Effective immediately, Mark Engman has been named president and chief executive officer at Opto 22, a Temecula, Calif., automation supplier. Engman succeeds his father, Opto 22 founder Robert (Bob) Engman, who will continue with the company in a consultative and advisory role.
In what he described as “part of an evolutionary process,” Bob Engman made the announcement recently in a meeting with Opto 22 employees. “After 30 years, it’s time to formally hand over the company to Mark. He has been a large part of the reason Opto 22 has been able to stay ahead of the curve technologically and establish its reputation as the company that builds the automation and control products that are the most reliable in the industry. Under Mark’s leadership, I’m very optimistic about where this company will be in another 30 years.”
Mark Engman’s ascension to president and CEO culminates his 23-year tenure with Opto 22 as both an engineer and executive. After completing his education at the University of California, Irvine, Engman joined Opto 22 in 1983 and worked in a number of departments, including research and development, product support, and manufacturing operations. In 1989, he developed Cyrano, a flowchart-based control programming environment and the forerunner of both OptoControl and today’s ioControl. All three control development applications—Cyrano, OptoControl, and ioControl—are currently deployed in thousands of industrial control, monitoring, and data acquisition applications across the globe.
As executive vice president and chief operating officer, Mark Engman oversaw the company’s engineering and purchasing departments and also headed manufacturing operations. In 1996, Engman was awarded the prestigious Leonardo Medal for Technical Innovations in Manufacturing, presented by Microsoft Corp., for his development of Opto 22’s internal business systems.
Gotta be open
“Opto 22 has always been known as a company that does things a little differently,” states Bob Sheffres, Opto 22 Vice President. “Over the last 23 years, Mark has been instrumental in defining Opto 22’s corporate culture and establishing its history of innovation. This includes the company’s unwavering commitment to design all of its products on open, standard, non-proprietary technologies and protocols—something that’s extremely rare in our industry.”
Mark Engman is also known as one of the driving forces that first brought Ethernet networking to manufacturing and automation environments. In an era when most large vendors were promoting their own proprietary buses for industrial network communication, Engman’s decision to embrace Ethernet moved Opto 22 down a path that paid major dividends as the technology became a networking standard on the plant floor.
Most recently, Engman has led Opto 22 into the emerging machine-to-machine communications market and has also helped the company forge strategic alliances with several new business partners including Computer Associates, Nokia, nPhase, and Sensorlogic.
Continuing the vision
In a statement, Engman credited his father with developing the vision and corporate philosophies that have made Opto 22 successful and vowed to continue to grow the company under the principles of innovation, hard work, and fair play.
“As inventor of the modern solid-state relay, Bob Engman understood how to develop a vision and work toward its fulfillment. Under his direction, Opto 22 has flourished with a very flat organizational structure, and despite numerous acquisition offers and opportunities to go public, we remain a privately held company. Opto 22 will continue to steer clear of all distractions and will remain focused on designing, developing, marketing, and supporting our products in the best ways possible so our customers will continue to see the value of the Opto 22 brand.”
Opto 22 develops and manufactures hardware and software products for applications in industrial automation, remote monitoring, and data acquisition.