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AutoMod® is a leading discrete-event simulation package widely applied in the modeling and analysis of distribution systems. Included in the AutoMod software suite is the Model Communications Module (MCM), which allows an executing simulation to open socket connections and to send and receive messages via TCP/IP network protocol. In this paper we report on a pilot study which explores the functionality of the MCM. In particular, we develop and implement an architecture that can be used to design, test, verify, and optimize control system software interacting with a discrete-event simulation of the system to be controlled. This architecture supports concurrent engineering of controls and hardware prototypes. Application of this architecture can significantly reduce the duration and cost of development cycles for new equipment and systems. In addition, this architecture can be applied to investigate the feasibility of implementing engineering changes in systems currently deployed.