With a master’s degree in electrical engineering and a background in embedded software design, James Copus never envisioned himself with a seat at the table with some of the world’s most acclaimed principal engineers and respected authorities on automation security.
Yet here he is, a security architect designing the next generation of products to address future challenges and customer needs, working with standards organizations to write the rules that will keep operations running securely – whether making cars or candy, medicine or masks.
“Coming to Rockwell Automation allowed me to share my expertise and follow my interests in ways I never anticipated,” James said. “Here I have found myself on teams working with some of the smartest people in the world who enjoy nothing more than sharing what they know to help me grow. It’s really the best on the job training possible."
More than a few times, James has found himself in a room with 300-plus years of combined experience and industry’s most celebrated experts in their field. They gather to collaborate, to generate ideas, to find new ways of doing things, and to discover.
“Sometimes I have felt wildly unqualified to collaborate with the very people who invented what our customers now rely on to keep their operations secure,” said James, “or the people who made the idea even better. These are the people creating the roadmap not for one product but for entire portfolios that work together. I am standing on the shoulders of giants, learning from them while they ask me for my opinion and then truly want to hear what I have to say.”
Collaboration Culture Paves a Path for the Next Problem Solvers
James has watched these innovators and problem solvers freely share what they know with everyone from interns and co-op students to team members and senior leaders, to pave a path for the next generation of innovators.
“What’s unique about this culture is the openness,” he said. “Everything is on the table so we can volley it around and make the best decisions about how to move forward. People are expected to ask questions and challenge assumptions. I have learned more here than I ever could have hoped for or imagined. Brilliant people freely sharing knowledge fosters creativity and risk-taking, inspires comradery and confidence."
Some less than excellent experiences early in his career made James wary of corporate culture.
“It’s always dicey to evaluate a company from the outside as you don’t get to know the culture until you are part of it,” James said. “I’m now here seven years, and I am happy to report that this environment and culture is everything I had heard and hoped it would be. My work is valued, appreciated and recognized. I watch how decisions are made and at every level, those decisions are made ethically, with deep regard and respect for people who create and use our products.”
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