In our last blog post, we met the members of our West Coast management team. In our continuing blog series introducing the Superior Controls corporate leadership, this post spotlights the East Coast management team, who we have asked to share details of their tenure with the company, information about their background, and personal fun facts.
Rick Pierro, Co-founder and CEO
Rick Pierro, President/CEO, co-founded Superior Controls 25 years ago. Rick earned a B.A. in chemistry from Boston University, an M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and has completed several business courses at the Harvard Business School. Prior to co-founding Superior Controls, Rick held various positions in automation engineering, business development, and sales management for systems integrators focused on the process automation industries.
Rick has served as President of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) Boston Area Chapter and on the ISPE Board of Directors. In addition, Rick currently serves on the boards of directors for Acumentrics Corporation, a leading fuel cell development and manufacturing company, E-Trolz, Inc., a leading provider of technology for electrophysiological medical devices, Mind Child Medical, a leading neonatal EKG medical device manufacturer, and MirTle Medical, an EKG monitoring manufacturer for the MRI market. Rick also serves on the Chemical Engineering Advisory Boards at both the University of NH and UMass Lowell.
Rick has been a sought-after and frequent guest speaker on topics ranging from biotech automation, batching, and FDA validation requirements such as 21CFR Part 11, Process Analytical Technology, and GAMP. Rick and his wife, Eileen, have been married for 24 years and have three teenage children. The family resides in Hampton Falls, NH. Rick enjoys running and for the past 20 years has challenged the Superior Controls engineers to run in 5K races and win $100 if they beat his time.
Fun fact: Rick’s secret passions are studying history, traveling and boating. He has taken his family on adventures in Morocco, Italy, Ecuador (Galapagos), and throughout the Western U.S. Rick and his family also have lived on his boat, appropriately named “Superior Controls,” while visiting Nantucket and other East Coast destinations.
Mark LaRoche, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer
Mark LaRoche graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1984. He later received his MBA from Southern New Hampshire University in 1993.
Mark began his career as a project engineer and has extensive experience in designing, programming and implementing automated control systems for the biotech, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and specialty chemical industries. Over the years, he advanced through the positions of project manager, proposals manager, and engineering manager.
In 1993, Mark co-founded Superior Controls. Now with over 120 automation engineers and over 150 employees, Superior Controls is headquartered in New Hampshire and has additional offices on the West Coast and in Upstate New York. Mark continues his leadership as COO of the company.
Mark serves on the board of directors for numerous companies and is an investor in a number of medical device start-up companies. He is a longtime member of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering and the International Society of Automation and is an avid Boston sports fan.
In 2009, Mark became co-owner of The 401 Tavern in Hampton, NH, a job he refers to as his “side gig.” Mark calls The 401 Tavern “the ‘Cheers’ of the Seacoast.”
Allen Schweitzer, Chief Financial Officer
Allen Schweitzer is a senior-level finance and operations manager who has been with Superior Controls for 2 ½ years. Allen has more than 30 years of experience in all phases of the business life cycle (start-up, turnaround, rapid growth, IPO) in diverse industries including healthcare services, software and technology, financial services, and professional services.
Allen holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Northeastern University and a master’s degree in finance and entrepreneurial studies from Babson College.
Allen is an avid basketball fan, and has held season tickets for the Boston Celtics for 40 years!
Damon Robbins, Vice President of Operations
Damon Robbins is the vice president of operations, and has been with Superior Controls for 16 years. In his current role, Damon is involved with sales, estimation, and purchasing, as well as managing vendors, subcontractors and projects.
Damon holds his BS in industrial engineering from Western New England College, and an MBA from the University of New Hampshire. He has been involved with the distribution, integration, manufacturing, startup, and service industries throughout his career.
Damon is an avid skier and his family is involved with the Gunstock Ski Club. He volunteers at youth and adult ski races throughout New Hampshire and New England. He is married, and the couple has three boys who all ski race and play lacrosse.
Bob Patrick, Vice President of Engineering
Bob Patrick has been with Superior Controls for 16 ½ years, and has worked at every level within the company’s engineering team, from project engineer all the way up to his current position as vice president of engineering. Over the past 6 1/2 years, Bob has been overseeing the engineering team on the east coast for the company.
Bob holds a BS and MS in mechanical engineering. During his time in graduate school at Tufts University in 1995, Bob joined a small automation company in Woburn, MA, where he programmed his first PLC. That experience led him to focus in automation for his master’s thesis. Since that time, Bob has worked on systems in various industries including biotech, automotive, food and beverage, chemical, and electric power.
Fun Fact: Bob worked for the US Forest Service for 2 summers as a backcountry patrol covering the Presidential mountain range in Northern New Hampshire. “We would provide information to hikers, perform trail maintenance, and the occasional rescue,” said Bob. “I would regularly get comments from hikers that I had one of the best jobs ever. I have to agree that it was pretty cool.”
When not at work, Bob enjoys spending time with friends and family. He and his wife have 3 children. The couple’s son just started his sophomore year as a mechanical engineering student at UMass Lowell. Bob and his family recently hiked to the top of Mount Washington, his eldest daughter’s first time at the 6288 ft peak, and home of the “worst weather in the world.”
For more information about Bob, read this blog post.
Laurie LeMay, Director of Human Resources
Laurie LeMay has been with Superior Controls since 2016 , bringing over 20 years of experience to her role as Director of Human Resources. In her current position, Laurie has responsibility for developing and implementing the company’s human resources policies, procedures and benefit programs. Laurie is also tasked with strategically building on and supporting the company’s infrastructure and people initiatives, which are undoubtedly mission critical responsibilities given the company continued rapid growth!
Laurie graduated from Mt. Wachusett Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Business, and from Mt. Washington College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She holds the certifications of Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Predictive Index Analyst.
Fun fact: When not at work, Laurie can be found enjoying the four seasons on Lake Winnipesaukee, practicing yoga, or hiking a trail.
Ken Hackett, Business Development Manager
A 28-year veteran of the automation industry, Ken Hackett joined Superior controls in 2016 after spending two-and-a-half decades with Horizon Solutions, a Rockwell Automation distributor. Over those 25 years, Ken held several positions from warehouse, to sales manager covering the Northeast, including NY, VT, NH, MA and Canada. While working in sales, Ken covered such diverse industries such as pulp and paper, food and beverage, automotive, biotech, and more.
When not at work, Ken enjoys golf, softball, poker nights, and watching live sporting events. It is also rumored that he has a secret past which our investigations have recently uncovered.