The leadership team at Automation NTH possesses a wealth of experience, diverse skills, and unwavering commitment to excellence in automation. Their collective leadership has built the company from the ground up, turning it into a trusted automation partner for top manufacturers around the world. They continue to drive the company towards pioneering solutions, exceptional customer service, and industry leadership.
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Brent Thomas founded Automationnth in 1999. Under his leadership, the company has grown to more than 90 employees and become the trusted partner in automation for top manufacturers in North America.
Brent enjoys tackling the most complex and challenging automation projects in the industrial world. He is highly sought after for his ability to create complete solutions from scratch through collaborative concepting with the customer. Brent’s engineering strengths include high precision applications, coordinated motion, controls programming, machine vision, data tracking, and OEE optimization. Among his key accomplishments was designing and integrating an automated syringe molding machine that used vision inspection to identify imperfections as small as .0005 inches.
Brent’s leadership has helped Automationnth build a strong reputation among its customers by deeply understanding their needs and exceeding their expectations. Brent’s philosophy about automation is to keep things simple, whether it be PLC code or an entire machine, which will result in better outcomes for the customer. This philosophy has led to the company’s development of robust templates and standards that ensure the quality and consistency of our programming and control panel assembly. Brent started his career as a controls designer at Wright Industries, a large, Nashville-based machine builder, and quickly worked his way up to becoming the technical leader for $10 million projects.
Brent is a big hockey fan and proud season ticket holder for the Nashville Predators, and also enjoys undertaking home improvement projects of all types. Brent graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Minor in Architecture from the University of Tennessee.
Jeff Buck leads the engineering team at Automationnth and is responsible for recruiting and developing engineers, resourcing projects, and providing technical leadership to projects. As a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Tennessee and Certified Machine Safety Expert, Jeff is an expert in discerning codes including NEC, UL 508A, and NFPA-79, and ensuring compliance across the company’s projects. Jeff’s detail-oriented approach and skills in risk mitigation and project management has led to the successful delivery of hundreds of projects since he joined the company in 2003.
Jeff created and leads “NTH University,” the company’s training program for engineers. NTH University was designed to accelerate the development of well-rounded, technically proficient engineers when they first join the company. This includes a 3-month internship program culminating in a capstone project. In this project, the intern designs and builds a trainer control system for a simple machine that inspects parts on a small-scale production line. NTH University also has a robust curriculum to fill skill gaps in full-time engineers. Course topics range from control system design and risk assessments to programming such as PLC, HMI, SCADA, and robotics, which all conclude with a test to evaluate comprehension. After seeing demand from customers to train their own staff, Jeff led the creation of training as a service offering for our customers.
Earlier in his career, Jeff worked his way through all the major engineering roles of a systems integrator, including designer, programmer, project manager, and technical leader for large, complex automation systems. As part of these roles, Jeff has visited and worked in production facilities around the world in a variety of industry segments. Among his key accomplishments was delivering a high-speed production line with 1,000 parts per minute of output while maintaining 100% vision inspection. Jeff started his career at Wright Industries, a large, Nashville based machine builder.
Jeff is also an accomplished leader, outdoorsman, and developer of youth skills and values. He is an Eagle Scout and currently a Crew Advisor for a Boy Scout Venturing Crew. Jeff previously served as a Boy Scout Scoutmaster, the Outdoor Coordinator for American Heritage Girls (AHG), and completed the Boy Scout’s Wood Badge leadership training and twice participated as a staff member. He also created the AHG Middle Tennessee Council Camporee for youth and served as co-director for 4 years. Jeff currently sits on the Middle Tennessee State University Engineering Technology & Mechatronics Advisory Board. Jeff graduated with a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Automation, and Robotics and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee.
Greg Young leads the business functions at Automationnth including finance, sales, and marketing, and is responsible for the company’s business systems and go-to-market strategy. At Automationnth, Greg has led the implementation of new ERP and CRM systems and developed key processes and personnel that have enabled the company to grow.
Prior to joining Automationnth, Greg held a diverse set of global and regional financial management roles at Procter & Gamble. His responsibilities have included financial management over supply chain and manufacturing operations, capital expenditures, sales organizations, marketing investments, and bringing new product innovation to market. At P&G, Greg held financial management positions in businesses with over $400M in revenues, including working on the Crest, Oral-B, and Scope brands. Among his key accomplishments was providing leadership to bring five new products to market successfully, including creation of pricing, distribution, and capital purchase strategies, and identifying and executing several multi-million dollar savings programs. With Greg’s leadership, his businesses increased revenue by 20% annually and operating profit by 70% to record levels during his tenure. Additionally, Greg is a former Certified Internal Auditor with skills in implementing process improvements and managing operational risks.
Greg sits on the board of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA), a global trade association that seeks to advance the industry of control system integration. Greg is also an Eagle Scout and a mentor for small business owners in Nashville through the non-profit SCORE organization. Greg received a MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and BS in Industrial Management with a minor in Manufacturing Management from Purdue University.
Dan Barber is responsible for leading Automationnth‘s operations on the west coast including its office in Poway, California. Dan has a wealth of experience managing diverse teams to deliver complex, high-tech automation systems across a rich variety of applications. His background has enabled him to think like a customer, determine manufacturing rates and ROIs needed to deliver successful automated system, and generate manufacturing concepts that meet customer needs. Dan is skilled at interpreting NEC, NFPA, UL codes, and has previously learned programming for PLCs, Databases, Robotics, and CNC control.
Since joining Automationnth in 2006, Dan has built processes and systems to enable the company to grow, including creation of an IT infrastructure, accounting system, HR procedures, and other business processes. Dan also implemented a quality system in the panel shop. This system has provided sufficient quality assurance to our customers so that many allow us to ship directly to their end user without inspection. This attention to detail and quality has driven growth of the panel shop, and it is now one of the largest in the Southeast.
Earlier in his career, Dan worked for Shuttleworth, a specialized conveyor manufacturer which served high-tech customers such as IBM in disk drive manufacturing applications, which is where Dan first got exposure to clean room manufacturing processes. Dan also previously worked as a Facilities Consultant at Nissan, where he was responsible for 35 miles of conveyor system across a plant.
Dan also worked as a Project Manager for Wright Industries, a large Nashville based machine builder. Among his key accomplishments was delivering six $15M automated inkjet cartridge manufacturing lines with 140+ process steps in four different countries, where he managed up to 30 engineers and 100 electricians. Dan also worked on projects with assembly tolerances down to the micron level in Class 10 clean room environments for customers including IBM, Digital Equipment Corporation, and Sun Microsystems.
Dan is a lifelong learner who is always curious about any topic that he encounters, which makes him an excellent addition to a trivia team. As an avid Do-It-Yourselfer, Dan has built two custom log homes from scratch, and also previously operated a business which built custom cabinetry.
Warren Young has more than 30 years of experience leading and growing manufacturing companies. Warren is also the Chairman and owner of Acme Industries, a large manufacturer of precision machined components for OEMs. Warren acquired Acme Industries in 1998 and led the company’s growth, doubling its revenues in one four year period. Warren also led Acme’s creation of a differentiated business model and brand, implementation of manufacturing best practices, and addition of engineering services to better serve customers, which in one case resulted in an IP trademark and patent-pending product enhancement for one of its customers.
Previously Warren was President of M&R Printing Equipment Co., a privately held manufacturer of screen printing equipment. Earlier in his career he held executive manufacturing positions at John Crane, a manufacturer of mechanical seals, and Rockwell International’s Graphic Systems business unit and Harris Corporation, both manufacturers of web fed printing equipment. Warren started his career in the Manufacturing Development Program with General Electric’s jet engine division.
In 2013, Warren was honored as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and was inducted into the University of Illinois Chicago Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame in 2012. Warren earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and a MBA from Xavier University.
Joe Schlesinger leads the project management function at Automation NTH. In this role, he oversees projects and develops and maintains project management methodologies, standards, processes and procedures in accordance to the PMI standards. He completed his degree in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University and started his career as a design engineer in the suburbs of Chicago.
Joe moved into project management while working in the environmental and industrial automation industry where he managed the installation of the largest biogas facility in the United States before transitioning into the medical device automation field. He has managed everything from small proof of principal machines to $100 million multi cell systems in markets ranging from automotive to medical devices. Joe also plays an important role in maintaining our customer relationships, which are built on a foundation of trust and confidence.
Like many others in Tennessee, Joe is a transplant from Illinois. In his free time, he enjoys partaking in the many activities Tennessee has to offer, including hiking, dining out in Nashville, and enjoying the view of mountains as opposed to cornfields. He has taken on a lifelong mission to convince his relatives to move to Tennessee as well.