Yaskawa names Ogawa as CEO; Kudo retired

Masahiro Ogawa has been named Chief Executive Officer of Yaskawa America Inc. The company is headquartered in Waukegan, Ill. Ogawa replaces Gen Kudo who retired.


Motoman SDA10D robot from Yaskawa (a dual-arm robot called “Dexter Bot”) wore a hard hat and turned the first shovel of dirt on a new 300,000 square foot state-of-the-art office and production facility, for the company's North and South American operations.Masahiro Ogawa has been named Chief Executive Officer of Yaskawa America, Inc. The company is headquartered in Waukegan, Ill.Ogawa has worked at Yaskawa for 24 years, most recently he was the vice president of research and development for the Yaskawa Robotics Division in Japan. He led the company’s development of the world’s first dual-arm robot, as a high volume product. Ogawa also spearheaded efforts to develop a state-of-the-art spot welding robot setting an industry standard for functionality.

“I intend to develop, cultivate and aggressively pursue markets in which Yaskawa can become an integrated supplier.” Ogawa said.

Ogawa replaces Gen Kudo who retired.

In other recent leadership news, Yaskawa named Mike Knapek as president and chief operating officer. The company also promoted Mark Bernicky to vice president of drives. Company said the moves are designed to place long-time Yaskawa leaders in a position to build on the growth established by outgoing President and Chief Operating Officer Jody Kurtzhalts.

“Jody was instrumental in Yaskawa’s tremendous advances in technology and quality control. Under his leadership, our manufacturing infrastructure, product technology and quality processes improved dramatically,” Knapek said.

“As our 100th anniversary approaches in 2015, we’ve put together a growth-focused management team that will build on what Jody helped us achieve. We’ve put people in place throughout our leadership that will employ this company’s values to meet the increasing demands of our customers and the market.”

Knapek began his career with Magnetek in 1986. After Yaskawa acquired the drives division from Magnetek, he grew to take on leadership roles in several product areas. He later became responsible for the drives business in North America and South America. Under his direction, Yaskawa has increased market share every year, including a record-setting year in 2010.

Bernicky has worked for the company for 18 years, including the last 10 as director of Domestic Drives Sales. Prior to the sales position, he has served as Channel Manager and in various technical roles with Magnetek. Before coming to Yaskawa, he was Engineering Manager for an Automation Systems Integrator. Mark brings 30 years of Factory Automation experience to his new position.

The Drives & Motion Division of Yaskawa America Inc. manufactures industrial automation equipment. Products include industrial ac drives, commercial HVAC drives, spindle drives and motors, servo amplifiers, servo motors, machine controllers, and low-voltage industrial control switches. Yaskawa America’s Motoman Robotics Division provides automation for arc welding, assembly, coating, dispensing, material handling, material cutting, material removal and spot welding operations, and other applications. The company has manufacturing facilities in Oak Creek, Wis., Buffalo Grove, Ill., and Plain City, Ohio.



See the machine control and motors and drives channels on Control Engineering.



- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, CFE Media, Control Engineering, www.controleng.com

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