Team Spotlight: Alan Livingston

Team Spotlight: Alan Livingston

For our first Team Spotlight, we sat down with iCobotics’ founder and president, Alan Livingston. This Q&A covers everything from his favorite food to where he sees the robotics industry heading in the future.

Let's start with some easy questions. Where is your favorite place to visit?
The Livingston family farm in Duffield, VA. It is a beautiful and peaceful place that allows me to relax and reflect on life. It reflects a simpler time and I have a lifetime of memories there.

Favorite food?
Too many and too much! A good old fashioned cheeseburger sounds good all the time.

Favorite song?
Any Texas Blues will do fine. I recently saw The Blind Boys from Alabama in concert. They played Amazing Grace to music from The House of the Rising Sun. An unusual combination that works very well. You should check it out!

Now let's get down to the nitty-gritty. What led you to start your own company?
My last major project at Yaskawa Motoman was to develop the sales strategy and select partnerships for the Smart Series collaborative robot product line. I understood the need and the growth potential in this space and decided to focus on it as an independent business.

iCobotics has plans to train students and help them gain experience as they start their professional careers. Why is this workforce development project important to you?
I grew up in Dayton, OH and benefited greatly from the local colleges and co-op programs. I was a co-op for three years at Delphi Chassis and was fortunate to have a wonderful mentor in Mike Fanelli. I was also able to get degrees from Sinclair College and Wright State University. These opportunities and the many people in my life that supported me made my current success possible. I am very grateful and want to give back to others to position them to succeed.

What's the most important lesson you've learned so far in your career?
Education is important but so are skilled trades and good 'ol common sense. I am fortunate to have all three. I think too much emphasis is put on getting a college degree and not gaining experience and skills to be a valuable contributor in the workforce.

Technology improves at such a quick pace. Where do you envision the robotics industry going in the coming years? How will iCobotics be a part of that?
The robotics industry has experienced limited growth in the past due to the complex nature of deploying the robots in the field. It’s costly to integrate them for their initial task and to reprogram them for new tasks. Artificial intelligence and Cloud computing are going to drastically change the programming environments and feasible applications. Vision systems and end of arm tooling technology will allow the robots to find and grasp more products than ever before. Many companies are already investing heavily in this technology. At iCobotics we are going to focus on helping get this technology deployed successfully by leveraging best in class integration practices and personnel.

Thanks for checking out our first Team Spotlight! Head over to our website to learn about what we do at iCobotics.