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Meet Control magazine's new editor Len Vermillion

Sept. 14, 2022
Meanwhile, you might be asking yourself, 'Who is this guy?'

As I was preparing to write my first column as the new editor-in-chief of Control, I pondered a plethora of ways to get started. After all, first impressions are lasting. So, I thought. I agonized. Dare I say, I may even have stewed a bit. And then, I thought about it some more.

In the tradition of engineering, I ran through several false starts. I changed tactics. I reworked my ideas for maximum productivity and efficiency. I admit, I must have written down every cliché ever invented in the quest for the perfect words.

Finally, I found them. Thank you.

Let me start off this working relationship we’re about to establish by thanking everyone who has reached out to me to welcome me to my new position. (By the way, if you haven’t connected to me, feel free. I’m generally quite active on LinkedIn.) Also, thank you to the staffs of Control, Control Design, Smart Industry and the entire processing group at Endeavor Business Media for welcoming me and helping me get up to speed on a lot of varied things. And, of course, a special thank you to my new publisher and the guy you all know as the leader of this magazine, Keith Larson.

Since you’re a reader of Control, you know Keith’s been performing a juggling act of monumental proportions. As he wrote about in last month’s column, he’s moving up to run this entire processing group and a new deckhand was needed. I’m that new guy, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of this endeavor (yeah, the pun was kind of intended.)

The new guy

At this point, you might be asking yourself, “Who is this guy?”

Let me start by telling you what I'm not. I'm not an engineer by trade. I’m a lifelong editor—three decades in the making—and though I don’t design or configure control systems for a living, I’m no stranger to them either.

My experience covering industrial automation and process control dates back the 1990s, when I served as an editor-in-chief of an OEM design engineering publication as well as its sister publication covering the industrial automation sector. It was then that I started to become fascinated by automation technology and its potential to change the way products are manufactured, operations are run and lives are lived.

When I took this role, I kept thinking back to a trip I made to a factory in Troy, Mich., circa 1997. I got a tour of a newly built factory that was “forging the new factory.” Automated control systems were making most of the decisions and efficiencies were created. Workers became safer. Production costs dropped. Meanwhile, the proud engineers on hand couldn’t stop talking about their new creation in the same glowing terms, as if they’d just become proud parents of a newborn baby.

The hot topic

Fast forward to today, and we know that future is here and going strong. Control systems are the hottest technology in worldwide discussions.

Before this role, I spent the last eight years covering the oil and gas industry. I was amazed at how many of you I knew from the energy sector when I came to Control, but I shouldn’t have been surprised. I witnessed the rise of the digital oilfields and positive effect control systems had on energy production around the globe. With the help of process control, artificial intelligence and data analytics, oil and gas producers have cut emissions significantly.

Meanwhile, the energy transition is in full swing, largely on the back of control systems. It’s the technology that can enable scalability in the new world order of the sector, as it's done for so many industries beforehand.

It's an exhilarating time to be covering automation and process control. That’s why I’m here. I look forward to talking to you all and learning more about the industry.

About the author: Len Vermillion
Len Vermillion is editor-in-chief of Control. He can be reached at [email protected].
About the Author

Len Vermillion | Editor in Chief

Len Vermillion is editor-in-chief of Control. 

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