NEM 2024 Interview Series: Samson Controls Inc.

Transforming Engineering: SAMSON Leads the Way in Digital Innovation

We’re continuing to showcase notable leaders in Canada’s engineering domains to delve into their perspectives on the industry’s direction.

Recently I met with Joseph Ferraro, who is the President and CEO of Samson Controls Inc. to discuss the digital transformation of the engineering industry, emphasizing SAMSON’s investment in software, AI, and innovative valve technologies. 

Tell me a bit about yourself & your background.

My name is Joseph Ferraro. I graduated from Ryerson University as a Mechanical Engineer and have been a licensed Professional Engineer since 2016. Additionally, I hold an MBA from Schulich University. I am married and have two daughters who are my motivation and purpose.

In terms of work, I initially aimed for the automotive industry, influenced by my family’s involvement. However, the industry shifted towards China, leading to the cancellation of a job I secured. I then had a brief stint in injection moulding before joining SAMSON, where I’ve been for almost 13 years.

At SAMSON, I started as an Application Specialist, supporting customers in Canada and the US. After about three years, I took over the department and expanded the team on both sides of the border. I also took on an operational role alongside my Inside Sales Manager responsibilities.

After a few years, I transitioned to a sales role covering the US territory, then to Division Sales Manager and EPC Segment Manager in Canada. Currently, I have been serving as the President and CEO for the past six years.

Why is National Engineering Month important to you and the engineering profession overall?

I think it’s very important to highlight the engineering profession and everything that goes into it. When you consider everything we utilize or consume daily, engineering is involved. Therefore, the engineering profession focuses on making the world a better place. Viewing it from this perspective warrants appreciation for everything that contributes to it. Celebrating the commitments, innovation, and passion of individuals in this profession is crucial.. The National Engineering Month tagline, “There is a place for you in engineering,” accurately describes the broad scope of engineering. When I graduated from engineering school, I initially believed that joining an engineering firm was the only option. However, upon entering the industry, I realized the vast opportunities available to engineers, which was mind-blowing. This is why this month is personally important to me, to our company, and to the profession as a whole.

The theme for NEM 2024 is lifelong learning. What does the concept of lifelong learning mean to you? Why is lifelong learning important in the work that you do? 

This topic holds great importance for me as I strongly believe in lifelong learning. Reflecting on my background, starting in engineering, pursuing my MBA, and now contemplating my next steps, I am committed to continuous learning. In today’s rapidly evolving industry, keeping pace requires expanding our knowledge constantly. I actively seek opportunities to join webinars, understand industry trends, and broaden my understanding beyond my expertise in valves to encompass the broader process industry. This agility is essential as a leader, especially amidst changing times. Moreover, I am dedicated to mentoring the next generation by championing various training initiatives and collaborating with associations and universities. As the Chair of the Canadian Process Controls Association (CPCA) and a member of its training committee, I prioritize lifelong learning and knowledge expansion through diverse training programs.

Can you tell me a little more about SAMSON Controls and the types of projects you work on?

To summarize, our parent company, Samson AG, established in 1907 in Germany, has become a market leader in control valves for industrial process automation. Our technology has proven valuable across various industries such as oil and gas, pulp and paper, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, mining, metals, and many others. With our long-standing expertise, we handle many of the world’s most challenging applications, ensuring precise control with high safety and reliability.

The SAMSON product portfolio offers engineered solutions from a single source. With our extensive range of valves, actuators, and accessories, we have the right products to suit your requirements. Our linear and rotary control valves are carefully selected and sized to ensure reliable operation with reduced maintenance requirements.  The latest in positioner technology offers precise control, seamless integration into process control systems, and advanced diagnostics to allow for predictive maintenance. Continuous investment in research and development allows us to stay at the cutting edge of technology. 

In Canada, Samson Controls Inc. began in 1983, establishing our first office in Markham, ON, now our Canadian headquarters. Here, we offer sales, service, testing, repair, project engineering, and other support functions. Since then, we’ve expanded with sales offices in Edmonton and Montreal, covering key industries nationwide.

Our projects vary widely, from greenfield and brownfield projects to day-to-day maintenance and repairs (MRO). Our team’s goal is to support customers in valve sizing and selection, ensuring maximum service life for each valve and minimizing risks to human life, highlighting the critical importance of our work.

How has the engineering profession changed over the past 5 to 10 years & how is SAMSON Controls capitalizing on those changes? 

There are two ways I approach this question. Firstly, it’s about the integration of new technology, AI, and the digital transformation or industrial revolution. Secondly, it’s about the shift in the workforce, which ties back to the first point on technology integration. I recently came across a post on the Ontario Society of Professional Engineer’s LinkedIn discussing an 8-week course on digital transformation. It emphasized the importance of being prepared to adapt as innovation and new technology continue to shape our world. This perfectly addresses the question. With advancements in technology impacting industries like ours, such as the automation pyramid evolving to expect smarter products like valves that gather data, the goal is to leverage this data for proactive decision-making. This is where AI and software integration comes into play with traditional mechanical products. At SAMSON, we have heavily invested in R&D and innovation, which has been integral to our success, reflected in our tagline “We Flow Smart.”

Regarding the workforce, we’re witnessing a significant shift with many baby boomers retiring, paving the way for a new generation of engineers. However, this transition results in a knowledge gap as experienced professionals exit the industry. Our goal at SAMSON, particularly in Canada, is to bridge this gap by educating and training new engineers on valve products. This ensures they can make informed decisions when working on projects or selecting valves in the field.

Are there any specific programs, initiatives, or outcomes happening at SAMSON Controls that you’d like to tell me about? 

With our expansion in Canada, we’re currently in growth mode, actively seeking to onboard new, young, and ambitious engineers. My belief has always been that those who grasp technical concepts within our valve world and are willing to work hard can carve out careers in various directions, be it sales, product management, operations, or others. We’re using our engineering department as a funnel to facilitate internal development across the company. As we continue to expand, we aim to establish a robust Co-op program, collaborating with colleges and universities to provide young engineers with hands-on experience. Another initiative involves disseminating information through monthly webinars and educating participants about different valve technologies to enhance their job performance.

What does the future of engineering look like and how does your company fit into that? 

It echoes what I mentioned earlier about software, AI, and digital transformation, buzzwords prevalent today that are shaping the future of engineering. The industry is evolving rapidly, incorporating these concepts, presenting new opportunities and complexities. SAMSON is deeply committed and at the forefront of developing digital solutions for valves. An example is our FOCUS 1, the world’s first smart process node, integrating valves and sensor technology with unique diagnostic and control features. Released a couple of years ago, it exemplifies SAMSON’s innovative prowess, merging digital transformation with mechanical engineering. SAMSON is dedicated to transforming the industry with smart valve systems, enhancing flexibility, safety, and reliability in industrial processes for our customers.

Learn. Grow. Thrive. Together. 

National Engineering Month is Ontario’s platform for celebrating the remarkable world of engineering. With a dynamic mix of insightful discussions, industry expertise, and diverse viewpoints, we’re showcasing the best of the profession. Join us in advancing engineering excellence, igniting interest in future professionals, and recognizing the vital role engineers play in society. Be a part of the #NEM2024 experience by attending an event. Explore all the exciting details at

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