What do you do? Lee Cockrell, retired executive vice president of Disney World Resorts drew instant rapport with his audience at the recent Plant2Enterprise Conference in Orlando beginning his presentation titled “You Can Make Magic, Too.” I’ve noticed that when automation professionals gather for a conference, often the geek in all of us comes out. Sessions are technical, and the audience goes into learning mode—geeks love to increase understanding of technical subjects.
If you’re seeking best-practices standards for designing graphical operator-interface displays, you won’t find them. Edward Tufte’s book “Envisioning Information” has useful information, though, notes Kevin Harris, director of the Honeywell Inc. (www.honeywell.com)-led Abnormal Situation Management Consortium (www.asmconsortium.org), in Phoenix.
Considering automation investments? Then have a consistent approach from your company’s portfolio-management standpoint, advises Bob Shepherd, consultant for North American chemical, oil and gas sectors for Invensys’ (www.invensys.com) Houston-based Technical Industrial and Proposal Group. In the risk-management process to settle cost estimates and benefits, each step “is like sticking your toe in to hot water. The idea is: ‘By the time I get to my final investment, I won’t be surprised by the cost.’ ”
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The Wireless Industrial Networking Alliance (WINA, www.wina.org) will become the latest “charter member” of The Automation Federation (www.automationfederation.org), formed earlier this year by the Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society (ISA, www.isa.org) to serve as an umbrella organization for associations and societies engaged in manufacturing and process automation activities.
Despite China’s population of 1.3 billion, a critical talent shortage has multinational corporations struggling to retain their management and employees, according to a recent white paper from Manpower Inc. (www.manpower.com), a Milwaukee-based employment services provider. 
RFID offers tremendous potential for catalyzing India’s growth and development. With the semiconductor industry and mobile communication technology maturing, radio frequency identification (RFID) is expected to enter the market in a big way.
Manufacturers’ success rests largely on how effectively they measure financial and operational performance, according to a new industry study.‑Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association International (MESA, www.mesa.org) and Industry Directions Inc. (www.industrydirections.com)  unveiled the results of the “Metrics that Matter” research project at the MESA Plant2Enterprise Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Oct. 9.
Executives from multiple motion control companies have launched a new trade association to serve the interests of motor, drive and controls companies.
“Would you like Ethernet with that?” It’s a question that more automation buyers are hearing these days, as a growing number of industrial connectivity product vendors jump on the Ethernet bandwagon.
Mark Engman has been named president and chief executive officer at Opto 22 (www.opto22.com), a Temecula, Calif., automation supplier. Engman succeeds his father, Opto 22 founder Robert (Bob) Engman, who will continue with the company in a consultative and advisory role.
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