When Tom Brennan was at high school he had the opportunity to tour a pulp and paper mill and was instantly fascinated by the scale of the industrial site and what the engineers were doing. From that moment on, Tom knew he wanted a job that like that. Dial the clock forward seven years and Tom joined Beca. He is now working as a Senior Electrical and Controls Engineer in our Southern Industrial team. Find out what he has been working on since then.
1. On your first day at Beca, what stood out to you?
I was very nervous! But the Beca team did a great job of making me feel welcome and getting me settled in. It was clear to me from day one that there was a strong culture of professionalism and care for one another.
2. What sort of projects have you been involved in?
I’m fortunate to have been involved in projects across almost all of our industrial markets. However, my favourite projects are the ones where I am able to contribute to planning and engineering, through to on-site commissioning.
- PT Vale Indonesia Kiln 2 Coal Conversion – I started working on this project soon after I joined the industrial team in Tauranga. The project was to replace the existing burner to lower emissions and improve the nickel reduction process. I worked on detail design of the burner’s electrical and control systems for about one year before spending two months on site assisting with commissioning. It was a great opportunity to travel somewhere new, experience the culture of Indonesia and gain practical experience at a heavy industrial site.
- Oji Fibre Solutions Hydrochloric Acid Furnace Safety Upgrade – This project was initiated to upgrade the furnace’s instrumentation and control systems to lower emissions, increase product quality and the inherent safety of the process. I was involved in electrical design and programming of the control system. I also assisted during the on-site commissioning phase and got a real tangible sense of achievement seeing my designs coming to life.
3. What has been your favourite accomplishment at Beca?
Becoming a client relationship manager for one of Beca’s largest industrial clients – this has been a great opportunity for me to develop skills beyond the pure technical. I like to get to know our clients, understand what’s important to them and how to bring the best of Beca to help achieve their goals.
4. What gets you out of bed every morning?
Knowing that each day will provide new challenges and opportunities to learn. For example, one day I might be focused on technical work at the office, the next I might be attending an industry conference, then the next I could be travelling to a client site for a project. I thrive on the diversity of the opportunities available at Beca.
5. How does the work you do ‘make everyday better’ for our clients and communities?
A lot of the work I do is helping our clients achieve compliance with explosive atmosphere standards. The aim of this work is to identify explosion risk areas in industrial sites and to ensure the correct engineering of electrical systems in those areas to prevent potentially disastrous explosions. I ‘make everyday better’ by ensuring these risks are correctly managed – and the people who work at these sites get home safe each day.
6. What does the next 12 months hold for you?
Part of what makes working at Beca so enjoyable is how changeable the work is – which means I often don’t know what I’m doing one week to the next! However, I am looking forward to furthering my technical knowledge and am planning to complete my assessment to become a Chartered Professional Engineer. I am also pursing membership with the joint Australia / New Zealand committee which manages our explosive atmosphere standards.
One day I might be focused on technical work at the office, the next I might be attending an industry conference, then the next I could be travelling to a client site for a project. I thrive on the diversity of the opportunities available at Beca.
Senior Electrical & Controls Engineer