Jeffery Smith PSCL VP Automation

Beginnings

With PSCL’s ongoing commitment to providing leading-edge solutions to the cement industry, three new vice presidents came on board in 2019 to provide strong leadership in our core strengths.

Mir Kazim Ali is VP, Cement Quality. Craig Leavitt is VP, Cement Distributions. And the gentleman who joined us at the end of the year after an intensive search for the right individual in this newly-created position is Jeffery Smith, VP, Automation Services.

With an electrical engineering degree from Royal Military College in Kingston, ON, a master’s in electrical engineering controls, an executive MBA and 30 years in the military and the corporate world, Jeffery projects the confidence of a respected leader and the hands-on dedication of a colleague.

We began with asking him about what he’d been doing before he joined us here at PSCL.

“I came from a few of the large automation OEMs in controls and automation around PLCs and distributed control systems.”

“Over the last number of years, I came from a few of the large automation OEMs in controls and automation around PLCs and distributed control systems,” he says. “Most recently with Rockwell Allen-Bradley, where we expanded our solution offering to our clients in both PLC and distributing controls, and then with a system integrator being a solution partner for Rockwell.”


New Horizons

It’s easy for us to remember the details of what we do because we’re deep into it every day, but now that we have an automation leader, we asked for a plain-language description of Jeffery’s field for the people without the depth of his experience and what he sees on the horizon.

“Yeah, great question. It starts with looking at how plants run their facilities and how they control all the machinery, all of the pumps, all of the motors, all the compressors. Inside a facility, this is typically accomplished by some automation control platform. In previous years, we used to manually control machinery by relays.

“That technology moved forward, to be ran by a PLC – a Programmable Logic Card, a specialized computer control. That technology continues to advance and move forward to automate plants and facilities. Working with those automation platforms for many of the large vendors is where I’ve been working for the last 20 or 25 years.

“I believe as we continue to move forward, we must continue to work smarter and try to enable the technology to help us become more efficient, operate more effectively, to do a lot more with a lot less, and to do that profitably.”

“I believe as we continue to move forward, we must continue to work smarter and try to enable the technology to help us become more efficient, operate more effectively, to do a lot more with a lot less, and to do that profitably. So working within those parameters, bringing my engineering background to bear, and working with our engineering teams to drive those technology enhancements.

“Where I see some of the challenges we’ll be facing in the coming years are in integrated operations and having disparate systems and communications – or technology – within the facility. It potentially silos operational areas within a facility, and therefore we’re not communicating effectively with the rest of the plant.

“So, an integrated platform to bring all of that communication together is where the older technology facilities continue to move toward – enhancing the technology, enhancing the data, enhancing the decision-making process – to be more efficient in operations.”


The Cement Industry

A core tenet of PSCL’s revitalized strategy is always being focussed on our customers’ needs. How does Jeffery’s experience apply to our cement industry clients?

“A cement facility – similar to other facilities – still continues to have technology struggles with data being collected and passed in order to inform good business decision making. The cement industry is a great example of older, obsolete technology that – as they continue to advance and enable newer technology platforms – they’re able to make better business decisions based upon that integrated technology platform.

“We are in a very unique position. PSCL has been working with the cement industry for almost 30 years, and is truly trusted by our clients.”

“We are in a very unique position. PSCL has been working with the cement industry for almost 30 years, and is truly trusted by our clients. As we continue to develop the automation services offering we’re creating here at PSCL, I see that trusted position is going to help drive those process solutions and enable us to provide wall-to-wall automation services within their facilities.

“Having a large footprint in cement terminal distribution across North America and the success of our current partnerships continues to position us to expand our capabilities within PSCL. Those capabilities are being aligned with what the customer is asking of their partners, and we continue to build those competencies and capabilities being asked for.”


Esprit de Corps

As the newest person on the PSCL management team, it’s early days for Jeffery. Even for the most-seasoned professional, starting anew comes with discovery and challenges.

“When I was introduced to PSCL, the people I met had a passion to do what was right for the customer, and what the customer needed as a business partner. Seeing that passion, seeing that dedication to their clients and all of the work that they were currently doing brought me to understand the people are the driving force behind PSCL and that success continues to expand with the dedication and the expertise of all of the professionals here.

“Seeing that passion, seeing that dedication to their clients and all of the work that they were currently doing brought me to understand the people are the driving force behind PSCL.”

“The first 90 days have been quite a whirlwind. I jumped right into a brand-new fiscal year because we wanted to start this new business unit, and have all of the vision and the goals set up for Day One. So I jumped right into budgeting, planning and restructuring, within probably the first couple of weeks.

“I believe in getting in front of our clients’ decision makers and have a one-on-one discussion with plant managers, terminal managers, VPs and others to understand the parallels and differences between their business challenges and their business needs. Those meetings so far have been very welcomed from our customer. It’s an offering and a partnership that they’ve been asking for for some time. We’re going to continue to have these frequent meetings to make sure that we always have an up-to-date understanding of the needs and the challenges of our clients.”


Poised for Success

It bodes well for PSCL that when Jeffery begins to speak about the team he’s now a part of, the smile comes out and he’s animated.

“PSCL has divided the company into three different business offerings – Distribution, Quality and Automation Services – and the VPs guiding each unit.

“We all come to the table with diverse and unique backgrounds, and when you combine us with Matthew (PSCL’s president) who’s also been in this industry for decades, it brings a very strong boardroom presence, a leadership presence, an industry presence.

“We have great collaboration, and can now sit and take a look at each customer individually, understand what their needs are and see how as an organization all three business units can work together to service all of the needs inside a customer’s space.”

“We have great collaboration, and can now sit and take a look at each customer individually, understand what their needs are and see how as an organization all three business units can work together to service all of the needs inside a customer’s space.”

Interested in Automation Services and want to speak to VP Jeffery Smith? You can call him at +1 780 732 5264 or email him at jeff.smith@pscl.com.


We are a dynamic, growing company with dozens of professions and skill sets. Is there a topic or story you’d like to see PSCL cover? Let us know. The more we know about what each of us does, the more effective we become.


WordPress Video Lightbox