Dan Rexon has been working at New Jersey-based Precision Automation® Company, Inc., the company his grandfather founded in 1946, since he was in high school. He began his career in the shop, helping with various phases of machine assembly. Rexon has since positioned himself to lead and spearhead the company’s strategic plan. Having a significant influence on Precision Automation’s future, Rexon puts an emphasis on consistently seeking emerging talent that can push the OEM forward to meet customer demands in an ever-advancing business environment. Rexon has taken PMMI’s Leadership Development Program through the Emerging Leaders Network, which he trusts will aid him in leading the 50-person company.
PP-OEM: What are some trends that you have your eye on?
As an automation solutions provider, it’s our job to educate our customers and supply them with cutting-edge solutions before they even know what those solutions may be. The last thing we want to do is react to industry trends, we want to be leading the charge with the equipment we provide. More specifically, I am seeing a lot of robotic integration for packaging and processing systems. We have been integrating different kinds of robots to perform functions that just five years ago weren’t even being explored. In both the food and beverage and the pharmaceutical industries, we are seeing a big need for serialization and traceability. Another big is trend is the increased reliance on sophisticated vision systems. It seems like every year, vision systems grow in capability and become easier to program and implement. Our customers’ perspectives are changing, too. They ask for our systems to handle a wider variety of product sizes with rapid changeover. We are hiring new specialized individuals to meet these customer needs.
PP-OEM: How do you find these skilled new hires?
I don’t want us to be an organization that only seeks talent when we have an immediate need to fill an opening or big projects on the horizon. We are always on the lookout for new talent whether we currently need it or not. We have strategic relationships with local technical schools and colleges, and we have set up apprenticeship and internship programs for current students and recent graduates that encourage them to get involved with our company and grow into long-term employees. Also, the state of New Jersey also has an initiative for workforce development through local community colleges. In the last three or four years, we have seen a nice transition where younger individuals have become a major part of our organization. I believe we’ve done a good job addressing the skills gap, which is a testament to our recent recruiting efforts.
PP-OEM: What has your experience been with PMMI’s Leadership Development Program?
It has helped me to better understand my talents, traits, and deficiencies. I have spent a lot of time working on these areas, whether it is communication skills and listening, or understanding how I’m wired internally. I thought communication was one of my greatest strengths, but that turned out to be one of the areas I needed to work on most. We gathered observer feedback from members of my company, friends, and colleagues, and they gave invaluable candid responses that would have been difficult to obtain otherwise. Coupled with the statistical and scientific approach of the Trimetrix HD Behavioral Research, it has really put a lot in perspective for me. The networking aspect of the Emerging Leaders Network has also been great. I’ve enjoyed building relationships with other PMMI members.