A Day in the Life of an Engineering Director

  • Talked to our attorney about a MSA (Master Services Agreement) with an engineering company that will evaluate existing compressors to determine if we can change the interstage pressure without causing rod load; and what needs to be done to modify compressors if it does.
  •  Explained to the CEO of our company why I need the aforementioned engineering consulting firm (he’s a brilliant financial guy, picks up technical information easily but does NOT WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT NUTS AND BOLTS).

    This week’s marker board. I can’t work without one. All of this stuff meant something, at one time.

  •  Reviewed and approved one dozen requests to sole-source instrumentation and metering equipment for the plant we are designing.
  •  Contacted speakers for a technical conference that I’m chairing in April. (Mass email, but I had to find all the different email addresses)
  •  Threw a fit about an expensive part, already ordered, that would be put on compressor oil lubrication piping that would absorb a 0.02” pipe deflection due to heat rise inside the piping. I defied them to show me what 0.02” looked like (this is not a nuclear power plant!). I don’t think 0.02” needs device for mitigating pipe stress.
  •  Got a fresh cup of coffee because my first one got cold before I had time to take more than a sip.
  •  Talked to plant superintendent and commissioning manager about starting up the refrigeration compressor and where to order 500 gallons of lubrication oil (that goes into the aforementioned piping)

Job books from a previous project. Unfortunately, I can’t drink the wine while I’m at work.

  •  Called boss to let him know power was hooked up over the weekend, and hydrostatic testing completed on compressors and hot oil burner system. And to complain about the expensive part that was ordered for the piping deflection. He agreed with me.
  •  Took two Advil.
  •  Sent note to accounting department at a business partner, who has neglected to send us accounting statement for three months with income information. Apparently, we at least got the checks, so that’s a good thing. But no statements.
  •  Checked Facebook, saw that one of my friend’s employers is having layoffs.
  •  Send note to company guy who maintains the fleet that my license tags expired in three days and I haven’t received new ones yet.  (I need a secretary). I have to call him every time, for both my car and the pool car we use. Isn’t this why they invented databases? This is a part of his job.
  •  Visited with safety manager about training requirements for site visitors to plant site, and followed up talking to the visitors about PPE requirements.
  •  Ate handful of nuts to combat low blood sugar and headache.
  •  Approved invoices, time sheets, expense reports.
  • Request information on burner control systems for Wyoming project so I can calculate if it meets low-emission criteria on NOx and certify to state if it’s a BACT (best available control technology).
  •  Ordered medicine refill from our online prescription service (after hunting down login information), which reminded me to…
  •  Make an appointment with my glaucoma doctor. Iwas supposed to go in September, and I’ve been remaking and cancelling appointments due to work load… Iwill be talked to about not following up on my care.

    Fred keeps me company. We don’t talk much, though. Also,  I have a license to do this shit, so stand back!

  •  And also for my orthopedic surgeon, to get cortisone shot in the hand that has not yet had surgery. Which I’ve been putting off because of work load.
  •  Lunch time: No one around to go with, so I heated up some Campbell’s Chicken Noodle I found in my desk. Read a couple of magazine articles while eating.
  •  Nine more emails about the pipe stress device. “This was discussed three weeks ago during field trip.”  OK, why did I just today get notes, why had it not been ordered if it was decided three weeks ago, and seriously, 0.02”?  Did you just see a number and decide it was a problem? Follow-up emails from construction director also asking WTH it wasn’t ordered back then.
  •  Call from on-site manager, regarding year-old conversations with producer about using their flare system. They change their minds more than a three-year-old in front of a candy counter. Now are deciding that we can’t use their vent stack; our flare not sized for entire potential stream. Can’t run plant without having places for all pressure relief valves to go. Plant supposed to start commissioning next week. New flare – several months delivery. Another person that was in on conversation is on plane, won’t be available for a few hours, so don’t want to call producer yet. (Same producer guy that called me, upset, three months ago, with a WTF attitude about a spot we were clearing outside of our fence boundary. I reminded him that he said we could put our septic drain field there. He calmed down and laughed.)
  • This affects time and money, so I have to figure something out ASAP.
  •  Emails from Wyoming project regarding status of air permit. Is this an expansion, or a greenfield site? Fortunately this is not a recognized sage grouse nesting area, so we don’t have to do wildlife surveys or worry about bird nests.  Can I come up with estimates of fugitive emissions, and MSS operations? I don’t know what MSS is yet, so I have to learn that first.
  •  Another email, claiming that my boss’s email from two weeks ago on the pipe stress analysis referred to an earlier issue. However, that other issue was decided several months ago. My boss is out of contact, but I’ve worked with him for 10 years and pretty sure that he wouldn’t have sent an email about something months after the fact, and without copying me. Every time this email is answered, another person gets added to the distribution list.
  •  Another Advil.

Drawing reviews.

  •  Last big thing:  90 minute conference call with engineering firm and prime contractor. Partial list of items discussed:  whether to use Intelligent Communication or hard-wiring for the Motor Control Center; why the refrigeration condensers need to be 22 feet above grade; requirements for a flare design and where we can tie in to the vapor recovery unit; when is the heat medium vendor going to send us drawings; when the deadline for approving of design should be; can we reset the compressor PSVs to 800 psig down from 825 psig; which legal entity assigns physical street addresses for rural locations in Wyoming; what are the liability insurance ceilings required for this project; do we want full slab concrete in the process buildings; how many people on site on typical day (needed to size septic and water tanks); and the last twenty minutes going over terms and conditions for procurement.
  •  I’m going home now. Thank you for participating.
  •  ETA: After I got home, I had calls from the field location. The site superintendent had to explain in GREAT detail about an issue, discuss it, and then repeat himself. He’s really good, but phone calls take twice as long as they need.
  •  Phone call from boss, who finally landed and got into his car. He agreed with me on pipe stress and emails; happy to hear about power, filled me in on status of his trip. I suspect later this year we will be starting another Canadian project. Very big dollars.

Framed and hung where visitors to my office can see.

Categories: Work and Jobs

Tags: , , , ,

7 replies

  1. Terrific!

    Loved this ” I’m going home now. Thank you for participating.”

  2. I think I’d have gone home and put my feet up by mid-morning coffee break and unplugged the phone. Far too stressful a job for me. Very well done on coping.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  3. Loved the photo of your marker board. When I toured the Autonetics plant in Anaheim (They made the computers for our Minuteman missile system) there was a blackboard in every engineer’s cubical. I thought that was a great idea. (BTW, what happens if that valve in the lower right corner of your whiteboard gets stuck?)

  4. I’m exhausted just reading about your day! RESPECT.

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