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 exams. Preparation classes to help aspiring CSE’s to pass the test.
Fast forward to 2021! We have Bradley Rupert as Section President with his sidekick VP Malaika Valeriote, and the wonderful Treasurer Tara Kheiri. Welcome to all new members, and stay tuned for things to come!