In memory: Control Engineering’s George Blickley dies


Oak Brook, IL, and Tucson, AZ —George Blickley, an active participant in the world of process control, instrumentation, and automation for more than 50 years, died Dec. 16, 2006, at age 82. His career as a writer and editor for Control Engineering spanned 20 years, covering process control and other topics vital to readers.

A news story announcing his arrival at Control Engineering in 1984 said, Blickley "brings with him some 30 years of experience in the engineering, sales, and marketing of control products. He held project engineering positions at Honeywell (Brown Instrument) and Compudyne, served as sales engineer at Swartwout, and held several positions, including assistant to the general manager at GPE Controls. More recently he has been chief engineer at SOR Inc. and at MEA Inc."

Frank Bartos, Control Engineering consulting editor, says, "I worked with George for a number of years at Control Engineering and highly valued that relationship. George was the ultimate engineer, a background that clearly carried over into his many notable articles. His prime expertise and favorite coverage area was in the process industries. George also was a valued source for sharing information about process topics. All of us at, and associated with, Control Engineering will miss him."

Blickley penned some of the best-read articles in Control Engineering 's archives. While he wrote on a diversity of control engineering topics, Blickley was most enthusiastic about articles on process control and instrumentation. These include an often-reprinted interview with John G. Ziegler, one of the originators of PID tuning, in Part 1 of the " Control Engineering Reference Guide to PID Tuning." For that reprint, Blickley also edited and wrote a preface to the original Ziegler-Nichols paper on PID, "Optimum Settings for Automatic Controllers."

In a Control Engineering January 1998 news story about Ziegler's passing [ Click here to read, "Co-Creator of Control Loop Tuning Equation Dies."], Blickley reflected, "'There were about 15 other mathematical routines that could be used instead of the Ziegler-Nichols method, and each was tried and championed—only to succumb to the simplicity and ease of use of Z-N tuning. The control industry practically snubbed the Z-N method when it was introduced to the ASME, but it soon gained wide acceptance over intuitive and flawed methods used at the time. If there is ever a museum built to honor PID, statues of John Ziegler and Nate Nichols should be at the entrance."

Blickley worked as senior editor until July 1989, and then continued to contribute articles after his retirement. His last published bylined piece in Control Engineering electronic archive was Sept. 28, 2004, " Good economic news spurs controls sector ."

Blickley held a BSEE from Penn State and an MBA from the University of Missouri. Among other accomplishments, he was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and a senior member of the Instrument Society of America, past president of the Kansas City section of ISA, and also had held the position of chairman, Pressure Switch Section, National Fluid Power Association. He was born in Philadelphia, PA, and served in the Army Air Corps during WWII.

"It's so hard to sum a lifetime of professional passion," noted Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering editor in chief, who worked with Blickley since 1994. "I'd like to think George is having a good time visiting with family and other friends and colleagues who went before him, including John Ziegler and Nate Nichols. George always was friendly and provided great perspective about the enormous value controls, automation, and instrumentation can bring when they're appropriately applied."

Readers may link any recollections to this article using the "Talk Back" feature at the bottom of this electronic page at . In the Dec. 18, 2006, obituary for Blickley in the Tucson "Arizona Daily Star," his family suggested a contribution to the American Heart Association instead of flowers.

Control Engineering staff

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