Leader Under 40: Jeffrey Kent

Technical Associate Director, Global Baby + Toddler Care Engineering, Procter + Gamble – BS Electrical Engineering, Clarkson University; MAS Aerospace Management, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University


Jeffrey Kent, 39

Technical Associate Director – Global Baby + Toddler Care Engineering, Procter + Gamble, www.pg.com

Cincinnati, Ohio


BS Electrical Engineering, Clarkson University; MAS Aerospace Management, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University


Kent, promoted to technical associate director last year, has held principal responsibility for power, controls, and information systems engineering initiatives and projects for the Procter + Gamble Global Baby + Toddler Care Business Unit for 4 years. Since joining P+G from the U.S. Air Force 13 years ago, he has leveraged his background in weapon systems integration, systems engineering, test and evaluation, and software development to transform how his business develops, models, designs, and delivers machine control platforms for hundreds of production lines worldwide, serving his unit’s $10 billion business. Kent has been at the forefront of establishing and driving key industry integration efforts to simplify machine control applications in quality control and quality assurance.

Specifically, he partnered with Rockwell Automation and Cognex to establish key integration elements such as add-on profiles and add-on instructions, as well as IEEE 1558-compliant time synchronization between the smart cameras and the ControlLogix [Rockwell Automation]-based machine control algorithms. Kent has driven the industrial imaging, sensing, and field I/O community to deliver simplified, integrated, and intelligent measurement capabilities based on Ethernet, CIPSynch [ODVA— www.odva.org], and I-O Link [I-O Link Consortium—www.io-link.com]. He has recently led the research, developed the applications, and executed process control methodologies in the machine control environment. Kent is transforming the way the new products, processes, and equipment are developed from R+D to product supply manufacturing. Kent was a panel speaker on the 2009 Manufacturing 2.0 Manufacturing Perspectives Forum sponsored by Rockwell Automation.

Previous accomplishments include:

  • Led machine control design and deployment of Baby & Toddler Care’s converting machine control platform for worldwide production, 2004-2005
  • Developed, designed, and deployed three generations of “disposables” production systems quality assurance and inspection systems, saving $50 million/annually in scrap savings, 2004-present

Non-work-related activity

Kent spends most free time coaching, playing, or watching sports. This summer, he led his Little League Minors team to an undefeated regular season championship. (“Go Marlins!”)

“Coaching my son and other kids gives me the opportunity to share my love of sports, teach sportsmanship, and celebrate team and individual accomplishments,” said Kent. “They give back to me more than I could possibly give them.”

Engineering activity

For more than 5 years, Kent has served on the Clarkson University Engineering Advisory Council for the Electrical + Computer Engineer Department of the School of Engineering, providing faculty with industry guidance and expectations on how to structure curriculum, multidisciplinary projects, and professional experiences for undergraduate and graduate students.

“My participation gives me the opportunity to improve the effectiveness of my alma mater while providing mentorship and inspiration to students interested in careers in industrial automation and controls,” said Kent.

Interesting details

Kent is a second-generation controls and automation professional. His father, William Kent, served at Eastman Kodak for 37 years as a controls technician in high-speed paper coating. Kent, while working in production and manufacturing during his summers and learning from his father, has developed the deepest appreciation for manufacturing operators and technicians.

As he’s developing new systems, Kent said he tries to think, “What would my dad say about this application?”

Began interest

Transitioning from the USAF from avionics and software development on the F-15E and F-117A fighter jets to machine control applications in the consumer products segment was a unique opportunity that offered great opportunities. His experiences developing and managing avionics and software technology platforms were ideally suited to driving machine control platform methodologies for P+G. Reinvesting in automation and controls applications is truly inspiring work. The industry changes daily.

“This gives me the opportunity to be constantly innovating for my company and for our manufacturing and R&D customers,” said Kent.

Return to the 2011 Control Engineering Leaders Under 40

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