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Rockwell Gift Will Create Industrial Control, Automation Lab for Texas A&M

Submitted by: Rockwell International Corporation

Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions

Posted: Aug 29, 2000 – 12:00 AM EST

 

Nearly $1 Million Donation in Cash and Equipment Will Enhance Engineering Education

Aug. 29 /CSRwire/ - A new Texas A&M University automation laboratory supported by Rockwell will help students significantly reduce the gap between graduation and on-the-job productivity.
A Rockwell gift of $955,900 in cash and equipment, to be paid over the next five years, was presented today to Texas A&M University and will go toward the establishment of the Rockwell Automation Laboratory at the Texas A&M Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution. The lab’s primary focus will be support of automation and control education for approximately one-fourth of the department’s 1,300 undergraduates. Automation of equipment and information is critical in manufacturing systems found in a broad range of industries, ranging from automotive and surgical product makers to food packagers and hard drive manufacturers.

“Rockwell is proud to contribute to the future success of Texas A&M’s Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution,” said Don Davis, Rockwell chairman and CEO and a graduate of Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA. “The Industrial Distribution program at A&M is already recognized as the best in the country, and we are confident that the establishment of the Rockwell Automation Laboratory will enable students to obtain an even greater understanding of today’s cutting edge automation technology.”

“Today Rockwell is fortunate to employ approximately 70 Texas A&M graduates, added fellow Texas A&M alumnus Mike Barnes, Rockwell senior vice president of Finance and CFO. “The gift to establish the Rockwell Automation Laboratory will continue our long-standing relationship and enable tomorrow’s graduates to enter the workforce with superior skills and training.” Barnes earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in industrial engineering from Texas A&M and serves on its Engineering External Advisory and Development Council.

Barnes presented Rockwell’s cash and equipment gift in a campus ceremony Friday. Texas A&M President Dr. Ray M. Bowen accepted on behalf of the university’s engineering technology and industrial distribution department.

Also attending from Rockwell were Jim Williams, vice president, Sales, Rockwell Automation (recently retired); and Christine Rodriguez, vice president, State and Community Relations. Dr. C. Roland Haden, Texas A&M vice chancellor and dean of engineering, led the Engineering Program delegation.

“This gift will allow the department to deliver a modern and relevant industrial control and automation curriculum to our students, who will work with state-of-the-art hardware and software in the showcase Rockwell Automation Laboratory,” said Dr. Richard M. Alexander, engineering technology and industrial distribution department head.

Rockwell’s long-term relationship with the department includes consistent hiring of top graduates, endowment of the Allen-Bradley Professorship in Factory Automation and participation in a new distribution management certification program offered by the Thomas A. Read Center for Distribution Research and Education. The Read center is part of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, a research agency and member of the Texas A&M University System.

The Rockwell Automation Laboratory will be housed in Thompson Hall on the Texas A&M main campus. An existing lab will be completely renovated to allow installation of 13 workstations complete with Allen-Bradley programmable logic controllers (PLCs) as well as sensors, motor control and actuators. Multiple Rockwell Software packages also are included in the gift.

Target date for the lab opening is spring semester 2001.

“This equipment donated by Rockwell Automation is the same kind employers use to train new hires immediately after graduation,” said Dr. Sheng-Jen “Tony” Hsieh, the lab’s technical coordinator. “By integrating this knowledge into the academic curriculum, our graduates won’t have to go through the training period typically expected by industry. The time savings will be significant, perhaps as much as six months.”

The laboratory also will support Texas A&M research in networking, process characterization, and sensors and instrumentation. Professional development courses for members of industry will be offered in areas such as elementary and advanced PLC programming.

Rockwell Automation brings together leading brands in industrial automation, including Allen-Bradley controls, Reliance Electric motors and drives, Dodge mechanical power transmission components, and Rockwell Software. Rockwell Automation's unique Complete AutomationTM strategy of helping customers achieve a competitive advantage is supported by thousands of authorized partners, distributors and solution providers around the world. More information about Rockwell Automation is available on the Web at www.rockwellautomation.com.

Rockwell is a $7 billion electronic controls and communications company with global leadership positions in industrial automation, avionics and communications, and electronic commerce. The company employs approximately 40,000 people at more than 450 locations serving customers in more than 80 countries.

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