Tom Crowl, P.E., one of the original co-authors of the ISA S88 Batch Control Standard back in 1996, has joined Banks Integration as Principal Engineer. We are excited to have Tom aboard as he brings a wealth of experience and engineering expertise to our team. Tom’s energy and enthusiasm are inspiring, from his personal trips to Africa for medical outreach with his wife, to his professional contribution to the writing and updating of the ISA S88 Batch Control Standard.
Prior to joining Banks Integration, Tom worked in engineering and leadership roles for Moore Products Co., Siemens after their purchase of Moore, and most recently Genentech, Inc. He has worked on projects in every state in the lower 48 and in many countries around the world in industries such as batch chemical, biotech, pharmaceutical, steel, composites, textiles, food, consumer products, oil, explosives, water, waste water, and power. Tom has worked with some of the world’s leading companies including American Cyanamid, BASF, Bethlehem Steel, Biogen, Cambrex, Centocor, Ciba, Degussa, DuPont, Eli Lilly, Genentech, Glaxo-SmithKline, Immunex, Inland Steel, Medlmmune, Merck, Pfizer, Reichhold, Sinopec, Union Carbide, and Wyeth.
“We are delighted to have an industry veteran like Tom Crowl join our automation team,” says Rick Pierro, president of Superior Controls. “Tom was one of the original authors of the S88 batching standard in 1996 and was involved in the update in 2010. This worldwide standard is used in batching for automation in all process industries.”
Coming aboard as a principal engineer, Tom’s job is to be a thought leader both within and external to the company. He mentors junior engineers on projects, and advises and assists engineers with developing resource requirements, scheduling, cost estimation, and control strategies. Tom also manages a technical team that works on projects, sets and develops standards, and creates tools to streamline the workflow and make the company more competitive. Externally, Tom markets the services industry expertise of the company through technical publications, presentations, and speaking engagements. He also works to influence the development paths of the company’s vendors to help them better meet the customers’ requirements.
Currently, Tom is working on several interesting projects with Banks. Two are for a customer in the pharmaceutical industry; one is in a process development area and the other is a Hazard Monitoring System in a laboratory building. Additionally, Tom is working on a project with a life sciences customer who is making replacement heart valves.
From the very start of his career, Tom was up for a challenge. One of his earliest projects at Moore was an extended solo start-up in Daqing, China in 1987-1988 where he was the only control systems engineer on site and one of five people who spoke English. Tom quips, “This was quite a challenge because the phone lines were so bad that both voice and fax were useless, and with no Internet my only link to the home office in the US was a teletype machine.”
While at Moore, Tom worked on the development of the company’s APACS product where he led the design of the Ladder Logic, Sequential Function Chart, Structured Text, and Batch Function Blocks. During this time, he also worked on the development team for the Direktor/InBatch product and worked with the development team at Sequencia to successfully launch the initial release of the OpenBatch product with an OpenBatch soup demo running on APACS at both Moore’s booth and Sequencia’s booth at that year’s ISA show. Sequencia and the OpenBatch product was later purchased by Rockwell and OpenBatch became RSBatch, then FactoryTalk Batch, but an improved version of the soup demo still lives on today as the current FactoryTalk Batch demo.
The largest project Tom worked on while at Moore was as system architect and technical lead of the largest flexible biotech plant in the world, Genentech’s Vacaville Cell Culture Plant 1 (CCP1) facility. On this project Tom led a team of over 30 engineers responsible for design, configuration, installation, and validation of the control system.
After Siemens purchased Moore in 2000, Tom worked with the development engineers in Karlsruhe, Germany to develop the SIMATIC Batch product and assisted in the requirements definition for the SIMATIC IT product.
In 2003, Tom joined Genentech to design and build an even larger biotech plant than the CCP1 plant. Construction on the Vacaville CCP2 plant was completed in 2006 however the plant was shuttered in 2010 due to market demand and other issues. When the decision was made to restart the plant, Tom led the Return to Service (RTS) project to migrate the CCP2 DCS and MES software to current release and replace the server and network hardware infrastructure of both systems. “As system owner I was the primary automation subject matter expert for the FDA licensure inspection which was successfully completed with no 483s.”
When asked about his past career experiences, Tom says, “My most valued activity during my career was contributing to the ISA S88 Batch Control Standard. I learned so much about batch from my co-authors during the time that we spent writing Parts 1 thru 4 of the standard, the rewrite of Part 1 in 2010, and continuing work on S88 Part 5.”
Tom enjoys working at Banks Integration, and especially appreciates the company’s culture. “The family atmosphere here reminds me of when I used to work for Moore Products. Everybody knows everybody else and they all enjoy doing things together. Young engineers are mentored and gradually given more responsibility as they progress. As they progress, engineers begin to manage larger parts of projects until they start to run their own projects and eventually become responsible for many projects.”
Originally from Pennsylvania, Tom grew up in the farm country of southern Lancaster County about 70 miles outside of Philadelphia. Tom attended Drexel University in Philadelphia and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering. He is a licensed Professional Control Systems Engineer in the state of California.
Tom and his family now reside in Vacaville, CA about 3 miles from Banks and the downtown area. His wife is a nurse practitioner who runs a mobile medical van for the homeless population. The couple’s oldest son lives in Philadelphia and works as a teacher at a special-needs school. Their middle son is a sophomore in college with a criminal justice major, and their daughter is in an early college high school program where she goes to high school in the mornings and community college in the afternoon. She is currently a junior in high school and a sophomore in college.
When not at work, Tom says, “I enjoy almost anything outside. I commute to work on my bike most days and have logged over 120,000 miles while commuting to work.” Tom was featured in an article about bike commuters, saying he was inspired to ride to work after spending time in China where the streets were “jammed with cyclists.” To read the full article, click here.
Tom stays active in other ways too, “I have a pool in the backyard and swim nearly every day during the extended California swimming season. We like to kayak on the coast and ski and snowboard in the mountains. I love to backpack and over the years have been knocking off the highest points in each state. I watched the recent total solar eclipse from Mt. Borah, the highest point in Idaho. My wife and I also travel to Africa on medical outreaches. I do the organizing of the lines of people and she sees close to 100 patients per day.”