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Teammate Spotlight: Heath Stephens – A Leader in Automation and Community

02.28.2023

In 2008, before Hargrove established its control system group, Heath Stephens, PE, accepted a position as a process engineer with Hargrove Engineers & Constructors. As time progressed, he was asked to lead the new controls & automation group that – at the time – consisted of only a couple specialists. Over the years he doubled the Team, working as the specialty chem leader and pioneering the process safety group.

Heath has worked on everything from automation improvements at pipeline terminals, to programming for injectable medication filtration for the pharmaceutical industry, to I/O upgrades and system migrations.

“I like helping people achieve their goals to improve performance,” says Heath, when asked about what he likes best about his work. “I also like the variety in my job. I’m always being exposed to new processes, industries, and companies.”

A Leader in Digitalization

Currently Hargrove Controls & Automation’s Digitalization Leader, Heath surrounds himself with phrases like “Industry 4.0,” “Digital Twins,” or “Factory of the Future.” He facilitates the implementation of a multitude of digitalization projects. His project experience includes process historians, RAM modeling, mechanical failure prediction, batch profiling, multi-site digitalization planning and implementation, and various paper to glass work process improvements.

“Heath was instrumental in starting the automation team as we know it today,” says Karen Griffin, Vice President of Hargrove Controls & Automation. “He is always willing to do anything needed to help us grow and advance, and for the past two years he has been specifically focused on growing our Industry 4.0/Digitalization offering.”

The digitalization group at Hargrove Controls & Automation focuses on the advanced use of data to solve quality, reliability, and production issues for clients. While others on the Hargrove team concentrate on process control applications, Heath’s digitalization team takes the data from those systems and uses historians, advanced visualization tools, AI and machine learning, and other applications to further improve production profitability.

Community Involvement

Not only does Heath pioneer Hargrove Controls & Automation’s digital transformation projects, but he volunteers his time supporting South Alabama charities. Heath embodies the Hargrove value of giving back to the community by actively engaging in community support.

Heath is a Board Member for harGIVES, a service organization at Hargrove that offers Teammates volunteer opportunities to put their engineering skills to work for worthy causes. harGIVES’s premier project, the Hargrove Adaptive Toy (HAT) Project gives Engineered Machine for Mobility Access (EMMAs) to mobility limited children. The EMMAs are modified to fit the needs of each child and help children develop motor skills so they can operate a motorize wheelchair.

For three years, Heath has been a Board Member for the Mobile Downtown Alliance. The organization is comprised of businesses who work together to improve downtown vitality and to offer a safe and welcoming environment for businesses and visitors.

In addition to his board memberships, Heath works as an Industry Advisor for the chemical engineering program at the University of South Alabama. He has been offering advice and support for updating and upgrading the University’s lab for almost five years.

From Past to Present

Although Heath grew up in Florida, he now considers Mobile, Alabama his home ever since his college days at the University of South Alabama where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering.

Outside of work and serving the community, Heath’s life revolves around his family. “One day, I’ll have hobbies again,” jokes Heath. “For now, I’m the father of two young kids.”

Heath greatly enjoys his time working at Hargrove and looks forward to the future. “It’s been a great ride! It can be challenging stepping into new situations, always working against project deadlines, but it’s also very rewarding,” explains Heath. “I’ve met a lot of great people over the years and have been exposed to all sorts of processes and technologies.”

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