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Meet the Team

James DeSmet


James’ took the helm at CRG Automation following two decades in top leadership positions at two very different companies – General Electric and Big Ass Fans. He succeeded at both due to his innate curiosity and belief that even the most vexing problems can be solved. So it was with great excitement in 2019 that he joined CRG Automation, fulfilling his longtime professional goal of building out his own custom engineered solution firm – one dedicated to solving complex problems, the kind that leave most teams scratching their heads or banging them against the wall.

James holds a Marine Engineering Systems (Mech Eng+) degree from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, has earned GE Six Sigma Black Belt & Master Black Belt Certifications (DFSS/DMAIC), served 14 years as a commissioned officer in the US Naval Reserve and is President and Co-Founder of 502cares, Inc – a Louisville based charity.

Gary Eades

Director of Manufacturing

With more than 40 years of manufacturing experience, Gary has seen it all and knows the inner workings of past and present manufacturing equipment of all varieties. Gary’s career includes a decade running his own engineering consulting business. He attended the University of Kentucky and Northern Kentucky University.

Jeffrey T. Gilkey

Director of Sales and Marketing

Jeffrey has decades of experience in sales and business development, with a focus on client service. He spent more than 20 years in the media industry, encompassing roles in business development, sales, marketing, training, and recruiting.

As a new business development manager for media giant Gannett, he worked hard to ensure his clients were taken care of — a quality that, in turn, helped him grow sales. Jeffrey has a knack for identifying opportunities for campaigns, services, and distribution channels, like at Fastline Media, where he built both inside and digital sales departments from scratch.

Jeffrey holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Eastern Kentucky University.

Brian Pierson

Director of Finance & HR

Brian is a results-oriented supply chain and finance executive with a proven track record of success. During his 30-year career, he has analyzed and resolved complex and cross-functional business problems, saving billions in manufacturing, logistics, infrastructure, and procurement costs. He boasts extensive experience in planning, forecasting, budgeting, and business valuations.

Prior to joining CRG Automation, Brian spent more than 20 years at two Fortune 500 companies — Coca-Cola and Corning — as well as a variety of roles at smaller companies and startups.

Among his many responsibilities at Coca-Cola, Brian served as lead supply chain liaison to finance during the integration of the company’s largest bottler into its North American supply chain — the largest vertical integration in history. Brian analyzed, reviewed, presented and managed more than $1 billion in integration benefits over a 4-year period, and led a team that sought out additional integration and productivity opportunities throughout the company’s supply system.

Brian holds an MBA from State University of New York at Buffalo and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Allegheny College.

Edward T. Stogner

Director of Engineering

Edward is a hands-on engineering executive who has spent nearly 20 years successfully managing projects and people. His expertise is in mechanical engineering, but he also has experience in sales, quality, IT, sourcing, production, inventory, and shipping.

As vice president of engineering at MXD Process, he led a cross-departmental project team to refresh the top grossing product line, creating a process to ship some within as quick as 48 hours to meet customer demand. During his time with the company, he leveraged technology to improve processes, lead cross-functional teams and achieve efficiencies. He restructured operational flow and implemented advanced planning and scheduling, contributing to significant revenue growth.

Edward holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati and is certified as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

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