler authorized training center, or 2) a package of "reinforcements" customized for CSIA that will be delivered via the internet. The first Initial Training program will be the two days before the 2014 CSIA conference in San Diego, April 22-23. Other Initial Training programs will be offered after the conference at various locations based on demand.

To help us launch the program we ask that you complete a brief survey. Thanks in advance for your feedback. Our hope is that your company will take advantage of this opportunity to improve your sales effectiveness which no doubt will have a positive return on investment. Please know that all prices are below market value and are applicable in 2014. 


Here's the survey. Thank you!


webinar series



All webinars will be at 11 a.m., Eastern Time US (New York), and are hosted on WebEx by Software Toolbox, a CSIA Partner member.



Nov. 20, 2013 
Developing a professional project management team for systems integration

Jeff Miller

  • Build your PM team around a globally recognized standard --- project Management Institute's (PMI) PMBOK manual
  • Develop training modules for your PMs that relate to your everyday world - relate your project delivery methodology to the knowledge areas
  • Is PMI's Project management Professional (PMP) Certification for your company? Project Management is a profession, not just an extra responsibility.
  • Effective hiring of Project Managers 

Register here.




Aug. 28, 2013

Holistic overview of proactive management
Nick Setchell 


Sept. 25, 2013 
Organizational culture: Methods for improving performance

Ken Edmundson


Oct. 23, 2013

24-month rolling plan

Nick Setchell



Jan. 29, 2014
People: hiring, leading, coaching and evaluating

Ken Edmundson


Feb. 26, 2014
Performance management program for technical professionals

Gina Coleal


March 26, 2014
J-curve management

Nick Setchell


Bienvenida, Marcela!
by Greta Mattison, Global Coordinator

CSIA's team is growing! We are excited to announce that Marcela Vallejo has joined CSIA as the Latin America Coordinator. Marcela joined the team in October when she traveled to CSIA headquarters in Madison, Wis., for training and orientation. As CSIA's Latin America Coordinator, she will work to establish CSIA's presence in the region through membership recruitment and retention campaigns, event coordination, communications and much more.

Marcela has already been busy translating CSIA's Best Practices and Benchmarks into Spanish as well as coordinating the first Latin America Advisory Committee meeting. With Marcela's help, CSIA is excited to grow our membership in Latin America. Please join us in welcoming Marcela to the team! 
Latin America initiative kicks off in October

by Marcela Vallejo, Latin America Coordinator


The Latin America Advisory Committee has been created and a LATAM (LATin AMerica) Coordinator, Marcela Vallejo, has been retained by CSIA. The first meeting took place in late October. Main topics discussed and proposed were the following.


Main ideas to generate awareness of CSIA and the benefits of certification:

  • Create alliances with partners and ISA
  • Start contacting final clients throughout the region with the support of the committee focusing on Mexico
  • Translate available materials and discussion forums to Spanish, including the website and Best Practices & Benchmarks Manual
  • Have discussion spaces in Spanish regularly and for the annual conference
  • Investigate other local associations and their strengths to benchmark
  • Spread the word why the certification generates value to an integrator and that it is a customized product for each one

Main reason for integrators not being interested in being part of CSIA and/or being certified:

  • Resistance to share best practices with their competitors
  • Being certified is expensive and unnecessary if final clients do not demand it

Answers to the above:

  • Make a survey to identify and validate the most relevant reasons for integrators not being interested

Other new improvements for LATAM

  • A replacement for Find an Integrator is being developed and should also be available in Spanish

Priorities would be set to execute this plan to be implemented by the LatAm Coordinator with the support of the Advisory Committee.

BP&B Committee tackles contracts, cybersecurity, next revision
by Eric Schaefer, BP&B Committee Chair

The Best Practices and Benchmarks Committee is continuing its work on the support contract terms and conditions reference document. We are in the development phase of the document followed by the committee review, legal review and publish process. If you have material that may be relevant, please forward to me for inclusion.

An additional area that the committee is currently reviewing is cybersecurity and how it affects our clients as well as our members. Several members are working with Bob Lowe and some counterparts at ISA to review and develop a whitepaper on the subject and eventually a section in the BP&B manual. More on this subject in future newsletters as we develop the plan.

Want to have a "say" and your input included in the next revision of the Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual? Look for a survey that will be coming out soon. We are looking for input on the existing sections as well as new topics that we should consider incorporating into the manual. In addition to the survey, we have created an open group on the Connected Community called Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual Revisions. The idea behind this group is to provide a centralized area to gather feedback on the existing manual and its content but also on new areas and challenges that we are facing that we should consider including in the manual.

If you have an interest in joining us on the committee or any comments on what we can be doing to make your experiences with CSIA better, please contact me at

Fewer project delays, positive outlook, according to October 2013 JP Morgan/CSIA survey

"Versus the spring survey, responses on rolling (six-month) demand improved, with those seeing improvement (40%) outnumbering those seeing weakening (25%), a reversal from March/April. On book-to-bills, approximately 35% are above 1.0x versus 25% below."

This excerpt is from JPM report on the most recent JP Morgan survey, performed in conjunction with CSIA. Now that three surveys have been done we can say that our industry overall is trending up with some industries served by integrators doing better than others. Project delays are fewer.

The spreadsheet with the survey results is available to our members in the Survey Results library, along with the previous two surveys. Integrator members, benchmark your company against the results. Partner members, since integrators are a significant channel to market, it's in your best interest to understand the SI industry. The survey enables you to learn:
  • the state of most vertical industries from an integrator's perspective 
  • which industries are being increasingly pursued by integrators
  • system integration activity trends (orders, book-to-bill, revenue, backlog)
  • vendor market positions and integrator perspectives of vendors
  • MES position in the marketplace
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 product sales and therefore is of interest to JP Morgan. Understanding the health and demographics of SIs is important to CSIA because it enables good strategic planning.

In recognition of their participation, the participants of the October survey received a compiled report from JP Morgan. The next survey will be in March 2014. Starting with that survey, the survey results in spreadsheet form will be available only to integrator participants. As in the past they will also receive the JPM report. CSIA Partner members can receive a copy of the spreadsheet upon request.

What should future CSIA Executive Conferences 
look like?
We want to know what our members think about the current schedule for the CSIA Executive Conference. Change it up? Keep it the same? Complete the poll to tell us what you think.
Google Translator installed on Connected Community and public website

CSIA continues to grow in North America and all other parts of the world. Since members derive much of their value in their CSIA membership via the web, we have installed Google Translator on most of the Connected Community,, and the public website,, to accommodate members whose primary language is not English.

It won't be 100 percent complete or accurate ---  it is machine translation --- but it's a big leap forward. Another option for Internet Explorer users is to right click on a webpage than select Translate with Bing, select the target language and then click Go.
in the headlines
Appearing weekly on

CSIA's new weekly guest blog on began Nov. 1, with RedViking Engineering contributing the first blog by Chris Lake, Reducing Test Systems Saves Big Defense Dollars


Other regular contributors will be Autoware, Avid Solutions, Concept Systems, Interstates, Loman Controls. Selected blog content will appear in Automation World magazine as the bimonthly Integrator' View column. 

Top five most valuable membership benefits 
by Bob Lowe, CSIA Executive Director

The plan for 2013 was to add 70 new members. As of Oct. 28, we added 81 new members, most of which were integrators. The others were Partners (automation vendors). Historically, the fourth quarter is a period of high growth so we'll likely have a banner year. The interesting thing is that we have not been doing any direct, active recruiting. The new members, located globally, learned about CSIA in various ways and concluded that CSIA is a fit for them.

So we are growing because there is value in membership. What are the top five benefits that deliver value?

1. Best Practices and certification
2. Networking and building relationships globally
3. Education
4. Business statistics and benchmarking
5. Business insurance

We report this information not to elicit praise for CSIA leadership and staff, but rather as an example to integrators that are thinking of joining but are uncertain if CSIA is a good value. According to the data, we are. Join now and enjoy membership through 2014 for the cost of one year. That's value!

As for current members, the question is, "Are you taking advantage of your membership?" If not, look closely at the benefits that CSIA offers. The value is there, you just have to engage.

Let's dispel two myths about CSIA membership: 1) CSIA Certification is required. Wrong! We simply encourage members to apply our business best practices. When comprehensively applied, certification becomes a natural outcome and you'll be a better company for it. 2) You must reveal your financials. Not so! We just need to know approximate annual revenue so as to set your annual dues, which are scaled based on revenue.

Just added:
Social Media Tool
marketing toolbox CSIA is pleased to introduce the latest tool added to the Small Business Marketing Toolbox. This one covers the basics of social media: the strengths of the various platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), creating a plan and constructing company pages. The social media tool joins five other tools that include guides on working with the media and developing news releases, marketing plans, customer surveys, developing a website and newsletters. Dig into the whole marketing toolbox to advance your business!


The most important task for an SI

by Rick Pierro, Superior Controls


What is the one task that a systems integrator absolutely has to get right? From my experience, it's hiring the right engineer. This sounds trivial, but to do it right and consistently requires a process ---  a process that should start with a written test.


Think about it. Your engineer is going to have to stay cool under pressure. During a startup, he or she will have to exude technical and managerial confidence while your customer is screaming that he needs the facility up and running now. What type of test comes closest to testing these skills under these conditions?


At Superior Controls we immediately tell a new candidate that we have a written test we'd like him or her to take to demonstrate his programming and electrical design skills. This test requires the candidate to write ladder logic to mix and heat fluids in a reactor. We let him know that this normally takes an hour but unfortunately we only have 30 minutes for him to complete the test. To make it a bit more challenging, we intentionally leave out some critical information - like the existence of a level sensor that is essential to write the program. Does your client always tell you upfront all the pertinent information needed to automate his process? 


This gives us a chance to see how the candidate thinks under pressure. When we sit down to review his test results, does he become defensive and angry? Does he make reasonable assumptions about the missing information? Does he gently and diplomatically point out his assumptions? And can he program under pressure?


If he passes the test, then we start the interview process and get to know him to see if he's a good fit in our company culture. If he fails, we do everything we can to help him save face. "You're a lot like me! We've both been in management for so long we've gotten rusty with programming" is what I often will say. Always assume that every candidate will eventually become engineering manager at your best client, because eventually one will.


Attend the 2014 Executive Conference and hear about the other nine tasks that a systems integrator should know!


Contract tips
by Mark Voigtmann, CSIA attorney

Sometimes the meaning of a spec or contract term is unclear. If so, here are some of the legal rules used to ascertain the correct meaning.
  • A contract will be interpreted according to its plain meaning. Only if the meaning of a provision is NOT plain and unambiguous do any of these rules come into play.
  • Look to any "order of priority" provision in the contract for resolving contradictions between separate contract documents --- for instance between the specs and the written agreement itself.
  • If there is a possible interpretation under which two otherwise contradictory provisions can be made consistent with each other, that is the interpretation that is adopted.
  • If there are two provisions on the same topic, and one is general and the other is more specific, the more specific provision will take precedence.
  • Handwritten or marked-up additions to a contract carry greater weight than pre-printed provisions.
  • If there are two equally plausible interpretations of a contract term, the one most favorable to the company that did NOT draft the contract should be adopted.
  • In the absence of being able to apply any other rule, the interpretation that the parties themselves have given the contract through their actions (either in this project or in past projects) is given great weight.
  • When there is no other means of resolving confusion, established custom in the industry will be used to decide the issue.
Adapted from The Automation Legal Reference: A Guide to Legal Risk in the Automation, Robotics and Process Industries by Mark Voigtmann. Mark is a lawyer with Faegre Baker Daniels, a law firm with offices in the U.S., China and the U. K. His firm is a longtime advisor to the CSIA and many of its members.


Mentor of the Month:
Eric Schaefer, Stone Technologies
Meet Eric Schaefer


Tell us a little about yourself.

I come from a small town in southern Indiana near where my parents were also born and raised. I am from a family of six children with three brothers and two sisters. I received my B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Evansville.


I started my career with an energy company working as an electrical project engineer in one of its coal-fired power plants, which is where my interest in automation and controls started. During my time at the power plant, I identified that the engineering consultants got to do all of the "cool" things, so I started to look for a consulting position. During my search, I was introduced to Don Ulrich, who was working for a large design-build engineering firm. Don hired me and we have been working together ever since.


Don and I both left the engineering firm and started Stone Technologies in early 1996. Shortly after moving to St. Louis, I married Andrea who was also from southern Indiana. We met while in college. Andrea and I have been married for almost 25 years and have three children, Caitlin, 23, and identical twin boys, Ryan and Brandon, 21. Andrea is a CPA and auditor with an accounting firm. Caitlin is in her final year at Truman University and will graduate with a medical services degree. Brandon and Ryan are both at the University of Wisconsin, pursuing computer engineering degrees.


Tell us about Stone Technologies, Inc.

Stone Technologies, Inc. was started in 1996 with a plan to specialize in plant floor controls paired with plant floor information systems. Stone provides services primarily to the food and beverage and consumer products markets while also providing MES/MOM services across many industries. I am the general manager and responsible for operations. I also serve as the director of project management with all of the project managers being direct reports.


What has CSIA done for you and your company?

Prior to joining CSIA, Stone improved on what we knew or what we had done wrong. Through CSIA, we develop great relationships with some great people with a lot of intelligence to share. It was not long before Stone joined nine other CSIA members to create a peer group that created a bond and wealth of best practices that still exists today through our Automation Alliance Group, which has grown to more than 15 members with many international members.


In addition to access to great people, it was not a hard decision to gain certification. We saw the audit preparation as a strong motivator to continuously improve. It is often mentioned in CSIA that to receive, you must share. With that in mind, Stone has always participated in many functions of CSIA. Don is now on the CSIA board and I am the chairman of the Best Practices and Benchmarks Committee. We can definitely credit a great deal of our success to our membership and active participation in CSIA.


What can you offer as a mentor? 

Being a mentor has always been a method for me to gain a better understanding of a subject and to share my thoughts and ideas. It started in college when volunteering to mentor and tutor younger students; I knew that I needed to understand a subject well enough to teach and share. It takes a certain level of understanding to work with a subject and a greater understanding to mentor or teach a subject. With my experiences as a plant engineer, a large design-build firm controls engineer, project manager and now a partner in a successful SI company, I can provide some relevant experience to what many other SIs are facing as they grow.


What one piece of advice would you give to a new member?

Introduce yourself to everyone within CSIA. You will find a welcoming group of talented individuals who are willing to share their successes but also their failures.

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 Eric at



Looking for a member mentor? In the Connected Community go to Directory > Find a Member. Check Mentor search box, then Find Members.


CSIA members, clients will present
at ARC Industry Forum
Managing project risk and increasing business value when automating manufacturing and process systems is critically important to end users. At the ARC Industry Forum in February, three CSIA members --- Avid Solutions, Matrix Technologies and Stone Technologies ---  and their clients, including Nestle and Campbell's Soup, will present lessons they've learned regarding risk and business value.

The discussion will include real-world applications and the value of CSIA certification. By attending the session, owner/operators will learn the value of working with a certified system integrator, key principles for project success and pitfalls to avoid. Learn more and register at ARC Industry Forum.

Note: CSIA members receive a 10% discount on registration. To register for the ARC Forum and receive the discount, please contact Paula King at 781-471-1110 or  


HARTING owner Dietmar Harting shares success story at MIT 

Entrepreneur Dietmar Harting shared his insights into the success of his HARTING Technology Group and other German Mittelstand companies in a recent speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Harting is one of Germany's most respected business leaders, having served on executive advisory bodies on research and innovation for the last three German chancellors.

His father, Wilhelm, the inventor of the industrial rectangular connector, founded the company in 1945. Dietmar Harting joined the family business in 1967 at age 28 and has been president since 1976. Under his leadership, HARTING has become a premier global brand for industrial and device connectivity, with subsidiaries in 40 countries and representatives in another 27.

In his MIT talk, Dietmar Harting discussed the company's early history, some of the key innovations that drove its growth as well as key elements of his business philosophy. With the participation of his wife Margrit and more recently their son and daughter, the Hartings continue to own and run the company. Family ownership is fairly typical of Mittelstand enterprises, the mid-sized, usually privately owned companies that are mainstays of Germany's strong, export-oriented manufacturing economy. Family ownership enables HARTING to adopt a long view of markets and product trends. HARTING re-invests a significant amount of its annual sales into R&D, often replacing a popular product with the next generation to remain ahead of the competition. And it makes most of the components for its products in-house, to maintain the high quality for which it is known around the world.