Control Engineering

I have spent a large part of my life becoming a Control Engineer, It started when I was in the army, I became fascinated with electronics and computers. My very first was an Commodore 64, no monitor, tape drive or anything else. I would sit in front of my TV with this plugged into the antenna jack and program different things in basic. After I had ran it a few times or my wife got fed up with the kids screaming about missing TV, I would unplug it and loose all of my programming.

From this humble beginning I started a course with Cleveland Electronics Technology.

It was during this time that I left the army and decided to pursue a career in the civilian sector, after a couple of short money making opportunities I landed a position with Alvey as a maintenance person, this position gave me my first real look into the world of automation, manufacturing and Business Intelligence.

from there I hired into a mom and pop electrical outfit out of Salina,Kansas it was here that I gained electrical installation and troubleshooting along with my first look into the world of PLC’s.

I was then hired into a company that specialized in pneumatic conveying controls and I got my hands into DCS systems, PLC development and customer relations.

From that position I went to another manufacture where I installed a PLC system in place of a relay based control system, it was my first experience with upgrading an older system, it was funny to me then that the most difficult part of the project was not the design, development, or the implementation, but the justification for the upgrade. Still today when I spec a project my biggest hurdle is to get approval for the upgrade.

I then went to a system integrator and worked in my first cubicle with cookie cutter programs and the constant programing of similar code, I started to develop my VB skills here so that I could automate allot of code writing with AutoCAD 2000, RSLOgix 5 and 500.

From this point I went back to the manufacturing environment initially as a electrical maintence supervisor and PLC instructor, I received the position because the plant had just upgrade to PLC’s and wanted the electricians to be able to troubleshoot them. I really got excited about this as I was trained as a Master Gunner in the army, one of the primary functions of a Master Gunner is to train troops in the art of armor.

With my knowledge of Rockwell PLC and my ability to give instructions, I was able to put together a successful class for our electricians.

While at this company I received training as a Six Sigma Black belt, I always thought that statistics was a fancy way to make numbers say whatever you wanted them to do. After a couple of projects I found that numbers are one of the most powerful forces in mankind. It is the basis of Business Intelligence.

After a couple of years, the company was implementing SAP in all it’s glory, I was asked to assist in the development of a reporting system to feed the Production Performance module of this monster. I learned just how valuable Business Intelligence is and the difference between data, information, and Business Intelligence are.

Today I find myself working contracts for different companies doing allot of little things, this is not what I want for my future, I would prefer to be in a plant full time, getting to know the equipment and the issues that face management.

~ by Guy Pelletier on September 21, 2006.

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