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The Business Impact of the Future Workforce

6 November 9:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Session Type: Paper

Track: Creating Business Value through Automation

Paths(s): ManagementManagement   ExecutiveExecutive   EngineerEngineer   Academia/R&D/ScientistAcademia/R&D/Scientist   

This session will start by exploring the intersection of two important concepts: digital technologies (and the super-empowered Millennials who rely on them) employee problem-solving preferences and the business impact these could bring about. It will then take a look into myths and ideas about creating this next generation of automation engineers. Finally, it will show how the ISA student section at OSU has encouraged graduate students from several engineering disciplines to pursue a career in automation.


The Business Impact of the Future Workforce

Nate Schwagler, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg


This session will explore the intersection of two important concepts: digital technologies (and the super-empowered Millennials who rely on them), and employee problem-solving preferences. If we consider the role that problem-solving plays in our lives, and specifically in the lives of engineers, it would stand to reason that leveraging insights and awareness of the unique cognitive preferences exhibited by individuals in the face of problem-solving scenarios would have significant business value - which might manifest itself in such ways as: the creation of intellectual property, human performance within efficiency and optimization initiatives, peer to peer collaboration models, and institutional knowledge transfer initiatives. This session will draw insights from academic research in the fields of business, psychology, and engineering, while also presenting impactful popular press reports as well as data gathered from informational interviews with automation engineers in the field. Still uncertain of whether or not you should attend? By the time 2014 rolls around, 36% of the entire US workforce will consist of Millennials - and they don't come with instructions!

Creating the Next Generation of Automation Engineers

Chad Harper CAP, PMP, MAVERICK Technologies


Presentation will discuss strategies and ideas that impact current recruiting, training, and development efforts, as opposed to more macro, long-term solutions.

Specifically, we’ll discuss:

  • Perceived  Lack of Candidates
  • Lack of Automation Degrees
  • Demographics
  • Automation Business Practices

Creating Automation Professionals Through ISA Student Sections

R. Russell Rhinehart, Oklahoma State University Read Bio

Dr. R. Russell Rhinehart, professor in the School of Chemical Engineering at Oklahoma State University, holds the Amoco Endowed Chair, and has experience in both industry (13 years) and academe (26 years).

Anand Govindarajan, Oklahoma State University


The ISA student section at Oklahoma State University (OSU) is encouraging and enabling engineering students to choose automation careers.   Further, the section demonstrates vitality, creativity, professional leadership, and dedication to promoting automation and control as a career choice.  The section has created diverse initiatives to support its objectives:

  • Promote automation as a career choice and research focus
  • Program events that will help students prepare for industrial practice
  • Integrate academe and industry for both curriculum content and career placement
  • Reach out to industry to see OSU as a place to hire control engineers and publicize job postings
  • Open channels for industrial funding of events, research, and fellowships

Nearly all the student members are involved with automation research, ranging from process control, to intelligent systems, to mechanical control, to cell phone traffic management, to autonomous flight, to event detection. Students represent chemical, electrical, industrial, mechanical, and bio-systems engineering. Their graduate programs are developing skills in detection, monitoring, dynamic modeling, optimization, decision automation, scheduling, quality, control, and autonomy.

The Section has registered tremendous growth and recognition has come in the form of ISA Process Measurement and Control Division (PMCD) scholarships to two students, as well as OSU President's Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award 2011, nomination for the Outstanding Section Award, and Member's Choice Outstanding Leader Award to the ISA Honors and Awards Committee.  Several student members and past officers have been placed in leading control and automation companies. The presentation will reveal how others can create a similar section.