OUR EXECUTIVE TEAM

CEO & Chairman of the Board

Ken Coggins

Ken is a founding partner of PREMIER and has been serving as an executive leader since it was founded in 1991. During Ken's tenure, he has supported technical delivery, business development, and operations. Presently, Ken is focused on supporting and developing the next generation of leadership, to ensure that the potential for PREMIER’s future is being realized.

 

Ken began his career in 1980 supporting and improving manufacturing systems for General Motors. He joined a system integrator as a project engineer in 1983. His responsibilities grew into project and operations management. In 1988, he was selected for the position of Vice President of Regional Operations.

 

Ken is involved in his local church and community. He actively supports local charities and youth athletic organizations. Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, Ken relocated to the Nashville, TN area in 1988 where he and his family reside.

 
 

President

David Lax

David was recently promoted to President in 2019. Prior to this, David has served in various roles of senior leadership since 2011. David’s primary responsibilities are oversight and leadership of operations and all corporate functions which includes the management of the company's financial activities.

 

David graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and began his career at PREMIER as a controls engineer in 1998, where he developed an invaluable understanding of the core fundamentals of PREMIER's business. He became a key implementation specialist and project manager, playing a leading role in PREMIER’s business expansion into the food and beverage industry.

 

David received his MBA from MTSU in 2006 and an M.S. in Finance from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management in 2009. David claims roots in West Tennessee where he credits his values to his grandmother and his Christian upbringing. He currently lives in Nashville, TN. When he isn't working, he can be found on a golf course, a ski slope, a yoga studio or cheering on the Commodores at a Vanderbilt sporting event.​

 

Executive Vice President

Andy Ask

Andy was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2019. Andy is responsible for providing oversight and leadership of PREMIER’s operations including the manufacturing, engineering, and quality groups.

 

Andy joined PREMIER in 2016 and engaged in several roles in the areas of project management, account management, business development, and manufacturing operations. Prior to his time at PREMIER, he spent 16 years with The Timken Company in both technical and management roles. Andy began his career at Timken as a Systems Engineer working on engineering, MES, and business systems and then progressing into management roles including Lean, Materials, and Operations Management. Prior to that Andy spent 6 years with Striker Systems as a Software Engineer and Production Manager.

Andy grew up in the small town of Glenwood, MN, where he worked in the family business with his father, learning the metal fabrication trade and the values essential to operating a small business. He graduated from Bemidji State University in 1993 with a B.S. in Computer Science. Andy is certified in Lean Leadership and is a Project Management Professional (PMP). He and his wife have three children and reside in Nolensville, TN. Outside of work, Andy enjoys spending time with family, wood working, welding, hiking and is an avid golfer.​

 

Vice President of Operations & Business Development 

Kirk McCaleb

Kirk is based out of our corporate office in Nashville, TN and manages PREMIER’s manufacturing business unit. His focus during the founding and growth of PREMIER has been in the areas of sales, new business development and vendor relationships.

 

In 1981, Kirk graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.E. in Chemical Engineering. After graduation, he joined the Allen-Bradley Company in Milwaukee, WI and completed their sales training program in 1982. He was assigned to their New Orleans office as a Sales Engineer. After working in Allen-Bradley’s Nashville sales office he was hired by Stuart C. Irby Company to help launch a new electrical distribution office in Nashville. In 1988, he and Ken opened a Nashville branch for an Atlanta-based system integrator. In January of 1992, Kirk joined PREMIER.

 

Kirk is a seventh generation Tennessean and resides in Franklin, TN. He has three daughters that are his primary focus outside of work.

 

Vice President of Operations & Business Development

Mike Baker

Mike joined PREMIER in 1992 as a controls engineer working in the Smyrna, TN office. In 1993 he began working in the Decatur, AL area and subsequently started PREMIER’s first remote office there. 

 

Mike started his career designing and programming custom control systems for both military and private customers in the electronics industry. He later migrated these skills into industrial automation working in the steel, tire and printing industries as a controls engineer for United Technologies – Carrier prior to coming to PREMIER.

Mike was born in Huntsville, AL and later moved to Nashville, TN where he started school and spent the early part of his career. Mike graduated from Nashville State Technical Institute in 1983 with a degree in Electronic Engineering Technology. He, his wife and three children reside in Hartselle, AL where they are active church members. He gives back to the community as a youth coach, BEST robotics mentor and working with local missions. For recreation, Mike enjoys farming, flying, motorcycling and being on the water.

 

Director of Organizational Development & Quality

Tony Valasek

Tony leads the organizational development, quality assurance and leadership development efforts for PREMIER. Tony joined PREMIER in 2009 as the Engineering Manager.

 

Tony has over 25 years of engineering and manufacturing experience in diverse, international industries with various industry leaders such as Oberg Manufacturing, Tyco Electronics, and Triumph Aerospace. Tony holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State University, an MBA from the University of North Carolina and a Ph.D. in Business Administration with a specialization in International Business from Northcentral University. Tony is a certified project management professional, a certified MBTI practitioner as well as a U.S. Patent holder.

 

Tony works out of our Smyrna, TN office and lives in Murfreesboro, TN with his wife and two sons. Tony enjoys camping and hiking, reading, recreational shooting, and playing video games with his sons.

 

Director of Engineering

Keith Payne

Keith serves as the Director of Engineering with responsibility for project delivery oversight, employee performance, and career development. Keith also represents the engineering team’s perspective in recruiting, best practices and corporate planning and development.

 

Keith graduated from the University of Memphis with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and from Christian Brothers University with a Master’s in Engineering Management. He is also a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Tennessee. Keith has over 30 years of control system engineering and project management experience including Kimberly-Clark, Wright Industries (Doerfer Companies), Curtis H. Stout (Rockwell Automation) and several other System Integrators across multiple platforms and industries. This provides a unique perspective on his current role. Keith joined PREMIER in 2003 as a controls engineer and quickly started managing large projects. He assumed his current director role in April of 2016.

 

Keith was born in Memphis, TN and has lived in the middle Tennessee area for over 15 years. He and his wife have two sons. Keith enjoys golf, live music, and outdoor activities.

 

Director of Human Resources

Pete Eiden

Pete joined PREMIER in 2013 as Human Resources Manager. In this role, Pete provides leadership and support for all areas of HR including Talent Acquisition, Employee Relations, Training & Development, Benefits, Compliance, and Safety. Prior to joining PREMIER Pete held various HR leadership roles in both the Manufacturing and Technology industries.

 

Pete was raised in Tampa, FL where he attended Saint Leo University earning both a B.A. in Psychology in 2004 and a Masters of Business Administration degree in 2007. Pete also holds certifications as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP). He and his wife relocated to the Nashville area in 2011.

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