Automation lab dedicated at NIU

The College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL has a new automation lab, thanks to the generosity of AutomationDirect. There is also a named professorship.
By Plant Engineering Staff October 6, 2008

AutomationDirect Automation Lab at Northern Illinois University

The Northern Illinois University College of Engineering and Engineering Technology dedicated the AutomationDirect Laboratory on the university’s main campus in DeKalb, IL on Sept. 19. AutomationDirect , the lab’s sponsor, extended a gift of $100,000 spread over four years, which will also enable a named term professorship.

Promod Vohra, dean of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at NIU , expressed his gratitude for the gift and the AutomationDirect partnership. “The kind of trust they have put in us and the kind of opportunities this endeavor is going to provide to our students is going to be wonderful,” he said.

“As a dean, I’ve always felt that engineering colleges are meant to stimulate economic development,” Vohra continued. “Engineering schools have to promote innovation. That’s why they have to have the best possible laboratory environment for them to expand, explore and find new ways of doing things.

“I meet a lot of graduates from different schools; many of them are theoretical,” said Vohra. “But I think they’ve lost the practical edge in our country. And that’s what we want to give back to our students.” He said AutomationDirect’s gift will help them accomplish that.

Joan Welty, AutomationDirect’s director of marketing agrees. “I think we would all like to see the U.S. stay in the forefront of technology development %%MDASSML%% not only to help drive our economy, but also to help solve many issues that we’re facing in the world today,” she said.

Welty, who holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology from NIU, also said her company feels that industry should take a more active role in encouraging and supporting young people in pursuing technical degrees, and while doing so, have access to the most current equipment.

Andrew Otieno will fill the role of AutomationDirect professor. He will supervise and maintain the lab. He also will facilitate the creation of programs to provide professional development training in the lab for engineers and technologists from local industries.

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