Training Effectiveness: The Importance of a Personal Touch

This guest post is authored by Christy Sirianni, workforce optimization manager for MAVERICK Technologies

Training and learning new skills are topics that employees often communicate as things they want more of from their employers. Unfortunately, those are very general terms and can be applied in many ways. What exactly is training, and how can it be implemented?People development process, business concept

It is important to take a 360-degree approach to developing employees. Companies that are dedicated to growing their own people internally should offer programs addressing both technical and professional skills. A good practice is to use a blended learning approach by focusing 10 percent on formal training, 20 percent on coaching/feedback and 70 percent on work experience.

This is put into practice differently for each employee depending on his or her specific job tasks and capabilities, but generally follows a basic approach:

Formal training is typically done in a classroom situation or online where employees learn any number of topics, from how to create customer proposals and documentation using our internal mechanisms to writing programs for a new controller platform. These are nuts-and-bolts issues and things that employees need to master in order to carry out their basic job functions.

Experience is the process of learning from day to day work activities. A new engineer learns how to design a control system or configure a pump skid automation system. After each project, new things learned become part of that individual’s skill set. Some information is technical, and that is very important for any company that is a technical services provider.

But other parts are the soft skills—the elements of working with people and how to get along effectively in the workplace. Elements like, “How do I engage my clients and coworkers so they will be willing to work with me in a way that leaves everyone with a positive experience when the project is done?”

I left the coaching/feedback element to last because it is, in many respects, the most important. You can get formal training and experience anywhere, but a company that is truly effective at developing its people will include a coaching program where more experienced employees and managers mentor others. While a project is in progress or in a review when it’s done, the newer employee will review what has happened and think about experiences gained in that context.

Discussions may address, “You did a good job writing the proposal, but why do you think you still got push-back from the customer?” “The project got behind schedule during the electrical design phase. Why do you think that happened?” These kinds of review sessions are critical to getting the most from experiences and understanding the takeaways from each job.

As part of the training process, it is important to set personal goals for employees aligned with the business goals to help them have a clear line of sight to gauge their impact to the business. Using the blended learning approach for development to help meet stretch goals provides every employee with the tools to be successful, and the opportunity to expand their skills through experience.

Communicating this plan with employees allows them to see the company’s investment in their continued development. What does your company do to foster growth and development for your new employees?

Christy SirianniAbout the Author
Christy Sirianni is the workforce optimization manager for MAVERICK Technologies. In this role, she supports the strategic planning and development of resources throughout the company.  In addition to supporting the utilization and development of resources, Christy is part of the workforce development team chartered to improve resource utilization, retention, development and make MAVERICK the employer of choice. Christy earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Penn State University. She is also a certified Project Management Professional and is Six Sigma certified. Christy joined MAVERICK through the General Electric Automation Services acquisition, where she had worked since 1999.  Her prior roles include engineer, proposal and estimating specialist, project manager and operations manager.
Connect with Christy:
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High Pay Is Not Reason Enough to Stay in a Bad Industrial Automation Job

The following tip is from the ISA book by Greg McMillan and Hunter Vegas titled 101 Tips for a Successful Automation Career, inspired by the ISA Mentor Program. This is  Tip #49.

This tip is really an extension of Tip #47 and 48, and it discusses what can happen when those two tips are not followed.

I have had a number of bosses during my career. Most were superb, providing professional and technical guidance andAngry boss support when I needed it and giving me the reins and responsibility when they thought I was ready. However, two of those bosses were truly awful.

In both cases they became my boss through company personnel moves over which I had no control. Both individuals were manipulative and technically inept, but incapable of being wrong even though they were often wrong on a daily basis. In each case I stayed in the job about a year, thinking that I should give the situation and the boss at least twelve months before I considered any moves. Unfortunately, after a year each boss had proven to be even worse than I had anticipated and I left those companies, never to return.

Back in Tip #33, I mentioned that high pay is not reason enough to stay in a bad job. Well, nothing can make you dislike a job more quickly than working for a boss you despise.

Concept: When interviewing for a position, interview your perspective boss as hard as he (or she) is interviewing you. The pay may be great and the position fantastic, but a bad boss can negate all of that.

101 Tips for a Successful Automation CareerDetails: As should be clear by now, the boss sets the tone for the whole team dynamic. His level of effort, his desire to train and develop his direct reports, and his management style will in large part determine the working atmosphere along with the ultimate success of the team. Great co-workers are important and wonderful to have, but the boss’s personality will more likely determine whether you actually like your job.

Because the boss’s management style is so critical, it is imperative that you vet him/her thoroughly before accepting a job. Go out to lunch with the boss and other team members and see how they interact. Invite the boss to dinner with his/her spouse and watch how they treat their spouse and the wait staff. Is the team comfortable with the boss and does the conversation flow easily, or are they quiet? Does the boss mistreat his/her spouse or talk down to the restaurant staff? Is the boss decisive? Can he/she admit fault? Ask team members if there are any individuals who left the group. Is so, track them down and find out why they left. Take the time and make the effort to find out all you can about the boss because your level of job satisfaction will in no small measure be determined by this one person.

Watch-Outs: If you are touring the plant or office and the boss lies to other workers or team members, talks down to his direct reports or treats lower level company staff with disdain, moving on to other possibilities is probably the best course of action. The boss may be brilliantly successful and knowledgeable but working for a tyrant can be unbearable.

Exceptions: Some companies transfer “Hi-Po”s (High Potential Management Employees) from job to job every 12 months. If you get one assigned to your group and they are awful, it may just be easier to bite your tongue and wait them out.

Insight: A good boss can even make staying in a bad job worthwhile. The company may be struggling or the corporate politics ugly, but a good boss will somehow find a way to keep the team together and shield them from the fray. However if things get too bad, a good boss is one who encourages his direct reports to develop and grow their careers, even if that means leaving the group or the company.

Rule of Thumb: A bad boss should be a deal breaker of any job consideration. Interview the boss thoroughly and carefully before you accept any job.

 

Hunter VegasAbout the Author
Hunter Vegas, P.E., holds a B.S.E.E. degree from Tulane University and an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University. His job titles have included instrument engineer, production engineer, instrumentation group leader, principal automation engineer, and unit production manager. In 2001, he joined Avid Solutions, Inc., as an engineering manager and lead project engineer, where he works today. Vegas has executed nearly 2,000 instrumentation and control projects over his career, with budgets ranging from a few thousand to millions of dollars. He is proficient in field instrumentation sizing and selection, safety interlock design, electrical design, advanced control strategy, and numerous control system hardware and software platforms.

How to Build Communications Skills as an Engineer

The following tip is from the ISA book by Greg McMillan and Hunter Vegas titled 101 Tips for a Successful Automation Career, inspired by the ISA Mentor Program. This is  Tip #40.

Consider the stereotype of the engineer. He (or she) is shy, socially inept, and rarely the life of the party. Understanding Fourier transforms and partial differential equations is no problem but standing in front of an audience and giving a presentation is a nearly insurmountable challenge. If he does give a talk he tends to mumble and look away from the audience when he speaks, puts WAY too much information in small type on his PowerPoint slides, and tends to read the slides to the audience as he drones on.making a speech

…sound a bit too familiar? –

Unfortunately, that description is close to the truth for many engineers, and often a more technically qualified engineer has been passed over for a promotion by a candidate with less experience and knowledge but with better communication and presentation skills.

As a high school student I realized I was headed down this road. My math scores were excellent but my English/verbal scores were at best mediocre. I was struggling in a writing class where the instructor held me to a much higher standard because he KNEW I was capable of it – but I was not delivering. I finally decided it was time to address the problem, knowing it would only worsen with time. I sought help with writing and joined the speech and debate team, where I signed up for extemporaneous speaking. (You pick a topic out of a jar then have 15 or 20 minutes to prepare and deliver a five minute speech.) It forced me to organize my ideas and think quickly on my feet – useful skills, to be sure.

Later in life I took courses on media presentation as part of my Hazmat team training as well as a few sales presentation classes. Such training has been invaluable to me over the years.

Concept: A knowledgeable engineer is worth a great deal to a company. However, a knowledgeable engineer who can write and present is worth much, much more!

101 Tips for a Successful Automation CareerDetails: The average engineering-bound high school student has a profoundly skewed math/verbal aptitude ratio. Math and science classes are no problem but most engineering-bound students struggle in English and communication. Unfortunately, this inability to communicate will hamstring them throughout their career. People will steal their ideas because they cannot sell them to upper management. Many will lose promotions to less technically qualified applicants because the other candidates speak and “show” well. Opportunities for exposure to upper management will be lost because they look so uncomfortable in presentations. However, a highly qualified engineer who can also write and present is a rare thing indeed. The combination of strong technical talent and excellent communication skills is extremely valuable in most organizations.

If you are still in school, do not shy away from writing and speaking courses – TAKE THEM. If you are already in the work force, take a few writing and presentation courses and sign up to give a technical presentation at your local technical society meeting or national conference. Seek opportunities to write or present on the job.

If you are scheduled to present, take the time to practice and more important, record your practice talk on video. It may be painful at first to watch yourself speaking but you cannot fix a problem until you experience it first-hand.

Watch-Outs: Engineers often assume that their audience has the same level of technical knowledge as they do and is as excited about the subject as they are. However, both assumptions are usually false. Some, or perhaps many, in the audience do not know all of the technical background and will get lost quickly. Combine that with a poorly presented or dull topic and the snoring can be intense. Take the time to quickly explain the technical background concepts well enough to ensure that everyone is on the same level, then proceed with the new information. Most importantly, make the slides INTERESTING!

Do not use dull PowerPoint slides with tiny fonts, no graphics, and line after line of bulleted items. Instead, use interesting pictures, simple phrases, and large, easy-to-read fonts to excite the audience and entice them to listen to you.

Exceptions: If you already have your own TV or radio talk show, then you are probably exempt from having to pursue this tip further.

Insight: When you are giving a technical presentation, it may be worth taking the time to create two versions of the slides. Make up a set showing all of the technical points and details and provide that version to the audience as a handout, then create a second set that has the major talking points but is much more visually appealing, with fewer words and lots of pictures and/or graphics. The audience will appreciate and enjoy the presentation (which will be refreshingly different than MOST of the presentations they have seen) and they will have the technical handout for reference and notes.

Rule of Thumb: Many engineers are not naturally adept at writing and/or presentations, and they pay a price for that failing throughout their career. Like anything else worth doing, good writing and presentation skills take training and practice but the effort WILL be rewarded.

 

Hunter VegasAbout the Author
Hunter Vegas, P.E., holds a B.S.E.E. degree from Tulane University and an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University. His job titles have included instrument engineer, production engineer, instrumentation group leader, principal automation engineer, and unit production manager. In 2001, he joined Avid Solutions, Inc., as an engineering manager and lead project engineer, where he works today. Vegas has executed nearly 2,000 instrumentation and control projects over his career, with budgets ranging from a few thousand to millions of dollars. He is proficient in field instrumentation sizing and selection, safety interlock design, electrical design, advanced control strategy, and numerous control system hardware and software platforms.

Why You Should Avoid Scripted Control System Demonstrations

The following tip is from the ISA book by Greg McMillan and Hunter Vegas titled 101 Tips for a Successful Automation Career, inspired by the ISA Mentor Program. This is Tip #38.

We have all been there. The sales person stands before the crowd demonstrating a control system. He clicks here and lays down a pump, he clicks there and adds a control valve, he opens this window and everything magically links and is fully functional. The system is a flawless masterpiece. Nothing can go wrong … go wrong … go wrong … Anyone who knows me knows that I cannot stand scripted demonstrations. They are like the references  discussed in Tip # 37 – the demonstration will always be flawless. I want to see what happens when I throw the system a curve!Verify

My favorite war story about this particular subject happened in the late 1990s. I was on a team evaluating two brands of expensive simulation software that was to be used for modeling and optimizing our large continuous plants. The plant manager was friendly with one of the salesmen and let it be known which product we were to choose. However, the team quickly realized that the product he had selected was far inferior to the other option. Given the manager’s personality, there was little chance that the team’s opinion would be allowed to override his own. The team arranged for each company to give a presentation of their product. The company favored by the team presented first. The product worked well and was quite adaptable.

The sales person did not follow a script, but asked for ideas from the audience and built a process model before the whole group. The plant manager’s favorite company gave its presentation a few days later. The salesman knew that the previous presentation had gone well so he chose to use a recently released beta version of his product, which had a slick graphics package and lots of bells and whistles. During his demonstration he clearly followed a script … adding a specific column type here, a certain pump there, etc. I let him continue for about a half hour – leading us down a path that had been carefully choreographed to avoid any problems.

Then I raised my hand and asked an innocent question – something about the system’s ability to handle a different configuration. Perhaps the column had a recycle stream coming in one-third of the way down the column or used a different control philosophy than the one he had chosen. “Of course,” he answered, “you would just add those elements to the model.”

“Great,” I responded. “Do you mind showing us?”

He blanched but had no choice. Three mouse clicks later the system sputtered and blue screened. At that point the salesman had to admit that everything he had shown us was a beta version of software that was not fully tested. Needless to say the team selected the other product and the plant manager had no option but to back the team’s decision.

Concept: Like the references in the previous tip, scripted demonstrations are practically worthless. Let them get started and then start asking questions that force the sales person to depart from the script. If the system is good, it will easily handle the diversion and perform well. If the system is designed poorly, it will quickly become clear.

101 Tips for a Successful Automation CareerDetails: Regardless of the product being demonstrated, most sales people like to follow a well-choreographed, thoroughly tested script. The risk is low and the script has been specifically designed to highlight the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of the particular product. The sales person’s job is to make sure everything goes to plan. However, the audience members WANT to know the product’s weaknesses and flaws. They have a vested interest in forcing that demonstration off its script so that a more complete evaluation is possible. When attending a demonstration, the audience must recognize that the demo is scripted and take pains to force the sales person in a new direction.

Recognizing a scripted pattern is usually easy. The sales person appears to be following a predefined sequence and is not eager to deviate from the path. He or she might even be referring to notes as they proceed. In such cases, ask about a different feature and then ask how easy that feature is to implement. Once the sales person answers, it should not be much of a problem for him or her to DEMONSTRATE the feature to the crowd. At this point the sales person is trapped, and must acquiesce or start providing reasons why they cannot.

If possible, ask for an opportunity to “drive” the system and take part in the demonstration rather than simply watching it. Now you are in control and can easily go down different paths and try different features to better evaluate the system’s strengths and weaknesses. If the system is good then it should have no problems handling whatever you ask it to do.

Watch-Outs: Sometimes a presentation is being made in front of a large group of diverse customers and your question is not of interest to most of the people in the room. Rather than taking up everyone’s time chasing a side issue, take it up with the sales person on an individual basis after the demonstration is finished.

Exceptions: Occasionally a product is so bad or the sales person is so nervous that the scripted presentation is all they can do. In such a case, there is nothing gained by embarrassing the person any further by forcing them off the script. Just recognize the situation for what it is and move on.

Insight: This same idea applies to factory acceptance tests. Do not let the integrator take the system through a scripted test sequence to prove its functionality. Instead, intentionally close the wrong valve or press the wrong button. Force the system off the beaten path. It is certain that the operators will do that eventually and it is far better to discover problems before the system is on line! If possible, require that the integrator be completely hands off during testing to prevent them from nudging the system along during testing.

Rule of Thumb: A well-designed system should be able to handle whatever is thrown at it, especially the “non-standard” situations. Every now and again step off the beaten path, throw the system a curve, and see what transpires.

Hunter VegasAbout the Author
Hunter Vegas, P.E., holds a B.S.E.E. degree from Tulane University and an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University. His job titles have included instrument engineer, production engineer, instrumentation group leader, principal automation engineer, and unit production manager. In 2001, he joined Avid Solutions, Inc., as an engineering manager and lead project engineer, where he works today. Vegas has executed nearly 2,000 instrumentation and control projects over his career, with budgets ranging from a few thousand to millions of dollars. He is proficient in field instrumentation sizing and selection, safety interlock design, electrical design, advanced control strategy, and numerous control system hardware and software platforms.

Treat Every Automation Professional with Respect

The following tip is from the ISA book by Greg McMillan and Hunter Vegas titled 101 Tips for a Successful Automation Career, inspired by the ISA Mentor Program. This is Tip #48.

I was born in a very small town in southern Mississippi. From the earliest age, I was taught that every adult was a “ma‘am” or a “sir,” that you always held open doors or gave up your seat on the bus, and that everyone deserved to be treated with respect and courtesy. Later in life I was occasionally berated by some women who felt they were “too young to be called ‘ma‘am.’” I apologized and tried to accommodate their wishes, but the fact is that I say “Yes ma‘am”Businessman shaking hand of his business partner in agreement to any lady from 2 to 102 years old and after doing it for this long it feels like the right thing to do.

Beyond saying “ma’am” and “sir” where it is appropriate, I try to treat co-workers and clients with a high level of professional respect. I certainly do not always agree with everyone and you can be certain they do not always agree with me, but regardless of our differences I try to maintain a high level of decorum and courtesy and I expect the same from them. I do not bully people and I will not allow others to bully me. I have had domineering clients try the bullying tactic early in a relationship and I have immediately called them on it. In almost every case, the client apologized and we ultimately worked well together. On the rare occasions when a client demanded the right to treat me or my team with disrespect, I simply walked away from the project.

Concept: Treat people as you would want to be treated. Arrive at meetings on time and be prepared. Show respect to others and expect the same from them. Never allow a client to bully you or your team. It is better to drop a client of that sort rather than endure their actions.

Details: Conflict is inevitable in the automation engineering profession. There will always be differences of opinion (and some may be strong) concerning project design, money and budgets, realistic schedules, client demands, etc. Do not let this conflict turn into chaos by losing sight of appropriate decorum and professionalism. Arguing is fine and defending a position is certainly warranted if your position is correct, but do not resort to personal attacks as a means to achieve your goal. Such activity may win the battle but it almost always loses the war. When a problem transitions from a technical issue to an emotional issue, the situation becomes much more complex and the ultimate resolution will become infinitely more difficult to achieve. Even when the issues are finally resolved, the emotional scars and resentment can linger for years. People can be extremely slow to forget.

Being respectful of others is important, but you should also expect similar behavior from others. Do not let people routinely stand you up, waste your time, or publicly disrespect you. This is true for co-workers, bosses, and even clients. As mentioned in Tip #44, clients and vendors need each other and the best scenario is a situation where the vendor and client act as a mutually supporting team. (In this case the engineer is the “vendor” and the plant the “client”.) Unfortunately some clients will try to establish a dominant position from the outset suggesting that they are in charge and if the vendor does not comply with their demand101 Tips for a Successful Automation Careers they will be replaced in an instant. This is almost always a false premise. Unless one is buying a generic commodity, the list of acceptable candidates for a particular piece of equipment or service is limited and in most cases the client has selected a particular vendor that is best suited for a particular project. Therefore, despite what the bullying client might suggest, the vendor is actually in a much stronger position than it may seem. If the client tries to bully the team, the wisest course of action is to immediately call out the client on their behavior and set the precedent for how everyone will be treated going forward. In many cases the client will develop a new respect for your having stood up to him and a long-term relationship will result. In some rare cases the client will demand to get their way and at that point an immediate exit is the best strategy. Sending such a problematic client to the competition rids your firm of a long-term troublesome client and deposits the same in your competitor’s lap.

Watch-Outs: Be particularly wary of clients who will berate you in front of their coworkers and then apologize in private afterwards. If this happens, point out that the behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated again. If it is repeated, simply walk out.

Exceptions: Occasionally a firm will sign a contract or make a commitment to a client such that walking out is not an option and the precedent of bullying by the client has been established. In such a case the on-site staff is forced to endure whatever pain the client decides to inflict. This is a prime case for the application of Tip #3 – Pain Is Instructive. Have the on-site staff refer all client communications to the manager and/or sales person who set up the contract and/or commitment in the first place. Now the person responsible for creating the situation must deal with the unruly client on a daily basis and must suffer the pain of their contractual decision. Either the situation will improve or the manager/sales person in question will likely never agree to such an arrangement again!

Insight: This concept is particularly applicable to union/management relations. After years of contentious negotiations, some unions and/or managers develop strong-arm tactics to get their way or grandstand in front of the other union members. Like all union/management issues, precedent is the key. Once the precedent of treating each other poorly has been set, changing it can be very difficult.

If you are promoted into a management position that involves union relations, you will have one opportunity to set the precedent for future meeting behavior. (Unfortunately you cannot reset the precedent for contract rules, etc. – those have been set by prior management decisions and you must abide by them.) If the Union Committee comes storming into your office screaming and shouting, promptly throw them out of your office and tell them they can return tomorrow morning if they are prepared to discuss their issues calmly. Start the next meeting with an explanation that despite what previous managers might have allowed, screaming, shouting, and other disrespectful behavior will never occur in any future meeting. They are welcome to disagree and discuss the issues, but they are not welcome to act like five- year olds. If they DO act like five-year olds, they will be dismissed from the room….then DO IT! Even historically stormy relationships can be calmed if both sides treat each other with decorum and respect, and are consistent, honest, and fair.

Rule of Thumb: In any relationship, set a precedent of mutual respect and professionalism from the very beginning. Once the precedent for a relationship has been set, it is difficult to change.

 

Hunter Vegas

About the Author
Hunter Vegas, P.E., holds a B.S.E.E. degree from Tulane University and an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University. His job titles have included instrument engineer, production engineer, instrumentation group leader, principal automation engineer, and unit production manager. In 2001, he joined Avid Solutions, Inc., as an engineering manager and lead project engineer, where he works today. Vegas has executed nearly 2,000 instrumentation and control projects over his career, with budgets ranging from a few thousand to millions of dollars. He is proficient in field instrumentation sizing and selection, safety interlock design, electrical design, advanced control strategy, and numerous control system hardware and software platforms.

High Pay Is Great but Life Is Too Short to Stay in an Engineering Job You Dislike

The following tip is from the ISA book by Greg McMillan and Hunter Vegas titled 101 Tips for a Successful Automation Career, inspired by the ISA Mentor Program. This is Tip #33.

101 Tips for a Successful Automation CareerAround the middle of my career, I was becoming disenchanted with the reorganization of my plant and decided to pursue another job. I found what appeared to be an excellent opportunity – big raise, generous relocation package, awesome benefits, and a lucrative bonus. It sounded like a “can’t lose” opportunity and I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, it was NOT at all what I expected.

Concept: Getting a high salary and/or bonus is a great thing, but if an engineer hates his or her job, the money is not worth the pain.

Details: Everyone likes to be paid well. In this materialistic world, a large paycheck is a badge of success and having a high standard of living is certainly a nice perk. However, a large salary is not worth the price if it demands misery at work. If you find yourself waking up each morning and dreading the thought of returning to your job, the time for change is at hand.

When you are looking for a new job, you should “interview” the company as hard as the company is interviewing you. Obviously, company personnel need to ask enough questions to make sure your skill set meets the needs of the position, but it is just as critical that you make certain the company is a place where you can contribute and enjoy working. Domineering bosses, militant unions, and bad managerial/worker relations make for a terrible work environment. You should also keep an eye out for “dead end” positions that offer no growth or learning opportunities. If there are any options at all, strongly pursue alternate job possibilities.

Consider taking future co-workers out to lunch to get them to talk and/or see what they might be like. If the company is local, find an ex-employee and see why the employee left. If you know some of the company’s clients, see how they feel about the company. All of these can be great sources of information.

Watch-Outs: When you are interviewing, be sure to talk to a wide enough range of people. If you only interview within a small group, the politics and/or issues of the rest of the organization may not be apparent. During your tour, talk to operators, technicians and supervisors. Strike up casual conversations with administrative and office personnel and get business cards from any individuals who seem most open. An evening call to those individuals may be illuminating.

Exceptions: If you are out of a job and have bills to pay, ANY employer looks like a good option. However, even in those circumstances you should try to be as selective as possible.

Insight: As unorthodox as it might seem, it may be possible to “test drive” a prospective employer if they are local. If a company seems to be a good prospect, offer to take a week or two of vacation from your current job and work for the new company with the understanding that if either is unhappy with the arrangement, both can go their separate ways no questions asked. However, if both are satisfied after two weeks, you can resign from your old job and accept a position with the new company. If there are no noncompete/legal concerns, it may be possible to arrange to get paid for those two weeks after signing on with the new company.

Rule of Thumb: Life is too short to hate your job. A good paycheck is nice, but if you find yourself dreading the return to work each morning or if your job requires you to be on medication (including alcohol), it is time to seriously consider a change.

Hunter Vegas

About the Author
Hunter Vegas, P.E., holds a B.S.E.E. degree from Tulane University and an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University. His job titles have included instrument engineer, production engineer, instrumentation group leader, principal automation engineer, and unit production manager. In 2001, he joined Avid Solutions, Inc., as an engineering manager and lead project engineer, where he works today. Vegas has executed nearly 2,000 instrumentation and control projects over his career, with budgets ranging from a few thousand to millions of dollars. He is proficient in field instrumentation sizing and selection, safety interlock design, electrical design, advanced control strategy, and numerous control system hardware and software platforms.

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