1660316708358 2022hofandychatha

2022 Control Process Automation Hall of Fame: Andy Chatha

April 19, 2022
The big picture view

From the very start, Andy Chatha was perhaps destined for a job with a big picture view. He was born on a farm in India, pursued university studies in India, then in London. He started his engineering career with GEC in the U.K. before moving to the U.S. In the U.S., he worked as a project engineer with Westinghouse Electric and Foxboro, but soon became impatient working on large, complex projects. He moved to marketing, but soon saw an opportunity to strike out on his own. Life on three continents in as many decades started him off with a global perspective and an intellectual wanderlust that had him always seeking what’s new and what’s next.

“During my time at Foxboro, I'd completed my MBA at Boston University, including an entrepreneurship class that really motivated me,” Chatha says. “So I decided to take a risk.” He began with consulting work for some of his industry contacts from his home office. “This was 1986, and I'd become familiar with the market research studies that the likes of Frost & Sullivan and Gartner were doing at the time,” Chatha says. “They weren’t really focused on the process automation space, and I thought I could add some value.”

Meet the 2022 Control Process Automation Hall of Fame inductees

This year, we welcome five new members to the Control Process Automation Hall of Fame. 

  • Thomas A. Badgwell, Chief Technology Officer, Collaborative Systems Integration
  • Lorenz (Larry) Biegler, Covestro University Professor, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Andy Chatha, President & CEO, ARC Advisory Group
  • Thomas E. Marlin, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University
  • Brian L. Ramaker, Shell Oil Co. (retired)

That idea formed the kernel of ARC Advisory Group, now the leading market research consultancy with a focus on the world of the operational and engineering technologies. It now features a network of some 80 automation specialists, serving client needs worldwide. “I always wanted to know more, and to better understand the business aspects of industry,” Chatha, now president & CEO, says. “I enjoy marketing activities—especially market research because it gives you a better understanding of the landscape.”

“The second aspect is that I always like to see where we're going as an industry,” Chatha adds. “I’m always looking to the future, to see where things are headed. What drives me is all the change that’s coming.” Chatha lights up as he lists ARC’s expanding scope, from the core automation tasks of his early days to enterprise software, cloud architectures, digital transformation and industrial autonomy. “And now, on top of that are cybersecurity and sustainability,” he says. “Today, we also work with Google, Microsoft, Amazon and SAP—they all want to better understand industry.”

In terms of legacy, Chatha derives great personal satisfaction from “helping our industry grow and transform to better understand and adopt new technologies and new strategies,” he says. “I’ve also had the opportunity to work with a great team, to have fun with individuals, who stuck around because they, too, have the opportunity to contribute. To be honest, I don’t really enjoy management tasks—I’d rather do my own thing and lead by example,” Chatha adds. “Hopefully we can continue to do that for a long time to come.”

About the author: Keith Larson
About the Author

Keith Larson | Group Publisher

Keith Larson is group publisher responsible for Endeavor Business Media's Industrial Processing group, including Automation World, Chemical Processing, Control, Control Design, Food Processing, Pharma Manufacturing, Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Processing and The Journal.

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