Company History

Since 1991, Applied Control Engineering, Inc. (ACE) has been helping customers in every aspect of automation, process control, and information technology systems integration.

But where did ACE come from? According to Tim Cole, it started like this...

The original idea was voiced by Paul Fruehauf; to form a company that would deliver process control engineering services and systems. This was late in the year 1990, and Paul, Alex Shields, and Tim began meeting two to three times a month to discuss the company organization, name, offering, and generally how to go to market. Applied Control Engineering, Inc. was incorporated in May of 1991.

With incorporation, ACE began focusing on where we fit into the Delaware Valley process control systems engineering business. The first few years were tough, with long hours and under-capitalization.

ACE focused its sales efforts in areas we had experience – applying control systems to process control problems. Our first customer was Rollins Environmental Services – implementing a Bailey Controls Infi 90 configuration supporting a new waste feed stream. Without a sales force, ACE grew through reputation and alliances with equipment and software vendors.

Strong growth fueled by good hiring decisions, repeat business, and word of mouth continued across the late 1990s. New co-owners Steve Tucker and Gary Hida joined ACE in 1995. Many other important staff members in technology management, sales, and marketing added to our strength.

With the beginning of the new millennium came new challenges and opportunities. ACE continued to develop its ISO 9000-based Quality Management System and worked to formalize its Safety Management System.

In 2005, ACE acquired TransAmerican Automation, Inc. (TAI) with offices in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania and Houston, Texas. The integration of TAI added approximately 20 new engineers to ACE’s already strong staff of process control engineering and IT experts. TAI also brought with it a wealth of expertise to address the needs of the metals and oil & gas industries.

In 2010, ACE acquired ownership of Sequential Automation Consultants (Sequential). Sequential represented a very similar business to ACE; they provided process automation services to manufacturing companies in the Delaware Valley. Their additional experience and capabilities have been of significant value to both new and existing customers.

In 2012, longtime employees Ian Burns, Shawn Coughlan, Dave Erby, Jim Henley, and Steve Monaghan became principal owners of ACE. The ownership group expanded further to include Mike Lennon in 2015. This expansion of company ownership is part of a strategic plan to ensure the long term viability and independence of the company and its management - reflecting ACE’s commitment to both its customers and employees.

Today, ACE has offices in Newark, DE; Danbury, CT; Taunton, MA; Windsor Mill, MD; Bridgeville, PA; Quakertown, PA; and Houston, TX. Our successful growth has been recognized by Inc. magazine’s repeated listing of ACE as one of the fastest growing private companies. With over 100 employees in seven offices ACE serves customer needs both locally and worldwide. From platform selection and design to start-up and validation, as an independent systems integrator, ACE helps customers select the right solution and then implement it on time and on budget.