As Haskell’s Automation Practice Area Lead, Don Kocher stays current with technological changes, routinely checking with manufacturers and vendors to track product releases and updates and seeking manufacturer-recommended training and certifications.

July 31, 2023

Automation Practice Area Lead Sets Technology, Tone for Client Care 

Manufacturing clients trust Haskell to create best-in-class facilities. Don Kocher helps ensure that hardware, software, and application hit the mark.


As Haskell’s Automation Practice Area Lead, Don Kocher is responsible for developing and maintaining corporate standards and procedures for manufacturing automation engineering companywide. He’s also the practice’s central resource for technical information and creative and innovative solutions.

That’s a full load in any engineering discipline, but it’s especially challenging in automation, a field that is constantly iterating.

“Technology moves so quickly,” Kocher said. “Something we installed just five years ago is starting to sunset or become obsolete. That’s where your skills are put to the test. It’s a balancing act. The client might want to reuse something, and we let them know the risks versus the costs of upgrading. We also don’t necessarily want to be on the bleeding edge and recommend something so new that it has defects or issues that haven’t been addressed. We make sure recommended hardware and software has had time to mature and is proven before we put them into a client’s system, especially when they are expected to run 24/7.”

Kocher stays current with technological changes, routinely checking with manufacturers and vendors to track product releases and updates and seeking manufacturer-recommended training and certifications.

He’s uniquely qualified for the role. He joined Haskell in 2014 as Director of Packaging Automation after two decades of experience in engineering and engineering leadership roles with Anheuser-Busch, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and The Clorox Company. Since joining Haskell, he built a highly functioning packaging automation team that has supported all self-executed packaging integration projects over the last nine years. 

The role takes on added significance as Haskell transitions from Delivery Group Model to an Enterprise Delivery Model, consolidating similar teams to work across markets, promoting quality, efficiency, and consistency across the growing enterprise.

Kocher said that on large-scale projects, automation lags all other disciplines, coming well after the site has been chosen and the building designed. Because of this, other automation providers may only focus on programming and field support late in the project timeline without the engagement and understanding of the client or design concepts. Conversely, Haskell’s automation team is at the table early in the project.

“We live through the entire project cycle,” Kocher said. “We specialize in project execution. We can help a client from concept, through design and programming, to the hand-off of a fully commissioned system. We own the project all the way through. We’re the last ones to leave the site. You can be proud of it because you were there from the start.”

As an integrated design-builder with robust engineer procure construct (EPC) capabilities, Haskell can take clients from concept to commissioning and hand over facilities that produce on Day 1.

“We have the skills in-house to do automation, and that brings a lot of value,” he said. “It makes it much easier on the client and improves communication, efficiency, and quality. Our job is to put the client’s mind at ease. Haskell has a fully integrated team. We’ll do the procurement and manage the subcontractors. So, the client can sit back and know that Haskell will take care of things.”

Working closely with each client to understand and address their needs is a fundamental reason Haskell provides world-class solutions for some of the world’s best-known brands.

“We work closely with equipment vendors to make sure their systems are designed to be easily integrated,” he said. “The equipment comes from several sources, often from other countries. Our job is to make sure all the pieces and parts start and stop together, ramp up together properly, and work together seamlessly.

“We focus on finding the right solution for the client to assure reliability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of maintenance. We don’t give them something that works for Haskell. We ensure this system will suit their needs, short-term and long-term. We want a system that will be familiar to their maintenance team so they can take the baton and run with it.”

Haskell’s automation team provides expertise to utilities, food and beverage manufacturers and process plants. Contact us to reduce your risk and stay on time and within budget with your next project.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

Related News & Insights

Privacy Policy

Our website uses technology to offer you a personalized experience. We need your consent use cookies in accordance with our privacy policy. By clicking “Accept,” you agree to our use of cookies.