Leader Under 40: Aaron Crews
Principal Control Systems Engineer, Emerson Process Management – BS Chemical Engineering, Texas A+M University
Aaron Crews, 30
Principal Control Systems Engineer, Emerson Process Management, www.emersonprocess.com
BS Chemical Engineering, Texas A+M University
Crews has spent the last seven years working closely with distributed control system (DCS) users, trying to understand their issues and to develop control strategies and graphics that give them the insight into the process and the reliable control of their plant. That includes planning and executing hot cutovers to get customers onto a new DCS platform without shutting down the plant or waiting years for the next turnaround.
Last summer, Crews vacationed in Kauai, where he was free to hike and explore at will. “That feeling of not being bound by roads or the perception of what is possible (or impossible) as we ventured from the beaten path was enlightening. I think that it's common for us to create a vision of what our future is like or what's on the path ahead,” said Crews. “The truth is that we can always make our own path, and few careers are better suited to that than those of engineers. We have the technology and the incentive to make amazing things happen.”
Crews helped create and he co-chairs an initiative to make it easier to collaborate and share knowledge and insight within and among Emerson’s engineering centers. The initiative uses technology (like social media and instant messaging), people (brainstorming sessions and knowledge sharing presentations), and process (checklists and gates, etc.) tools to institutionalize engineering information flow among those who need it.
Crews, the proud father of three children, including identical twin boys, enjoys watching them grow and learn, and he hopes that through fun projects and trips, they grow to develop interest and appreciation for science and technology. Crews is returning to school this fall to enroll in the Executive MBA program at the University of Texas McCombs, School of Business.
When Crews was in college the first time around, he worked a summer at a USDA research lab, his first hands-on experience with a data acquisition and control system. The next fall, he ran into Emerson (then Fisher-Rosemount Systems) at the engineering career fair, where he found a way to combine interests in engineering, computer science, and design. “Plus, there is just something inherently thrilling about clicking a button on a computer and triggering something to happen in real life,” said Crews.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.