Wow! Thanks a lot to everyone who voted! And thanks to the other engineers - they were awesome!
I worked as a Sales Assistant at Boots for the 5 years that I was at univeristy. During my final university years, I also had a part time job as a tutor/demonstrator – my job was to help younger students with their tutorial lessons, which is where the learning from lectures is put into practice.
Senior Engineer, Subsea – I design and analyse pipelines and other subsea systems to ensure that they are safe.
I design pipes to safely move oil or gas that is around 50 degrees Celsius hotter than a boiling kettle and 600 times the pressure in a car’s tyres, from deep under the seabed to the pumps at a petrol station or the oven at home!
I work as a Subsea Engineer for an engineering consultancy. This means that other companies pay our company to solve their toughest problems. This is the only thing that we “sell” – our brain power, and the solutions to problems!
While my work has mostly been with pipelines, I also have some other knowledge/experience related to other aspects of Oil and Gas engineering… So if you feel like asking a more general Oil and Gas related question (or indeed even general engineering questions) please feel free to ask and I’ll give it my best shot to give you an answer!
My Typical Day
I do a lot of thinking, a lot of calculating, and a lot of brainstorming with my colleagues to find the solutions to problems!
I tend to work on many projects in a year, which means that my days are varied. I might be ensuring that the design of a future pipeline is safe (prevention is better than cure!), or checking that an existing pipeline is operating safely, or investigating all the different options for dismantling/removing pipelines that will no longer be required (called “decommissioning” in the industry).
These varied activities mean that on any given day I may be performing calculations, or making 3D computer models of pipes (and other subsea objects), or brainstorming with my workmates over the environmental impacts of decommissioning. These are just some of the things that I do – ask me if you’d like to know more!
What I'd do with the money
I would use the money to invest in materials to design and create a fun, STEM-based version of a puzzle scenario to engage students with STEM subjects and improve teamwork and problem solving skills!
If you have ever watched The Crystal Maze or Fort Boyard, you’ll know how enthusiastic people get over puzzles that have a time limit! In recent years puzzle rooms have become popular. These rooms are filled with cryptic clues, clever puzzles and fun mysteries that players must find and solve within the time limit in order to win the game.
The challenges typically lead on from one another; finding a key may open a box that is locked, solving a puzzle may give you the 4 digits for a combination lock that is locking a drawer, or solving a riddle may tell you where to look to find the next clue. The game ends when a particular object or answer is found.
I would like to use the money to invest in materials to design and create a STEM*-based version of such a puzzle scenario. It would be on a smaller scale, and would be designed for teams of around 4 students. The team would have to work together in order to solve the puzzles within the time limit and win the game!
I’d look to use the game as a way to engage students with STEM subjects (especially engineering!) and hopefully encourage/inspire them to pursue careers in the STEM/engineering sectors.
*STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Optimistic, driven, creative
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Fish and Chips
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Learning to scuba dive – it’s an excellent experience that’s unlike anything else!
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wasn’t sure! I knew that I liked numbers, problem solving, communicating and being creative. By doing some investigating, I found that engineering was a great fit. Not only does engineering involve these interests, but the skills you learn through studying engineering are very sought after, and hence you have a very wide range of professions that you can choose to pursue!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
In secondary school I would occasionally be a bit cheeky, but I generally got away with it because I worked hard.
What's the best thing you've done as an engineer?
I won a regional presentation competition called “Speak Out for Engineering”, which was hosted by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). The challenge was to present an engineering topic at a level that was easy to understand for people who were not engineers. I really enjoy explaining ideas, so to be fortunate enough to win the competition and get some feedback that I was on the right track was really encouraging!
If you weren't an engineer, what would you be?
I often think about this! There were so many opportunities available after university that interested me – further learning (working towards a PhD), teaching/lecturing, or a medical scientist to name but a few. If we’re talking about before I’d graduated, it would be playing in a successful band (despite not currently playing an instrument!) or being a successful tennis player (despite currently being average at best!).
Tell us a joke.
First, press alt-f4 and then hit the enter key.
This is a picture of me at my desk to give you an idea of the environment I work in day-to-day. I get to have a dual-monitor setup, which is kind of cool!
Below is a picture of one type of pipeline (called a “bundle”) that was towed out to the North Sea after we had performed some analysis on it.
I spend a lot of time using computer programs that can perform Finite Element Analysis (FEA). You draw an object, divide it into little blocks, and then ask the program to work out how the object will react to temperature/bending/stretching etc.
Here’s a screenshot of a pipe and connection (called a “flange”) reacting to bending. I think the colours always look awesome!
I also analyse vertical pipes called risers: