Posted on 9/28/2016

Q-and-A with Automation Alley’s new COO: Pavan Muzumdar

Pavan Muzumdar

We sat down with Automation Alley’s new Chief Operating Officer Pavan Muzumdar to find out what he’s most looking forward to as Automation Alley begins to shift its focus towards Industry 4.0.


Tell us about your professional journey prior to joining Automation Alley.

My professional journey has been anything but linear.

In the early 90s, I worked for Cambridge Technology Partners, with roles spanning developer, to project manager, and client partner. Cambridge taught me the value of culture, and how to work with large teams and Fortune 500 companies.

After Cambridge, I became the CEO of a gem of a company, MV Software. This experience taught me the intricacies of enterprise software and user behavior across multiple business functions. The company has since been rebranded as MVS Alliance to help business leaders address complex information management needs to improve throughput and profit.

From there, I found myself overseeing two very special businesses, JR Engineering and Detroit Hitch that taught me how small businesses in America generate value. I also learned many organizational and growth lessons. Then, in 2008, after making a move towards investment management and securing the CFA charter, I founded Pieris Capital, with the intent of bridging the worlds of investment banking and management consulting.

That vision led to the formation of PCS Insight a few years later. The mission of PCS Insight is to facilitate long-lasting organizational effectiveness by building trust and improving communication. This is accomplished by teaching leadership teams icube™, a collection of simple, effective and timeless tools, techniques and disciplines.

How did you first get involved with Automation Alley?

Through the 7Cs™ program. Tom Kelly, the visionary and architect of this unique entrepreneurial acceleration program, wanted all clients to have a corporate governance framework that could be implemented for startups and could grow with them as they mature into later stage organizations. That turned out to be icube, a system I developed and practice through my company, PCS Insight.

Why are you excited to be taking on the COO role with the Automation Alley and why do you feel it’s a good fit?

Right from the beginning, Tom wanted to practice the “eat your own dog food” philosophy in which companies actively use and consume the products and services they offer their customers and constituents. As such, we commenced implementing icube at Automation Alley starting with the entrepreneurship department in late 2014. Over time, we included the other service areas and finally at the director level. I was thrilled and gratified that not only was icube enthusiastically embraced by all of Automation Alley’s directors, it was also championed by then Executive Director Ken Rogers.

When Ken Rogers retired and Tom Kelly took on the role of executive director, he felt strongly that I would be the best fit for his role of COO. Coming in as the COO and serving as the conductor (a function that we identify in the icube methodology), I see this as a wonderful opportunity to continue the icube facilitation for Automation Alley. Not only will this continue to reap dividends for Automation Alley, the learning from doing so enables me to further fine-tune and improve upon the system which in turn will help not only all our clients but hopefully organizations beyond our ecosystem.

What are you most looking forward to in your new position at Automation Alley?

What gets me most excited is the opportunity to execute my responsibility, which is to facilitate the smooth functioning of Automation Alley so that it can execute its strategic goals with excellence and realize its vision of being a world-renowned center of excellence in smart factory automation, or Industry 4.0.

Within that overarching goal, I am looking forward to serve as conductor of the organization by leading and overseeing the creation of an effective organizational framework, processes, and tools. By doing this I hope to enable all team members to excel to their greatest potential by providing them the organizational support necessary to do so. And most importantly, at the executive level, this will enable Tom Kelly to be an effective promoter of Automation Alley and the external facing champion and thought leader of the organization and the region.

What makes Automation Alley unique and why do you feel it’s an important asset to our community and economy?

There are many things that make Automation Alley unique. It is a non-profit and yet has a very entrepreneurial DNA, it offers a unique combination of services singularly focused on our region and applied technology to serve our strong maker ecosystem and culture. But most importantly, it is made up of wonderful people who embody its core values of collaboration, integrity, result oriented mindset, and commitment to the region every single day.

What are your favorite hobbies outside of the workplace? What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I like to engage in physical activities like biking, walking, and general exercise. I also used to be a pilot but am not current anymore; so I am looking forward to getting back up in the air soon. I also love food, cooking, and learning about and experimenting with different cuisines and ingredients. Finally, I love reading, watching interesting and thought-provoking movies and documentaries, learning about different cultures, and having new experiences.

About the Author

Pavan Muzumdar | Automation Alley

Pavan Muzumdar is Automation Alley’s chief operating officer. In this role, Muzumdar is responsible for facilitating the smooth functioning of Automation Alley, enabling the organization to execute its strategic goals with excellence and realize its vision. Muzumdar has an extensive background in organizational management and is the creator of the organizational tool iCube, a collection of simple, effective techniques and disciplines that help companies run smoothly. In addition to serving as Automation Alley’s COO, Muzumdar is the lead facilitator of the iCube methodology in the organization’s successful entrepreneurship program, the Automation Alley 7Cs™.


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