THE AUTOMATION FEDERATION NEWS RELEASE
Contact: Bernard H. Penney
The Automation Federation Completes Successful Visit to Capitol Hill
Research Triangle Park, NC (6 May 2009) – The Automation Federation assembled a team of volunteers to meet with Members of the U.S. Congress on 20-21 April.
The team—Jim Keaveney, Randy Buchanan, Leo Staples, Pat Gouhin, Paul Goodson, and Mike Marlowe—led by Kim Miller-Dunn, chair for the Automation Federation, gathered to hold a series of strategic meetings with six Members of Congress over a two-day period. Team members held meetings with Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA), Congressman Joe Sestak (PA), Senator Bob Casey (PA), Senator Jay Rockefeller (WV), Congressman Mike Honda (CA), and Congressman Judy Biggert (IL). The discussion points of these meetings centered on Workforce Development, SmartGrid, and Cybersecurity. These efforts can be expanded to other governments where appropriate.
Senator Jay Rockefeller has introduced a legislative bill that focuses on Cybersecurity. This bill, S. 773, is intended "To ensure the continued free flow of commerce within the United States and with its global trading partners through secure cyber communications, to provide for the continued development and exploitation of the Internet and intranet communications for such purposes, to provide for the development of a cadre of information technology specialists, to improve and maintain effective cyber security defenses against disruption, and for other purposes."
The Automation Federation presented Senator Rockefeller with a two page letter that stated their support for the Senator's efforts to address this important issue of protecting our country from cyber attacks. The letter offered some specific points that the Senator may want to address in the proposed legislation, as well as offered the Automation Federation as a resource to be called upon for additional expertise as this legislation progresses through Congress. The letter was well received by the Senator's staff, and the representatives from the Automation Federation were assured that they would be called upon for their assistance with this important legislation.
Congressman Mike Honda has reintroduced his STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) legislation. This important piece of legislation was introduced in the 110TH Congress by Congressman Honda and, at that time, Senator Barack Obama. The purpose of this new legislation is to coordinate the efforts of STEM under one strategic effort. Congressman Honda has called upon the Automation Federation for their industry expertise to make sure that this legislation addresses the important aspects of automation within STEM. The team members from the Automation Federation offered continued support as an educational resource that Congressman Honda can utilize as the legislation progresses. Automation Federation staff submitted language that identified Department of Labor Competency Models, including the Automation Competency Model, for consideration by Congressman Honda.
In addition to meetings with Members of Congress, the Automation Federation team took time to meet with the National Science Foundation (NSF) staff regarding the Automation Federation's workforce development initiatives. NSF has encouraged the Automation Federation to pursue funding opportunities that can benefit these initiatives. They provided suggestions currently being evaluated by Automation Federation staff.
The Automation Federation team of volunteers also took part in the 2009 Engineering Public Policy Symposium. This year's theme was "Putting Engineering and Science Back into Energy Policy." The Automation Federation and the International Society of Automation (ISA) served as two of thirty-two sponsors for this event. Over one hundred individuals from engineering organizations and Members of Congress and staff attended the Symposium.
Steve Huffman, chair of the Automation Federation government relations committee, made the following comments at the recent meetings in Washington D.C., "Every time the Automation Federation sends a team of volunteers to Washington, we develop new contacts and support from the Members of Congress, we continue to build the automation profession brand, and we gain the respect and trust as the industry resource that Congress can rely on. This is an undeniable indicator of our success. A success we will strive to replicate with each visit."
Kim Miller-Dunn, chair of the Automation Federation, added, "I have made several of our Congressional Hill visits and can say, without any reservation, that what the Automation Federation is doing on behalf of the automation profession is unbelievable given the short time period over which we have been engaged with Congress. We have built and continue to build a level of awareness of the importance of automation that was only a dream a few years ago. I can only imagine the possibilities future visits with Congress hold for us."
To learn more about the Automation Federation's government relations and workforce development activities and the Automation Competency Model, visit www.automationfederation.org.
About the Automation Federation
The Automation Federation is a global umbrella organization under which member associations and societies engaged in manufacturing and process automation activities can work more effectively to fulfill their missions, advance the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications and develop the workforce needed to capitalize on the benefits of automation. The Automation Federation is working to become the "Voice of Automation." For more information about the Automation Federation, visit www.automationfederation.org.