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Fledgling Eng. Department

Fledgling Eng. Department

Fledgling Eng. Department


Good day, I hope all is well. I come asking for insight and advice in regards to building a fledgling engineering department. As a little back ground, I have been working for the company for 4 years and have managed to end up in a supervisory role. I started by doing technical illustrations and working in the field installing and repairing equipment and worked my way up to where I am currently.

The “Technical Projects and Engineering” department currently consists of the following:

· President

· Myself

· Two recently graduated chemical engineers


Essentially the company builds,  installs, repairs, and calibrates low pressure vapor relief equipment for above ground storage tanks.

We currently complete engineering reports based on API 2000 for relief capacities for normal and emergency venting cases (per the standard) and offer minor suggestions for piping configuration changes based on experience.

Currently, the president of the company is the head of the engineering department. The scope of the reports is very limited in my view, which I can elaborate on for anyone familiar with API 2000. The presidents holds a masters in chemistry and my degree is in illustration with some minimal CAD experience.

Currently, these are the issues I've identified through my own personal research (perhaps opinion, boldly stated as fact):

-No engineering best practices

-No QA/QC (manufacturing department)

-Extremely limited scope of services offereed


Long story short, I am responsible in growing the department. The president insists on hiring degreed engineers’ fresh out of school which I general have no issue with. Generally they are already ahead of my technical ability and arguably his, though he has been in the oil and gas business for 20+ years.

My idea is to pay a fair salary to an experienced engineer who can assist in implementing good engineering fundamentals and practices as well as assist in bringing our recent grads up to speed, far beyond my technical breadth.

My goals for the department are:

· Improving the current standard of the API 2000 reports

· Being able to troubleshoot VRU systems with sound engineering/ additional services

· Implementing sound MOC processes when drawings and designs are changed and modified
-Development of QA/QC program

The questions:

Do any of you have any ideas of how to convey this message to the president without insulting his intelligence?

Any specifics I should look for when hiring an experienced engineer to address the issues mentioned above?

Are there any other options for training for the two current chemical engineers for specific training in relation to vapor recovery
Thank you for your time,




RE: Fledgling Eng. Department

I'd want at least one person with enough experience (3-5 years minimum) to know how things worked at their previous company. They can emulate the good stuff and ditch the bad stuff. It takes time in a working environment to figure these things out. And maybe that person isn't a chemical engineer, but mechanical, who has spent time in a shop environment.

If you want to run your department like a college lab class or a senior design project, sure get only fresh grads. There has to be a way to say that without sounding rude, but it would take me a while to come up with it.

RE: Fledgling Eng. Department

Thank you for the responses.

Kenat: Thanks for posting the forum guidelines. This post was made from my own volition in efforts to do things the way in perceive to be the right way. I will certainly verify what my state's requirements are in regards to having a PE on staff. If this the case it will alivate my issues short term and support my solution.

1gibson: Your insight is appreciated. I dont perceive your responses as rude, but direct. No need to sugar coat on my account.

RE: Fledgling Eng. Department

One thing that will be important is to define and communicate the mission or your department and how it fits in with the conpany's overall mission. Also define a procedure for the services of your department to be engaged, in-progress client review, documentation of quality assurance, definition of successful final deliverables, and how your projects are closed-out. Consider using workflows and lists in SharePoint or other web based platform to define and document your processes.

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