As I told you in this other entry, there are a lot of misconceptions about the process of producing an album. One of the most common is the belief that one with a recording studio is a music producer.
Clearing the air
Technically speaking he IS a producer in the sense that he will help you take your music to a recorded media with all the technical stuff and knowledge that is required to do that but, he is not YOUR producer in the sense that if you make money or not from that record it doesn't make any difference to him.
The fact that the studio guy is not your producer does not mean that he is expendable, quite the opposite, your record needs an audio engineer. There is a ton of stuff going on when you record and there is a lot of equipment involved, and you will need him. The problem is that in the independent circuit, the studio owners have taken over everything! From tracking and mixing to mastering, and eventually proclaiming themselves as your producer, they run the whole show.
Putting things into place
The studio owner can't be your producer because of a very simple reason: There is a direct conflict of interests.
The music producer's job is to help the artist make money form the record and in most cases, although they charge the artist for their services, they end up lowering a lot of expenses for them. One of those expenses is the studio bill.
So how on Earth does a person who makes profit from the hours you spend in the studio will ever help you or even encourage you stay less time there?
Moreover, unlike an actual producer the studio guy doesn't know the artists' music until they arrive to the studio so how would he know if the artist is giving what is needed for the record or even if the song is right, beyond the technical scope? Sure he knows music and audio but he doesn't know your music.
The audio engineer has a very important role in the process of producing a record but the fact that he owns a record studio does not automatically make him your producer. He won't be involved with your project in the way your actual producer would.
Their job is to track and mix the album: with you the artist and the producer.
The right man for the job
The audio engineer is your man when it comes to tracking and mixing, he knows his stuff: microphone selections and axis, preamps, wiring, compression techniques, efficient side-chains and many, many more but that's it, no mastering, that is job for a mastering studio, no production, that's for the producer, no CD replication, that's for the replication plant, no artwork, that's for the visual artist.
Always remember, the less your record depend on a single person, the better it will end.