Advancing Industrial Automation

The College of Engineering Dean's Distinguished Speaker Series

NC A&T State University

NC A&T State University

ABCO Automation President & CEO Brad Kemmerer had the privilege of speaking to a fairly large group of students and staff at North Carolina A&T State University as part of The College of Engineering Dean's Distinguished Speaker Series. The series brings speakers from industry, government, and academia to North Carolina A&T State University to speak about innovative advances and approaches anchored in engineering and computer science. Read more about North Carolina A&T State University.

An abstract of Brad Kemmerer's presentation

Industrial automation is advancing rapidly for two main reasons: (1) Technology is racing forward, and (2) Manufacturers face an increasingly competitive global marketplace. If we want to succeed, then we must do so in the face of competition. This holds true for businesses, individuals and educational institutions. Change is the only thing that is constant, making continuous improvement and innovation absolutely necessary for long-term success.

The competitive issues facing manufacturers are well known -­survival depends upon their ability to ensure or improve quality, reduce costs, achieve higher levels of throughput, eliminate dangerous or ergonomically-difficult jobs, and yes, innovate. I will share two examples of process innovations that I believe give ABCO a competitive advantage as well as the cultural enablers of innovation: Curiosity, Creativity, Collaboration, and Courage.

It is my observation that when companies do something really different to excel in the marketplace, it is because some basic foundational pieces were present either in the leadership or the culture of the organization. As an automation supplier, we at ABCO, Inc., have always had to work hard to keep up with the state of the art to build competitive systems. This presentation will center on the synergies that have made ABCO Automation successful as a culture of innovation.

About Brad Kemmerer, President & CEO of ABCO Automation

ABCO designs and builds custom automation for manufacturers including assembly, packaging, material handling, and inspection equipment. These systems utilize robotics, machine vision, lasers and other advanced technologies.

Kemmerer, a licensed PE in NC, earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Lafayette College and has held engineering and management positions at Richardson­-Vicks, Procter & Gamble, and ConvaTec in Greensboro. He joined ABCO Automation in 1991 to work on the design of a new fountain syrup plant for Coca-Cola. He became president of ABCO in 1999. With annual revenues of approximately $25 million, ABCO has around 120 employees, one-third of them being engineers.

Kemmerer supports US FIRST Robotics as an engineering mentor and a judge at FRC events. He also supports United Way, The American Heart Association and Habitat for Humanity. He is married with two daughters, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Hobbies include reading, golf, and watching football.