PROFIblog General Assembly Meeting Report

I expected to blog daily about the PTO General Assembly Meeting, but when I realized each night that my choice was blog or sleep, sleep always won.  So now it’s Saturday morning, the week’s email is processed (mostly), the emergencies are handled, sleep has been caught up, and with feet comfortably elevated, here’s the report.

News is already out there thanks to attending editors.  You can read a brief report in   Control Engineering or Gary Mintchell’s Feed Forward blog (1  2  3  4).  Nick Belardes also picked up some news from the ProSoft presenters in the ProSoft blog.

The PROFIsafe Classes that preceded the GAM were well attended and well-received.  There is no doubt about the growing importance of safety over a fieldbus.  We were fortunate to have noted PROFIsafe expert Dr. Wolfgang Stripf organize these sessions.  Guest presenters from TUV Rheinland of North America and exida greatly helped our understanding of the standards and processes.

The main event commenced Tuesday evening with a Welcome Reception.  This provided a chance to reconnect with old friends and meet the new folks from old companies and the new folks from new companies.  Tabletop exhibits provided a backdrop to the reception and provided an opportunity to see actual hardware.  Exhibitors included ProSoft Technology, Siemens Energy & Automation, HMS Industrial Networks, Siemens Energy & Automation, Softing North America, Inc., Woodhead, HMS Industrial Networks Inc, Hilscher North America, Automation Training, and PROFI Interface Center.

Wednesday morning was the reports session with reports from PTO, PI, and PROFI Interface Center following the introductions.  We were introduced to the newest PTO Board member, Thad Frost of Invensys Foxboro.  Thad replaced Tim Black (Invensys Wonderware), who replaced Scott Kiser, who replaced me.  Small world, eh?  Scott Kiser was always the first person to register for the GAMs so we named an award for the first registrant after him.  This year it went to Ken Hoover of Softing North America.  This is the first year Scott has missed as his increasing responsibilities intervened.  This means that he and I are now tied for the most GAMs attended (except for Mike Bryant, of course, who has chaired all 12).

To speed the introductions by the attendees we presented them with a numbered menu of choices to identify their reason for attendance:

10 getting to wear shorts and a tee shirt to a meeting

9 exposure to market analysis (professional & not-so-much)

8 sharing users’ excitement about their PROFIBUS and PROFINET applications

7 buzzword bonanza: wireless, asset management, safety

6 hearing the latest PROFINET and PROFIBUS gossip from around the globe

5 discovering additional product marketing opportunities

4 meeting the press in an informal setting

3 attending the Thursday night pool party

2 free exhibit table for the whole meeting

1 beating my competitors at the pool or bowling tournament at Jillian’s

I was sure number 1 would be the most popular choice, but it turned out to be 6.

Speaking of numbers, my favorite report is PTO by the numbers.  This shows the continuing growth in PROFIBUS, PROFINET, and PROFIsafe as well as the expansion of PTO marketing activities.  Mike Bryant also reported on the recent PI meeting in Sonoma that I blogged about earlier. 

Mike is the Deputy Chairman of PI, the international organization for PROFIBUS and PROFINET.  The Chairman is Edgar Kuester who reported on a number of activities including IO-Link, the growth of PROFIsafe, the roadmap for PROFINET in the process industries, and the PI reaction to the Emerson and Siemens joint activities.  I blogged about IO-Link when I first discovered it at Hanover Fair and about the Emerson/Siemens joint activities on the day of the joint press release.

Karsten Schneider is he manager of the PROFI Interface Center.  His report showed the large number of PROFIBUS Certified Network Engineers that have been educated at the PIC.  And the large number of one-day training events they have worked with us. 

Gary Mintchell covered Michelle Palmer’s keynote and Jim Tomlinson’s theater automation story so click over to his blog for those details.  Michelle’s presentation was perfect for the PTO marketers.  And I have this overwhelming urge to go immediately to Vegas to see Ka.

Mike Bryant led the presentation and discussion of PTO promotional activities.  He pointed out that the PTO has two main promotional responsibilities: PROFIBUS and PROFINET in general and member’s products in particular.  Most of the product promotion we do is included in members’ dues and a few additional opportunities are available at our cost.  Seven of our members took immediate advantage of a special offer available only to attendees.  [Note to members who didn’t attend this year: you missed big savings on web and newsletter advertising and one-day training event exhibits!]

Mike Aldridge was our Recreation Director for the evening’s activities.  Mike and Mike played pool and ran the pool tournament at Jillian’s.  Mike B finally cashed in on his misspent youth by winning the pool tournament, but Mike A awarded the prize to runner-up Trevor Lang.  I ran the bowling tournament but did not play.  Good thing, too, as I spent most of the final round corralling the players back to the alley and pointing them in the right direction.  Except for winner Pete Welander.  He had no trouble bowling well.  Not that I didn’t have fun thanks to the delightful participants… and the bachelorette party over on lane 7.  But that’s a story for another day.  And so is the report from Day 2 of the GAM…