North Carolina Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla Recognizes ABCO Automation, Inc.

Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla and ABCO president Brad Kemmerer

Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla and ABCO President Brad Kemmerer

Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III, presented ABCO Automation’s President Brad Kemmerer with Governor Pat McCrory’s Proclamation for North Carolina Manufacturing Week, in recognition of the company’s leadership and innovative workforce methods. ABCO Automation was selected to host Commerce Sec. Skvarla’s press conference as recognition of our business performance and our support of the Guilford Apprenticeship Partners.

ABCO is a founding member of Guilford Apprenticeship Partners (GAP), a program developed to train students for an occupation by receiving a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training, working for manufacturers in Guilford, Randolph and Rockingham counties. GAP unites public schools, community colleges, NC Commerce’s Workforce Solutions, and local manufacturers to help students work toward a tuition-free Associates degree in industrial manufacturing and a Journeyman certificate. Upon completing the program, the apprentices are hired permanently by participating manufacturers.

“One of the things that goes with growing very fast as a company is finding people to employ, people with the right skills and abilities to help us support that growth. We are concerned about finding those people, so we’re very much engaged in workforce development. That work, when done properly, is about a partnership between industry, education, and government. We’re very pleased to be a part of GAP.” Said Brad Kemmerer, president of ABCO Automation.

Further expounding on the importance of GAP to local manufacturers and the role that ABCO Automation plays, Commerce Sec. Skvarla said, “This company is the essence of North Carolina. This is Manufacturing Week and what better company to recognize than an organization that has 130 employees that started in a garage with one [employee] in 1977. That’s what North Carolina is all about.” He went on to say, “Not only do they have 130 employees, they have two apprentices here that we have to give some great recognition to, because the fact that the organization has understood, helped, and supported the apprenticeship program is one of the reasons that North Carolina is experiencing this remarkable growth.”

For more information about GAP, please visit


Founded in 1977, ABCO Automation, Inc. designs, builds and supports high-end factory automation systems for manufacturers worldwide to improve the efficiencies and quality of our client’s operations. ABCO Automation is located in Greensboro, NC. For more information, visit


Advancing Industrial Automation

#120328 NC A&T State University

NC A&T State University

The College of Engineering Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series

ABCO Automation President & CEO Brad Kemmerer had the privilege of speaking to a fairly large group of students and staff at North Carolina A&T State University as part of The College of Engineering Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series. The series brings speakers from industry, government, and academia to North Carolina A&T State University to speak about innovative advances and approaches anchored in engineering and computer science. Read more about North Carolina A&T State University.

An abstract of Brad Kemmerer’s presentation

Industrial automation is advancing rapidly for two main reasons: (1) Technology is racing forward, and (2) Manufacturers face an increasingly competitive global marketplace. If we want to succeed, then we must do so in the face of competition. This holds true for businesses, individuals and educational institutions. Change is the only thing that is constant, making continuous improvement and innovation absolutely necessary for long-term success.

The competitive issues facing manufacturers are well known -­survival depends upon their ability to ensure or improve quality, reduce costs, achieve higher levels of throughput, eliminate dangerous or ergonomically-difficult jobs, and yes, innovate. I will share two examples of process innovations that I believe give ABCO a competitive advantage as well as the cultural enablers of innovation: Curiosity, Creativity, Collaboration, and Courage.

It is my observation that when companies do something really different to excel in the marketplace, it is because some basic foundational pieces were present either in the leadership or the culture of the organization. As an automation supplier, we at ABCO, Inc., have always had to work hard to keep up with the state of the art to build competitive systems. This presentation will center on the synergies that have made ABCO Automation successful as a culture of innovation.

About Brad Kemmerer, President & CEO of ABCO Automation

ABCO designs and builds custom automation for manufacturers including assembly, packaging, material handling, and inspection equipment. These systems utilize robotics, machine vision, lasers and other advanced technologies.

Kemmerer, a licensed PE in NC, earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Lafayette College and has held engineering and management positions at Richardson­-Vicks, Procter & Gamble, and ConvaTec in Greensboro. He joined ABCO Automation in 1991 to work on the design of a new fountain syrup plant for Coca-Cola. He became president of ABCO in 1999. With annual revenues of approximately $25 million, ABCO has around 120 employees, one-third of them being engineers.

Kemmerer supports US FIRST Robotics as an engineering mentor and a judge at FRC events. He also supports United Way, The American Heart Association and Habitat for Humanity. He is married with two daughters, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Hobbies include reading, golf, and watching football.




ABCO Automation Supports FIRST Robotics

Proud Sponsor of FRC

ABCO Automation is proud to support the FIRST Robotics Competition. Two weekends in  January we hosted more than 60 students from six local high school robotics teams, helping them kick-start their 2016 FRC build season. To start things off, the kids learned about this year’s game, Stronghold. Each team has just 6 weeks to design, build, and ship the robot to the first competition. ABCO is committed to supporting all of the teams in our area, providing guidance from our mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and project managers, assisting the students, their mentors, and coaches.

Encouraging Studentsfirst robotics 2016

FIRST Robotics is the most effective program we have seen for encouraging students to pursue an education and career in STEM fields, and we are excited to see the growth in the number of high schools with robotics teams. Our part manufacturing and machine building capabilities, along with the number of engineers we employ at ABCO, positions us as uniquely qualified to support these teams.

Engineering Design Fundamentals

On Sunday, the day after the game was unveiled, we reviewed engineering design fundamentals and led the students in game strategy, identifying desired robot capabilities, and began working on concepts that will allow their robot to do things like raise a portcullis or launch a boulder at their opponent’s castle. The following Saturday the teams returned for help in prototyping their concepts, designing in 3D, programming, and manufacturing parts for their robots. We provided a hot dog lunch for almost 100 people.

I am very proud of the 20 or so ABCO employees that rearranged their schedules and gave of their time to help these students. We recognize these high school students are our future engineers and a big part of the future of our country. Additional information on FIRST Robotics can be found at

Brad Kemmerer


US FIRST Robotics 2016

Students working on robot

Students working on robot

January marks the start of another US FIRST Robotics competition. ABCO will once again be hosting multiple high school robotics teams in the afternoon on Sunday, January 10 and on Saturday, January 16. We had well over 50 students participate last year and was a great success!

The teams only have 6 weeks to design, build, test, and ship their robots. ABCO will help the students strategize and conceptualize robot designs to meet the 2016 challenge unveiled just the day before.  ABCO personnel, especially our engineers, will help the students during the brainstorming sessions. We’ll also provide additional design assistance and support for prototyping and robot part manufacturing.

ABCO is uniquely qualified to support the FIRST Robotics Competition. FIRST continues to grow and is the most effective program for stimulating interest in STEM education and careers. Our support has made a real difference helping the local teams to grow and do well in the competition. This year for the first time there will be a district competition in Greensboro, providing an opportunity to see results from our local teams. Check out for more information.





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