Get Out the Vote: Choosing the Best of the Best in Automation Suppliers

Think About What Companies Provide You the Best Technology Value for Your Particular Applications. This is Not a Popularity Contest

By Joe Feeley

In view of that impressive machine on the cover, I want to make sure you know that we've again fired up the great Readers' Choice Awards Machine for 2014. This is the 14th consecutive year that we've held this "reckoning."

It means that eligible voters—those of you who have some influence on the selection of automation and controls for your machines, robots or factory systems, and for whom we have an email address—will have by now received an invitation from me with a link to your ballot.

We can't just make a general release of the ballot because we only want technology users to participate—no automation vendors. This is the only way we can hope to get a clear perspective of user evaluation of product value.

Now, if we don't have your email address, but you're a industrial technology user and you want to vote, then call me, send me an email or contact me at our LinkedIn group. We just need to verify that you're a technology user, not a cleverly disguised vendor, and we'll send you a link to your ballot.

Also Read: 2014 Control Design Readers' Choice Awards

Another thing that separates us from other automation industry awards' voting practices is our "unaided ballot." We don't give you a pre-determined, drop-down list of automation suppliers from which to choose a company. There are lots of reasons to avoid this, including unwittingly leaving out smaller, equally deserving companies, but the main reason is to make you think about what companies provide you the best technology value for your particular applications. We don't want to give you any help or in any way encourage this to be a popularity contest.

The vendor community does pay attention to your vote. There's plenty of angst there every year just before the results are announced. You get to tell some of them that they've done well by you through your vote. You send an equally clear message by witholding your vote from others.

We don't want to give you any help or in any way encourage this to be a popularity contest.

We've shortened it a bit this year. It shouldn't take 10 minutes. You win when you vote, so if you previously declined to participate, reconsider this year.

Also, note an addition to the editorial staff list on the masthead on the left. Leslie Gordon has joined the group as a senior technical editor for our automation brands. Leslie brings some great experience to our team, having spent about nine years at Penton Media writing about machine design and manufacturing issues on several trade publications.

Moreover, as another great example of our commitment to include as much hands-on viewpoint in our content as we can find, Leslie brings years of actual manufacturing experience, having worked for a Tier One supplier, as well as a number of machine shops.

Right now she's hard at work researching and crafting her initial assignments, and you'll see her byline in print and online shortly. We're very pleased to have her on the team.

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