Our History

Premier Automation was founded in 2002 by a group of engineers in Pittsburgh who wanted to bring local companies up to date with technology, and help them become more efficient and competitive. Today, we’re doing just that, but on a national and international scale.

Steel Mill in Pittsburgh around the early 1900’s.


1900’s | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Between 1870 and 1910, Pittsburgh developed an economy that was envied by the world. This 40-year period marked Pittsburgh’s Golden Age, which was led by a burst of industrial entrepreneurs. During this short period, many prominent industrial companies were founded here like: Alcoa, Consolidation Coal, National Steel, Fisher Scientific, Gulf Oil, Mesta Machine, Mine Safety Appliance, Rockwell International, United Engineering and Foundry, Koppers, United States Steel, Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG), and Westinghouse Electric. By 1970, Pittsburgh had the largest industrial corporate headquarters in the United States.




Punxsutawney Electric in the 1930’s.


1939 | Punxsutawney Electric

In the midst of Pittsburgh establishing itself as the Steel Capital of the World, Punxsutawney Electric was formed around 1939. Capitalizing on the industry that was fueling the heavy industrial corporations, Punxsutawney Electric provided electric pump sales and services to local mines.




Punxsutawney Electric becomes Electro-Mec by the 1960’s.

1960 | Electro-Mec

As Pittsburgh’s industrial base continued to grow, so did Punxsutawney Electric as they expanded into motor sales and motor repair services serving all industrial accounts in the Western Pennsylvania region. By the 1960’s, the company had relocated to Indiana, PA, was renamed to Electro-Mec, and became the largest independent new motor sales and motor repair company in the region.





Electro-Mec begins full service Drives & Automation company called Electro-Mec Automation.

1999 | Electro-Mec Automation

As technology in industry evolved, customers looked to suppliers like Electro-Mec for additional technical services beyond motor sales & repair.  With an aging installed industrial base, the region had a high demand for updated technology to power coordinated drive and automation systems.  Using their motor experience as a base, in 1994 Electro-Mec started a drives division. By 1999, this division had expanded into a full service Drives & Automation company called Electro-Mec Automation.





Walt Dollard & Mike Gunniers purchase Electro-Automation, and rename to Premier Automation.

2001 | Premier Automation

Electro-Mec Automation experienced such impressive growth in just a few short years that it led to the decision of its parent company to sell it so that they could re-focus on their core motor business. Electro-Mec wanted to put their full service Drives & Automation company into the best hands possible, so they approached two of the key engineers working in the business about a purchase opportunity – Mike Gunniers and Walt Dollard. In December 2001, Electro-Mec Automation and its 20 employees officially became Premier Automation and a vision was born.




In 2008, Walt Dollard & Mike Gunniers win the regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

2008 | Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award

In 2008, Mike Gunniers and Walt Dollard Won the regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for manufacturing distribution businesses. The award was in recognition of their entrepreneurship and business growth since founding Premier Automation.




In 2012, Premier Automation launched PanelShop.com.

2012 | PanelShop.com

“What do you plan to do next?” After winning the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year award, this was the question Premier Automation was asked, and this was the question that inspired PanelShop.com.  The vision of developing an eBusiness where the electrical control panels could be configured by the customer took 4 years of development and was finally a reality in 2012.  PanelShop.com took Panel Building to an eCommerce format allowing users to build an electrical control panel in seconds, view an instant price quote, engineering drawings, and then purchase it right there and then.


2015 | Acquisition of Industrial Automation & Control, Inc.

In 2015 Premier Automation acquired Industrial Automation and Control, Inc., a leading Automation Systems Integrator in the Pittsburgh area.  The acquisition will allow Premier Automation to offer more depth of services and the ability to be even more responsive to customer needs.



Premier Automation
Premier Automation re-brands. Same company, new look!

Re-Branding Premier Automation

As Premier Automation continues to grow, re-branding was necessary to reflect its commitment to be a modern technology company that finds the most innovative answers to ensure the continuing success of its customers.  The new brand still expresses Premier Automation’s original vision while simultaneously moving the brand forward as it grows on a national and international level.




2019 | Expansion into Georgia

Alpharetta, GA: Premier Automation expanded operations into Alpharetta, Georgia and officially opened its doors to start production in October of 2019. To better serve customers in the Southeastern United States, the Premier Automation team worked diligently with local and state officials for nearly a year before finalizing the purchase of a new building and 6.5 acres of property in Forsyth County.



2022 | An Industry Leader

With over 120 employees, Premier Automation’s vision remains the same as they strive to help local, national, and international companies become more technologically advanced, efficient and competitive through innovative answers and passionate engineering.