Dick Morley: It's a Dog's World

“It’s never the dog that’s the problem. It’s the owner,” says Dick Morley, the New Hampshire-based consultant who is best known as the father of the programmable logic controller (PLC).

Dick Morley, New Hampshire based Consultant
Dick Morley, New Hampshire based Consultant
In order to best prepare today’s young people for careers in engineering, educators and employers alike need to adapt their approach to better match the skills and interests of their students, Morley believes. “The problem is that we have to deal with people the way they are, and not try to change people into something we need. We have to change our jobs so we can use the talent that’s there,” says Morley.

Morley has worked with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers on designing courses for students. Among other things, he advocates shorter lectures. Good speakers follow the 10, 20, 30 rule, he says—10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point type.

That said, he does have some thoughts on things that future automation engineers will need to know to achieve success. “They’ll have to learn how to communicate what they do, to people who don’t know what they do,” Morley advises. “If they don’t, they’ll never get financed, they’ll never get jobs and their engineering efforts will be unrewarded.”

They should also “learn how to learn.” Instead of learning a particular computer language, learn what languages are, Morley recommends. “There’s a big difference between knowledge and understanding.”

Other things to remember? “It’s not a component world. It’s a system world,” Morley says.

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