Robot manufacturer unveils int’l growth plan

Rise of the machines: Hauppauge's ULC Robotics is counting on two key (human) hires to advance its robotic agenda on both sides of the Atlantic.

Two key hires will help a leading Long Island robotics manufacturer double down on its commitment to international energy-market innovation.

Hauppauge-based ULC Robotics Inc., an energy services and energy research-and-development firm serving global utilities, has recruited two energy-industry veterans – one in the United States, one in the UK – with expertise in innovative technologies and processes.

Thomas Barracca – whose extensive résumé includes stints with PSEG-LI, National Grid and the now-defunct Long Island Lighting Co. – has been tapped as business-development manager for ULC Robotics’ Aerial Services and Electrical R&D divisions.

Across the pond, Sam Wilson has been named head of ULC Robotics’ United Kingdom business development. Wilson has worked previously for several European utilities – including major provider SGN, which operates some 74,000 kilometers of natural gas pipelines – and for the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency, which was an executive agency of the UK’s Ministry of Defence before being disbanded in 2010.

The appointments are “in line with ULC’s strategy to enhance energy infrastructure” and stay ahead of the energy curve both domestically and abroad, according to ULC Robotics President and CEO Gregory Penza.

“Tom and Sam’s backgrounds and expertise reinforce ULC’s engineering footprint by continuing to address the need for innovation and R&D in the utility industry throughout the United States and the UK,” Penza said.

Sam Wilson: ULC’s new man in the UK.

Wilson’s appointment comes roughly 11 months after ULC Robotics named Graeme Cleaton its vice president of UK operations. United Kingdom-based utilities and markets have long factored into the Hauppauge manufacturer’s business-development plans, with SGN collaborating on the design and field-testing of ULC’s Cast Iron Robotic Repair Inspection System, which includes the CIRRIS XI (for “inspection”) and CIRRIS XR (for “repair”).

Here in the States, Barracca will leverage 25 years of professional experience in his efforts to identify and define new opportunities for two key ULC Robotics divisions. He will focus both on attracting new clients and helping current clients understand the company’s various product offerings, according to ULC.

His prior roles include vegetation-management manager for PSEG-LI, manager of reliability engineering for National Grid, R&D manager at KeySpan Energy and program manager for LILCO – a curriculum vitae packed with “utility asset management, system reliability, electric transmission and distribution operations support, as well as the development and implementation of innovative energy-related technology,” ULC Robotics said in a statement.

In addition to his roles with SGN and the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency, Wilson has served with Dunham-Bush Holdings, a Malaysia-based leading global manufacturer of commercial air-conditioning systems. At SGN, he helped develop ULC Robotics’ CIRRIS XI and CIRRIS XR systems and was the project manager responsible for implementing ULC’s CISBOT robotic systems, among other groundbreaking technologies.

Tom Barracca: New heights for ULC’s aerial division.

The energy-industry veteran will now be tasked with “further establishing ULC as a leader in the UK energy and innovation markets and facilitating new product and service contracts that will allow clients to achieve their technology-related goals,” according to his new employer.

That includes furthering the CIRRIS pilot program within SGN and continuing to promote CISBOT – a cast iron joint-sealing robot – to European utilities, which rank among the world’s biggest.

Penza said the new UK business-development ace and the new head of ULC Robotics’ domestic Aerial Services and Electrical R&D efforts would both prove “essential in our efforts to drive ULC’s innovation forward.”

“With ULC’s expanding operations and by investing in our workforce, our commitment as an innovative provider of advanced robotic technology and processes for the U.S. and UK energy industries is well-positioned,” the CEO said. “We will continue to build upon those strengths.”

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