Career Story: Mechanical Engineer For The Power Industry

Mechanical Engineer For The Power Industry

Job Title: Mechanical Engineer

Type of Company: My company provides engineering and design services to the electrical power industry. Companies that own or build power plant come to us to provide the drawings, and specifications needed to start the actual purchase of equipment or construction of power plants.

Education: Bachelor of Engineering, Marine Engineering (with concentration in Nuclear Power) SUNY Maritime College

Previous Experience: Drafter, Design Engineer for a naval architecture firm

Job Tasks: My job is flexible as a senior mechanical engineer and a junior project manager.

On a typical day I am responsible for:

  • performing calculations to equipment or piping
  • writing specifications to purchase complex equipment
  • designing systems (such as fire protection, high pressure steam, natural gas) systems
  • reviewing designs by other disciplines (such as electrical or structural)
  • ensuring that all aspects of the design my company produce satisfy local building and design codes.

Additionally, since I am a project manager, I will be responsible for producing billing reports, schedules, status reports and making sure the client is happy with our work.

I am also sometimes responsible for bidding new work with means starting the entire process and establishing what it will cost my company to perform this work. Sometimes the approach is entirely new and I must start with a blank sheet of paper, lay out equipment, size piping, establish costs, create schedules etc. On other occasions the design is somewhat established and my participation is limited to finalizing costs. Mostly it's somewhere in between those two cases.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The part I like the most is bidding new work from a blank sheet of paper. (fun engineering)

The part I like least is checking man-hour reports against billing records and then approving billing reports. (straight accounting)

Job Tips:
1. Honestly I was a lukewarm math student in middle and high school. It was important to never become discouraged and work through the classes. Very helpful to me was to pick a school what had a low student/instructor ratio.

2. Once you graduate it helps to select a company that has a decent internal training program. One of the hall marks to this career is continuous self improvement and learning which actually has turned out to be one of the better aspects of what I do. That helps make things very interesting.

3. Within the company you do select, take the initiative to accept assignments apart from what you think you can do.

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