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Even though searching in the “Cloud” has changed the information world, there are still two types of information that you need to know quickly: the information you “know” and the location of the reference that is the source for your practical knowledge. Every STG engineer should have access to information that is known to be from an accepted, reliable source, such as the equipment OEM, EPRI, ASME, as well as established experts in the industry. I am a grey-head, but I still like to have those books at my fingertips.
STG engineers also need to manage people and meetings. An STG engineer is responsible for staff working around the equipment, including contracted staff. Learning to hold a meeting is critical for keeping the staff around the STG working together. Watch others run their meetings. Remember, the large engineering staffs of the past don’t exist so the team working around the STG is smaller and doing more tasks. Be efficient in the human aspects of the position so you can concentrate time on the technical aspects. A favorite book of mine is “Death by Meeting,” by Patrick Lencioni. Make sure that you are using the correct type of meeting. Do you need to solve problems? Organize staff responsibilities or just convey information. Does your team need to get away on a retreat so that you can all get on the same page? Just as the thermal cycles are more efficient and equipment O&M with modern technology is more efficient, human interaction can be made more efficient with the most modern and proven techniques. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
Your thoughts and work are meaningless if they are not communicated properly. Along with all of the technical and human traits you must have, the need to communicate can make or break a project. Take some courses on public speaking. Learn how to read your audience. Whether it is a workshop for your staff or a toolbox talk at the beginning of the day, don’t let you audience fall asleep. Make eye contact and make your point, then make sure your point has been made. With the global world we live in, do not assume that the words you use mean the same to those listening, and don’t offend.
Study history. Read books. You are a problem solver who never stops learning. Make sure that you stop and help the young child that wants to know how things work. Everything around us is always evolving.
Gary Golden works in the EPRI Generation sector, specializing in steam turbines, generators and auxiliaries research. Prior to EPRI, Golden was a power plant design engineer. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He is a member of the ASME Executive Committee and Power Division TGA past chairman. You may contact him by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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