Better Work, Better World: Dominic Clucas of BW Integrated Systems

March 28, 2024
  • Kayla Augdahl
    Communications Specialist

From a young age, Dominic Clucas has been fascinated by how separate pieces come together to form different structures and machines.  

As a child, he loved to build elaborate LEGO and K’Nex sets — without always following the instruction manuals.

His father, also an engineer, would take apart computers to show Dominic the inner workings. Unfortunately, those computers wouldn’t always work when they tried to put them back together again.

Shaped by his love for logic and his early exposure to engineering through his father, Dominic earned an electrical engineering degree at Missouri University of Science and Technology. He originally focused on power distribution but stumbled upon the world of programmable logic controller (PLC) programming as part of his elective requirements.

Those courses gave him the best of both worlds, as he was always fascinated by programming but did not want to stare at lines of code all day. Now, he can see and control how his code interacts with the outside world, which he finds more rewarding than just staring at 1s and 0s from behind a screen.

Since June 2020, Dominic has been working as a Senior Electrical Controls Engineer in the product development group at BW Integrated Systems.

BW Integrated Systems is part of the BW Packaging group of companies in the Barry-Wehmiller family. BW Integrated Systems is an industry leader in the design and manufacture of end-of-line packaging equipment, labeling equipment and robotic automation solutions, as well as the execution of integrated packaging systems. Their machines serve a wide variety of industries, including automotive, food, beverage and spirits, container manufacturing, pharmaceutical, dairy, personal care and more.

Constant innovation is needed in the packaging industry to make sure we’re giving our customers the best product possible. As an example, Dominic was presented with the challenge of reinvigorating a can depalletizer. Dominic and his team delved deep into the problem, but their solution was to not just reinvigorate it but to create an entirely new concept. Initially, leadership gave some pushback because the concept was drastically different than what was in the market at the time, but they listened to Dominic’s ideas and trusted him to move forward with the outside-of-the-box pitch.

“I think one of the big differentiators in BW is its culture,” Dominic said. “There's the idea of empathetic listening and having come from my previous corporate experience where I felt like I had to be the loudest voice in the room to be heard, it is refreshing to essentially be able to come into the BW family, being relatively new in the organizations, able to speak my ideas and know that they're heard and actually listened to and considered.”

Innovation does not come without risk, so although leadership was initially hesitant to go through with Dominic’s pitch, they had confidence that he would make the best decision for the company. With the green light, he and his team developed a completely innovative solution that gets cans off the pallet in a way no competitor has done before.

“It is very satisfying to be able to work through that experience of trying to improve whatever the solution is,” Dominic said. “You come across a lot of challenges, things that you weren't expecting to begin with, and then, in the end, to see it all come together and actually what you had envisioned months or years before functioning and working the way that you dreamed it would is very rewarding.”

Dominic has grown up from the little boy who built LEGO sets and disassembled computers, but he still holds a sense of childlike wonder and curiosity for the work he does at BW Integrated Systems. And now, with sufficient experience, his machines are more successful than those childhood experiments.

“A significant amount of our time is spent working, and so you need to have that ability to have a passion for what you do but also have fun doing it,” Dominic said. “If you take out the fun of doing it, then it starts impacting that passion. And I feel like transitioning into BW, I was able to rekindle that kind of family mentality and reinvigorate the fun aspect of what I do and help keep that passion alive for my engineering role.”

Better Work. Better World. is a video series designed to shine a light on team members throughout the global Barry-Wehmiller organization. Watch the video through the link above for more.

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