Avanceon is a team of talented, creative, and fun people dedicated to driving innovation and value to manufacturing automation and information systems. We focus on our customers’ challenges and the best way to overcome them. Whether you work with our engineers, solution architects, project managers, business managers or support associates, you will find all are focused on providing you, the customer, with the most supportive, engaging, friendly and interactive project experience possible. Despite today’s sanitized and transactional world of system development, we believe that projects are still people working with people and commitment, accountability, and customer service are the foundations of a successful relationship. We believe the journey is equally as important as arriving at the destination. Our people are key to our success and we love them for it.
Bob is known worldwide for his foresight and thought leadership. Throughout his 40+ year career, Bob has helped to revolutionize the System Integration community. As the founder of Advanced Automation Associates (Avanceon’s predecessor), he created one of the country’s largest and most successful independent System Integrators, with a global presence on three continents. As an original member and two-time chairman of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) he has driven structure, standardization and stability in what was once a fluid and unformed engineering segment of the industry. Bob places special emphasis on emotional intelligence or the management of the “human element” in every aspect of his business, ensuring that all Avanceon’s customers and team members are heard, aligned and motivated.
Bob is married to his wife Banjira (Ben) and has three children. Bob is an avid (some would say rabid) Philadelphia Eagles fan and sports enthusiast, Jersey Shore beach bum, bad golfer, dancer wannabe and world traveler. He never misses the opportunity to work hard and play hard, be it by defining a progressive approach to solving manufacturing problems, delineating the next version of our company or figuring out how to jam-pack a weekend with an exponential amount of fun activities.
Bob’s vibrant zest for life is clear in his ability to make the best out of any situation. He believes in lessons instead of excuses, and that opportunity is “now here” instead of “nowhere.”
Matt Ruth is Avanceon’s top “matchmaker.” Matt supports and guides customers to a better understanding of their problem, identifies how Avanceon can help, and then aligns Avanceon’s resources to develop the best possible solution. Matt is responsible for matching our key partners to provide our customers with a robust and valued “360 degree” offering. In addition to his matchmaking responsibilities, Matt is a member of Avanceon’s Executive Steering team, ensuring we “walk the talk.”
Matt has been happily married to his wife Kelly for nearly 20 years. They have two teenage boys and a Springer Spaniel named Nova. Matt is a Villanova basketball superfan and an avid outdoor enthusiast and runner. Be it on the bay fishing for a big catch, in the woods searching for big game, on the trail running up the next mountain, or in the board room designing the next automation or MES system, Matt throws his passion and experience wholeheartedly into all of his pursuits.
Brian enjoys solving varied and complex problems, whether they involve people, processes, operations or technology. You know that girl or guy who seems to know everything about anything? Brian loves working with those folks and finding ways to synergize his know-how with their expertise to help our customers and ourselves achieve awesomeness. As CBIO (Chief Bad Idea Officer), Brian routinely comes up with bad ideas that others mold into productive initiatives. Employed by Avanceon since the age of thirteen, Brian has held almost every engineering position in the organization. Early experience with batching, SCADA systems, MES and reporting helped shape his interest in the business side of manufacturing.
Outside the office, Brian enjoys spending time with his stupendously wonderful wife (and Avanceon editor-in-chief) Jenn, energetic toddler Zadie and stoically indifferent (yet incredibly friendly) Scottish terrier Marley. When not on the racquetball court or in the kitchen, Brian can be found enjoying the outdoors, cheering on Pitt, completing odd home or engineering projects, creating noise-pollution to be passed off as music, appreciating music created by people who’ve mastered the wondrously infinite musiscape (if that’s not a word, it should be), writing much too long (but somehow grammatically correct albeit not reader-friendly) sentences riddled with spelling errors (since corrected by aforementioned grammarian super-wife) and using too many parentheses.
Tracey Johnson is a force both on the basketball court and as a business manager. The only member of the engineering team who is not an engineer, Tracey joined Avanceon in 2007 as a recruiter, became a project manager in 2010 and assumed her current position three years later. She presently manages Avanceon’s life sciences and consumer packaged goods projects as well as all MES projects. Tracey values directness and dependability and brings both to her relationships with coworkers and customers.
Tracey lives with her daughter in Downingtown and has also called Georgia, Texas and Maryland home. An avid basketball player, Tracey dunks both basketballs and donuts with the greatest of ease. She played on both the 1997 AAAA State Championship team at Downingtown High School and on scholarship for West Chester University. Around the office, she can be found dressed down, plotting softball strategy and keeping her team of engineers on schedule through her patented two pronged attack of steely gaze and rolled up newspaper.
Duane Grob has the talent and skill to rock both a bass guitar and the most challenging systems integration project. An avid musician, Duane also plays 12 string and piano, and regards his musical abilities as a part of his engineer’s “tool kit,” in addition to 40 years of experience, from control panel fabrication through database designs.
Duane presently manages the Industrial, Regulatory and Utilities business unit at Avanceon. His technical knowledge ranges from PLC and HMI coding and configurations to specification and test protocol development. Duane also has extensive Life Science expertise, providing validated designs and installations, and has been involved in nearly every other major industrial market as an integrator.
Duane holds an electrical engineering degree from Villanova, with a minor in audio engineering and recording technology. He was the first degreed engineer hired by one of the first system integration firms in the country.
Duane’s wife, Linda, is a certified Feng Shui advanced designer and graphic artist. His daughter, Rachel, is a Temple grad with a degree in Art and Entrepreneurship. Duane’s family also includes Homer, a Rottweiler mix and rescue dog that is learning to sleep 23 hours a day. Duane appreciates most music, especially classical and progressive rock and Tibetan Yak Chanting (Southwest genre only). He’s currently recording his first solo demo, to be released sometime in the 21st century.
Anything and everything New Business at Avanceon starts with Sue. Sue prides herself in being an attentive listener and investing the time to get to know our customers on both a professional and personal level. Sue knows both our customer’s concerns and our staff’s strengths and works closely with both parties to build the perfect long term partnership.
Sue has four “children”: two teenage daughters, one son and one husband (after 25 years of marriage, he’s still a big kid!). When she is not traveling to a collegiate field hockey game, indoor swim meet or cross country course, she’s whipping up a cake or going for a run. Sue loves a challenge and is happiest when every moment of her day is filled.
Bryan Little is a wizard with systems integration – a career path he’s followed for more than 20 years. But when it comes to paths, Bryan prefers the off-the-beaten variety. A Marine Corps veteran, Bryan climbs mountains, avidly hikes and camps, and lives off the grid (or at least pretends to) whenever possible. As the famous naturalist John Muir said, “of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” If you can’t find Bryan out on the trail, odds are he’s at home watching outdoors programs.
His 20 years of systems integration have spanned many industries and technologies: from contact lenses and pharmaceutical to pizza and cereal, and even few oddballs in between. For the past 10+ years at Avanceon, he has been primarily focused on the Food & Beverage industry.
Bryan lives with his vibrant and wonderful better half Christine who share their life path with their constantly busy Border Collie hiking companion Dakoda. Bryan also has two teenage boys and, yes, a turtle named Henry.
When Frank Burger came to Avanceon, the OJ trial was in full swing, baseball players were on strike, and AOL was filling our mailboxes with subscription CDs. He’s used the time since coming aboard in 1995 to hone his engineering and customer service skills to a fine edge, and he’s especially proud of the 20+ year relationship he’s developed with several customers.
As Engineering Manager, Frank gets to share his skills with our flock of supremely talented engineers, providing mentorship on standards, productivity tools, project execution approach, and customer service.
Frank and his wife Elisa are adjusting to an empty nest now that their daughter Laura is studying Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech. In his spare time, Frank is a raconteur, bon vivant, man about town, and acronym subject specialist. He enjoys home brewing (and consuming) fine beers, hiking, and biking. In his down time, he is an avid reader of sci-fi and other fiction. And, as is appropriate for a sci-fi fan engineer, he agrees with author Arthur C. Clarke, who claimed “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
She may not be wearing a cape, but Mary Negron is our HR superhero! As Manager of Human Resources and Administration, Mary strives to balance protecting the company with her emphasis on being the employees’ advocate. She prides herself on being a champion for our associates and is always there for any employee to take action and assist with any issues they may have.
Mary is happily married to her husband Ed; between the two of them, they have four daughters: Kristen, Erin, Lauren and Kristina. They recently added Jax, a new Shih Tzu puppy, to the family. Mary is an avid sports fan. On the weekends you can usually find her at the softball fields cheering on her girls or shopping (her other sport) for unnecessary household décor items featuring a fleur de lis. Her family jokes that she has an obsession with the fleur de lis, but she refuses to admit it. With her fixation, you might expect her to be a New Orleans Saints fan, but Mary remains loyal to her beloved New York Jets.