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New ISA publication provides career and professional guidance for automation professional

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 Winston-Salem, N.C. “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.”

Examples of topics addressed 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.

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 InTech magazine as one of the most influential innovators in automation; and in 2010, he received the ISA Life Achievement Award.

He 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. He has been the monthly “Control Talk” columnist for Control magazine since 2002.

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

About ISA
Founded in 1945, the International Society of Automation ( is a leading, global, nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for automation by helping over 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems, while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities. Based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, ISA develops standards, certifies industry professionals, provides education and training, publishes books and technical articles, and hosts conferences and exhibitions for automation professionals. ISA is the founding sponsor of the Automation Federation (

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