Rockwell Automation Australia will farewell its well-known marketing manager, Noel Platt, in December 2004.
Widely regarded throughout the Australian industrial automation sector, 64-year old Platt leaves a vastly different Rockwell Automation to that which he joined in 1986.
Much of the change and evolution in this period has been under his direction and guidance--most significantly, the growth of the company's unique nationwide distributor network.
When Platt joined Rockwell Automation in 1986, just one distributor--Robtec of Newcastle--was in place. Eighteen years on, Platt and his team have grown this to 27 hand-picked regional partners, each chosen for their technical knowledge and ability to provide true customer support.
Managing director Bill Roberts said Noel was the key guy in the development of the distributor network.
"You don't just appoint distributors--it's like bringing up a family. Noel has played a central role in nurturing these relationships along over the years."
Platt said it was amazing to watch the distributor network grow.
"Some of our distributors have now become, by Australian standards, quite large businesses."
Another success initiative developed by Platt and his team was the popular Complete Automation on the Move (CAOTM) nationwide customer forums--an Australia-developed model now used globally by Rockwell Automation.
Platt began work in the Australian industrial automation sector in the early 1960s, when electronics was just in its infancy. His early professional life saw him developing industrial automation components from the ground up using valves and thyratrons, then later, the 'new' transistors.
Later, he played a key role in the introduction and application of some of Australia's first configurable controllers and PLCs.
"It's been fantastic to see the Australian industry grow over this time," Platt said.
"I've seen it evolve from the earliest transistors, through to PLCs, and on to today's powerful industrial software and web-enabled solutions."
Noel--a jazz bass player--has many activities planned for retirement, including "getting back into music again" and sailing his new yacht.
"We'll berth the boat up in Queensland and spend a couple of months a year sailing," Platt said.
International travel is on the cards as well. "My wife keeps leaving travel brochures around the house, so I've got the message!"