Chris Elston, among Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 for 2010

Want to meet the next generation of manufacturing automation and controls leaders? In November 2010, Control Engineering highlights 19 young professionals from around the globe who are making their marks in everything from system design to academia. These leaders aim to inspire others to get involved in engineering and resolve local and global challenges through smarter applications of automation and control technologies. Meet Chris Elston ...

11/15/2010


Chris Elston, Owner/Operator, MrPLC.com, Control Engineering Leader Under 40, class of 2010Chris Elston, 35        

Website Owner/Operator, 11 years

MrPLC.com   

Huntington, IN USA 

www.mrplc.com         

Job function: Maintain website and publish articles on automation and controls

Academics: Bachelor of Science in Automated Manufacturing, ITT

Achievements: I've owned and operated a community website for automation and controls engineers since 1999. MrPLC.com provides a neutral ground where users from all PLC brands can come and share experiences, share problems, or post questions. One of the unique features of MrPLC.com is the nearly 900+ sample PLC snippet downloads that have been contributed to the website over the years, which have tallied up to over 2 million downloads. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind community website; users range from fresh-start engineers to engineers who have been in the industry quite some time to help mentor those who are new. MrPLC.com is a fast-growing free resource site that many have enjoyed.

Control Engineering Leader Under 40, class of 2010 logoI've prided myself in helping others, and this is my contribution to my industry. As an 18-year senior controls engineer for two reputable system integrators, I've shared my experiences, knowledge, and passion for automation to all those who will read and listen.     

Engineering hobbies: I've been involved as an engineering mentor for the past six years to a local 4-H robotics club called Team THRUST 1501(www.huntingtonrobotics.org). Team 1501 is a US FIRST robotics team, one of 35 other teams in Indiana. Working with the kids directly allows me to stimulate our community youth using engineering skills to mentor them and to help grow STEM activity for our youth. This year I was honored with the volunteer award at the Purdue Boilermaker Regional.

Non-work hobbies: In conjunction with the Huntington County 4-H Robotics, our local police department contacted the robotics team about three years ago to build them a police robot to target practice. The students committed to this project and asked a few of us local engineers to help guide them through the process of securing funding and resources, and molding their skill sets to design, build, and deliver the required police robot project. Last year, the kids delivered FRED to the police department (http://www.flickr.com/photos/teamthrust1501/sets/72157621928195365/).

Another part-time passion might be my obsession with Halloween or Christmas lights. In 2005, I created a PLC Halloween in my garage for our neighborhood kids. I recorded about 1,200 trick-or-treaters who came through the garage in a two-day period (PLC Halloween: www.plchalloween.com www.youtube.com/user/chakorules). In 2006, I retired the PLC haunts and learned how to program Christmas lights after seeing a viral Christmas light video. Since then, I moved my musical synchronized display from my house to a local park, where I now partner with the City of Huntington to create a drive-through Christmas light display that is synced to music programmed by me and others in my local community.      

Start in controls: I was really given a chance of a lifetime when I was just starting college as an electrician helper for John Daniel Electric. John Daniel was subcontracted to build control panels for Shuttleworth, Inc. Because all of the electricians were busy, I was given a chance to build these control panels, which ended up with a job offer at Shuttleworth's panel shop. From there I worked my way up, finished my degree, and was placed in the controls engineering department where I met Kent Giant, now working for Automation Engineering in Fort Wayne, IN. Kent gave me the advice and encouragement to keep going and learn about PLCs. He taught me a lot about ladder logic and how to program. Everything I've learned in this field, I've learned by doing. I don't think it's possible to master Controls Engineering to its finest in every discipline offered. It's a forever-evolving career that changes year to year. For those upcoming, break out your laptop and start plugging away.

Return to main article: Control Engineering Leaders Under 40, class of 2010

- Compiled by Renee R. Bassett for Control Engineering.

See www.controleng.com/awards for other winners and other recognition programs for all ages.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.