The engineer behind the accolade
As part of a series of interviews with individuals who have chosen a career in the Pump industry, here we talk to Jamie Mills, winner of the ‘Engineer of the Year Award’ at the recent 2017 Pump Industry Awards.
Q1. Education: When did you first become aware that you wanted to be an engineer and how did you approach this career path (University, Apprenticeship, other)?
From an early age I’ve always had a keen interest in science technology and engineering, to some degree I think my father, who is a physicist, may have influenced this. After leaving school I worked on the tools as a kitchen fitter and carpenter. I really enjoyed my time on site but felt the wear on the body would get the better of me in later life so I made the decision to retrain as an engineer, taking a full time degree at Aston University in electromechanical engineering.
Q2. Career Choice: When and how did you decide on a career in Pumps?
My first encounter with pumps and turbomachinery was at university on the fluid dynamics module. I had a very keen interest in fluid systems and the way in which we can mathematically predict the behaviour of pumps within a system. Whist studying I took a placement with Xylem working with the Flygt brand, which allowed me to pursue a ‘final year project’ measuring pump flow rates using LASER technology. Having enjoyed this I returned to Xylem as a Trainee Systems Engineer.
Q3a. Work: Is there an average day for you and if so what does that involve?
My primary job function is to support the Xylem UK sales team on complex pumping and pump system issues. The jobs I get involved in can range from studying rising main profiles and developing system curves to in depth energy analysis. Alongside this I also look after Xylem’s interests in building information modelling (BIM) where I also chair the BIM4Water Standard Libraries Group; we are specifically looking at data exchange within the water industry and how we can facilitate this for our clients going forward.
Q3b. What do you enjoy most about this industry and your role in it?
The water industry forms a key part of the day to day life. I feel at this present time we are on the verge of a technological leap forward with lots of intelligent new systems and products. This is very exciting and presents great opportunities for engineers.
Q4. PIA: What was it that you think, made you a finalist in this year’s Awards and how did it feel to win?
Over the past couple of years I have been working hard to ensure Xylem and other manufacturers within the water industry can deliver the correct information required by owner operators and members across the supply chain to make BIM happen. For us all to see the benefits of good information management someone needed to carry this forward, and with support from my management team, I have been pushing this vision hard. Other involvements that I’m particularly proud of include my work with emerging technologies and additive manufacturing for pumps.
Winning the award was a very proud moment for me! Better still, I got to share the achievement with my grandfather who sadly passed away shortly afterwards. He too was an engineer and a great inspiration to me.
Q5. CPSA: You are CPSA accredited, has this helped you in your work or contributed to any aspects of your work?
Yes very much so, I will regularly look at a machine’s energy characteristics - efficiency and unitisation when making pump selections. Having a practical working knowledge of pump performance and their associated systems reinforces the theoretical knowledge. Moreover, understanding pump performance testing in accordance with ISO14414 allows me to capture data with confidence and deliver a qualified energy analysis. But of course more importantly it gets me out of the office for onsite testing; something I enjoy from my days on the tools.
Jamie Mills is a Systems Engineer with BPMA member company, Xylem Water Solutions.
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