Q: In a nutshell, what do you do for CAP?
A: I am a Senior Mechanical Engineer in the Engineering Resources Department. I support many of the larger capital upgrade projects that CAP runs. Project Engineers are essentially responsible for managing the overall design as well as portions of construction during these projects. In addition to projects, we handle all the internal design projects that are needed to support maintenance.
Q: How did you get into this line of work?
A: I was always a hands-on guy and I grew up in a construction family. So I always enjoyed building things, working on cars, etc. so I wanted to go into a field I could design and build things and make a career out of it. So that’s what led me to becoming a Mechanical Engineer. I did consulting for a while, actually drawing plumbing and mechanical blueprints, and now I help manage a lot of those similar designers we hire here at CAP.
Q: How does the work you do on a daily basis affect our water supply?
A: I look at my job, and really the job of Engineering Resources as a whole, as support for our customer (the Maintenance Department) in anything they need support with. For example, Maintenance came to Engineering because quagga mussels were fouling up the equipment causing unit outages. We then evaluate possible solutions to that problem, design a system that works, and then actually oversee the entire construction to the end, all while maintaining a set budget and schedule. With quagga mussels, we designed a system that will automatically inject copper sulfate in a safe way. A large tanker truck will pull up to the plant, fill a storage tank on ground level of the plant, and then pipe the chemical all the way down the seven levels of the plant to the cooling water system. The whole process will be automated and eliminate the need to haul the corrosive chemical down to the lowest level of the plant, reducing maintenance costs and eliminating potential hazards to our employees.
Q: What are some of the technical advances that allow you to do your job more effectively and efficiently?
A: Most of the technical advances that have made doing my job more efficient revolve around advancements in software technologies. A lot of our design projects are based on CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) designs. We are able to model most of our designs in full 3D due to the software advancements with those systems. Being able to model these in 3D (versus 2D on a sheet of paper) and actually test them on the computer before any money is spent fabricating them has really streamlined a lot of what we do.
Q: What's the most challenging part of your work?
A: There are many key stakeholders anytime you work on a large capital improvement project. Sometimes it can be challenging to manage all the wants and needs of all those key stakeholders all while delivering a project that meets our budget and schedule constraints. But luckily, everyone here at CAP seems to have the same values so we are always able to reach a compromise at the end of the day.
Q: What's the most gratifying part of your job?
A: For me, the most gratifying part of working for CAP is that our daily work has a real PURPOSE. We aren’t just spitting out widgets; delivering water across the state has a real meaning. What we do on a daily basis is key to keeping water deliveries going. Coming up with solutions that help keep water moving is extremely gratifying.
Q: What is your favorite part about working at CAP?
A: My favorite part of working here at CAP is the variety of projects I get to be involved in. One day I could be up at Lake Havasu trying to design a chemical injection system that combats our quagga mussel problem, and the next day I could be in Tucson coming up with a new air conditioning system for the plant. And of course, the culture and people here at CAP are like none other than I have been a part of before.
Q: How long have you been at CAP?
A: I have been at CAP over 5 years now.
Q: What is your current position/title and what other positions have you held?
A: I am currently a Senior Mechanical engineer. I was hired originally hired as a Mechanical Engineer and promoted to Senior a couple years ago.