Drives and Control Solutions

Motors, Control Solutions, Power Transmission and Advanced Motion Technology                                                                 

October 18, 2018

BY Owen Hurst

First and foremost, I must note that sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing with a friend than conducting an interview with the company President of one of the largest electrical manufacturers in the world. Of course, she exudes the confidence and knowledge her position demands, but equally identifiable is an open and caring nature.

In a recent sit-down Drives & Controls Solutions was able to learn a little about Susan’s history and what drives her to succeed.

To begin Susan was born in Sri Lanka and immigrated to Canada at a young age. She went to high school in Canada and attended the University of Waterloo where she obtained Undergraduate and Graduate degrees.

Upon completing university Susan began her working career with Deloitte, which she notes was a great forum to begin her career as she was surrounded by highly driven and intelligent individuals. She enjoys that the position was demanding and really helped nurture a strong and driven work ethic. Further her work with Deloitte instilled in her a great interest in acquisitions which would serve her well as her career unfolded.

After working at Deloitte Susan began a position with McCain Foods Canada in corporate development, which had a large focus on acquisitions and new manufacturing development. Through this she gained insight into the logistics of manufacturing operations and all the various intricacies that required attention such as operational efficiency and safety protocols. She also learned about the need for global partnerships and the benefits that they can bring to the table.

Susan notes that working for McCain on global projects, and through her earlier work at Deloitte, she became cognizant of the need to spend some time working in the US, as it is one of the largest markets. And so, in 2003 Susan emigrated to the US. She notes at this point that she had met her husband while working at McCain and with a little bemusement points out that she thought it would be better to start fresh in the US rather than transfer within McCain in order to keep work and personal life separate. She began her career in the US with Crowe Capitol, through which she had her first contact with Schneider Electric.

Initially she worked with Schneider on various acquisitions throughout the US and Canada and admits that looking back she is very proud of the work she did, and in particular her efforts in Schneider’s acquisition of Power Measurement in Canada.

It is at this point that Susan really dug deep into her past, reminiscing about exactly what drew her to pursue a permanent position with Schneider Electric. She loved that Schneider was about energy efficiency, and about the greater good of something. And she recalls that coming from a developing country she had a great respect, not just for electricity, but for just how much it truly has allowed us to accomplish.

Deciding to stay with Schneider she wanted to expand her role and knowledge beyond that of acquisitions and took a leadership role in finance to gain insight into the business drivers of the company. She focused her efforts in this position on the finance side of sales, distribution and marketing with a goal to truly understand the business as a whole. And as her understanding grew it served to fuel her fascination with the company and all it had to offer.

With the knowledge she gained she made the decision to move outside the US and work in a smaller market to really get her hands dirty and help grow Schneider in a smaller market. Now Susan notes that Canada is by no means a small market, but in comparison to the US, it offered different opportunities for growth. And thus in 2010 Susan returned to Canada as the new CFO of Schneider Electric Canada. Although still in finance she discusses how she took the opportunity to continue learning the operational side the business, with a particular interest in distribution.

At this point she recalled an interesting story from her early days as the CFO. She remembers attending a meeting with Gary Abrams, the former President of Schneider Electric Canada, whom she greatly admires. The meeting was a joint affair with several top officials from a distribution partner, who noted that they had never had anyone from finance join the meetings previously. To which Gary replied, “Ah she maybe the finance leader today, but who knows where she will be tomorrow.” Susan couldn’t help but smile as she recalled the instance, noting that it was at least 8 years ago, well before there were any considerations or aspirations by her to obtain her current position.

Continuing her rise Susan took a leadership position with Schneider’s Power Business Unit. In her time with the Power BU she remembers not just her growth but the growth that the company was undertaking. Schneider was evolving as it recognized the changing world around it, at that time we were starting to see the convergence of OT and IT. From this and all the advancements that were coming Schneider evolved from a product-based company to a solution provider, and now is in essence a truly a digital company.

She admits that as she advanced within the company the knowledge she acquired tied her to the industry, a fact that her younger self would not have predicted but is now one of her true passions. And through her drive and love of the industry she continues to grow alongside the company and driving it forward jut as she has done for herself throughout her career.

Susan has now been in her position as President of Schneider Electric Canada since the beginning of 2018 and we asked her about any challenges the new role has brought that she may not have anticipated.

She responds that there were a number of challenges to this role, but true to her nature she has risen to meet each of those challenges head on.

First and foremost, Susan recalls how essential it was that she worked in various positions at Schneider, learning the various functions and operations of each department as well ensuring that she was aware and interacting with the major players in each area.

It was also essential to integrate herself into the broader electrical community. To fully integrate herself she joined associations such as becoming a board member of Electro-Federation Canada (EFC). She also feels it is important to make herself available to Schneider’s clients and to attend events.

In her new role it was essential to undertake these endeavours to ensure she had a deep knowledge base and also to be sure to surround herself with knowledgeable individuals. She also notes that a leadership role means you need to be in a place where you can knowledgeably answer questions, not knowing is really not an option. And I can certainly attest after a short time with Susan that her knowledge truly runs deep, and her confidence surrounds every response she provides.

One very important point that she made when discussing the company and how the wider economy can affect business is that cyclicality is something you need to learn. Susan recognizes that times of crisis can teach us how to succeed and she learned a lot through the currency shifts of the Canadian dollar, and the energy crisis in 2008-2009. Looking back at these events she states how crucial it is in her role to stay ahead of changes and to have contingency plans. Another critical challenge she identified was the need to set yourself apart from your competitors, particularly in an industry in which it is not always easy to do. However, learning was the biggest challenge, but it was the excitement of learning that has kept driving her forward.

She also feels it is important to point out, particularly as she is raising her own daughter, that she feels there is yet a greater role for women to play in the electrical industry. She is truly grateful for the diverse culture at Schneider and feels that although much progress has been made, and she is a testament to that, that more diversity will benefit the industry as a whole.

All in all, Susan Uthayakumar is an extremely impressive woman, mother, company president and a industry leader for today and tomorrow and we look forward to watching her guide Schneider Electric Canada into the next generation of the electrical industry.

About Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is leading the Digital Transformation of Energy Management and Automation in Homes, Buildings, Data Centers, Infrastructure and Industries. With global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider is the undisputable leader in Power Management – Medium Voltage, Low Voltage

and Secure Power, and in Automation Systems. We provide integrated efficiency solutions, combining energy, automation and software. In our global Ecosystem, we collaborate with the largest Partner, Integrator and Developer Community on our Open Platform to deliver real-time control and operational efficiency. We believe that great people and partners make Schneider a great company and that our commitment to Innovation, Diversity and Sustainability ensures that Life Is On everywhere, for everyone and at every moment. https://www.schneider-electric.ca/en/


Editor's Pick: Featured Article


DCS Lafert Formally Introduces New Plant in San Dona di Piave 1 400x275

The new production plant is officially in operation after its formal unveiling at Lafert’s 60th anniversity celebrations in San Donà di Piave, Italy, close to the historic headquarters. 

The 130 000 sq foot plant was developed to increase production capacity and meet the growing demand for IE5 Super Premium Efficiency motors, while also providing new storage areas for raw materials and finished products. In this plant alone, Lafert is able to produce up to 1400 pieces per day and can ship 4-5 international containers per week thanks to the internal customs area. 

The project began in September 2020 with the aim of building a brand-new manufacturing plant to produce high efficiency permanent magnet motors, specifically intended for pumping applications. The plant was designed and built with extensive automated production capabilities including fully automated production lines. Today the plant employs 50 operators who have been carefully trained to work in synergy with the production lines. The plant delivers maximum comfort in the working conditions of the operators in terms of light, space, services, and other factors that affect the well-being of employees. 

 

To read more about this challenge, and the solution, click here 


 


Sponsored Content


Convenient Power Infeed and Distribution 

Siemens DCS Aug3 Kerwill CP Ad 2 300x250 copy

 

 

The 3RV29 infeed system is based on a basic module complete with a lateral incoming supply unit (three-phase busbar with infeed). Expansion modules (three-phase busbars for system expansion) are available for extending the system.

 

 

To learn more, click here

 

 


 

Latest Articles

  • Prev
  Traditional wiring relying on cable connections that require loads of space is a ...
  The way we generate power has been undergoing a radical shift over the last few years ...
  Trash compactors are one way that we can improve the environment by reducing the volume ...
  Robots are an integral part of the manufacturing industry worldwide to the extent ...
  The Endress+Hauser Customer Experience Centre is Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) – ...
  The Ontario government has concluded a successful trade mission to South Korea and ...
  ABB and Hydrogen Optimized Inc. (HOI), the Canadian technology innovator unlocking ...
  What’s the secret to providing superior service and staying competitive in a changing ...
  When the Swiss engineering company Peter Huber AG won the order to upgrade and ...
  IEC 62061 / EN IEC 62061 represents a sector-specific standard under IEC 61508. ...

  

DCS Sonepar Acquires Aztec Electrical Supply 1 400x275

Sonepar has announced that its wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary, Sonepar Canada, Inc. has acquired Aztec Electrical Supply Inc. (“Aztec”). With a strong presence in the province of Ontario, the acquisition of Aztec will strengthen Sonepar’s ability to grow their industrial business model across the Greater Toronto Area.

Founded in 2002, Aztec expanded its market presence across Ontario opening four branches located within Vaughan, Cambridge, Mississauga, and Burlington. Aztec will add over 100 associates to the Sonepar network in Canada and is expected to record sales revenues of over $70 million in 2022.

 

Read more here


 

Product News

  • Prev
  Reported as the only range on the market providing a common platform from 1HP – ...
  AutomationDirect has proudly entered the industrial vision market with the addition ...
  Magna’s 48 Volt hybrid transmission hit the market on the Jeep Renegade, Compass ...
  Recently Emerson announced the release of its new Clean In Place (CIP) Utilities ...
  This is where ASi meets IoT: The new ASi-3 gateway from Pepperl+Fuchs ...
  Your safety circuit is easy to create on the PC using the PNOZmulti Configurator. The ...
  With the integration of OPC UA Reverse Connect into its dataFEED OPC Suite Extended ...
Introducing the CWG Series Type 1 Galvanized Lay-In Wireway from Hammond Manufacturing, with a ...
  ABB recently announced enhancements to their flagship ReliaGear LV MCC low voltage ...
  Piezo Motion recently announced an important update to its popular line of ...

New Product

DCS New LUTZE DRIVEFLEX and MOTIONFLEX VFD Cables from Automation Direct 1 400x275

AutomationDirect has added new LUTZE DRIVEFLEX® and MOTIONFLEX® variable frequency drive cables which provide supreme protection against electromagnetic interference (EMI).

These cables are available in 18 to 8 AWG sizes and include four black conductors with a green/yellow ground conductor of the same gauge. Each conductor is labeled for easy identification and is covered in a cross-linked Polyethylene (XLPE) insulation (type XHHW-2) that is oil and sun resistant, suitable for dry, damp, or wet locations, and approved for direct burial.

The DRIVEFLEX series has a black PVC outer jacket ideal for stationary applications, while the MOTIONFLEX series has a black thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) outer jacket designed for continuous motion applications. Both cables are tray cable-exposed run rated (TCER) for use in cable trays with or without conduit, which can significantly reduce installation costs.

The new DRIVEFLEX series cable starts at $2.58 /ft. and the MOTIONFLEX series cable starts at $3.67 /ft.  Both cables are made in the USA and can be ordered cut to length in 1-foot increments with a 10ft minimum.


To read more, click here


 


Featured Product

DCS Omrons New Integrated Controller Capable of Controlling Robots and Entire Automation Systems 1 400x275

Omron has recently introduced its most full-featured machine automation controller to date. Offering control of multiple robots, the choice of 16, 32, or 64 controlled motion axes, and SQL connectivity. It is the ideal control solution for complete robotic cells, high-speed motion systems, material handling and multi-robot systems.

The Robotics Integrated Platform is the next revolutionary step in the SYSMAC ecosystem that seamlessly integrates the full Omron Fixed Robotics product line. Their one controller approach integrates robot control, in addition to sequence and motion control, to a single controller. This enables synchronized control of robots as well as other devices and results in higher performance compared to typical network based configurations. It also enables users to collect information on devices aligned to a common timeline which not only improves overall system response times and accuracy but also greatly aids in troubleshooting activities.


To read more, click here


 

Latest News

  • Prev
  Traditional wiring relying on cable connections that require loads of space is a ...
  The Endress+Hauser Customer Experience Centre is Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) – ...
  The Ontario government has concluded a successful trade mission to South Korea and ...
  ABB and Hydrogen Optimized Inc. (HOI), the Canadian technology innovator unlocking ...
  World leaders from government and industry will meet in the southern Denmark city of ...
  The ABB #BuildtheFuture Roadshow delivers the latest electrical products, services, ...
  Global industry is accelerating its investment in energy efficiency in the next five ...
  In March 2022, the new edition of the installation standard IEC 61918:2018/AMD1:2022 ...
  On this episode of the Allied Expert Advice podcast, Carlos Riano, Senior Offer ...
  Advanced Micro Controls Inc. (AMCI) has realized growth throughout the Midwest United ...

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2022 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil