This article originally appeared in our August 2016 Newsletter.
Matt Lopinski is the Vice President of Industrial Automation at Mitsubishi Electric Automation. His career path has crisscrossed the country as he has risen up through the ranks.
After graduating with Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toledo, he started in sales for Mitsubishi Electric based out of California. “I decided to pursue a career as a Sales Engineer because of the ability to use my technical knowledge to solve problems for customers. I have worked my entire career in customer-facing roles in sales & marketing,” Matt says.
In California, he became the Western Region Sales manager, responsible for 11 western states and western Canada. From there, he moved to Mt. Prospect, IL in 1988 to become the Marketing Manager for Variable Frequency Drives. The company launched the first Digital VFD – the FR-Z200 – in 1989.
From there, Matt was promoted to national roles: first as the National Sales Manager, then as Deputy General Manager. In 1997, Mitsubishi Electric Automation was formed by merging three Mitsubishi Electric business units. Within the new organization, as he has moved to Vice President roles, he has maintained the customer-facing angle that he enjoys as VP of Marketing & Customer Care, VP of Sales, VP of Sales and Marketing, and now as the Vice President, Industrial Automation Division.
Matt is glad he chose to work in the manufacturing industry. What he enjoys about working for Mitsubishi Electric is “great people, great products, and the amazing things that we do to help customers in a wide variety of industries and applications.”
One of the challenges Matt is grappling with in his current position is achieving sustainable growth in the current economic climate for manufacturing. “Over the past couple of years, US Manufacturing companies have struggled with the effects from the strong US Dollar and weak global demand. As a result, many companies’ capital assets are underutilized preventing investment in new machines and/or upgrading existing machines. We are challenged to bring value to Manufacturing customers to enable them to be more competitive on a global basis.”
The 1985 move out to California was not only a big career move, it was also how he met his wife, Sarah! They celebrated 31 years in June and have two children. Their daughter, Hannah is a sophomore at Lake Zurich High School. She plays soccer and loves to ride horses. Nick is a sophomore at the University of Colorado at Boulder majoring in Engineering – Computer Science. Recently, the family took a trip to Boulder, CO to take Nick to school to get him set-up in his off campus house. “While we were there, we made time to enjoy the mountains with hiking and rock climbing!”
It’s no surprise that they made time for athletic activities, as Matt loves sports! He played basketball in school and now enjoys playing golf. He made his second hole-in-one two years ago playing with Sam Hoff at Matt’s club, Royal Melbourne. “Ironically, it was the same hole and the same kind of shot as my first hole in one 10 years prior.”
Just Starting Out? Here’s Matt’s Advice:
“First, I start by encouraging people to study engineering or manufacturing related curriculum in college/technical school. There is a shortage of people entering manufacturing related fields. Currently, all companies are struggling to find capable people. I encourage students to pursue internships with companies in Manufacturing to understand their requirements and learn what skills are required to contribute and be successful.”
To read our feature article, Our Partnership History with Mitsubishi Electric Automation, click here.