• Meet our Members

    Q&A with David Board

    David Board img

    As an EMEA Commercial Project Engineer at Rockwell Automation, David Board specializes in the Rockwell Automation Visualization suite for the company’s customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Within ISA, Board serves as ISA’s England Membership Chair and actively contributes to two ISA standards committees: ISA101: Human Machine Interfaces for Process Automation Systems and ISA112: SCADA Systems. He also co-chairs two ISA101 working groups.

    Could you provide some background on your education (degree/s received) and academic areas of emphasis? 

    I have a time served apprenticeship in electrical and electronic engineering and a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Electronic Engineering. I’ve also obtained further training in C++ programming, PRINCE2 (project management method) and the ISA/IEC 62443 series of industrial cybersecurity standards.

    What initially attracted you to the field of automation (and specifically your selected field)...and when was it? Was there any specific thing that triggered your interest? 

    When I was 14 my uncle, who was a college lecturer, gave me a huge box of electronic components. Experimenting with these components is what first got me interested in electronics. Then in school, for one of my exam projects, I made a continuity tester and a transistor tester.

    For my first year colleague project, I built a Sinclair ZX81 from a kit and started programming in BASIC. I then progressed onto Assembly and Forth when I purchased a Grundy NewBrain. During my apprenticeship, I started to program PLCs, which became a career focus of mine. I later moved on to HMI and SCADA systems.  

    I have been very lucky to find a career in automation that essentially built upon my interest and a very early hobby. I now have 37 years of experience in automation.

    Please tell us about your current career responsibilities (specific position, company) and background, and area of specialty in automation. 

    I am an EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) Commercial Project Engineer at Rockwell Automation. I’ve been with the company for the last 11 years. I originally joined the company as a Senior Lead Project Engineer in the projects division and after two years I moved to Brussels and joined the EMEA Commercial Engineering Team. The team specializes in the Rockwell Automation Visualization suite for customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa—providing high-level, pre-sales support and escalated post-sales support for corporate customers; and writing and delivering materials for advanced internal training and customer-facing events and shows.

    Please explain your current level/degree of involvement in ISA (leader positions, section involvement, etc.).

    I serve as ISA's England Membership Chair and actively contribute to two ISA standards committees: ISA101: Human Machine Interfaces for Process Automation Systems and ISA112: SCADA Systems. I also serve as an Alternate Voting Member for ISA101.

    In addition, I am Co-Chair of ISA101 Working Group 2 on Performance and Usability, and Co-Chair of ISA101 Working Group 4 on HMI for Machine Applications.

    How did you initially get involved in ISA? 

    Through my work, I naturally developed an active interest in standards that relate to HMI and SCADA systems. That’s why I joined the ISA101 standards committee. My involvement in ISA grew after I attended ISA’s 2016 Fall Leaders Meeting. ISA has a very inclusive culture and encourages people to be involved.

    What ways would you say ISA has benefited you?

    ISA has provided me with a great network of automation professionals from very different backgrounds and industries. My involvement with the standards committees has improved my documentation skills and meeting-management skills. Also, by sitting on the standards committees I get to hear a lot viewpoints from those from different industries and I learn a lot through the knowledge and experience of the other committee members.

    Do you have any advice or suggestions to young automation professionals entering the profession? Are there things that you have learned that you might pass on…to help them better develop their careers?

    Be open to which way your career may head. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and, more importantly, don’t be afraid to question the answers you are given. Remember, too, that there are a lot of people in the industry that can help you.
    To me, a very important part of having a fulfilling and rewarding career is finding that particular area that really challenges you and that you find interesting. If you do that, you won’t ever feel like you’re just doing “a job.”
    Also, develop soft skills, such as presentation skills. You will build confidence and come across as a professional. One way to get used to presenting in front of an audience is to join a local Toast Masters club.