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101 Tips for a Successful Automation Career

The International Society of Automation (ISA) has produced a new book designed to help the next generation of automation engineers steer clear of common career obstacles and reach their professional objectives.

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, easy-to-read style, the book is aimed at automation engineers involved in controls systems and instrumentation, and 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,” remarks Vegas, senior project leader at Avid Solutions, an industrial process control system integrator based in North Carolina, USA.

“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 life-long career in automation without experiencing the gray hair.”

The book is priced at US$79 on the ISA website. Examples of topics addressed in the book 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,” Vegas adds.

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.

McMillan is the author of numerous books on process control, including Essentials of Modern Measurements and Final Elements for the Process Industry and Advanced Temperature Measurement and Control. 

A former Senior Fellow from Solutia/Monsanto and an ISA Fellow, McMillan currently contracts in Emerson Delta R&D via CDI Process & Industrial in Texas.

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