About Us

Pendant Automation, founded in 2006 by Rob Ward, is your one stop shop for control systems integration.  Pendant is located in Havre de Grace, Maryland, but we operate around the world, with completed projects in 22 different countries, and across North America, with completed projects in Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, and across the entire continental United States.

When you bring a project to Pendant, you show us your layout and your goals, and we complete the design and engineering, programming, panel build, startup, and commissioning.

Whether you are a systems integrator working with the end user, or the end user in a variety of industries and applications, Pendant realizes that the success of your project is decided by much more than just ending up with a system that works.  Our focus is to work with you to execute your project professionally, punctually, and profitably for everyone involved.

Meet Our Team

Rob Ward

Rob started Pendant Automation in May of 2006 after realizing that automation held more promise for him than limiting his focus to electrical installation work. An avid learner, Rob developed a great set of skills in design, programming, panel building, and installation and now teaches controls and automation at Harford Community College (a great way to find talent for Pendant and a great way to give back to the Harford County community where Rob grew up).

Rob emphasizes learning and forward thinking for the entire Pendant team. He burns through about one book every week, and highly encourages everyone else to read and learn constantly. True to his principles, Rob also teaches classes in Electrical Theory and PLC Programming at Harford Community College, helping others learn the critical skills needed to become successful in the automation field.

Outside of work, Rob is a dedicated family man, and loves rock climbing (especially in our National Parks), woodworking, playing the guitar, and mowing the lawn.  We haven’t yet observed him playing the guitar while mowing the lawn, but it could happen…

He is a fan of the movie “The Score” or any other heist-based movie, maybe because Con-man is his dream job.

Rob recommends Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” for its variety of thought-provoking topics.

Rob will tell you himself that he’s an “old soul”, and so don’t be surprised on a ride-along to hear a variety of musical genres including 50s doo-wop or his favorite band, Herman’s Hermits.

We tried to pry out of Rob any secret about himself that he’d like to reveal, but in order to avoid arrest he declined.

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Brittany Siefring

Brittany joined Pendant in September, 2014 and is currently located in Dayton, Oh.

Brittany loves the culture at Pendant because everyone is “in it to win it.” She also likes the fact that many of the Pendant team members have backgrounds as electricians, which helps them understand much more clearly than the average designer the practical issues surrounding the design, installation, and startup of automation systems.

Brittany was born in Howard County in Maryland, grew up in Reisterstown, northwest of Baltimore, but especially enjoyed living in Canton near the Baltimore waterfront before moving to Ohio.  She’s a big fan of the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles, and she says she can’t avoid being molded into a fan of Ohio State as a resident of Ohio (well I guess we’ll have to forgive her for that).

She and her husband are March Madness junkies who enjoy taking a day off to watch basketball all day.

Outside of work Brittany loves to run and log more miles than company founder Rob, reminding him each month that she kicked his butt (again). She also enjoys going to spin classes and loves spending time with family and friends.

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Cassie Ward

Cassie joined Pendant in June, 2014.

Cassie’s heart is with Pendant, where she is helping grow the business into which her husband and Pendant founder Rob has put his heart and soul. She says the best part of her job is getting to go home with the boss every night.

Cassie loves Havre de Grace, the home of Pendant’s main office, and is especially fond of Bomboy’s Homemade Chocolate, located within walking distance of the office. The walk and the chocolate are very helpful in dealing with the office duties. It’s ironic how Controls Engineers can be so out-of-control!

Outside work, Cassie is a big fan of the movie “Grease”, loves the band Def Leppard, and enjoys hiking, rock climbing, running, visiting our National Parks, and spending time with Rob and her two daughters.

Cassie was born in Lancaster, PA, and grew up in Cecil County, MD, across the Susquehanna River from Havre de Grace.  Growing up, she acquired the nickname Virgil, by which nickname her Dad still calls her – you’ll have to ask her yourself how she got the nickname.

Cassie believes in giving back to the community and has a soft spot for the elderly, especially those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. In her previous job, Cassie managed the Memory Care Unit at a local assisted living facility.

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Gary Stokes

Gary started with Pendant in May of 2017 after a previous period working as a consultant with Rob from 2012 – 2015.

Gary especially enjoys being part of the Pendant team for its dedication to success and the laughs. He loves that learning and growth – both personal and business – are emphasized so strongly at Pendant.  Gary is an avid reader but he usually doesn’t manage to keep pace with Rob in terms of numbers of books read.

He likes the Havre de Grace location of the Pendant main office, saying it’s a cool little town bordered by two bodies of water, the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.

Gary is very dedicated to his family, and outside of work enjoys fly-fishing for trout, playing golf, and following his three favorite teams, the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, and the Maryland Terrapins basketball team.  Gary is also active in the non-profit community and has served on multiple non-profit boards.

“The Godfather” is one movie that Gary almost always has to stop and watch for at least a little while if it happens to come on TV, and Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” is still his favorite book, although Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies” are very close seconds.

Gary was born in New York and raised in Reisterstown, MD, northwest of Baltimore. He graduated from the University of Dayton School of Engineering in a year that starts with 19, but he’s not revealing the last two digits anytime soon. Gary is looking forward to many good years helping Pendant continue to grow.

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James Butler

James, who started with Pendant in February, 2016, is the subject of our “Where’s James” series of blog posts.  In his role as Controls Engineer, James is frequently on the road doing startups or follow up visits to project sites.

James’ loves for electricity and solving problems led him to Pendant, where he enjoys the atmosphere and the opportunities he gets for growth.  To James, it’s not a job at Pendant. He describes the Pendant team as young (except for Gary), charged up, and looking forward to the next big thing.

James loves the outdoors and has a hard time choosing a preference among snowboarding in Breckenridge, surfing the Outer Banks, and hiking in Yosemite.

Back home in Havre de Grace, James likes to enjoy his lunch on the banks of the Susquehanna River at Concord Point.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Bel Air, MD, James is a fan of the Baltimore Ravens’ and says his dog is his best friend.

James highly recommends the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies (he’s a fan of pirates and their era) and “Seasons of Life” by Jeffrey Marx, which he found very moving.

Keep your eyes peeled for James, both on our blog and perhaps at a startup in your area soon.

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Sam Ward

Sam, who started with Pendant in March, 2008, loves working with the “helluva good group of people” here and wants to keep working with Pendant into his 90s (still 20 years away).  He especially likes that his job is part-time, and allows him time for playing senior softball and bass fishing on the nearby Susquehanna River, both above and below the Conowingo Dam.

Sam was born in York, PA, and moved to Harford County, where he was raised, at the age of 7.  He is the sole surviving sibling in his family.

Sam is a big fan of the movies, and had to think a bit about which is his favorite, but ultimately settled on “Dances With Wolves”.  We’re considering giving Sam the nickname “Dances With Wires”. As a Master Electrician, Sam handles a lot of local jobs for Pendant, some in our panel shop and some at client locations.

Sam is a long-time fan of the Baltimore Orioles, and plans to keep playing ball as long as he can.

And we’re hoping he keeps dancing with wires for a long time, too.

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Mike Vaeth

Mike joined Pendant in 2012, and over the years built a lot of control panels and supervised the building of a lot of control panels while building his skills in design of automation systems.

Mike is a dedicated family man, a workout warrior, and a fan of the Baltimore Ravens.

Born and raised in Baltimore City, Mike and his family live not too far from the Pendant home office in Havre de Grace.

Mike especially enjoys CAD work, although from time to time he heads to the panel shop to keep his skills sharp and lend his experience. One way the Pendant team knows that Mike is putting in some time in the panel shop is that the music selection tends more to classic rock ‘n’ roll than the usual fare.

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Matt Curry

Matt started with Pendant in May of 2017 after cruising around the undersea world for a few years in US Navy nuclear submarines.  He decided to come up for air and joined Pendant because he liked what he saw of the culture and the emphasis on learning and growth. He’s developing his skills in programming and CAD while serving as a key player in project management.

Matt comes by his love for the New England Patriots righteously as a native of Massachusetts (in other words he’s not a bandwagon fan), born in Holyoke and raised in Huntington, but it doesn’t mean that the rest of the Pendant team likes it. But we tolerate it because Matt’s one of the good guys.

Matt is a dedicated family man, and proudly revealed that he has watched more, well, let’s just call them romantic comedies, than his wife.

Matt’s favorite movie is a classic, “Twelve Angry Men”.  He says that it shows the power of open thinking.

Matt would like everyone to know that at Pendant we take our weaknesses as a personal challenge to improve.

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Brad Hoffman

Brad has been with Pendant since January 2017, and is very dedicated to building Pendant’s future in the world of automation.  He loves that the Pendant team takes so much pride in their work – “It’s not just a check to us”.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Harford County, Maryland, Brad is a bit of a Renaissance man with a variety of indoor and outdoor interests, including camping, fishing, hiking, kayaking, climbing, reading, movies, and pro sports. He is Pendant’s resident expert on all things related to comedy and can always be counted on to find the perfect video or meme to lighten things up and make everyone laugh.

He highly recommends the Steig Larsson “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy, the movie “The Usual Suspects”, and a visit to Havre de Grace for the natural beauty and restaurant scene.

Brad is a dedicated fan of the Orioles and the Ravens (isn’t everyone?).

He’s looking forward to more of the same at Pendant – growth, camaraderie, great coworkers, and a great environment for learning and growing.

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Jason Usilton

Jason started with Pendant in September, 2018 as a Project Manager, in which role he is primarily responsible for the efficient completion of successful projects.

Jason loves the dedication of the Pendant team in getting the job done right, and how everyone pitches in even in areas that are not their main responsibility. Jason has known some of the members of the Pendant team for years, and is excited to work together with friends to continue building the business.

Born in Cecil County across the Susquehanna River from Havre de Grace, Jason grew up in Havre de Grace and Conowingo, just up the river. He loves the small town feel and going out to lunch or dinner in town and running into family and friends.

Jason is an inveterate tinkerer, and is always attempting a new project to learn new things, including things like car repair and home renovations. He is a gardener and a cook, and enjoys playing with flavors and textures in the kitchen.

Admitting to being a big fan of disco music, it’s clear Jason is not easily embarrassed. We won’t hold it against him too much, however, because he’s also, quite correctly, a big fan of the Ravens and Orioles.

Born on Friday the 13th, is it any wonder that Jason enjoys horror movies, regardless of their quality? We’re just hopeful that he’s not a fan of horror show projects.

Working at Pendant fits right into Jason’s determination to enjoy his life, and he likes taking the time after a hard week’s work to appreciate the simple things in life with his wife and his dogs…

Followed by a healthy dose of Jason Voorhees and the Bee Gees.

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Jeremy Ross

Jeremy is another road warrior who spends most of his time with Pendant at client sites on projects. When Jeremy gets a project, the next time you hear from him is to let you know the job is done.

A graduate of Messiah College in 2001, Jeremy is also a musician who participated in the Concert Choir, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and the Jazz Band while in school.

Jeremy lives somewhere in the eastern half of the United States with his family.  Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to meet Jeremy on one of your projects.

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Julianna Reese

Julianna joined Pendant in May 2018 as a software development intern while still in high school. Now an aerospace engineering student (a real rocket scientist?) at the University of Maryland in College Park, Julianna continues to work at Pendant because she finds it a great place to make connections and learn new skills. A typical day will find Julianna curled up under a blanket at her chair (when the A/C is blasting), making her contribution to Pendant’s WXS software development and other software projects.

Julianna is very comfortable at Pendant.  She’s been able to learn on the job, and never feels pressured despite the scope and importance of the projects in which she is involved. She likes that the Pendant team is a collection of down-to-earth people that are always doing their best to create something “amazing” for clients.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Harford County, Maryland, Julianna has a variety of interests outside of school and work. She takes a ribbing from the team for crashing her grandmother’s Infinti SUV a while back, but fortunately nobody was hurt, and Julianna now owns that same SUV.  It helps her explore – she loves traveling, trying out new foods, and hiking or biking somewhere new.  She also is a bit of an artist who loves building things. And Julianna has a real soft spot for animals (there’s a Shmedley joke in there, but I’m holding back).

Havre de Grace for Julianna is a lovely place, with antique shopping, old houses, trains, and, her word, “ships”.  At Julianna’s height, I guess a jet-ski or a 28-foot Bayliner looks like a ship.

Finally, Julianna likes to collect odd little things like cool-looking rocks, buttons and ribbons, and bits of old electronics.  We’re not sure what she’s planning to do with all that, but we are frankly a little nervous about it!

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John Kuszmar

John started his new career in the Pendant Panel Shop in January 2020. In just a short while, he’s already producing and making us wonder if we really need Shmedley (just kidding of course).

John joined Pendant because he liked the idea of being part of the growth at Pendant with the potential for advancement as the company grows.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in Perryville, Maryland, just across the Susquehanna River from the Pendant offices, John’s Detroit roots may explain his love for drag racing and building high performance engines, cars, and boats with friends. He loves being out on the water, of which there is plenty right out the door. He’s a hockey fan, and we’re not sure but we think he may have tossed an octopus or two onto the ice at Detroit Redwings’ games in the past.

John loves the attitude of the Pendant team and wants to make sure our clients know how hard we work to meet project deadlines.

It’s early yet and John’s been kind of quiet, so we haven’t seen if he has as much mischief in him as Bart, his favorite Simpson’s character. But being around Shmedley every day gives it the best chance of coming out if it’s in there. We can’t wait to see what happens.

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Bill Class

Bill Class

Bill (affectionately known as Bilbo) started his new career in the Pendant Panel Shop in January 2020. He brings a positive, upbeat attitude into the shop every day, even while being forced to learn new stuff at the hands of Shmedley.

Bill has already noticed how passionate the entire Pendant team is about what we do, but honestly, he doesn’t yet know us all that well. He does enjoy the laughs, and wants everyone to know that you’re getting top quality from the people at Pendant.

Bill grew up in Rising Sun, Maryland, about 15 miles from Havre de Grace, but in an entirely different world, being on the other side of the Susquehanna River. Bill loves that Havre de Grace is a beautiful small town in which to work.

Outside of work, Bill’s a big fan of British humor, and places Monty Python and the Holy Grail atop one of the pinnacles of Western culture (he’s not the only one here at Pendant, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more).

Bill mixes up his leisure hours between indoor pursuits like computer gaming on Twitch and watching anime, and outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and rock climbing.

We’re glad to have Bilbo on the team.  Now, if we could just get him to stop putting on that ring and talking about “ruling them all”, we’ll probably get some pretty good control panels out of him.

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Shannon Woodbeck

Shannon joined Pendant in February, 2020 in the role of Office Manager. She was attracted by the people at Pendant, who she describes as “full of integrity and humor.” Well, at least she got the “full of” part right.

Shannon is a native of Havre de Grace, Pendant’s home town. She likes that it’s a close-knit community that’s very different from a crowded city. Shannon also lived in Germany for two and a half years, and traveled throughout Europe where she enjoyed learning about the many different cultures and lifestyles.

Shannon is a fan of the Baltimore Ravens, so we know she has her head screwed on correctly (unlike some members of the Pendant team).

She loves that our team works hard but still manages to have a lot of fun together. She’s figured out that the whole team focuses on building trusting relationships with our suppliers and clients, and providing exceptional customer service.

Outside of work, Shannon loves cooking up a great meal for family and friends, especially if they are fans of her specialty dish, moussaka. Shannon chose Grandpa Simpson as her favorite Simpson character because of his absurd stories of his profligate youth. She’s also a big fan of the book “The Secret” and Forrest Gump’s open-hearted approach to life. Cook, Shannon, cook!

We’re happy to have Shannon and her sunny outlook on life as part of our team.

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Craig Rother

Craig joined Pendant in April, 2020 as Director of Sales and Marketing. After several years working in the material handling industry, one of the things that attracted him was Pendant’s emphasis on personal growth.

Craig lives in Cincinnati, OH, where he was born and raised.  At least there’s a somewhat acceptable reason for his professed passion for the Bengals and Reds, as weird as that may seem to right-thinking people (Ravens fans, for example).

He enjoys being the “instigator” in starting and developing business relationships, so there’s plenty for him to do. Craig understands the keen focus on the customer that Pendant brings to design, programming, and panel assembly, and he’ll lean heavily on that as he works with Pendant clients.

A big-time fan of the Dave Matthews band, Craig’s musical tastes have migrated more recently in the direction of folk and bluegrass, which he no doubt listens to while pursuing another passion, running.  We’re thinking that the next time there’s a sales and marketing meeting in the Dayton/Cincinnati area, Craig and Brittany can each run the equivalent of a marathon to get to the meeting space and save on travel expenses.

Some other things of note about Craig:

  • Homer is his favorite Simpsons character because well, duh! (Not doh!)
  • Craig watched the movie “Wedding Crashers” in college almost as often as he has attended Dave Matthews concerts (56 and counting!).
  • Craig admits to a “weird obsession” with time. One of his earliest literary efforts was a story he wrote in kindergarten about a character he invented, Mr. Late, who was always behind time. We’ve never met Mr. Late, but we’re pretty sure we know some companies that hired him and maybe some of his relatives, too.

For recommended reading, Craig likes Daniel Pink’s “Drive”, a book that explores what motivates people. We’re using the knowledge to get our folks to up their work hours from 12 per day to 16-18 (excluding Sunday’s of course – we’re not maniacs).

Finally, Craig blames his fiancé for a recently acquired obsession for lattes. The nickname “Mr. Latte” is almost inevitable, don’t you think?

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Tyler Reed

As of this writing on June15, 2020, Tyler is in his second week on the job with Pendant, training and learning as much as he can before we send him out on startup and commissioning jobs. Tyler says that the “sky is the limit” for him at Pendant and he is enjoying being part of a team that encourages and rewards a drive for success. Tyler says that in his first days here at Pendant, he has been exposed to more information, a more knowledgeable team, and better training than from some of the huge corporations he worked for in the past. Now, he doesn’t seem like the type to engage in insincere flattery, and frankly we don’t care anyway because we like being flattered.

Tyler thoroughly enjoys troubleshooting (and other types of shooting – more on that later) and solving problems for clients. So, bring on the problems!

Tyler was born in Starkville, Mississippi and raised in Ackerman, Mississippi.  Never heard of them? No worries, we haven’t either, but if he says they exist, we believe him.

Outside of work, Tyler is a big fan of WWII movies and documentaries.  He’s also an outdoorsman who enjoys hunting, fishing, shooting sports, and camping. Tyler is a family man who likes taking the kids on trips, and he’s been known to restore a muscle car or two. Tyler hasn’t had enough time yet to get acquainted with the outdoors activities around Havre de Grace, but all we can say is that the ducks, geese, and bass in the immediate vicinity need to be on guard.

Tyler claims to put his pants on both legs at the same time.  We’re not sure if there’s a trampoline involved, nor if he takes them off the same way. You’ll have to ask him yourself.

Tyler sees some of the same small-town charm in Havre de Grace as he sees in his hometown in Mississippi. That most likely means he hasn’t met enough of us locals yet to get a fully-formed view, but that will come in time.  We haven’t seen him eat any steamed crabs, so that will be a big test for him when it happens. We’ll be watching closely.

One last thing, getting Tyler’s bio questionnaire back confirmed for us that we made the right choice.  Like most people of reason and high class, Tyler is a big fan of the Baltimore Ravens, having followed Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed (no relation) from their time at The University of Miami through their careers in Baltimore.  This obviously means that he also categorically rejects the idea that someone could actually be a fan (with a straight face) of teams like the Bengals or Patriots (you know who you are).

Rest assured then, Tyler, that most of us welcome you to Pendant with open arms!

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