Q&A with Matthew Carrara, New President of Doble Engineering
Late last year we welcomed Matthew Carrara as the new President of Doble and ESCO Technologies Inc.'s Utility Solutions Group. Now that he’s had time to settle in and become acquainted with the team, we sat down with Matt to get to know him a bit better.
Q: So, Matt, tell us about yourself.
I’ve been married for 30 years and have two kids: a twenty-four-year-old son and a twenty-one-year-old daughter. I was born and raised south of Boston, and I am a big Boston sports fan. I love having four seasons, which means I am firmly rooted in the Northeast area. That is until I retire, and I look forward to where that journey leads, but not for many, many years.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
When I’m not working, my favorite thing to do is kayaking with my wife, followed by cooking. I have a collection of Cook’s Illustrated magazines and when the weather warms up in the summer, I love outdoor grilling and hosting family and friends.
I am a yoga enthusiast, doing an hour of Yin Yoga every day, even when traveling, which helps keep me grounded.
I also love spending time with my four-year-old rescue dog, Breya, and Fenway, my fourteen-year-old mini-Dachshund who, even at his age, still rules the house.
Q: Walk us through your career background: what got you interested in the industry and how did you get where you are today?
I got started in the process control and measurement space right after completing my undergraduate degree from Northeastern University, working for a company that made pressure sensors for extrusion. It was a small startup, with fewer than 10 employees and I gained a lot of valuable hands-on experience, working in pretty much every department, as the company grew. I worked there for nearly 10 years, at which point, as part owner, we sold the company to a firm headquartered in Italy. New ownership asked me to stay on and manage the business, which I did for another five years until I left to join a similar process measurement and control business, again, primarily in the plastics industry, named Dynisco.
I worked at Dynisco for about 10 years, managing business in pressure sensing, materials properties analysis and began to expand into heavier process industries like Oil and Gas. One of my proudest achievements during that period was getting my Executive MBA from Northeastern University; juggling work, school and family and coaching youth basketball, really gave me a sense of time management.
In 2013 I was offered a job that would vastly expand my responsibilities and left to pursue a career at Schneider Electric. I stayed at Schneider for nearly 10 years and by the time I left, I was managing multiple business/offer portfolios businesses around the globe as Vice President of Process Analyzers and Instrumentation.
This position at Doble came about as most do nowadays – through LinkedIn – and I was immediately intrigued. Not only was I excited about the idea of taking the next step in my career as President, but I knew Doble’s focus on culture and leadership would be a natural fit based on my prior experience.
Q: How has your background in process control, measurement and materials properties analysis shaped your perspective and understanding of the industry?
I’m excited to bring a fresh perspective and renewed energy to Doble. In process control and measurement, we were focused on improving a process – and I take that same mindset with me to this new role at Doble and in the utilities space. If you can improve and manage a system better than before and with less downtime, then you’re achieving more profitability, bottom line. I read a statistic recently that stated that the average cost of electrical downtime can reach nearly $9,000 per minute and in the US alone, it costs the economy on average $20 billion annually. It’s a very exciting time in the power industry today, especially with the rise of renewable energy. Overall, my goal is to help utilities companies reduce downtime and increase efficiency to help maintain the power grid.
Not only do my previous experiences leading successful teams speak to this goal, but process control and measurement goes hand in hand with condition-based monitoring and protection testing. It all comes together.
Q: What are you most looking forward to with your new role?
Making a difference. The way I see it, Doble can make a difference at both a business and industry level. Whether that means making new offers in digitization or adopting more renewables, changing what we do at an organizational level goes hand in glove with changing the broader industry. I’m excited to start thinking about the legacy Doble can leave behind and taking steps to better the future.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received throughout your career?
“Don’t change anything for the first six months, just listen.” That was the advice I received when I first started at Schneider, and it’s stuck with me ever since.
So many new leaders come in overconfident thinking that they’re going to change the DNA of an organization, but you can’t do that unless you listen and truly understand. It’s a long and slow race to the end. To me, it’s about working hard and slowly progressing up.
Even though my plan was to focus equally on KPIs, customers and people; let me be honest and to quote Angela Ahrendts: “Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.”
Q: What is your vision for Doble?
I’m still in that listening phase, so I’m still getting to know the ins and outs of the business. I want to think about where we want to be three years from now and how to start investing now to get there.
We’ll need to keep dealing with the supply chain crisis inevitably, but it’s time to home in on the next best thing we can do when the crisis ends, or else we will miss the boat.
Q: What’s your biggest priority for Doble in the next 12 months?
One of my big priorities this year will be elevating Doble’s name recognition. I personally wasn’t familiar with Doble until I came onboard, so how many other people don’t know who we are?
Doble has a great group of skilled and passionate professionals, and we should take pride in that and who we are. I want prospective hires to see Doble and say, “that’s where I want to work,” and prospective customers to say, “that’s who I want to work with.”
Q: From your POV, what are Doble’s strengths?
The people here are very passionate and dedicated, which I think is key to a great enterprise. We have some of the most knowledgeable and experienced employees in the industry contributing to the biggest knowledge base I’ve ever seen.
At my time at Doble so far, I haven’t met a person that I wouldn’t consider high caliber which speaks to Doble’s management and overall performance.
Q: What are you seeing as the most important issues/trends in the utilities space right now?
Digitization is one major area of focus that will only become more critical down the line. But for me, the biggest issue we are facing is the aging power grid and workforce. We need to find a way to transform the industry and upskill and attract the new generation of workers. Addressing that issue will take a while and I understand that, but it’s something I’m passionate about.
Ensuring reliable power for all is also critical. Losing power, even for a few moments, can have devastating ripple effects and it’s important to remember that everyone in the industry is ultimately working toward avoiding that outcome. The more I learn, the more I believe that power is a right for everyone in the world. If we can do our part in ensuring that, then we’ve done our job.
Doble’s goal is to provide our customers with the technology they need to help safeguard the optimal health and performance of transformers and new critical infrastructure.