Meet Denardo, one of our Level IV Controls Engineers, based out of the Memphis office. We are honored to have him as part of the LSI family and grateful for his contributions both in the office and at our client locations. We recently sat down and asked Denardo 20 questions. He’s an amazing person and a talented engineer. The three words that we would use to describe him are Principled, Diligent, and Icon (more on Icon below).
20 questions with Denardo
How long have you been with LSI?
I’ve been at LSI for a total of about ten years. I started in 2006 and then left the company to do some non-profit work that was important to me. I came back in 2013.
What was your role when you started, and what is it today?
I started as a Controls Engineer. I was brought in to fill a need on a large brewery project that LSI was working on. Early on in my career, I did a lot of general DCS and HMI work and was more specialized on Emerson Delta V. If there was something that I was not familiar with, I had to go figure it out. I liked this, and it is still the same today. The concept of batch and process was my focus more than anything. It really doesn’t matter what the platform is; I’m willing to take it on. I’ve been given more opportunities over the years to be the technical lead on projects. I’m one of the guys who manages the technical details so the project manager can focus on managing the project. My current role is Level IV Senior Controls Engineer.
Where did you go to college?
I attended Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN and graduated with a B.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering.
What industries have you been involved in?
I’ve done a lot of brewing industry work, some in specialty chemical, and food manufacturing.
What is your area of expertise?
DCS (Distributed Control Systems) is where I’ve spent most of my time, but I’m known as the guy that is willing to take anything on.
What platforms are you familiar with?
Emerson Delta V and Siemens PCS 7.
What has been your favorite project at LSI?
As a rookie engineer, I’d consider my favorites some of the first projects that I worked on. That’s due to the freedom I was given, and the trust put in me to figure things out. Every project was a discovery process that did not include a template to go by, so I learned a lot.
When I returned to LSI in 2013, after being away from the LSI’s type of engineering for a few years, those first few projects were memorable because it was like riding a bike. I realized that I still had what it took to succeed in engineering.
What is your proudest moment at LSI?
My proudest moment was January 18, 2018. That is the day that I received my Control Systems Professional Engineer (PE) License. It was a personal goal of mine and part of my desired career path.
What sets LSI apart as an employer?
It’s the flexibility that allows you to define your own path. We’ve stayed with the small company mentality, and that culture has helped us. Doors are open, and no permission is needed to talk to the company’s leadership, including the owner. The small company culture sets us apart for sure.
What sets LSI apart as a systems integrator?
We go above and beyond for our customers. I’ve worked on-site with our clients long enough to know that our competitors don’t do what we do. We are more flexible with schedules and react more quickly so we can meet our client’s needs. It’s part of our culture to make sure that the customer is taken care of.
What are three words to describe LSI?
Culture-driven, Family, Quality
What is one thing that clients may not know about LSI that you would like to share?
That we do a lot more than controls engineering. We are a full-service engineering company. We can provide custom fabrication, PI solutions for MES data, mechanical engineering, construction management, and procurement services.
Long-term client relationships are a hallmark of LSI. Why is that?
We have proven ourselves. When we say we are going to do something, we get it done. On many of our jobs, we are replacing another integrator because we meet and exceed customer expectations. This generates long-term business. Nobody is perfect, but more often than not, we are exceeding customer expectations.
How has LSI helped you in your career development?
I feel supported on my career path. I’ve been given resources, whether physical resources like technology or access to both management and my peers who are not afraid to teach you along the way. This makes it easier to learn, and everyone here is willing to help.
What advice do you have for prospective LSI candidates?
If you have the work ethic to seek to ask the questions to solve a problem – whether you are asking yourself or someone else, keep asking and driving until the problem is solved. If this is how you work, you will do well at LSI. It is the essence of what we do at LSI – solve problems.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Playing with my kids and spending time with family. They are my number one.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Somewhere with a beach. Not because I’m a beach person, but my wife and I both love the scenery. If you give me a hotel with an ocean-front view, where you can look at the water or open up a balcony and hear the waves crashing at night, that is peaceful to me.
Your favorite sports team?
The Memphis Grizzlies and the Tennessee Titans. Go Titans!
Apple iOS or Android?
Any random facts about yourself that you could share with us?
- We have four kids but only have three with us today. Our first child is in heaven.
- I have a YouTube Channel
- My nickname is Icon. My brother and I grew up watching wrestling (sports entertainment). We would have matches in the front yard with each other and other kids in the neighborhood. We would create these personas like the larger-than-life personas we saw on TV. To this day, I have matches with my kids. Even my infant son has tapped out to a submission or two. The Icon name came because I was always giving myself a wrestling name. The last one that I settled on was Icon. My first startup at LSI, all the guys at the plant had a radio name. One day, I get on the radio and say, “From this day forward, call me the Icon”. It stuck. All the old heads at LSI still call me that. All the folks at that plant still call me that. Electricians that I work with call me that. I told my kids that when they have kids, my grandkids will call me Icon. If you get to know me, you know it is just a name. I’m a fun-loving guy who refuses to take life too seriously.
- I left LSI early in my career and worked for three years with the salvation army, initially as a mission specialist. My role was to develop programs for youth and young adults within the community where the salvation army church was located. In addition, I supported other social services that were offered, such as our older adult feeding program. Eventually, as the Kroc Center opened, I transitioned into a controls system specialist. When the facility opened, there was a part that focused on team-building activities for youth. There were multiple rooms where we installed interactive components. I was responsible for designing, engineering, and installing those components. The team-building activities also had script-based missions (it was like escape rooms before they became popular). I also assisted in writing some of those scripts to tailor the interactive components to go with the missions. We hired a couple of engineering students from CBU to join the team that I was able to manage and mentor. We also brought in a couple of teams to complete their senior projects by assisting me (I later found out that one had won an award). I am also proud to say that both of my team members are doing well in their jobs today. Their success is because of what they bring to the table, but I take pride in having the opportunity to play a part in their lives. When support for the program ended, I called Dan E. Miller, and he welcomed me back to LSI.
Thank you, Denardo!
Do you have what it takes to join the LSI family? We are hiring, check out the openings on our Career Page.