CATS’ Ray Puffer To Retire
Ray Puffer knows how to make stuff. And since joining Rensselaer in 1989, his infectious enthusiasm and rich knowledge of manufacturing automation has inspired, challenged, and informed Rensselaer students.
After 22 years, Puffer is retiring from his position as program director for industrial automation for the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS) at Rensselaer. In this role, he anchored the CATS’ industrial automation program, which connects Rensselaer researchers with New York businesses to spur economic growth and innovation.
CATS Director John Wen, professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering (ECSE), said Puffer is a stellar engineer, mentor, and leader, who guided the CATS fuel cell manufacturing program to prominence.
“The secret to Ray’s success is that he truly cares,” Wen said. “He cares most of all about studentshe treats them as family and provides guidance and sometimes tough love to help them grow and succeed. He cares about our industrial partners, sparing no effort to help them overcome technical and business challenges. He cares about staff and faculty, offering partnership and friendship, and mentorship, and leadership if needed, so the team as a whole could succeed.”
In his time at Rensselaer, Puffer led many successful projects for industrial partners across the state and nation. The projects ranged from helping small startup companies refine their core manufacturing process and become a viable business, to tackling complex automation challenges for large corporations like Bausch & Lomb or BASF Fuel Cell.
Prior to joining Rensselaer, Puffer completed more than 20 years of service as an officer in the U.S. Army, progressing to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He is a registered professional engineer, a certified acquisition manager, and a certified program manager.
“All of us associated with the CATS are grateful for Ray’s dedication and service over the past 23 years,” Wen said. “He will be dearly missed, but we are happy for him to have some time to pursue his many hobbies, from woodworking to Jaguar restoration to swinging away on the links.”
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