Talking Industrial Automation

Lisa Richter

Talking Industrial Automation is a show to help you get to know the people that make modern manufacturing and processing possible, along the way we will touch on integration technology, trends and challenges. If you are manufacturer, end user, supplier or system integrator interested in industrial automation, you will enjoy the insights CSIA Members will bring to this podcast.

All Episodes

A passionate controls system integrator with more than 25 years of industrial automation experience, Sam Cafferata has specific experience in recycling, food processing, bulk material handling, wood products, aerospace and plastics. In this episode of Talking Industrial Automation, you'll hear why Sam's  favorite part of his job is helping his team at Concept Systems and partnering with his customers to have fun and succeed. This episode is sponsored by Xometry.

Nov 11

14 min 32 sec

Hear how Steve March leveraged his 15 years managing marketing, sales and business development efforts for engineering design and system integration firms, to manage Schneider Electrics program and strategy in the U.S. for partnering with companies like those he used to work for in this episode. Steve also dives into the trends and challenges facing the industry right now -- and what opportunities are cropping up in industrial automation.  

Oct 13

29 min 59 sec

Having worked in various capacities within the industrial automation market for nearly 25 years, Brandon Ellis, founder and president of elliTek, funnels his experience into developing elliTek’s data commander MES Gateway Appliance and Industrial Internet of Things Appliance, which are designed to simplify secure data movement between plant floor machines at enterprise level databases. Brandon also founded elliTek University’s Training Center where he builds workforce development programs because he is passionate about both teaching and learning from others. And if that’s not enough, Brandon is also co-host of elliTek’s podcast, Industrial Automation – It Doesn’t Have To… Hear all about it in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation.

Aug 27

46 min 54 sec

Find a need and fill it, goes the old saw, and that's exactly what John Weber did more than 25 years ago when he booted up Software Toolbox. Hear how he did it -- and a little bit of history -- in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation. Plus, you'll get his advice for selecting vendors and building a career in industrial automation. 

Aug 16

34 min 6 sec

You don't often think of unicorns when it comes to industrial automation, but Enterprise Automation just might be the one to change that. With two top-tier, invitation-only certification partnerships -- Aveva and Schneider Electric -- EA is the only integrator in the world that has earned this unique, combo endorsement. In this bonus episode, EA's Principal Joshua Riley and Business Manager Luke Stephenson recount their origin story as well as what they forecast for the next 24 months. This episode is brought to you by Aveva.

Aug 2

34 min 17 sec

After starting Thermo Systems in New Jersey in 1998, CEO and President David Musto and his co-founder Gregory Smith have grown the full-service control systems integration firm into a team of 180 plus engineers and controls professionals based in more than 16 locations globally.  In this episode of Talking Industrial Automation, he shares his growth story -- as well as his philosophies about customer service, team building and keeping the talent pipeline flowing.

Jul 21

23 min 31 sec

Digital transformation is not just happening on the plant floor. All areas of a business are getting a digital makeover. Bryan Powrozek of Clayton & McKervey reveals some of the ways the back office can achieve efficiencies -- and even increase revenues -- in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation. Plus, you'll hear how, after 12 years in the auto industry doing product development and systems engineering for a supplier and then in 2011, he changed careers, and is now a manager in the firm's system integrators practice.

Jun 15

33 min 52 sec

Former SI and seasoned estimation pro Barry Anderson of Latsa Consulting offers his tips for winning the right business in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation. Plus, he reveals why he thinks the future of automation is so bright.

May 14

24 min 20 sec

With decades of experience under his belt, Chair and Founder of Engineered Energy Solutions Pat Miller is once again re-iterating his business to meet the challenges of the current work environment. In addition, Pat reveals how his lifelong passion for energy efficiency has not only fueled his business model but come full circle, as organizations of all types are re-thinking how they can meet the demands of a changing climate and deepening their interest in energy efficient solutions in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation. 

Apr 15

41 min 58 sec

First-time CEO Kirk Byles reveals how he overhauled a 25-year-old company -- Freewave Technologies -- to meet the demands of the future in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation. Plus, he candidly recounts the bumps along the way, lessons learned and why he is optimistic about the future of industrial automation.

Mar 14

44 min 10 sec

For more than 30 years, Senior Manager Jim Mansfield of Matrix Technologies Inc. has led manufacturing and operational transformation teams within the food and beverage, discrete manufacturing, metals and mining and consumer products industries. In this episode of Talking Industrial Automation, Jim reveals how he draws on his decades of experience to helps clients navigate the operational excellence journey by enabling the connected plant and enterprise.

Feb 15

24 min 40 sec

Delving into more than 30 years in the industry, GE Digital's Steve Pavlosky discusses how GE Digital creates value from data across a wide variety of industries in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation. Plus, he offers his advice on the historians vs relational databases -- and how to future proof your business.

Jan 18

39 min 34 sec

With so much that happened in 2020 that impacted businesses like the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program, it's more important than ever for business owners to understand the implications, obligations and opportunities as they approach year end.  In this episode of Talking Industrial Automation, Tim Finerty, a shareholder with Clayton and McKervey, a tax and advisory firm in Southfield, Michigan, offers his best advice for the industrial automation sector as they work with their financial team to close out 2020. Note: This episode was recorded December 10, 2020.

Dec 2020

28 min 53 sec

Building on the success in Asia and Europe, CIMON Automation is making a play to penetrate the North American and Latin American markets. Leading the charge is Ken Mroz, national business development manager. He explains how his years of industrial distribution and system integration solutions sales experience are up to the challenge in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation.  

Nov 2020

19 min 3 sec

Meet Barry Brian, who, along with his co-owners, built DRM from a two-man system integration shop to an 80-person team in southern middle Tennessee. His special sauce: delivery a quality solution no matter what. Listen to his unique journey in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation.

Oct 2020

40 min 44 sec

You'd be hard-pressed to pigeon-hole Opto 22, says the company's Director of Technical Marketing Josh Eastburn. "The way we tend to identify our niche is rather psychographic than demographic: we work with people who are looking for something different---cool stuff that just works," he explains. Learn more about this California-based company, as well as Eastburn himself, in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation.

Sep 2020

30 min 18 sec

Using a technology-driven approach, Oregon-based Concept Systems has grown from a one-man shop in 1999 into a national presence with regional offices in Seattle, Washington, Kennewick, Washington and Charlotte, North Carolina. Learn how during this episode of Talking Industrial Automation with serial entrepreneur Michael Gurney.  

Aug 2020

27 min 2 sec

When self-taught engineer Cullen Raichart channelled his inner innovator to solve challenges inherent in cannabis processing, GreenBroz was born. Hear how this pioneering entrepreneur took a kief tumbler and grew it into a $13 million business in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation.

Aug 2020

40 min 48 sec

Panduit is perpetually in a state of change, and that's a good thing, reveals Lindsey Parker, manager of business development for the Industrial Network Infrastructure Market at Panduit Corp., in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation. Case in point: The Illinois-based company recently merged its industrial and enterprise businesses -- and now people who are experts in both the IT and the OT space are working together day in and day out on the problems that exist between those two types of organizations.

Jul 2020

22 min 39 sec

A series of strategic acquisitions, leadership hires and customer diversification fueled the growth and success of Applied Manufacturing Technologies says Craig Salvalaggio in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation.  Plus, he reveals how his passion for robotics and machine vision led to his current position as COO, where he builds the business case for automation, as well as mentors up and coming industry professionals.

Jun 2020

40 min 53 sec

For any business, cashflow is life. And never has that been more true than during the current economic disruption. In this episode of Talking Industrial Automation, Andy Parrish of Diligentiam reveals some strategies to free up much-needed cash -- and they may surprise you.

Jun 2020

38 min 39 sec

Think air heaters and hot air blowers are for packaging applications only? Think again. In this episode of Talking Industrial Automation, Jason Sanders of Leister Technologies explains why. Plus he reveals how is company -- and his customers -- are adapting during the pandemic.

May 2020

29 min 10 sec

Hear from Rising Star Chris Schleich as he reveals how the pandemic has impacted Enterprise Automation in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation.  Plus, learn how this California system integrator powered through and grew 20% during the last recession.

Apr 2020

38 min 8 sec

An insurance broker, lawyer and accountant answer your the frequently asked questions about the pandemic and what it means for the system integrator and manufacturing business. A transcript of this episode is available here. A programming note: This episode of the podcast was recorded on March 19, 2020, while the global pandemic situation was still very fluid. To help CSIA members stay up to date, the association has set up a Forum on for members to share resources, advice and tools to cope in this rapidly changing environment. If you are a CSIA member, you cab join the group at

Mar 2020

49 min 49 sec

Rick Brookshire, director of product development for Epson Robots, reveals how, as the entry price drops, the applications and use of robotics has exploded.  Plus he weighs in on the dystopian take of robots taking all the jobs and other trends and misconceptions.

Mar 2020

35 min 3 sec

Julie Gaier, a content marketing specialist with TRG Marketing, reveals how her skills as an Emmy-award winning television reporter educate the industrial automation industry in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation. Plus, you'll learn how media opportunities can turn into profits, as well as tips for how even companies with small budgets can leverage trade press to generate growth.

Feb 2020

28 min 44 sec

Chris Tury Jr., a partner and general manager of Outbound Technologies Inc., reveals how the company strategically diversified from the automotive industry into other vertical markets to promote resiliency and grow Outbound into a $15 million company, in this episode of Talking Industrial Automation. Plus, you'll hear how Outbound achieves an 80%-plus customer retention rate and innovates with enterprise systems to maximize resources -- all while building a company culture that cultivates employee retention.

Jan 2020

31 min 22 sec

Based on his decades of experience, Jim Biehl of Clayton & McKervey reveals why some businesses thrive and others flame out. Plus, he discusses the No. 1 inhibitor to business growth. Hint: It's not what you think.

Dec 2019

26 min 42 sec

Pete Atkin, vice president and general manager of Samsara Industrial, reveals why he thinks the industrial automation market is on the cusp of a major change. Plus, he discusses how customer demand for connected operations has fueled Samara's growth to a 1,500-person company in just 4 years.

Nov 2019

36 min 21 sec

Ranbir Saini, Senior Director of Digital Product Management for GE Digital, where he is the business leader for automation software. Drawing on his 15 years of experience delivering industrial automation, operations management and media content creation software to OEM municipal and enterprise customers, Ranbir reveals his predictions for the digital transformation of the automation industry. Plus, he breaks down how broadcast media is more similar to the industrial space than you'd think.

Oct 2019

16 min 59 sec

Bruno Wilson is a regional sales manager and business development engineer for Encoder Products, a 50-year-old designer and worldwide manufacturer of motion sensing devices based in Sagle, Idaho. Bruno’s experience includes business processes, human resources and administration, research and development, manufacturing engineering, market analysis, sales and business development. In this episode, Bruno shares his insights as an up-and-coming leader.

Sep 2019

35 min 4 sec

Tom Sulda is director of Latsa Learning Services, where he leads a national team of instructors in Australia. Latsa’s instructors are also part-time consultants who help clients implement new best practice process methodologies, such as Prince2, Managing Successful Programs, AgilePM and AgileBA. Additionally Sulda’s company IPX Check is a newly certified CSIA Best Practices and Benchmarks auditor where Tom is the lead auditor. In this episode, Sulda offers a brief primer on agile project management vs the waterfall approach and the pros and cons of each. Plus he reveals who should give it a try and who should sit this one out. Programming note: This episode was recorded during the 2019 CSIA Executive Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, in May 2019. Credit Bensound and Wistia's Music Collection for the music in this episode.

Aug 2019

11 min 44 sec

Marc Taccolini is founder and CTO of Tatsoft, a platform developer for real-time factory-floor data monitoring, SCADA and HMI Systems, distributed data aggregation and advanced visualization tools. In this episode, Taccolini recounts his journey as an innovator, including lessons learned, as well as his pivot to meet the demands of a disrupted industry.  Enjoy getting to know Marc Taccolini of Tatsoft. Programming note: This episode was recorded during the 2019 CSIA Executive Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, in May 2019. Credit Bensound and Wistia's Music Collection for the music in this episode.

Aug 2019

22 min 51 sec

Jeff Burnstein is president of the Association of Advancing Automation, the umbrella organization for the Robotic Industries Association, Advancing Vision and Imaging, and Motion Control and Motor Association. In this episode, Burnstein predicts the role of robotics in manufacturing, the impact they will have on businesses, as well as what the industry needs to do to prepare for the future. Plus, he answers the grand-daddy of all questions: Will robots take our jobs? Enjoy getting to know Jeff Burnstein of the Association of Advancing Automation. Programming note: This episode was recorded during the 2019 CSIA Executive Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, in May 2019. Credit Bensound and Wistia's Music Collection for the music in this episode.

Jul 2019

17 min 45 sec

Mike Howard is vice president, system integration for George T. Hall Co., which got its start in California but has since expanded into Nevada. He shares his experiences with CSIA certification and how it helped GTH manage a recent growth spurt. Plus he reveals his lessons learned from scaling up quickly to meet customer demand and the challenges his clients are facing. Mike also describes how he became involved with the manufacturing and integration fields, as well as how George T. Hall went from being in the airstream business in 1932 to today's system integration expertise in a variety of industries, including waste water, mining, aerospace and manufacturing to name a few. Enjoy getting to know Mike Howard of George T. Hall Co. Credit Bensound and Wistia's Music Collection for the music in this episode.

Jun 2019

23 min 19 sec

In this episode of Talking Industrial Automation, Zack Scriven, founder and lead content creator of Zack Scriven Media, shares his journey from industrial automation engineer to video marketing entrepreneur.  Along the way, you'll hear his tips on how to work with millennials, attract and retain talent, the role of marketing in today's marketplace and the secret to getting started on using video to tell your story. Production note: This episode was recorded on-site during the 2019 CSIA Executive Conference so the audio includes some background noises, though the main content is audible. Credit Bensound and Wistia's Music Collection for the music in this episode.

May 2019

21 min 52 sec

In this episode of Talking Industrial Automation, Joe LaRussa, director of industrial engineering for the North American Seat Business at Brose Group, provides his take on the global war on talent, as well as reveal his successful strategy for priming the talent pipeline. Plus, you'll hear his advice on how system integrators can prepare for the future to meet customer demand.

May 2019

21 min 15 sec

In this episode of Talking Industrial Automation, Rick Kaun, VP of solutions for Verve Industrial Protection, shares his take on the unique role cybersecurity plays in a control system or operational environment.  He also breaks down the current guidelines and standards surrounding cybersecurity, including the pros and cons of several of the most popular and how to choose between them. Finally, he reveals real-life examples of what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. And recaps some of the industry events where you can learn more.  Links to the events he mentions are below. Technical Tradeshows: S4 SANS Free conferences: ICSJWG (DHS): Public Safety Canada:

Apr 2019

27 min 58 sec

Thinking about attending the 2019 CSIA Executive Conference? In this episode of Talking Industrial Automation, CSIA CEO Jose Rivera reveals what's new at this year's event, schedule highlights, as well as what's back by popular demand. Programming note: Industry Director Lisa Richter debuts as TIA's host in this episode, replacing the Tony Veroeven. CSIA and its members are extremely grateful to Veroeven for his work creating, launching and then doubling the audience of the podcast.

Jan 2019

13 min 25 sec

Steve Newcomer is the Strategic Channel Manager Phoenix Contact USA which is located near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Steve shares his thoughts on cybersecurity within the industrial automation industry, and he shares a few best practices consumers can take to better protect themselves from external threats. Steve also describes how he became involved with the manufacturing and integration fields. He also shares his journey of how he came to work at Phoenix Contact. Enjoy getting to know Steve Newcomer of Phoenix Contact.

Aug 2018

36 min 19 sec

Rick Vanden Boom is the Automated System's Group Director of Applied Manufacturing Technologies (AMT), which is North America’s largest independent automation engineering company headquartered in Orion, Michigan. Rick describes how the robotics industry, specifically collaborative robotics, is reducing the amount of floor space required to complete automation projects.   Rick also shares his thoughts on the IIoT, Industry 4.0, and Big Data and how AMT is working to capitalize on these industry trends.  Enjoy getting to know Rick Vanden Boom of Applied Manufacturing Technologies. 

Aug 2018

48 min 5 sec

At the most popular session at the CSIA Executive Conference, "Lessons from Touching a Hot Stove", system integrators have learned how their peers’ businesses have been burned by accidents, injuries and losses. This is especially true when the threat of a lawsuit, or an actual lawsuit itself, arises – what could have been done to avoid this dispute in the first place? In this episode, I’m releasing a recent webinar titled, "Lessons from Touching a Hot Stove: Legal Edition." This installment is a great conversation between the CSIA Legal Plan attorneys, Mark Voigtmann and Brian Clifford. Mark and Brian’s webinar was largely a conversation and doesn’t rely on slides so don’t worry about missing anything visual. You’ll hear from about some of the “hot stove” experiences they have seen and how you can best mitigate your risk using legal services. Do not miss this episode! Enjoy getting to know more about legal issues in industrial automation.

Jul 2018

1 hr

Matt Wells is the Vice President of Digital Products of GE Digital, a leading software and advisory service company headquartered in San Ramon, California. Matt describes GE Digital’s role as a subsidiary of General Electric (GE), how automation is changing the labor force, and the incentive for companies to increase flexibility in order to meet changing demands. Matt also shares his perspective on the rapidly growing IIoT network and how he believes GE Digital can leverage this emerging network using Cloud technology. Enjoy getting to know Matt Wells of GE Digital.

Jul 2018

51 min 20 sec

Tom Burke is the President of the OPC Foundation. Tom shares why it is essential for the industry to consider the interoperability demands of end-users, what the OPC Foundation is doing to solve the software development challenges they face, and how the problems system integrators face today are different than they were before Industry 4.0. Enjoy getting to know Tom Burke from OPC Foundation.

Jun 2018

1 hr 15 min

This week my guest is Chris Luecke (Lou—Key), host of Manufacturing Happy Hour; a bi-monthly YouTube series. Manufacturing Happy Hour covers latest in automation trends and technology over a cold one. Chris started the show in 2016 and has done over 30 episodes. Chris is an OEM specialist Account Manager with Rockwell Automation and likes to record his show to help clients get to know him and make automation more approachable. Chris shares some of his favorite subject matter discussed for his show, why he decided to become an engineer and he recommends a podcast that focuses on manufacturing. Check out The Art of Manufacturing podcast by Z Holly and subscribe to Chris’ YouTube Show, “Manufacturing Happy Hour” Now, enjoy getting to know Chris Luecke.

May 2018

56 min 2 sec

CSIA recently released the Fifth Version of the Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual. The Best Practices are nearly 400 items that CSIA Members have developed over 24 years relating to better run system integration business. In this brief episode, Remco Kappert of EKB and Eric Schaefer of Stone Technologies help you understand what changes were made since version 4! This was an in-person interview at our 2018 Executive Conference in San Francisco. Please bear with a bit of a noisy background. Thanks for listening!

May 2018

13 min 48 sec

Ashley Dawson is the General Manager of Crossmuller, a full-service system integrator located in Sydney, Australia. Ashley describes how he approaches a project with a customer, and why he thinks their Certification feels different for the customer, and new engineers. He also shares with us three things he looks for in new employees, and how a prospective customer can be a "good customer." Enjoy getting to know Ashley Dawson of Crossmuller.

May 2018

56 min 30 sec

Arun Sinha of Opto 22 is our guest this week. Arun and I spoke online just before the CSIA Executive Conference in San Francisco. Arun thinks the future looks bright for the industrial internet of things and that there some exciting things happening, beyond collecting sensor data. Arun describes where he sees Opto 22 and its role in the industry, and how it relates to other companies in industrial automation, and we have a great conversation about the impact of the convergence of OT and IT. Enjoy getting to know Arun Sinha of Opto 22, CSIA Partner Member.

Apr 2018

59 min 31 sec

Jeff Knepper is the Executive Director of Business Development at Canary Labs, a historian company near State College, Pennsylvania. Jeff shares why data collection is so important to improving manufacturing and processing and discovering things that may not have been known as a problem. We discover that even Jeff's coffee mug is an IOT device collecting data!

Apr 2018

1 hr

This week you get to know Georgia Whalen, president, and owner of Rivergate Marketing, a firm specializing in industrial automation companies. Georgia started her company and reentered the workforce in 2008 after raising her three children. We can all imagine how challenging that must have been given the economic forces at the time. Perseverance and tenacity won out as they often do and now Georgia and her staff perform marketing services for many CSIA system integrators including setting a strategy, blogging and social media management. Georgia discusses how engineers and technical people shop and research. She warns against the “old fashioned” viewpoint that business will always just walk in the door through referrals and repeat customers, something established system integrators have enjoyed in the past. Finally, Georgia helps us understand how to start marketing if you’re at ground zero. Visit Georgia’s company on our buyers guide. Enjoy getting to know Georgia Whalen.

Apr 2018

58 min 34 sec