In This Issue
Focus groups meet in Madison, Wisconsin to discuss expectations and opportunities for CSIA
Taking the Exchange on the road at the Rockwell Automation Fair
Spreading the word about CSIA at the SPS IPC Drives 2014 event in Nuremburg, Germany
Chairman's Report
Looking ahead to the 2015 Executive Conference
Upcoming Webinars
Get in on the conversation!
Top insurance losses are result of employee theft
The greatest hurdle for an SI's success
Red Lion - Making connections
Register for ARC Industry Forum, receive 10% discount as CSIA member
Automate 2015 showcases automation solutions
CSIA members make headlines

Welcome new members

Allied Control Services
West Point, Pennsylvania
United States

Applied Control Equipment Systems
Coimbatore, Tamilnadu

Automatizacion Especializada y Elementos de Control S.A. de C.V.
Mexico City, Mexico
Persia Shidak Raya
Tehran, Iran

Industrial Control Specialties, Inc.
Prince George, Virginia
United States

Greenwood, Indiana
United States

WIN-911 Software
Austin, Texas
United States


Contact Us 

Leadership directory



Get Connected 


Facebook Twitter




Apply Now  


Refer a new member!

Tell your colleagues about CSIA. Find member benefits and an application at




Did you receive this issue from a colleague? Get your own copy! Register to receive the CSIA Newsletter on a regular basis here

Quote of the Month

"Only 1% of the population is born with a predetermined passion for some specific type of work, but passion is not a prerequisite for selecting an energizing and exciting career path; however, your daily commitment to becoming really good at what you choose is essential."

- Ken Edmundson


 The go-to resource for control system integration.  

December 2014  

Focus groups meet in Madison, Wisconsin to discuss expectations and opportunities for CSIA 

Results of focus group research conducted in November show that CSIA has opportunities to enhance its value to members by becoming the "go to" training and professional resource for system integrators, particularly as the role of system integrators expands to meet the growing needs of manufacturers. The results also showed that CSIA has an opportunity to expand awareness and perceived value of the association and CSIA Certification in the marketplace.


Two focus groups, comprised of 12 to 15 participants each, met with representatives of McKinley Advisors in Madison, Wisconsin, last month to explore the unique needs and expectations of specific member types. The members represented in the groups included the CSIA Board of Directors, system integrator members and partner members.


The participants recognized the important role CSIA plays in increasing the efficiency of system integrators and elevating the profession as a whole. There was overall consensus that the primary value drivers were the CSIA Best Practices and the association's role as a convener within the industry.


Integrator members cited knowledge sharing and networking opportunities as significant benefits of membership. Whether it is through formal peer groups or relationships built through involvement with the organization, the opportunities to discuss professional challenges and share effective practices with other integrators are invaluable.


Partner members also valued the opportunities to build relationships with system integrators and to better understand their needs and challenges. Some partner members noted that CSIA Certification as an important distinction because it ensures the reliability of the system integrators they work with who will ultimately be implementing their technology.


The majority of participants agreed that overall awareness of CSIA Certification and its value to clients and end users was relatively low. The most frequently cited barrier to pursuing certification was that clients are not requesting or requiring CSIA Certification in their requests for proposals.


An important industry trend noted by the focus group participants is the growing demand for system integrators to manage projects, provide long-term maintenance, and other responsibilities that were once reserved for in-house engineering staff. The focus groups identified an opportunity for CSIA to help its members with training and marketing to demonstrate the value of retaining a system integrator as a strategic business partner.


Taking the Exchange on the road at the Rockwell Automation Fair

by Eric Huemmer, Exchange Community Manager


The Rockwell Automation Fair is an annual event where thousands of attendees and exhibitors ranging from system integrators, industry suppliers, end users and more make it out to learn more about automation industry trends. Thanks to our CSIA partners over at Rockwell Automation, CSIA had the opportunity to exhibit at the event and it was an excellent experience! Located right next to the Global Lounge, the booth received a great deal of traffic, and Lynda Patterson and I were continuously discussing CSIA, the Exchange, and the benefits of the association. Plenty of manufacturers attending were pleased to learn about the Exchange as a resource to find system integrators and industry suppliers, and exciting to hear that some have been using it as well!


We also had the opportunity to visit the other booths and companies, and it was great to see the amount of CSIA members not only attending but exhibiting as well. Our members over at Industrial Automation Group stopped by the booth, and proudly wore outfits displaying that they are CSIA Certified! We were able to introduce ourselves to new companies exhibiting at their first fair and hear not only what they had to say, but introduce them to the Exchange. Overall getting out there and developing the brand recognition generated some great buzz for the site, and we're keeping the momentum going as the Exchange continues to grow.   


Spreading the word about CSIA at the SPS IPC Drives 2014 event in Nuremburg, Germany

by Bob Lowe, Executive Director


Since global membership growth is focused on Europe (and Latin America also) our European Advisory Committee advised us to participate in the SPS IPC Drives show in Nuremburg Germany in November. To act on this advice, Greta Mattison and I participated in the show with our home-base being a pod in the OPC Foundation booth. We extend our gratitude to Tom Burke and Stefan Hoppe of the OPC Foundation.


The purpose for attending was to meet with the European representatives of our Partner members and to have exposure to all show attendees. Although the OPC Foundation booth was one of about 1,500 total booths, our location amongst technology companies was excellent, providing the exposure we hoped for in such a large show. Many of our US-based Partner member representatives with operations in Europe provided contact names for their counterparts in Europe which resulted in the opportunity for about fourteen scheduled meetings. At the meetings I learned about our Partner member operations in Europe and educated them on CSIA. All were quite receptive to meeting with me.


Understanding the culture of the system integration industry in Europe was a goal - and it was accomplished, but with varying opinions on topics such as the need to translate the Best Practices Manual to European languages. Several Partner members agreed that having me do a webinar about CSIA in Q1 2015 is an important next step. Some will have SIs as the audience and others will be personnel in the Partner member companies. Feedback after these webinars will be critical in determining our next steps in Europe.


An important message we heard was that a physical presence in Europe is essential for our growth initiative to be successful. So I'll work with CSIA leadership about how we can make this happen. 


Chairman's Report

by PC Romano, CSIA Chair


The board of directors recently travelled to Madison, Wisconsin, for its fall planning meeting. We had an excellent session, with all board members in attendance and with great engagement and discussions. Here are some highlights:

  • The board reviewed CSIA's current products and services and will be reaching out to membership for feedback on these in the next few months.
  • Don Ulrich is leading a task force to aid in the formation of peer groups. He reported on the task force's recommendations and is planning a presentation at the Executive Conference in April.
  • The board discussed the importance of certification and is looking into ideas to make it more valuable to members.
  • Bob Lowe and Jeff Miller are investigating ways that CSIA could help deliver project management training for system integrators.
  • The board reviewed 2015 financial budget items.

Also, during the board meeting we were updated on the CEO search process. Recently Mike Miller sent out the announcement of the position and a call for candidates. This initiative is something that the board, along with three past chairs, have been working on for over a year - much of that time with an association management consultant. He helped us analyze our current organizational structure, roles and responsibilities, and the optimal structure given our growth trajectory. The product of this work included a job analysis and job description for this new role of CEO. Since then, we assembled the search committee, interviewed top association executive search firms, and selected Jim Zaniello with Vetted Solutions to lead the search for us.


CSIA has enjoyed tremendous growth, from its roots as a small group of founding members, to a global organization with almost 500 member companies. I believe that recruiting the right CEO is the most strategic move we can make now to ensure the continued success of CSIA, our members, and the system integration industry over the next five to 10 years. I hope that you're as excited as I am about our future, and please contact Jim Zaniello or Mike Miller, chair of the search committee, if you'd like to nominate a great candidate for CEO of CSIA!


Looking ahead to the 2015 Executive Conference

by Bob Lowe, Executive Director


Lessons from Touching a Hot Stove was a top rated session at the 2014 conference and is requested by many for 2015. However, we need members who have had a significant challenge or setback in their company to be willing to tell their story - what went wrong, how the challenge was overcome and what's been done so it can't happen again. Send me an email if you'd like to be on the panel.


Another presentation that will be offered at the 2015 conference is about how system integrators can be successful in key vertical industries. ARC Advisory Group will present results of a survey of end-user clients that will provide qualitative data on automation plans and expectations. That data, combined with ARC's quantitative research, will be the basis for the presentation. Following are the survey questions at this time. Is there a question that you would like to know the answer to, but just can't get a clear response from your clients? Let me know.

  • What are automation trends within your company?
  • How does your company assess your automation investments?
  • What are reasonable ROIs for automation investments?
  • What does your CEO consider when looking at an automation investment to support strategic growth?
  • What services does your company seek from system integrators in the future
  • What is your company's vertical  industry (e.g., food and beverage, oil and gas)

Do you have a client who we could invite to the conference in Washington, D.C., to explain his or her expectations of system integrators? Send me an email.


Finally, there will be an interactive session for young system integrator professionals in which a panel of seasoned professionals will briefly tell their stories and then open the microphone for the young SI professionals to ask their most pressing questions.


Coming up!
See all the archives on the webinar page.

OPC Tunneling with Kepware Technologies

Thursday, January 15, 2014, 11 a.m., EST (New York)
Sam Elsner, Senior Application Engineer, Kepware Technologies

In today's software automation industry, OPC tunneling is one of those subjects that raises eyebrows and further questions such as: What is OPC tunneling? Why would someone want to tunnel? What makes a great tunneling protocol? What makes a great tunneling product? During this webinar, Kepware's Senior Application Engineer Sam Elsner will provide a technical overview of OPC tunneling, an introduction to OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA), and provide a demonstration of OPC tunneling and protocol with Kepware's KEPServerEX OPC UA-based tunneling solution. Registration opening soon. 


This CSIA Partner webinar presented by Kepware Technologies




Grow Your Business and Serve Customers Better with SaaS

Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, 11 a.m., EDT (New York)

Xavier Mesrobian, VP, Sales & Marketing, Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc.

Change is on the horizon for industrial software, driven by customer demand, market forces, and Internet of Things technologies. With the introduction of Software as a Service, new possibilities are opening for revenue sharing. How can you capitalize on it? How will it work? Can it make SCADA more attractive for smaller players? Will it open new markets? What are the benefits for legacy systems? What about security? This webinar will discuss the key concepts, examine parallel industries, and help you gain better insight on embracing the SaaS revolution, get closer to your customers and create new revenue streams along the way.Registration opening soon. 

This CSIA Partner webinar presented by Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc.



Understanding and Implementation of Machine Safeguarding Standards
Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, 11 a.m., EDT (New York)
Mike DeRosier, Engineering Services Manager, Schmersal USA

Do you find it difficult to achieve effective machine guarding? Is it complicated to apply the wording from regulatory and industry standards into practice? This webinar will help add some practicality to machine guarding, thus reducing the arguments against properly implementing machine safety guarding systems. Join us for this informative webinar session where we will highlight some of the common thoughts and practices in machine safety integration as it pertains to both U.S. and international safety standards.

This CSIA Partner webinar presented by Schmersal USA

Register Now

Get in on the conversation!

Here is a sample of topics that members are sharing on the Open Forum:

  • When will more U.S. universities start offering four year degrees in automation engineering?
  • Important announcement: CSIA now seeking CEO
  • SalesForce vs. Microsoft Dynamics
  • Opening an international office

Log onto the Connected Community to join the conversation with your peers and stay in the know.

Top insurance losses are result of employee theft

by Paul Barnard, CSIA Insurance Manager


A consistent theme when discussing insurance with control system integrators is "we do not have losses, have never had a loss, and never will." Now, it is true that the CSIA Insurance Program has an outstanding loss history, but there have been losses. I thought it might be helpful to share with you the five largest.


1. Total loss $850,000 - employee dishonesty

2. Total loss $650,000 - professional errors and omissions

3. Total loss $500,000 - employee dishonesty

4. Total loss $375,000 - professional errors and omissions

5. Total loss $250,000 - employee dishonesty


The professional errors and omissions shouldn't be a surprise to you. This is clearly the largest liability exposure confronting the membership. The employee dishonesty will, I suspect, be a surprise. Let us think about this. The employees who are in a position to do this are trusted. If you did not trust them they would not be able to steal from you.


Therefore, you need to put in place systems of check that at least deter and at best stop employees from being able to steal. To do this, you should ask your Certified Public Accountant to review all of your systems of check and recommend measures you can take to implement them. If you have a full annual audit then your auditors will already have done this. Interestingly, none of the three losses listed would have been anywhere near as large if a full annual audit had been completed by their CPA.


Then, the question becomes, how much could a person steal from you despite your systems? That is the amount of coverage that you need.

For more information on the topics above or the CSIA and ISA Insurance Programs in general, please contact me, Paul Barnard, at or via telephone at 610-507-6595.


The greatest hurdle for an SI's success
by Pat Supanich and Alan Carty, Automationtechies

What is the greatest hurdle for a System Integrator's success in today's world? It's not the economy, interested clients, or financial concerns; it is finding and retaining talent. We hear it every day from our clients and it is always the topic of conversation at industry conferences. Frankly, there are more job openings than qualified people to fill them.

Today's integrator has projects they need to deliver now. They need to prevent their staff from getting burned out while maintaining customer relationships. In this environment, time is the most critical component of success.

The time it takes for you to identify, hire, and onboard talent is what matters. The integrators that are doing it well are winning the race. Those who are not are often stuck in a traditional hiring mindset. They focus on how well candidates sell their abilities and qualifications and forget to sell the company to the candidates. The importance of this cannot be emphasized enough. Always remember that the hiring process is a two-way street.

As engineers, we love to refine processes. Well, hiring is a process. To succeed, you need to make your process shine. You must impress at every step! This includes the following: a good method of finding and attracting prospects, leaving a great first impression, executing a thorough interview process that is bidirectional, presenting solid competitive job offers, and a comprehensive onboarding program and strategy to ensure new-hire success.

Companies who understand this, find and hire people in the least amount of time, and therefore at the lowest cost. It may not be at the lowest direct cost, but the lowest overall cost to the business as related to company growth, employee morale, and customer satisfaction when open positions are not filled.

Join us at the 2015 CSIA Executive Conference where we will explore this topic further. We look forward to helping your business get over the hiring hurdle and on the right track to finding and retaining talent!


Red Lion - Making connections

by Scott Gibbs, Red Lion Controls

As another year winds down and a new one begins, many opportunities await the industrial automation and process control markets. The ever-increasing number of integrators and suppliers in attendance at CSIA's annual conference helps companies like Red Lion Controls to validate increasing industry growth and requirements. Our participation in this event over the last three years helps us to benchmark how our organization is performing within the market. By making connections and interacting with attendees, we are able to get a better understanding of the industry while telling the Red Lion story and explaining how our industrial offerings help to address market requirements.

As a global industrial automation leader with a strong forty year history, many integrators have heard of Red Lion by way of our panel meters and digital displays. Conferences like CSIA provide us the perfect forum to not only learn more about market perceptions, but also to demonstrate and discuss how additional products such as HMIs, protocol converters, and visual management systems help to meet many of today's challenges. In addition, we are able to showcase how our industrial networking technologies, which include Ethernet switches, Wi-Fi radios and wired/wireless cellular routers, can complement automation products to enable organizations to connect, monitor and control virtually anything, anywhere within their operations.


Together our industrial automation and networking offerings provide critical information and controls to improve productivity, working with numerous devices and diverse protocols to access data. With support for over 300 industrial protocols, Red Lion connects and enables communication between new and existing PLC, HMI, drive, panel meter, motion controller and other equipment to seamlessly move data and make it available on a single machine, across a network or spanning multiple sites all over the globe. 



Scott Gibbs is vice president of North American sales for Red Lion Controls. As the global experts in communication, monitoring and control for industrial automation and networking, Red Lion has been delivering innovative solutions for over forty years. Its award-winning technology enables companies worldwide to gain real-time data visibility that drives productivity. With headquarters in York, Pennsylvania, the company has offices across the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe. For more information, please visit


Register for ARC Industry Forum, receive 10% discount as CSIA member

"Industry in Transition: The Information Driven Enterprise for the Connected World" is the theme of the 19th annual ARC Industry Forum Feb. 9-12, 2015, in Orlando, Florida. This international event attracts 600-plus end users, system integrators and suppliers. New information technologies such as Internet of Things, predictive analytics, wireless, additive manufacturing, cloud computing, mobility and 3D visualization are beginning to disrupt and radically change the way industrial enterprises do business. Therefore, it is critically important for system integration company managers to stay abreast of the technologies impacting the decisions of their clients in plant and facility automation.


With CSIA being a trade association and an ARC client, CSIA members receive a 10% discount on registration for this unique forum in which integrators and suppliers can more fully appreciate the challenges of their clients, network with prospective clients and get a peek at the future of industrial automation. To register for the ARC Industry Forum 2014 in Orlando and receive the discount, contact Paula King at 781-471-1110 or There are no comparable events anywhere in North America. For our members outside of North America, ARC hosts these forums in several countries.

Automate 2015 showcases automation solutions

The Automate 2015 Show and Conference, set for March 23-26, 2015 at Chicago's McCormick Place, will focus on automation solutions for small, medium and large companies throughout the world, according to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), the event's sponsor.


"Companies across the globe are looking for ways to improve productivity, flexibility and product quality while reducing costs in order to become stronger competitors," said Jeff Burnstein, President of A3.  "Automation is becoming an increasingly important competitive advantage, which is why our Automate event is growing so quickly."  Burnstein said the Automate show is already 50% larger than the final 2013 event (the show is held every two years) and pre-registration is running some 30% ahead with four months still to go.  Automate was recently named one of the top ten manufacturing trade shows in the United States.


More than 40 system integrators, including several who have earned the Certified Robot Integrator designation from Robotics Industries Association,  will exhibit solutions at the show focused on applications of robotics, machine vision, motion control and related automation technologies for tasks such as materials handling, welding, material removal, painting, inspection, assembly and more.  Overall, some 250 leading automation companies are expected to participate with some 15,000 people expected to attend.


The accompanying conference will feature the 46th International Symposium on Robotics (ISR), the world's most prestigious annual robotics conference.  It was last held in the US in 2011.  Conference sessions focus on practical applications of the technologies and solutions showcased on the exhibit floor.  Among the featured topics will be Collaborative Robots (robots that work side by side with people), one of the hottest topics in robotics today.  The Certified Vision Professional courses at both the Basic and Advanced levels will be taught at the conference, with testing provided for people who wish to become certified.  Other key conference topics include robotics system integration, case studies of successful applications, robot safety, cutting edge robot research, vision guided robotics, embedded vision systems, PLC programming of robots, and other topics critical to the success of a system.


Free discussion sessions known as "Expert Huddles" will be held on the show floor every day; more than 60 topics will be offered, including when to automate, how to cost justify automation, how to work with system integrators, and more.


For complete details, visit or call 734/994-6088.



CSIA members make headlines
in the headlines
Members that have been featured in industry media recently include: 



Maintenance Management: MES or ERP?

Automation World


Concept Systems Inc.

Bridging the Experience Gap Using Digital Video Recording

Automation World


Interstates Controls Systems, Malisko Engineering and CSIA

System integration: Tales from the trenches

Food Engineering


Interstates Companies

Next Generation Learns Real-world Automation

Feed & Grain


JMP Engineering

Scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours!

Food Engineering


Loman Control Systems Inc.

Effective Operator Interfaces Convey Information, Not Entertainment

Automation World



Incremental SCADA System Improvement

Water & Wastes Digest



The Next Step in Sustainable Manufacturing

Automation World