Archive of resources - MAVERICK Rethinking Automation

Who Will Be In Your Control Room In 2016?

Posted by Bill Tolrud on December 5, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

Control SystemsTake a look at the people in your control room: you probably see a lot of gray hair. How many of those individuals are still going to be there in another three or five years? To answer this question, we need to look at the retirement rate of the baby boomers that are now between the ages of 55 to 65. On January 1, 2011, the first baby boomers turned 65. According to a report from the Congressional Research Service, dated January 30, 2008, the retirement of baby boomers will affect the overall economy and our industries until the year 2020. The industries affected most will be those that have been part of the structure of the U.S. industry buildup: steel and primary m...

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Is Your Control System Training Program Up-to-Date?

Posted by Bill Stewart on May 9, 2012 @ 8:02 am

When it comes to control system training, you’ve undoubtedly heard this phrase said to new folks: “In my day, you applied common horse sense, some on-the-job-training and a couple of days of following me around. After that you just ask questions. Do you have any for me now?” Now, if I was instructing someone on how to rake leaves or sweep out the garage—the above conversation would probably work.  But if you want to ensure that new engineers, operators and maintenance personnel who interact with the control system everyday are capable of doing so, then we need to teach them to be them more sophisticated. First, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is your control system architecture documented and current?
  2. Do you have security in place to prevent unauthorized or qualified people from accessing set points?
  3. Is there a clear lin...

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Why Resources are Creating a Bottleneck in the Automation World

Posted by Chad Harper on April 25, 2012 @ 8:43 am

A perfect storm is brewing in the automation world, and it has nothing to do with hardware or software. It’s about resources, which are fast becoming a bottleneck in the industry. Why? Well, there are several factors at play. I’ll address some of the bigger ones:


It’s been widely publicized that the workforce within the automation profession is aging. A recent survey showed that more than 25% of the respondents were over 55, and almost 60% were over 45. When this group retires, the collective knowledge and history of the plant operations goes with them. There’s a noticeable gap before current senior engineers are ready to fill their roles, and we’ve seen a lot of clients suffer when their most senior people leave the plant.

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