Today we are talking to Peter Zornio, the CTO of Emerson Automation Solutions. And we discuss the connection between Information technology and Operational Technology, The future of Automation, and why software developers are not ditch diggers.

All of this, right here, right now, on the Modern CTO Podcast!


Peter Zornio is Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Emerson Automation Solutions and has been with Emerson for 12 years. As CTO, Peter has responsibility for overall coordination of technology programs, product and portfolio direction, and industry standards across the Automation Solutions group. This includes Emerson’s digitization and Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) developments, such as the Plantweb™ digital ecosystem.

Past roles at Emerson have included leading development and marketing for Emerson’s systems and solutions portfolio. Prior to Emerson, Peter spent over 20 years at Honeywell in a variety of positions across the entire automation portfolio. His 30 years of experience in digital manufacturing architecture covers marketing and development of all aspects of process automation and related IT technologies, including wireless, Industrial IoT strategy, field measurement, fieldbus technologies, control systems architecture, and operations management applications.

Peter is based in Austin, Texas, and holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire.



Show Notes

Work processes are the biggest barrier
2 platforms at Emerson – Peter Zornio is CTO of Automation Solutions
Both Joel and Peter are members of the Forbes Technology Council
IT and OT (operational Technology)
Entirely different sets of people who are not integrated with IT running the Operational technology in manufacturing
OT has risen to distinguish from information technology. It’s all about how do we keep the plant operating.
Has been in automation for his entire career
High availability is a great term.
The core of what keeps them going is they are purpose built embedded systems. Frequently redundant. Build to be redundant right from the beginning
More discrete manufacturing, it’s not as big a deal, but for a power plant it’s a huge goal to stay online 100% of the time
Building example for automations
Has been focused around production
How do you spend your day? Pie chart of day – Business Units, Customers, Product Planning. Strategy and on the right track for the future.
The life cycle is a lot longer for OT
Would like to see the engineers of these high availability talk more publicly
BP example – things went awry subsea
Autonomous vehicle is an example of the sexy side of automation
How does the QA process differ?
Do companies come to Emerson with an idea for a product and then Emerson takes on the whole development
Control challenges with the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry.
How big is the organization on the automation side? 5-8k in automation solutions
Managing structure since he came to Emerson?
Getting People excited about the space they are in. Once they find out, they are like wait a minute, what you do affects the physical world
Blackhat community has figured out that it’s cool….unfortunately
Trying to find the magic bullet from a development standpoint. Don’t have the luxury of failing fast, building systems that need to operate for 20 year
What is your leadership style? Big believer in leading by example. Exhibit the behaviors you want people emulate. Try hard to not be a jerk. Try hard to not come across as egotistical and my way is the right way. Try to drive collaboration.
Get people bought in, make them feel like they are a part of decisions.
Look you may be the smartest guy in the room, but you’re not smarter than the room.
For every engineer there’s an equal and opposite engineer
What stands out as someone who is ready to lead
Always on the hunt for talent. Use the term Sparky.
Always recruiting. The most precious commodity.
61% of the CTO’s polled say lack of people is their
Software engineers are not ditch diggers. This comparison is awesome
Can’t be afraid to proudly steal as long as you give credit to where it came from
Very Promising future as long as the machines don’t take over.
On a path towards building a complete and total AI
Old Automation Joke
Interesting how the distribution is coming first for AI
Talking about the Singularity

Joel Beasley

Joel began writing code at age 13 selling his first technology by age 18 for one million dollars. In his first three transactions, he developed key relationships and began working with Investors and Chief Technology Officers collaborating and building products in Real Estate, Law, Finance, and Fitness.

Today, Joel is a Chief Technologist volgging the process of building a company LeaderBits.io. Joel is an author of the book Modern CTO a #1 New Release on Amazon and a #1 Technology Podcast with 70k active listeners. Joel has a clear vision and passion for modern technology, placing him as one of the most exciting Chief Technology Officers to watch out for.

Joel is the President of BeasleyFoundation.org a charity that designs STEM related children’s books Back to the Moon and Princess Physicist. These books are then donated to orphanages, homeless pregnant woman and in-need children. Beasley Foundation was formed in February 2017 after Joel, Mitch and Valerie lost their Mother to Leukemia after being diagnosed 6 weeks earlier. Joel and his siblings wanted to do something unique with her life insurance money and the Beasley Foundation was formed.

Read more about Joel

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