Events and Awards

2021 Engineering Leader Under 40: Bob Frey, 35

Project Engineer, Plus Group, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, BS Electrical Engineering, University of Cincinnati

By CFE Media September 8, 2021
Bob Frey, 35, Project Engineer, Plus Group, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, BS Electrical Engineering, University of Cincinnati

Bob Frey, 35
Project Engineer
Plus Group
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
BS Electrical Engineering, University of Cincinnati

Why should this person be recognized for this award?

Bob leverages his wide experience with automation and processes to successfully lead teams that deliver solutions for multinational clients thru design, programming, construction oversight, and startup implementation spanning a variety of industries and system platforms. His experience ranges from designing and programming control systems for machines to facilities process automation systems. Bob is a servant leader, who focuses on providing the client, internal or external, with the best solution that will help them succeed. With his unique perspective, coupled with his proven track record, is why he should be recognized with this award.

Achievements, Advancement & Career-related Industry Contributions

Bob has successfully led numerous cross-functional project teams coordinating with vendors, construction, and customer team members. The projects have spanned various industries and included multiple PLC programming platforms for standalone machines and manufacturing processes. His automation solutions have included traditional PLCs, Motion Control, Machine Vision, SCADA/HMIs, and MES. Bob’s expertise was instrumental in leading the upgrade of an automotive production machine. This upgrade included safety upgrades for the control and hydraulic systems. It also included an all-new design for mechanical clamps that required extensive iterative design before being fabricated and tested. This machine was production critical, so Bob developed a phased plan to install all upgrades during the non-production time. Bob’s leadership skills were crucial in leading the multi-disciplinary team of contractors. His breadth of experience and skills, including CPM and numerous technical certifications, allows him to draw from many applications to deliver best practice solutions and innovative approaches for any of his projects. In addition, his ability to manage resources, schedules, and client team members have allowed him to grow and become a true leader of our industry’s digital transformation, maximizing customer productivity.

Non-work-related Activities & Hobbies

Bob is a huge “foodie,” with a passion for trying new spots around his local community. Unfortunately, due to the closure of restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic, he had to start thinking outside the box. He was relieved at the idea of making food at home and perfecting his grilling skills. However, as reports of restaurant closures spread and threatened the food landscape in Cincinnati, Bob felt action was needed. Bob started by ordering takeout and curbside pickup, next best thing for a foodie.  Bob supported many smaller ethnic restaurants, including Asian and Indian joints, and his favorite, Cincinnati chili.

Interesting Details

  • Bob and his wife, Elizabeth, are avid global travelers. Bob is near fluent in Spanish and German and uses these language skills to immerse himself in the local culture. Bob learned German by participating in the International Co-op program at the University of Cincinnati and lived and worked in Germany for six months.
  • Bob’s favorite recent trip was to Peru, where he saw Machu Picchu and explored the town of Cusco in the mountains of the Andes. Bob is looking forward to borders reopening and revisiting Germany with his wife.

Why did they choose this career?

Bob always enjoyed learning how things worked and wanted to make things better – watching episodes of “Modern Marvels” or “How It’s Made” intrigued and fascinated him. But it wasn’t until later, during Bob’s co-op semester with his uncle in material handling, that a career in automation was considered. Bob discovered that programming could do so much more than just print “Hello world” on a screen and be used to move things in the physical world. The reward is spending time designing a system and watching it all work and move in concert in the end.


CFE Media
Author Bio: Since its founding in 2010, CFE Media and Technology has provided engineers in manufacturing, commercial and industrial buildings, and manufacturing control systems with the knowledge they need to improve their operational efficiency. CFE delivers the right information at the right time around the world through a variety of platforms.