How to Build and Retain an Automation Team

June 7, 2012
Lack of Skilled Workers Encourages Companies to Use Co-Op and Intern Programs When Hiring
As Control Design celebrates its 15th anniversary, we bring you a look back at some of the topics we have covered and that have generated the most discussion among our machine builder and integrator audience. This article is part of our June 2012 cover story, "We Celebrate 15 Years."
About the Author
Joe Feeley is editor in chief for Control Design and Industrial Networking. Email him at [email protected] or check out his Google+ profile.Building and retaining a first-class automation team, through good economic times and bad, is a constant agenda item. Our coverage over the past five years looked into the matter often.

Our February 2008 cover story, "How to Build an Automation Professional," reported the value that some machine builders get from co-op students. "It's difficult for us to find automation engineers with experience, so we use co-op and intern programs," related Chris Cote, manager of R&D electrical engineering at Goss International Americas in Durham, N.H., a company that manufactures commercial and newspaper printing presses.

"Co-op programs are good, but only if the company is committed to making employment offers to these individuals when they graduate," Cote cautioned. "Otherwise, you're spending time and engineering hours to train someone to be productive in another company."

Find links to our additional coverage on automation staffing below.

Innovative Recruiting Practices
November 2007
Most Co-Ops Students Gain Enough Proficiency That a Portion of Their Time Can Be Charged to the Projects That They’re Working On

How to Build an Automation Professional
February 2008
Industry Steps Up To Nurture and Train Automation Professionals

Keep Your Skill Set in Tune
July 2008
Just Because a Skill Has Been Automated or Replaced by Software, You Should Still Keep It Sharpened

Don't Play Shorthanded During Economic Doldrums
February 2009
During Economic Doldrums, Can You Keep Your Automation Staff Intact, Upbeat and Sharp?

Focus On: Retaining Automation Know-How
February 2010
This is an Insightful Look at our February 2010 Cover Story

Stick to the Playbook
February 2010
Reuse That Automation Know-How: Machine Builders Make the Most of Standards and Modular Design to Overcome Resource Constraints