My Career in Automation: A Numbers Game

My Career in Automation: A Numbers Game

It’s been said that I like numbers. I’ll probably have to own the fact that certain numbers and dates really do stick in my head – so on the advent of reaching a personal milestone at Rockwell Automation, I thought I’d share a few numbers that are important to me.

The Number 30

Yes – I’ve been at Rockwell Automation for 30 years. I started when it was still Allen Bradley on the first of November 1987 as a junior project engineer.

The Numbers One and Two

From minute one, of hour one, of day one, two things were immediately apparent to me about working at Rockwell Automation. In a world of change, they remain, in my opinion, the two things that still define the company, and they are:

  • The corporate ethics culture. When I see that the company continues to receive continued recognition for it’s ethics as an employer – and as a global entity we rightly collect many - it is no surprise to me. How Rockwell Automation treats people and conducts business is not win-at-all-costs, but rather, win properly, and treat people well.
  • Customer intimacy. There might be a better expression than intimacy, but it’s always struck me as the best way to describe the in-built Rockwell Automation way when it comes to dealing with our customers. We exist only because of our customers and we can only be successful when they are successful. Over the last thirty years, I have only ever known Rockwell Automation to be entirely focused on customer outcomes. It’s how we build loyalty, which is like trust, you don’t buy it or sell it, you earn it.

81 and ’81

I was born in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and my career path really started in 1981 when I became an electrician apprentice in South Africa.

I grew up with people of all backgrounds, something that shaped my personal ethics and has been reflected and matched in my career at Rockwell Automation. More on that shortly – you want to know the other 81, right?

With Rockwell Automation, I have now visited 81 countries — a life in industry can take you almost everywhere. I’ve worked in automation solutions for the brewing industry, metals industry, mining industry, in oil and gas, and had leadership roles in UAE, South Africa and Australia. I’ve been truly blessed to see so much of the world and meet so many great people.

From 25 to 300, Including 25, 27 and 23

Back in April 2002, when I was working in South Africa, I was presented with the opportunity to go and work in the UAE. The UAE then, was not what the UAE is today – the rate of change has been phenomenal.

My wife and I packed ourselves and our three children and jumped onto a plane. Initially I worked in the metals industry and became the regional manager for the Middle East in 2004. We had a staff of 25, who spoke 27 languages and were made up of 23 nationalities.

I regard that team as the most harmonious, and the strongest team I’ve ever worked in. We’re now a team of about 300, which reflects the changes in this part of the world, and the bond of that original team still runs through the core of the Rockwell Automation offering in the region.

In fact, through all of the changes and challenges, all of our customers from those days remain our customers today.

It’s that loyalty I mentioned. My head balloons every time I hear Rockwell Automation referred to as an "automation partner" – that is what we strive for – our success is measured by the success of our customers.

And our success is built on the old one, two: Our corporate ethics and our customer intimacy, those same values I learned about on my first day, all those years ago.

Murray Ballantyne
Posted January 15, 2018 By Murray Ballantyne, Country Director - UAE, Rockwell Automation
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