Joan Gluth Welty receives NIU's College of Engineering and Engineering Technology Outstanding Alumni Award


By Plant Services Staff

May 20, 2011

The 2011 recipient of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology Outstanding Alumni Award was Joan Gluth Welty, 1978. Welty, director of marketing at AutomationDirect, has spent more than 30 years in the field of industrial automation, from applying early microprocessor-based controllers to directing the global marketing strategy for a rapidly growing industrial controls supplier.

After her graduation in 1978, Welty was employed at Bendix Corp., where she was awarded a patent for an "optical digitizer for measuring spirometer output" and as a result was named Co-Engineer of the Year in 1979 for that division.

After similar positions at Eagle Signal Corp. and GE Fanuc introduced her to industrial automation, she became a partner and engineering manager in a small systems integration firm, Automated Industrial Control Systems Inc., specializing in the pulp and paper industry. She would travel extensively for the next 10 years, commissioning automation projects for clients such as Stone Container, Union Camp and GE.

In 1997, Welty joined AutomationDirect, a direct supplier of industrial control products in Cumming, Georgia, as a product manager. She became marketing director in 1999, when the company expanded rapidly with the advent of Internet sales. She now directs all aspects of marketing and marketing communications, including advertising, editorial, direct mail, online activities and educational partnerships.

Dedicated to giving back to her alma mater and to encouraging future technologists, Welty has worked with the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology to donate equipment and funds to support the named AutomationDirect lab and professorship. Her interest in inspiring the next generation has also led to her involvement in FIRST, a robotics competition program for high school students.

Welty serves her community as a board member on both the Georgia FIRST Regional Advisory Board and the Forsyth Alliance, the county school support organization funded by AutomationDirect. She is also a board member for AgeWell Forsyth, the non-profit arm of the Forsyth County Senior Center, and a longtime member of IEEE.