Director of Automation

Challenge Manufacturing

Challenge Manufacturing

1,001-5,000 employees

Employee-owned supplier of automotive metal assemblies

Automotive & Transportation

Senior, Expert

Grand Rapids, MI, USA

  • Bachelor's Degree
  • 5+ years of experience in manufacturing industries with a strong focus on automation and controls design
  • BSME with 10 years of industry and engineering experience preferred
  • 5 years of minimum experience in engineering management preferred
  • Experience in development of distributed, networked control systems, especially Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions
  • Lean or six sigma experiences (green or black belt certified preferred)
  • Knowledge of engineering principles and techniques related to automotive assembly or joining
  • Ability to apply sound engineering principles to operational and design issues
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Must be able to travel up to 30% of the time
  • Ability to work well with others in a fast-paced, dynamic environment
  • Ability to be respectful, approachable, and team-oriented while building strong working relationships and a positive work environment
  • Review vendor automation systems specifications / scope documentation and validate systems design with Integrator
  • Standardize automation systems
  • Initiate and lead automation systems obsolescence conversions
  • Create, automation sequence of operation, process flow diagram, and ensure design meets requirement
  • Design/overview system layouts, schematics, and control devices
  • Drive the right technology choices for automation and present the technology roadmap for both immediate and long-term growth
  • Combine deep process engineering understanding and machine learning capability to create scalable controls and manufacturing solutions
  • Take the business problems and derive to a technology solution that may encompass one or more products and services, ensuring it aligns with business objectives and fits into the technology roadmap of the organization
  • Responsible for the development of the standard software and hardware architecture(s) for all automation projects and will work with multiple teams for coordinated implementation
  • Develop and implement the manufacturing vision, strategy/technology roadmap that supports the convergence of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
  • Mobilize leadership to develop and prioritize digital transformation roadmap across functions (Operations, R&D, Quality, Planning, and Logistics)
  • Lead and drive implementation of Industry 4.0 / IIoT solutions including taking the lead on technical design, development, and validation of a variety of IIoT proof-of-concept use-cases
  • Manage automation group, process control, manufacturing execution system (MES) and resources according to corporate strategies, standards, and specifications
  • Continuously improve the operation, driving innovation, including the utilization of new technology and automation with effective utilization of capital and return on investment
  • Develop strategic operating procedures that support business objectives and evaluate new or improved operating methods, technology, equipment, facility design, and layout
  • Exhibit leadership qualities that move the business forward through the collective talents and efforts of self and others
  • Demonstrate data as a strategic asset within respective business functions
  • Coordinate and prioritize digitalization initiatives across the operations business

Challenge Manufacturing

Challenge Manufacturing


Challenge Manufacturing, a leading global supplier of complex assemblies and engineered metal formed products to the automotive industry, stands out for its employee-centric culture and competitive advantage. The company's Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) fosters a collaborative and teamwork-oriented environment, allowing its team members to share in the company's success, which has led to its ranking as the 40th largest ESOP Company in the US in 2017. With a commitment to safety, ownership, and teamwork, Challenge Manufacturing provides job security, fair treatment, competitive wages, and opportunities for career growth, making it an attractive workplace in its industry.

Company Stage


Total Funding



Grand Rapids, Michigan



Growth & Insights

6 month growth


1 year growth


2 year growth