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New book offers career advice for young automation professionals

Dec. 10, 2012
Are you a young automation professional looking to boost your career? A new book from the International Society of Automation (ISA) is here to help.

Are you a young automation professional looking to boost your career? A new book from the International Society of Automation (ISA) is here to help. ISA's new publication is designed to help the next generation of automation engineers steer clear of common career obstacles and reach their professional goals. 101 Tips for a Successful Automation Career by Gregory K. McMillan and P. Hunter Vegas consolidates career planning recommendations, guidance on technical issues and challenges, interpersonal and workplace advice, and philosophical observations.

“Through our combined 70 years of experience in management, instrumentation, electrical design, modeling and control, Hunter and I have installed hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of equipment and managed thousands of projects,” says McMillan, a highly acclaimed automation professional and ISA Life Achievement Award recipient. “Along with our many successes have come some hard lessons learned. We wrote this book to share what works and what doesn’t in order to guide and assist younger automation engineers in their professional journeys.”

Written in an inviting and reader-friendly style, the book is aimed at automation engineers involved with controls systems and instrumentation, as well as engineering students approaching graduation.

“The book is an interesting mix of facts, advice, and useful tips gleaned from our many years in the automation field,” says Vegas, senior project leader at Avid Solutions. “It’s not your typical technical resource. It provides a great deal of useful information that is simply not available anywhere else. It’s like gaining all the insights and perspectives of a lifelong career in automation without experiencing the gray hair.”

Topics include:

  • Planning a career in automation
  • Surviving a control system start-up and living to tell the tale
  • Avoiding technical and interpersonal pitfalls
  • Dealing with bosses, vendors, and co-workers
  • Becoming the “go to” person
“We hope that by reading this book, you’ll avoid the errors that we and others have made, and you’ll be better prepared to navigate your way to a long and successful automation career,” adds Vegas. In his automation career, Vegas has engineered and installed fieldbus systems across a variety of industries; designed robotics and automated gauging systems for Babcock and Wilcox, Naval Nuclear Fuel Division; developed next-generation manufacturing equipment for Bristol Myers Squibb; and held numerous instrumentation, engineering, and production management positions at Cytec Industries. He received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering at Tulane University, and a master’s degree in business administration from Wake Forest University. McMillan is a widely honored automation professional and author. He received the ISA Kermit Fischer Environmental Award for pH control in 1991, and the Control magazine “Engineer of the Year” Award for the Process Industry in 1994. In 2001, McMillan was inducted into the Control Process Automation Hall of Fame; in 2003, he was honored by I nTech magazine as one of the most influential innovators in automation; and in 2010, he received the ISA Life Achievement Award. A former Senior Fellow from Solutia/Monsanto and an ISA Fellow, McMillan currently contracts in Emerson Delta R&D via CDI Process and Industrial in Austin. He earned a bachelor of science degree in engineering physics from Kansas University and a master of science degree in electrical engineering (control theory) from the Missouri University of Science and Technology. For more information, visit the ISA website.

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