2014 Engineering Leader Under 40: Thomas Keeports
Electrical Controls Engineer; JST Corporation; Harrisburg, Pa.
Thomas Keeports, 39
Electrical Controls Engineer
Education: BS Electrical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University
In his current position, Thomas Keeports leads a project to extend Ethernet connectivity to all of the machinery in JST Corporation’s U.S. assembly plant, and coordinating with colleagues at sites across the globe who are working on similar projects. When completed, JST will gain the ability to provide remote troubleshooting and data collection services. Tom has introduced many new features to the assembly machines that will cut development, conditioning, and in-plant troubleshooting time considerably. As an in-plant controls engineer for many years, Tom was familiar with the few “problem machines” at JST that were difficult to work on or keep running. Since switching to this new machine design, Tom is very sympathetic toward the operators who will interface with equipment that he helps build. His passion is to produce a control system and human machine interface experience that will never be “that problem machine.”
A few years ago, Tom had the opportunity to create a control system for an eight-lane pinewood derby track. He designed and built the hardware and wrote the software program, which tracked and recorded all times in a database. The results were projected on a large screen using a dual-screen monitor setup.
Why choose this career path?
“I chose this career path because of opportunities that I had to be involved with technology at a young age,” said Keeports. “When I was growing up, my uncle owned a computer store and allowed me to come hang out whenever I wanted to. I had the opportunity to learn about computers and to help him build and repair them. I knew that my future career plans would involve using computers at some level. During a college internship, I was introduced to machine controls and fell in love with the industry. I knew that this is what I wanted to do.”
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey