Meet Jim Kunz, our Memphis-based MES Architect, and Lead Project Manager. After spending over 35 years in the specialty chemical industry, Jim brought his decades of engineering, IT, and project management experience to LSI. We are honored to call the former CIO of Alpha Owens Corning one of our own and to share our recent employee spotlight interview. The three words that we use to describe Jim are Booming, Insightful, and Pragmatic. Read our latest Employee Spotlight – 20 Questions below.
How long have you been with LSI?
What is your role at LSI?
My role is MES Architect and Project Manager.
Where did you go to college?
I attended Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, IN, and graduated with a chemistry degree.
Can you summarize your experience after graduation until you joined LSI?
I started out in the Specialty Chemical industry working for Owens Corning Fiberglass in production support before moving into a process control and engineering role. During that time, I evaluated how we could better use computing systems in manufacturing. This led to the development of our first MES that integrated the business operations with the Fisher PROVOX system. When Owens Corning moved its chemical division into a joint venture with Alpha Corporation in Tennessee called AOC, I joined as the Corporate Manager of Controls and Networks. After expanding the process control footprint throughout the corporation, I transferred to IT. We went through more iterations of MES, implemented ERP systems, and leveraged the factory floor data throughout the entire business structure. After several years as the CIO at AOC, I wanted to get back into projects, so I joined LSI. The combination of process control, process engineering, and IT has been very beneficial for me in my work with LSI clients.
What industries have you been involved in?
Specialty Chem, Pulp and Paper, Biopharmaceutical, as well as several others.
What is your area of expertise?
My expertise is in MES, Batch Systems, Historians, and data analytics. My years on the manufacturing floor have helped me understand the manufacturing process and work closely with the people involved with the shop floor.
What platforms are you familiar with?
Rockwell Automation ControlLogix, FactoryTalk Batch, PlantPAx, OSIsoft PI, and FactoryTalk historians. I’ve also worked with Emerson DeltaV in the past.
What has been your favorite project at LSI?
We had a project at a chemical compounding plant where the client initially requested help replacing their old batching system and PLC. Rather than narrowly focusing on the replacement, we involved other company stakeholders upfront, which helped the client realize the benefits of moving to an integrated platform. The final solution replaced several small non-integrated systems, eliminated a whole tier of manual processes, reduced the potential for errors, and increased the mill’s productivity.
What is your proudest moment at LSI?
Working with LSI’s younger engineers and seeing them learn and grow.
What sets LSI apart as an employer and a systems integrator?
Our people and our values. We have a unique team of people that are talented and excellent at developing working relationships with each other and our clients. We uphold high ethical standards, and everyone is willing to share their knowledge. Now I realize that anyone in this business can say that “our people are our greatest asset,” but I feel that it is more than words at LSI.
What are three ways or words that you would use to describe LSI?
Professional, honest, and trusted entrepreneurial working environment.
What is one thing that clients may not know about LSI that you would like to share?
We are not a typical systems integrator looking to quickly turn a job and move on to the next one. For LSI, it’s all about understanding the client’s needs, building a relationship, and implementing a solution that best fits their business. All while meeting technical standards.
Long-term client relationships are a hallmark of LSI. Why is that?
Performance and the value we deliver. Over the last nine years, every client I’ve worked with is still a client today.
How has LSI helped you in your career development?
Being exposed to so many different clients and industries has been helpful and fun for me.
What advice do you have for prospective LSI candidates?
If you are an engineer that likes different challenges and applications, the opportunity for growth at LSI is excellent.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I enjoy woodworking, brewing craft beer, and traveling.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
My wife and I have a timeshare in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, so that’s a favorite place to vacation.
Your favorite sports team?
The Chicago Cubs and Bears.
Apple iOS or Android?
Any random facts about yourself that you could share with us?
I love bourbon, cigars, and taking trips on my Can-am Spyder RT.