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Allen Farr

Practice Leader

Demonstrating the Value of
Data Analytics

Like many Chemical Engineers, Allen started his career through his college co-op program at Virginia Tech—one with WestRock (formerly MeadWestvaco) and another at DuPont. As a natural extension of this experience, he began his full time career with DuPont and stayed there for seven years. In his time in Operations, he worked in specialty chemicals and water treatment technologies, later transitioning to a leadership role in Global Sustainability. During his tenure, he learned what’s important—and what’s not important—when it comes to manufacturing; which metrics are most valuable; and what Operations needs to perform optimally. He hopes to bring his understanding of Operations and, most importantly, his tenacity for problem solving, to Apperture’s clients.

As an example, Allen looked to improve the consistency of the quality of an essential ingredient typically transported via railcar. Unfortunately, that ingredient became unusable when interacting with water in air—and the railcars were not well-sealed. The same phenomenon wasn’t experienced when transporting via trucks, but the cost to transition to a fleet of trailers was historically thought to be cost prohibitive. Allen did his due diligence using production data analytics and built a robust business case to successfully show a positive ROI in less than two years. Now, this is the exclusive method for delivery.

Allen next moved to AdvanSix (formerly Honeywell). There, he led the automation team with responsibility for their DCS, data historians, and associated cybersecurity and network infrastructure. His main challenges involved overcoming organizational resistance to change regarding new and sometimes yet-to-be-proven technologies.

Allen explains, “To get buy-in for change, you have to commit to and communicate the advantages of new technologies—as well as acknowledge the limitations. I like to show how multiple technologies can fit together to help our customers achieve their manufacturing objectives.”

“My approach to my new role is to provide context to customers and demonstrate value in the next generation of analytics. With a new technology, there’s always the opportunity to set yourself apart. Technology is advancing continually and if you can’t keep up, it could have detrimental effects on your business.”

At DuPont, Allen also worked on the sustainability team where he was exposed to enterprise level management tools and metrics using a variety of platforms to serve the needs of different audiences. It opened his eyes to the broader sustainability vision of corporate management—and how that is constantly evolving.

“What attracted me to this position at Apperture was the close-knit team. I felt that clearly there was something special here–with so many senior employees who have been here for decades. Between that and the commitment to a great company culture, joining Apperture was a no brainer. I’m ecstatic to be a part of this organization and to help advance manufacturing technology.”

In Allen’s words, “Data enablement means organizing and structuring a data environment that allows it to be easily accessible to things like advanced analytics tools that improve operations. This can have a significant impact on manufacturing data analysis.”

Some of his favorite tools include AspenTech Inmation™ to architect data, and on the platform side, Seeq’s advanced analytics & AI/ML tools, which show a lot of promise from multiple customers. Allen looks forward to providing Apperture customers with the technical understanding and background of the products, but also assisting with evaluating the best option for them.


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