By Hannah Curran, Sponsored Content
In most of the business world, the relentless drive toward ever-greater efficiency puts overwhelming stress on the workforce; too often, companies put the needs of the product over the welfare of their employees. At SPOC Automation, leadership takes a different approach — by building a culture that lifts both the individual employee and their customers.
At SPOC, they believe the status quo is the enemy. They have a never-stand-still approach to developing products and services for the people they serve. They expect that every member of the SPOC team is an innovator tasked with finding new and better ways to solve their customers’ problems.
Robert “Bobby” L. Mason and his father, Walter E. Mason, founded SPOC 20 years ago. From the first day—having left a toxic work environment — the pair focused on the welfare of their employees.
“I had the blessing and fortune of having a built-in business consultant, my father, along the way that coached me and taught me,” Mason said. “I can’t begin to tell you how much he’s taught me over the years.”
SPOC is a family of three major companies: SPOC Automation, SPOC Grid Inverter Technologies and SPOC SCADA. The first company, SPOC Automation, designs and manufactures automation technology for the oil and gas industry. Their variable frequency drive technology helps producers reduce their production costs while increasing production.
“SPOC SCADA, which SCADA is an acronym for supervisory control and data acquisition,” Mason said, “allows our customers to monitor and control all of their equipment in the field through cellular and satellite communications. So a customer can make production adjustments to an oil well pump in the West Texas desert from the comfort of his home in Houston.”
According to Mason, SPOC Grid Inverter Technologies, founded during the tragedy of the COVID pandemic, ended up being a huge blessing.
“Our newest company is where the future meets today,” Mason said. “SPOC Grid Inverters leverages our existing hardware, the equipment we’ve been deploying for years, in more than 75,000 units across the world’s oil and gas fields. We use the same technology to change the way the world consumes and delivers energy; we can create microgrids — hybrid power-conversation systems that employ multiple power sources — simply by developing new software for our existing hardware platforms.”
SPOC is not only transforming the oil and gas industry, helping the world’s largest producers lower their carbon emissions and reduce their overall energy consumption, but it also is now helping customers achieve those same goals across multiple new industries. By adding industrial energy storage (batteries) and multiple power sources, SPOC Grid can create hybrid
electrical systems in applications that traditionally have only burned diesel fuel. Instead of running multiple diesel generators, customers can now incorporate stored-energy solutions to reduce diesel or natural gas consumption and operate in a quieter, cleaner way. So, imagine this technology in use with service vessels on the oceans, generators for on-site power, data centers or any critical power location anywhere.
“We’re super, super excited to help customers create energy systems that integrate multiple power sources (including) the traditional grid, wind, solar, diesel or natural gas generators and industrial batteries,” Mason said. “Our product acts as an intelligent power gateway device, automatically deciding where to draw power and send power.
“We’re excited about the future because we are the bridge to build hybrid power systems and give our customers options to utilize the best energy solutions available to their operations. The future of this country is to embrace all energy technologies and not demonize one energy source versus the other because each has a place,” Mason said.
It’s not only the technological advances that make SPOC one of the best places to work, but it’s also the culture.
SPOC defines its culture as “Lift Up” and has been nationally recognized by Inc Magazine as one of the best places to work in America; the company also has received numerous state and local awards.
Mason explained: “Every person at SPOC is important. There are no unimportant people, just as our product has no unimportant parts. We are trying to Lift Up each individual, to Lift Up the entire team. And when we do that, we Lift Up our customers, which in turn lifts our company, our country and the world beyond.”
Mason explained that a stranger who has never heard about SPOC would know what SPOC Automation stood for through the company’s actions and deeds, not the words.
“Not only have our people bought into what we’re doing, but they’re also making a difference in the world,” Mason said. “Everybody here, from the person sweeping (to the) engineers, sales, logistics, production teams to accounting, is rowing in the same direction. That is such a rare and positive thing in today’s business climate. It makes being part of the SPOC team special, and, honestly, our people describe it as gratifying.”
Mason said that SPOC always has room for improvement personally and professionally.
We aim to improve every day, Mason said. “We have (reminders of) our corporate enemy written all over the company—from our walls to the website. ‘The Status Quo is our enemy.’” It’s a reminder to me, he said, to be “better today than yesterday in my personal, spiritual and business life.”
Mason said school systems like Trussville City Schools create an environment where students can learn different engineering discipline exposures and gain invaluable knowledge in middle and high school. These young men and women can use this knowledge to change the trajectory of not only their lives, he said, but also everyone’s lives by being world-changing innovators.
For instance, one of the global megatrends of the day is the push toward electrification. SPOC plays a significant role in bringing electrification solutions using hybrid microgrid technology.
“We consider it a competitive advantage to have our community-driving young people to be the future innovators, engineers and technically skilled workforce that will improve everyone’s future,” Mason said.