Contemporary Controls bids a fond farewell to Joe Stasiek, who retired from his role as sales manager this past June. Joe was part of the Contemporary Controls' family for more than 21 years, and he will be greatly missed by coworkers and customers alike. Together with president and founder, George Thomas, Joe was instrumental in the company's development and growth in the building automation industry. He understood the value of e-commerce and led the company in creating an online product marketplace.
We sat down with Joe and George to talk about Joe's experiences at Contemporary Controls as well as his 50+ years in the industrial and building automation industries.
Though Joe began working at Contemporary Controls in May of 2002, his alliance with George Thomas began in 1967 at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) on Chicago's South side. The two met as students pursuing degrees in electrical engineering.
Joe was a year older, and George recalls his frequent advice to, "just make sure the units come out correctly in the end."
"I always remembered that advice," George said. "And it came in handy throughout my career because it begged the question 'What is the problem asking you to find?'"
That advice most likely came in handy in the first decade of 2000, as George and Joe saw the industrial automation industry move from ARCNET to Ethernet with data rates increasing from 2.5 Mbps to fast Ethernet's 100 Mbps and then into Gbps.
"When I joined in 2002, we had an exceptional business in the industrial automation industry supplying ARCNET servers. But things were beginning to migrate to Ethernet," Joe said. "And, as companies migrated to Ethernet, they were dropping ARCNET, and we were losing our interface business."
During this time, the rapid acceptance of Industrial Ethernet as a fieldbus replacement created the need for Contemporary Controls' CTRLink® family of Industrial Ethernet products which today includes unmanaged and diagnostic switches, media converters, and IP routers.
But after attending a building automation conference, George and Joe recognized the opportunity in building controls and decided to further expand the business.
"BACnet was a big leap for us. Like George, my domain was in industrial automation, we'd need to get all new 'friends,'" Joe recalls. "But we learned it together."
In 2007, Contemporary Controls introduced BASremote, a family of BACnet-compliant products that not only connected to Ethernet networks but could interface with common sensor and actuator devices. In 2008, the company introduced the BASrouter, a BACnet/IP to BACnet MS/TP router, and became active in BACnet events.
Joe's favorite product is the BASRT-B BASrouter, a BACnet multi-network router which routes messages between BACnet/IP, BACnet Ethernet, and BACnet MS/TP networks.
"When we first introduced the BASRT-B, it was so popular that vendors would contact us to see if they could distribute our product. Our production team could built it and keep costs down. To this day, it is a product we put out in volume at a reasonable price."
Joe believes moving to BACnet was an excellent decision. "I am incredibly positive about BACnet, the product line is going to grow with the cellular market and the need for secure, remote access."