Principal Controls Engineer

Location in Grand Rapids, Michigan

The role of the Principal Controls Engineer is to be a technical subject matter expert in the field of controls engineering. The role requires a deep knowledge of control systems in the material handling field from all aspects of controls design.

The Principal Controls Engineer will be required to coach and mentor the other members of the team. You will be technical support for other lead engineers and team members, while also able to take the  lead role on potentially multiple projects. The role requires bringing knowledge from previous experience to the controls department regarding state of the art best practice solutions and standards.

In addition to the summary above, the Principal Controls Engineer will be required to stay in close contact with the Solution Development team to assist in project quotations, and technical support for the sales team.

Essential Job Functions

  • Be a subject matter expert of the standard viastore control systems there architectures.
  • Provide technical leadership for all projects being realized by the controls engineering team.
    • Consult during the requirements gathering.
    • Lead project design meetings/workshops.
    • Lead and/or contribute to PLC/HMI software reviews.
    • Lead and/or contribute to hardware design reviews
    • Advise the controls project teams when requested.
  • Train and mentor members of the controls engineering team and customer service team to continuously improve technical ability, and controls development best practices.
  • Be the liaison to Director of Controls Engineering. The main assistant to the Director for technical and commercial aspects of the job.


  • Identify, create and maintain the necessary processes and tools needed in technically evaluating candidates applying for positions within the controls engineering team.
  • Identify, create and maintain processes and training material that can be used to onboard new hires and train existing team members for the technical advancement of the controls department.
  • Attend technical reviews of multiple projects to assist project leads and offer expertise.
  • Perform writing of Controls Description of Operations
  • Perform writing of technical specifications, scope documents, bid packages for 3rd party vendors.
  • Set-up field devices, i.e. motion control devices (VFD’s, servo’s, etc.), barcode scanners and image readers. The employee is expected to design and implement the most complex motion control applications the company encounters.
  • Lead, and pioneer HMI (Human/Machine Interface) design and development operating Factory Talk View Studio and Ignition. This includes development of new HMI standards to be used on future projects.
  • Lead, and pioneer PLC design and development using Studio 5000 (potentially TIA Portal). This includes development of new PLC standards to be used on future projects.
  • Assist in the design of control panels, creating panel layout drawings for quoting and/or construction purposes. Creation of wiring schematics using AutoCAD-Electrical and/or Eplan. This includes the development of new standards for control panel design and keeping up to date on NEC and UL508 requirements.
  • Order entry functions for all control equipment from viastore business units or from outside vendors. 
  • Perform project management functions (budget, schedule, procurement) for the controls portion of the projects.  Assist Project Manager with overall project schedule and strictly adhere to all milestone dates. Work with project management each month for the entry of short term forecast information, detailing the estimated costs to occur throughout the project.
  • Participate in some site activities related to implementing the PLC program(s) including installation support, commissioning, testing, and stand by support. 
  • Know all control and electrical installation budget items and ensure procured materials are within the as sold budget. 
  • Work with electrical installation subcontractors in the procurement process for implementing pipe and wire installation.
  • Handle support calls during project implementation until project is handed over to the Hotline Department. This includes ongoing support calls that come to the hotline group.
  • Ability to communicate with internal groups of different disciplines as well as external customers and suppliers.
  • Overtime may be necessary as work load’s dictate.  This may include weekdays, weekends, and/or holidays.
  • Participate in all company functions and meetings. 
  • Must have leadership ability to lead a team of 2-10 engineers on the assigned projects up to and exceeding $10M in value.
  • Mentor/train and lead Controls Engineer(s) level I, II, III, and Senior Engineers during project design and implementation.
  • Develop in-project quotes (change requests) for controls related scope changes.
  • Assist solution development team in the quoting process for new projects when necessary.
  • Help troubleshoot the most complex issues on all projects. The employee may be expected to travel to a site with a complex issue, on short notice, and help resolve it in a timely manner.
  • Employee is expected to suggest new department standards to Director, when a need is seen, then act on implementing. Also, build upon already developed PLC/HMI/ and CAD Standards.

Required Education & Experience

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Bachelor's Degree or Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering or equivalent technical experience or degree.
  • More than ten (10) years of experience in the material handling industry controls field.
  • Employee is skilled in PC usage and associated software including Microsoft office (Word, Excel, Access and Powerpoint).
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills.
  • Employee is an expert in the Rockwell Automation programming suite.
  • Expert using AutoCAD Electrical to create control device layout schematics and control panels drawings.
  • Exemplary testing and troubleshooting skills are required.
  • Understanding of panel design including back panel layouts, power consumption and hardware sizing is required.
  • The ability to read and interpret documents such as functional specifications, technical specifications, safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Advanced engineering or related degree.
  • The ability to read and speak German or Spanish.
  • Knowledge in Siemens control platform.
  • Knowledge using Eplan.
  • Automotive experience.
  • Robotics Experience.

We here at viastore take pride in our company culture and excellent team members. If you would like to join the viastore family, we look forward to receiving your application to