In Appreciation for Dick Morley

This page of our website is dedicated to Dick Morley – a great friend and mentor to SCADAware.

In Appreciation for Dick Morley

This page of our website is dedicated to Dick Morley – a great friend and mentor to SCADAware. Dick passed away in October of 2017. Rick Caldwell, president of SCADAware, has written an article in his memory here.

Every so often, a person comes along who changes the way we live our daily lives and things are never the same again. They represent a paradigm shift: they cause a permanent change in our idea of what is possible. For our industry, that person is Dick Morley, ‘the father of the PLC.

Rick Caldwell

President and Founder, SCADAware

About Dick Morley

Morley changed the face of industrial automation with the invention of the programmable logic controller (PLC).  We would not be in business without his groundbreaking machine.  Morley’s love of discovery led to many technology advancements. For more than four decades, he has contributed to revolutionary achievements in computer design, artificial intelligence, automation, and futurism. Morley has more than twenty U.S. and foreign patents, including those for:

  • Programmable logic controller (PLC)
  • Magnetic thin film and storage (floppy disk)
  • Parallel inference machine
  • Hand-held terminal

His ideas have also played a significant role in the development of anti-lock brakes, automated vehicle control, building automation, and the cool shaft.  A man of many interests and talents, he has also worked on secure government projects, consulted on medical projects, developed a chocolate business, and written for national and international publications.

He has been recognized with many awards, such as

  • The Franklin Institute’s prestigious Howard N. Potts Award
  • Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year
  • The Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Albert M. Sargent Progress Award
  • Induction into the Automation Hall of Fame.

Connection to SCADAware

Rick met Dick at the International Programmable logic Controller trade show (many years ago!) in Detroit at the luncheon for the keynote speakers.  Their first conversation shows how modest Dick always is.  Rick sat down at the table and said, “We are all here because of you…you invented the PLC!” Morley responded, “Oh, I didn’t invent it. That was just an idea who’s time had come, and I just happened to be the guy working on it.”  It’s this humility that draws so many in the industry to him as a mentor.

Dick has been a mentor to Rick Caldwell, founder and CEO of SCADAware, for over 25 years.  They developed a relationship over the years as their paths crossed time and again at industry events.  They often exchange ideas and talk shop; Dick as the “big idea” guy, and Rick focused on real-world application.

Morley actually came up with the name for SCADAware.  Rick had come up against a brick wall naming his new company after trying every domain he could think of related to “control systems.” He finally called Morley to brainstorm.  Dick immediately suggested including “scada” to indicate Caldwell’s SCADA system expertise and “ware” to represent the software area of expertise.  After pondering a little while longer, he suggested the mix of uppercase and lowercase to make each part easily recognizable.  Thus, SCADAware.

Mentor to the Industry

The Barn

Dick lived “at the end of the power lines” in New Hampshire for decades, spending most of his days working in the renovated barn on the property.  He and his wife, Shirley, lived there with their three children and a few dozen foster children over the years.  He referred to the house as “Shirley’s house” because he spent so much of his time in the Barn.

Morley was dedicated to mentoring many in the industry.  Because it was so rural, he insisted that anyone coming to visit stay in The Barn.  He optimized the space for brainstorming – no TVs anywhere, just whiteboards.

Dick’s assistant, Deb, also worked in the barn.  One day, Rick and Morley had just finished a morning of brainstorming for StatusWatch, filling 10 or 11 sheets of chart paper.  Deciding to break for lunch, they stepped out for 20 minutes or so to pick up a pizza and bring it back.  When they returned, a brochure for the newly conceived product was sitting on the table.  Deb had synthesized the notes into a brochure in the few minutes they were gone!

Geek Pride Days

Dick hosted “Geek Pride Days” at The Barn.  It was strictly Geeks Only!  He believed that high schools should have given out letters for academic achievement, so he organized these days to celebrate geek achievement.  The days included presentations from himself and other innovators and plenty of food for everyone.  In the evenings, everyone would gather for casual fireside chats.

The Lifetime Achievement Award

for Contributions to the Automation Industry

On April 21, 2016, Rick presented the first Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to the Automation Industry at the 2016 CSIA Executive Conference.

Morley could not attend the awards banquet due to health concerns. Caldwell, Rivera and a small group of additional CSIA members presented Morley with the award on March 11, 2016 at his residence in Milford, New Hampshire. Read the press release.