Leader Under 40: Ben Mansfield

Manager with PlantPAx Process Automation System, Rockwell Automation Inc. – BS Chemical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University


Ben Mansfield, 34

Manager with PlantPAx Process Automation System, Rockwell Automation Inc., www.ab.com

Mayfield Heights, Ohio


BS Chemical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University


“Early in my career, I worked for a DCS supplier and spent most of my time trying to get our DCS solution to overcome its data limitations. It was designed for process control, not for making data visible and useful to people throughout the value chain,” Mansfield said.

In managing Rockwell Automation's DCS, PlantPAx Process Automation Solution, he works with customers’ engineering departments to define future product functionality. “What engineer doesn’t want to help define the solution to a problem that they themselves have had to work around?” he asked.

Non-work-related activity

“I love the outdoors, and when I have the time I enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities such as backpacking, snow skiing, cycling, etc. I want to pass that love along to my kids, but I want it to come from their natural curiosity and not from my parental pressure. Last winter I took my 3-year-old daughter skiing for the first time. She had an absolute blast, and we both laughed the whole time. It was fulfilling to see her take to it so easily, and we’re looking forward to many more skiing adventures.”

Engineering-related activity

“I worked to help define a unified production model (UPM) that provides a cohesive view of seemingly disparate manufacturing data and gives context for relationships among equipment, product, materials, and people. I also researched modeling and simulation solutions that factor in energy and raw materials as variables for optimizing profitability. This was an important activity because combining enterprise-wide data, including production metrics, regulatory reports, and behavioral and climate forecasts, can help manufacturers learn to balance the many variables inherent to production.”

Interesting details

“I'm an Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America. I think it taught me critical leadership skills at an early age and helped establish my love for the outdoors, both of which I continue to use in my personal and professional career. I'm also an avid runner and cyclist. It helps me to unwind and think about challenges at work. I also love ice cream, so it’s a good idea to exercise.”

Began interest

He accepted a co-op job during college with a DCS vendor with little prior knowledge of automation, working with great people and building some solid relationships, professionally and personally. “I learned that I enjoyed creating solutions for our clients. And like every good engineer, I was constantly thinking about product limitations and trying to understand why a particular feature worked a certain way. It was a great experience—there’s nothing quite like successfully finishing a startup after so many months of work.”

Return to the 2011 Control Engineering Leaders Under 40

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