Industrial Automation and Control named corporate partner of the year

Industrial Automation and Controls Inc. was named the fifth recipient of Penn State New Kensington's Corporate/Foundation Partner of the Year award June 28 at the “Smart House” on Mount Washington in Pittsburgh.

Kevin Snider, chancellor of the campus, presented the award to the engineering company for its support of the campus during the past decade. The inscription on the plaque denotes the company’s "leadership, support and assistance in the advancement, growth and development of Penn State New Kensington and the surrounding communities." Company owners Robert “Doc” Mueller, associate professor of engineering at the campus, and Linda Mueller, president of Colonial Gardens Guest House, accepted the award.

Industrial Automation and Control Inc. provides engineering solutions for control system problems. The company is located in the Westmoreland County Business and Research Park on Pennsylvania State Route 780, about four miles from campus. Snider established the corporate/foundation partner award in 2009. Alcoa was the first recipient, followed by Leed’s, Hyman Family Foundation and Grable Foundation.

The Muellers are longtime Penn State donors and have advocated for campus scholarships and programs. Last year they established the Doc and Linda Mueller Trustee Scholarship at the campus. The $50,000 endowment is a need-based scholarship, and new and current students are eligible to receive the annual awards. First preference will be given to students in the four-year Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology (EMET) program.

“Our motivation was that scholarships allowed me to attend college,” said Doc Mueller, who was born and raised on a small farm in Kansas. “It is an appropriate way to repay the opportunities that were given to me because I had a degree.”

In addition to providing scholarships, the Freeport, Pa., residents sponsor the annual Chancellor’s Gala that raises funds for the Advisory Board’s Trustee Scholarship, and they support the Faculty Speaker Series, a lecture and discussion program geared toward the local community.

Doc and Linda Mueller
Doc Mueller joined the campus faculty in 1998 and teaches upper-level courses in electro-mechanical engineering and lower-level courses in computer engineering technology. The EMET degree program emphasizes all fields of engineering technology related to typical, highly automated manufacturing, production or assembly plant processes. He holds a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and earned a bachelor's degree from Wichita State University in Kansas.

Prior to Penn State New Kensington, Mueller spent more than 30 years in the private industry working with industrial control systems. A registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania, he is a consultant regarding industrial automation and serves as an expert witness in product liability and wrongful death lawsuits. He served for 21 years in the military and retired as a colonel from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Linda Mueller is founder of the personal care home in Butler, Pa. The 40-bed facility serves disabled veterans. Her association with the campus goes back to her student days. After becoming a registered nurse, she enrolled in the new bachelor’s degree in nursing program. She was a member of Penn State New Kensington’s first class of nursing graduates.

'Smart House'
The “Smart House,” a three-story ergonomically designed domicile of Pete Karlovich and Steve Herforth, was the venue for a private dinner for 40 campus donors and friends. The corporate/foundation partner award was a part of the program that included guest speakers Jim Broadhurst, chairman of Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, and David Gray, senior vice president for business and finance for Penn State. Dinner was prepared by chef Lisa Hyde Grosz of the Pig and Truffle in Greensburg. Musical entertainment was provided by Doug Starr, adjunct instructor in music at the campus.

Through a series of touch pads, the technology-enhanced house integrates lighting, audio, security and climate as well as the other everyday functions of living quarters. The top two floors provide the private residence for the men. The lower level is geared to the public and often utilized by nonprofit organizations for benefits. Built in 2003 and perched on the edge of the hill, the chic ultra-modernity of the structure is only exceeded by the timeless panoramic view of Pittsburgh and its three rivers. If the Fort Pitt tunnel is the front door to the city, then the Smart House is its rooftop patio.

For the Future Campaign
In addition to his academic responsibilities and philanthropic generosity, Doc Mueller co-chairs the campus' Faculty/Staff Campaign for the University's current $2 billion fundraising effort. For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students is raising private donations to strengthen support for students, faculty and programs. All gifts enhance Penn State’s historic mission of teaching, research and service to society.
The campus is responsible for $3 million of the total and is on track to reach its goal. With 11 months remaining in the campaign, the campus has passed the $2.5 million mark. It needs to raise $480,000 by June 30, 2014, to hit its mark.

For more information on the campaign and on ways to give, visit

For photos of the “Smart House” event, visit

Media Contacts: 

Bill Woodard

Work Phone: 
Home Phone: 
Cell Phone: 

Alumni and Public Relations Specialist

Last Updated July 17, 2013