Although I have only been an employee of ACE for a little more than 10 years, my experience with ACE dates back a couple of decades to when I was eight years old. No, I was not the Doogie Howser of computer engineering, but I did become a part of the ACE family at a young age when my father, Dave Rowe, became one of the early ACE employees, joining the team in September 1997. He brought me to many company picnics and other ACE-sponsored family events during my childhood, and some of the core team members became close family friends throughout the years.
Me and my dad when I was in high school.
While I had a lot of exposure to ACE growing up, I was not originally planning to go to college with the intention of becoming an engineer as I was focused on computer programming. But after discussions with my father where he encouraged me to pursue a computer engineering degree instead of a computer science degree, I agreed, as I knew I could still pursue programming with this degree.
During college, I completed an internship in the IT Department for the local power company and realized that a cubicle job – cue the movie Office Space – was not for me. I was still really interested in working with computers and programming though, and was thankful that I was already pursuing computer engineering as I knew I would have more options with this degree as my dad had suggested.
As graduation approached and I considered options for a job in my discipline that would be fulfilling and offer the project variety I was looking for, an opportunity for an Associate Engineer position opened at ACE, so I decided to interview. Hearing about ACE as a child gave me the insight to know that this job would be much different than the IT role I had experienced. I knew the projects would constantly change, and as someone who really enjoys being presented with a problem and given the freedom to find the solution, this type of ever-changing project work is truly enlightening and freeing for me. It’s like someone is constantly saying, “Here’s a new puzzle for you, now figure out how to get it done.”
Since several of the key members of the team for which I was interviewing had literally watched me grow up, they wanted to be sure the position would truly be a good fit for everyone. Turns out, it really was, and I immediately became heavily involved in a variety of controls projects for several of our pharmaceutical clients, which I loved.
After joining ACE, I discovered something unique about the company that I have really enjoyed over the years – ACE is not set in its ways. Leadership is always willing to let the team try out new technologies for the industrial space. Because of my background in programming, when Parsec Automation launched its TrakSYS MES software, I was one of the first engineers at ACE to experiment with and learn the ins-and-outs of the software. I then became a member of our three-person MES team and helped grow the team to 15+ members over the past 10 years. As a result of this work, I also had the opportunity to travel to multiple states in the US, Puerto Rico, and Finland to help deploy MES solutions for our customers.
Becoming Part of the ACE Family
I have been fortunate enough to experience the way the employees at ACE treat each other like family for decades, but it was not until I started working at ACE that I realized building relationships with customers is a critical part of the way we conduct business too. We are not here to simply complete a task and walk away. ACE builds its business on establishing relationships. We want our customers to know us and feel that we are a part of their team as their go-to controls experts.
And while getting the job done is critical to our success, ACE leadership understands that work is not the only thing going on in every employee’s life. A few years ago, my wife and I found out that my son needed to work with a speech therapist multiple times per week. Without hesitation, ACE leadership offered me the flexibility to work from home a few times per week to make sure these appointments could happen (and this was pre-COVID when working from home was not nearly as common).
This same sentiment translates into our work environment, too. Once when my team was in the middle of a particularly intense project where long hours were needed to hit a deadline, I could sense that a break was necessary. When I told our leadership that I felt it was crucial to take some time to treat my team to lunch and a few hours of games, I received nothing but support. It is this sense of camaraderie coupled with the variety of interesting projects on which we work that has made it easy to come to work every day for the last 10+ years.
Over the years, my role at ACE has evolved quite a bit and I am now a senior project manager and team lead. One of the fun parts of this evolution is that as I have continued to focus on the computer and software side of the control system, my dad has continued to be one of the company’s experts on the hardware side. This has led to a fun dynamic for us because our areas of expertise are complimentary. Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my past 10 years at ACE. As I continue to grow and be a part of this company, I consider myself lucky to have found a career at a place that cares about people and to be a part of the ACE family.
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