College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Vogel develops communication standard at Emerson Electric Company

Scott Vogel receives the Technology award from Emerson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Farr.
Scott Vogel (left) receives the Technology award from Emerson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Farr.

Scott Vogel, a 1989 electrical engineering alumnus, has been working for Emerson Electric Company for over 23 years, but his commitment to engineering began much earlier than that.

As a young boy growing up in Fulton, Illinois, a small town just over the eastern Iowa border, Vogel considered himself a “computer geek” as he would often take apart his electronic toys to discover their inner workings.

“I’ve always been curious about how things work—especially electronics. As an adult, I gravitated toward embedded software development primarily because I could edit and undo software changes easier than hardware changes,” says Vogel.

When it came time to choose a college, Iowa State’s impressive engineering program attracted Vogel. Throughout his years on campus, he absorbed a wealth of knowledge and experience that he utilizes daily at Emerson.

“For me, the most important part of college was not the content of the problem being worked on, but rather fostering a determined mindset to solve any problem presented,” Vogel explains. “Many of the projects I have worked on over the years are safety critical. As such, they require an acute attention to detail, which is one thing the engineering courses at Iowa State instilled in me.”

Vogel began working for Emerson’s Electronics and Space Division in 1989. Initially, he was responsible for creating automated test procedures for a terrain following/terrain avoidance signal-processing computer. “In a nutshell, the signal-processing computer sampled radar signal feedback enabling a very large plane to fly very low thus avoiding detection. This was challenging work, but not something you can tinker around with in your spare time,” Vogel says.

In 1994, Vogel accepted a position with Emerson Climate Technologies in the White-Rodgers business unit, a sector of Emerson that creates heating and cooling products for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. Vogel still remains at White-Rodgers today as a lead embedded software architect, a position that satisfies his enjoyment of hands-on projects.

”It is extremely satisfying to be able to write software for a product that you are able to use in your own home,” he explains. “It also provides a sense of pride to have written software for a product, like our thermostats, and then find that thermostat in places like restaurants and doctor’s offices.”

Vogel’s most recent project at White-Rodgers was working on the development of ClimateTalk, an open communications standard used to exchange data and commands between equipment in one’s home and “the cloud.” This exchange of information enables cost savings as equipment in the home can be made to operate at the most cost-effective time.

“Although White-Rodgers is primarily focused on ClimateTalk for communication between heating and cooling equipment, the standard can be utilized by any piece of equipment or appliance,” says Vogel.

Vogel received the 2011 Emerson Technology award for his efforts in developing ClimateTalk. After receiving the award, he determined that a portion of his grant would be best used by the College of Engineering.

“Iowa State is a well-respected school. My degree opened the door to opportunities, but the curriculum provided the training to be successful, and I wanted to show my appreciation for that,” Vogel explains.