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Ben joined Opto 22's Pre-sales Engineering staff after extensive field experience in automation in Australia. With an electronics background and a B.S. in Engineering Management, Ben spent over 18 years as a Plant Control Technician for Ballarat Health Services in Victoria.
Ben's experience there included a variety of Opto 22 products, from Optomux to SNAP PACs. Ben integrated products from various manufacturers with his Opto 22 systems to develop power, HVAC, refrigeration, and emergency response systems for a large group of hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and other healthcare installations. In the process, he handled serial, ARCNET, and Ethernet networks and migrated from Cyrano, our first control software, to FactoryFloor and later to PAC Project. In fact, we wrote a case study about the hospital system.
Now at home in Temecula, California, Ben works on special projects for customer applications, especially in energy management, and stars in OptoVideos showing how to use Opto 22 products. He also helps teach our free SNAP PAC System training classes and seems to be constantly in demand for his vast experience. We're glad he's here.
Mary St. John
Mary's degrees are in Physics and Computer Science, from Harvey Mudd College and Hawaii Pacific University. Her pre-Opto 22 experience included training and software development positions for BAE Systems, 3Com, NASA/JPL, Harvey Mudd College, and Thermal Engineering Corporation.
At Opto 22, Mary first learned about our products when she joined the Product Support team in 1997. She soon moved into software/firmware development where she worked for a decade, primarily on control engine firmware. After a two-year hiatus in Hawaii (where she was born and raised), she returned to Opto 22 in May of 2011 and now helps customers with questions and specs as a Pre-sales Engineer.
Mary has applied her speaking and writing skills to technical papers, including one for an ISA conference on wireless technology, and a series of articles in START magazine. She puts her creative mind to work on code samples and in videos on concepts like sinking/sourcing, optical isolation, maintainable code, and more.
Mary's favorite topic is Opto 22 products, projects, and possibilities, so with her skills and knowledge, she's a natural for our OptoForums. If you've got a question or comment about anything Opto, share it on the forums!
Senior Application Engineer Tom Edwards has been at Opto for more than 25 years. Tom holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from Weber State University in Utah, and a Doctorate of Law from Western State University in California.
At Opto 22 he provides pre-sales engineering assistance to customers who call in with questions about configuring their control systems, solving design problems, and finding the best products for their industrial automation applications.
Tom's ability to explain technical concepts and his knowledge of Opto 22 products make him an effective trainer. He often teaches free SNAP PAC System classes at Opto 22 headquarters. Over the years he has been all over the world, training customers at sites from Japan and China to the industrial hubs of Europe, the Middle East, and Australia.
Tom shares his knowledge with the rest of us in his OptoTechTalk videos.
Norma earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Engineering from California State University, Long Beach, interning at Hughes Aircraft Radar Systems Group. Hired by Opto 22 in 1991 as a Product Support Engineer, Norma has become familiar with all our product lines over the years.
In the Product Support Group (PSG), Norma started answering pre-sales as well as post-sales technical calls and later provided international product support for our foreign distributors (she's fluent in Spanish). She worked in Engineering for a year, developing SNAP Ultimate I/O firmware, but ultimately decided she missed the customer contact in PSG. Currently she provides support for customers and also for Opto 22 Distributors in Mexico, Central America, and South America.
Always interested in writing, Norma was involved early on in improving Opto 22 documentation and recently completed her Technical Writing Certificate from the University of California, Riverside. Tasked with finding a way to track issues in Opto products and inform customers about them, she developed the Opto 22 KnowledgeBase (OptoKB) in a series of timely articles, each describing an issue and its workaround or resolution. Norma's OptoKB articles are now in a searchable database used by both customers and Opto employees.
As an OptoCertified Trainer, Norma teaches the Troubleshooting section of our free SNAP PAC System training classes in both English and Spanish. And as you see here, Norma also translates and hosts Spanish-language versions of our videos.
Surge holds a B.E. in Electrical Engineering and an M.E. in Electronics Science from prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing. Formerly Technical Marketing Engineer at National Instruments in China, Surge joined Opto 22 in 2008 as our Chief Representative in China.
With automation expertise in water, power, semiconductor, and machine building, and extensive experience with programmable automation controllers (PACs), Surge has a broad range of skills and knowledge. The Opto 22 China office is in Shanghai, but Surge has traveled to several cities to give a series of PAC Summits, attended by local engineers and technicians interested in learning about the new programmable automation controllers.
On a visit to Opto headquarters in California, Surge recorded a series of OptoMinute videos in Chinese (Mandarin). He has also arranged for translations of other videos. In addition, he works on an Opto 22 website in Chinese, with translated data sheets and other product information.
Alexi Beck Gray
Alexi holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University, where she worked as a research assistant and studied fluid dynamics at the Garfield Thomas Water Tunnels. She also has a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine, where she received a full fellowship, researched active control of combustion, and found the control side to be her real interest.
At Opto 22, Alexi learned about our products as a Product Support engineer and then moved into training. Over her several years at Opto 22, she worked on a number of projects, including the creation of the Prove It To Me Toolbox and its subsequent incarnations (like the SNAP PAC Learning Center and the SNAP IO4AB Learning Center).
As Opto 22's Director of Training, Alexi created the curriculum for the company's product training classes and co-taught the hands-on classes held at Opto 22 headquarters. She also developed and presented online tutorial videos. In addition, Alexi headed the OptoCertified Training Program, which certifies qualified individuals to teach Opto 22 classes and provide factory training around the world.
In her spare time, Alexi developed product seminars and lectured around the country on the topic of industrial Ethernet networking—in locales as varied as a decommissioned battleship in New Jersey, the media room at a NASCAR track, and a yacht in Newport Beach Harbor. Currently in Australia for a few years, Alexi continues to work on Opto projects from time to time.
Kelly received her Bachelor's of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Riverside (UCR), spending her summers working in the oil fields of Southern California. She also holds a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from UCR. During graduate school, she worked as a research assistant in the field of embedded systems; her research focused on medical equipment and sensor networks.
Kelly started her career at Opto 22 doing hardware and firmware design. She developed the Profibus SNAP I/O module, which is used primarily in Europe to communicate directly with Profibus systems. She was also heavily involved in the company-wide energy management plan, which utilized Opto 22 products to more closely monitor and control corporate water and power usage. As part of the plan, Kelly developed OptoTerminal interfaces, using Qlarity Foundry software, to add flexible control to the lighting system. Kelly also developed the Lunch Seminar Toolkit.
Kelly used her enthusiasm and knowledge to provide hands-on training to customers who come for our free SNAP PAC System product training classes. She also developed and presented instructional videos about Opto 22 products, and these videos are available in the Watch section of our website.