Principal Material Engineer
Why did you join Air Products?
I interned at Air Products when I was in graduate school. I found there were great opportunities in this company for me to use my knowledge from school, broaden my skills, and go beyond my area of expertise.
Why do you love working at Air Products? What is it that keeps you working at Air Products?
I have the privilege of working with colleagues who are willing to teach, guide and mentor young engineers and managers who support plenty of training and avenues to explore new opportunities. I am challenged and growing every day through my work at Air Products.
Please describe your career at Air Products to date.
I joined Air Products in 2013 through the Ph.D. CDP (Career Development Program). My first assignment was in the Application Technology Metals Processing group where we develop new tools or new processes for the metals processing industry. My second assignment was in Materials Engineering and Technology where we provide failure analysis, material selection and consultation to improve the safety and reliability of our plants and manufacturing facilities.
I am currently supporting various businesses across the company. I also serve as part of the oxygen safety committee, which works on material oxygen compatibility reviews, oxygen system risk assessments, and providing materials review for our new capital projects. In this role I work with people from different groups across the company, which helps me learn how to solve problems from different perspectives. It’s very rewarding, because I can see how my work is contributing to the success of our plant operations.
Tell me about the most intriguing/satisfying thing(s) you’ve since you’ve been at Air Products.
I have been picking up very different expertise in the vast materials world. I graduated from school as a metallurgist, but I have been challenged to take responsibility in non-metallics and oxygen safety areas, sometimes on tight timelines. I found the experience very satisfying, and I gained a great deal of knowledge through hands-on learning on the job, as well as by seeking and following advice from internal and external team members.
Another intriguing part of my work is to investigate and uncover the root causes of material issues in our fleet and then find most suitable and cost-saving solutions for both existing plants and future designs. Especially for existing plants, many solutions are just not viable. Challenges for already-built plant require understanding of the various processes from many perspectives that are outside of my area of expertise. Through asking questions, collaboration, brainstorming, and team work, not only have I gained new knowledge, but I increased my network of contacts. Now I have expert sources to help with future problem-solving.
What career advice would you give to those just starting out in their engineering careers?
I have learnt through my work at Air Products that trying new things that reach beyond what you are assigned to so as part of a project while being challenged in ways that broaden your skills is very rewarding. My advice is to be curious; opportunity presents itself as you learn more. In addition, don’t be afraid of asking questions, even the ones that you might think are very simple or obvious.
Please explain what you do (in your current and/or previous job) contributes to sustainability?
My responsibility involves finding how material failures in our plants relate to design and/or changes in process, mechanical functionality, and/or materials. Through learning from the failures in one plant, I assess the commonalities and differences in other areas and make appropriate suggestions to improve the reliability of entire fleet. There is also knowledge-sharing--the findings from some work were also implemented in new capital projects so that similar failures will not occur. That sort of replication saves time, cost, and risk for everyone and ultimately improves efficiency and reliability. Another part of my job is to make data-driven decisions for oxygen systems, so serious incidents and injuries can be prevented. There is a very clear link to our grow, conserve, and care sustainability philosophy.
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