Q&A with Carlos Mandolesi

Carlos Mandolesi
Carlos Mandolesi serves as General Manager at Sigmma Automação Industrial, which provides sales, technical support, and training for all GE IP and digital energy solutions, such as PLCs, HMIs, SCADA software, Multilin Protection Relays and Hirschmann Industrial Switches, in the city of and region surrounding São Paulo, Brazil. Mandolesi also is a highly engaged ISA leader, currently serving as Vice President of ISA District 4 and volunteering on numerous ISA committees.

Please briefly introduce yourself, your educational background (degree/s received and when) and explain how and why you became interested in a career in automation.

I am an electrical engineer. I graduated in 1992 from the Universidade Federal de Itajuba (UNIFEI)—located in Itajuba, Brazil. I also continued with a post-graduate degree in business administration from the Universidade São Francisco in Brazil.

I was interested in machines and engineering ever since I was a child. My father used to work at a big engineering company that builds power plants, steel mills, and industrial plants and he usually took me to visit fascinating plants with a lot of very interesting equipment.

This is a good example of the importance of introducing engineering and automation to young people early so they can get exposure to the profession and generate interest in potential careers.

Tell us about your current job role and function—and about your involvement in ISA.

I worked for 10 years at General Electric (GE) in various positions within technical, sales and operational areas. Now I have my own business—Sigmma Automação – working as a GE sales and technical representative. I have extensive experience with industrial automation and industrial networks and great interest in Internet of Things (IoT) and cybersecurity.

I started participating in ISA as a member of the Campinas Section in Brazil. I soon volunteered to be part of section board, where I held various positions, such as webmaster, standards chair and delegate.

Now I´m the District Vice President (DVP) of District 4 (South America) and a member of the Geographic Assembly, and serve within various ISA committees: the Technology Search Committee, the Social Media & Website Advisory Committee and the Redistricting Committee.

I’m very proud to be so involved in ISA. It’s very motivating on a daily basis. As a DVP I´m facing great challenges to reenergize local sections and set new directions for their work, particularly in aligning them with ISA’s five strategic goals. I’m also working to develop new leaders to bring new ideas and young professionals to the Society.

How would you say ISA has benefited you?

Starting out, I worked in a small company with few training opportunities. ISA offered me great opportunities to improve my leadership and management skills and increase my professional network.

When I became a DVP and started participating at leadership meetings, I was able to significantly expand my horizons, and connect with professionals and companies from all around the world.

I really discovered a “whole new ISA” through this process, and I´m using this experience to better communicate my passion and vision to our local sections in South America. As I have gotten more involved with different areas of ISA, my understanding of the association has grown and evolved and I have developed more insights and ideas that can improve local ISA sections and the Society as a whole. I think it´s very important for ISA to have leaders that come from different countries and cultures so that ISA is a “true” international association.

What advice would you give to other young professionals entering the automation profession?

Automation technologies are evolving at a fast pace. These changes and others, such as those involving the Internet (IoT and Industry 4.0), are transforming the automation profession. Unfortunately, not enough engineering and technical courses are keeping pace with these trends and dynamics.

As a result, I strongly recommend that young professionals participate in associations like ISA that offer technical knowledge on technologies and essential topics through training courses and technical meetings. In addition, while many young automation and engineering professionals are very proficient with the Internet and computer technologies, they lack field experience and exposure to traditional automation technologies, such as instrumentation and control solutions. ISA can be very useful in helping to fill in these knowledge gaps so younger professionals can gain a more comprehensive industry perspective.