The Instrument Society of America Northern California Section

The Instrument Society of America Northern California Section served the instrument and control professionals in Northern California from 1945 until 2016.


Prompted by the tremendous increase in industrial activity in Northern California following world War II, several far-sighted individuals gathered in the Fall of 1946 in Roger Stanley's home in the East Bay to form the Northern California Instrument Society. Fred Miller was the first President, followed by D. J. Pompeo, Chester (Chet) Beard and, later, Roger Stanley.

Monthly Society meetings were first held at Pacific Gas & Electric's facilities in Oakland. The urge for dinner meetings took them to a then small place in Berkeley, Spenger's. Thanks to the Dinner Meetings, both the Society and Spenger's grew.

Shortly after the Society's formation, news of the activities of an organization of similar groups in the eastern part of the country, the Instrument Society of America, reached this area and Los Angeles. There was lively debate about affiliating with the eastern group. When time came for a vote, the Board of Directors, knowing that they had an organization that was strong enough to continue on its own if affiliation did not work out (they made sure they could drop out) and recognizing the probable advantages of national affiliation, voted for affiliation and became officially known as The Instrument Society of America Northern California Section (California Corporation C0297619 2/2/1955). Northern California Section flourished under affiliation, becoming the largest Section in the country when surpassing Philadelphia in the early 1970s.

In the early days, the "official" monthly publication was a postcard (two cents at first) announcing the next meeting. Prior to the economy moves in 1997, one of the major accomplishments of our Section was the publication of a very serious monthly magazine known as the Transmitter. Started by Alex Wayne in 1968 when he was the Membership Chairman, it had grown from a single page, typed and mimeographed message into a twenty or more page, publication distributed to all members of the Northern California and Santa Clara Valley Sections. During the 1995-96 fiscal year, the Communications Committee established and maintained a World Wide Web site on the Internet that was one of the best, if not the best, section Web sites in all of ISA. Among its many features was an online version of the Buyers’ Guide portion of the Roster & Buyers’ Guide. The Roster and Buyers’ Guide was a very popular publication and could be found on the desks of many members.

Section technical expositions featuring demonstrations of hardware and software as well as teaching/discussion sessions began in 1954. That year, the Claremont Hotel on the Berkeley/Oakland border set up plain tables, one to a vendor, for table-top demonstrations. Overwhelming response each time kept this a bi-annual event until 1998. Then beginning in 2003, the Section produced NorCal Tech, a technical conference at Cal Maritime Academy featuring technical presentations of real world problems and solutions, technical training with Continuing Education Units (CEU’s), Exhibitor Displays, and an evening reception. NorCal Tech was held in even numbered years through 2009.

Another major accomplishment was the establishment of professional registration of Control System Engineers in the State of California. Sparked by Mark Bagley and others, and with the help and support of the five Southern California Sections, we circulated petitions, and prepared a book of evidence demonstrating the need for registration. We were successful in this effort and there are now many registered Control System Engineers. We held a number of Exam. Preparation classes to help aspiring CSE’s to pass the test.

In the 1960s, our group found itself split in ideology between those primarily interested in process control and those interested in aerospace, computers and electronic research. As a trial solution to this problem, a second organization was spun off which became the Santa Clara Valley Section of ISA.  In 2001 the Santa Clara Valley Section again merged with the Northern California Section.

Other outstanding achievements have been made in the field of education. Our first effort was establishment of an endowment known as the D. J. Pompeo Memorial Fund at the University of California. In the 1980s our assistance helped San Francisco State University (SFSU)  initiate a course of study leading to a degree in Control System Engineering. Using cash donations from the membership and donations of hardware and software from vendors, the Section has aided in the creation of a control system laboratory in the university's engineering building that includes a multiple loop process. There, the students can get hands-on-experience with the same equipment and processes that they will encounter following their graduation.

Education has always been a priority for NorCal. In the 2000’s, we developed and taught classes in PLC programming, control valve selection and application, boiler controls, and basic process controls. When ISA introduced the Certified Control System Technician (CCST) program, we conducted the Exam. Prep. courses to help prepare technicians for the exam.

There have been many people who have contributed to the leadership of NorCal, but one needs special recognition. Terry Malloy was a vital influence on the Section for many years. He was an engineer at PG&E, and began his involvement when meetings were held at their office. His enthusiasm for ISA and business skills propelled NorCal to the status of being one of the largest and most active sections of the society. Until the 1980’s production of the Transmitter newsletter was contracted to a professional publisher at a significant cost. Terry recognized that the newly available personal computers, publishing software and custom printing services made this the time to move the Transmitter publication to a member produced product. He took over as the Transmitter editor and transformed the Transmitter from a money losing to a money making function of the Section. The money provided from the Transmitter advertizing made it possible for the Section to sponsor the travel expenses of delegates to ISA Leadership Conferences.

After many years of serving the engineers, technicians, and others in the process control field, NorCal has suffered from declining membership. This might have been attributable to the decline in the number of process control related jobs in the area, or the loss of interest in participating in professional groups. The Section was last fully functional in 2016. In 2019, the State of California business entity website shows that the corporation was dissolved and in February 2023 ISA revoked the Section charter.

ISA NorCal Past Presidents




Fred Miller


D.J. Pornpco


Chester Beard


Walter G. Marion


P. Gibson


Keith Drager


B.L. Anderson


Adelbert Carpenter


Roger U. Stanley


Robert B. McAulay


Allen E. Lee


Kauko E. Hallikainen


Bruce E. Powell


Ralph E. Brogie


Eweld F. Schimbor


Alex M. Wayne


John H. Van Dykc


Paul Hoyt


William J. Osborn


Norman S. Waner


Vigo N. Smith


David A. Stevenson


George Gurolla


Allan F. Marks


Allan J. Shand


David R. Scott


Robert Fritsch


Robert R. Claypool


George Sweeney


Thomas J. Campbell


Larry Loomer


Herb Hickman


Steve V. Kerstner


Robert L. Galley


Don F. Dellenbach


Asa Maylott


Chuck Kopf


Duane Karstens


Paul Mahoney


Jim Huhnan


David Nazzaro


Don Brewer


Dave Browne


Leon Weinberg


Tim Rose


Cathy Ershen


Jim Schroeder


Diep Nguyen


Kathryn Satoda


Terry V. Molloy


Herb Roedel

1999 - 2000

Glen J. Garfein

2000 - 2001

David Tateosian

2001 - 2002

Robert C. Webb

2002 - 2003

Nandkishor (Nand) Khidkikar

2003 - 2004

Suzanne Pippin

2004 - 2006 Brad Rupert
2006 - 2008 John Daily
2008 - 2009 Terry V. Molloy
2009 - 2010 Lee Shirwood
2010 - 2012

Brian Thomas

2012-2014 Troy Leverton
2014-2016 Dan Bosque
2016-2017 Dale Hotten

Rev: 5/13/2023