Sinéad Cook

Fixed Equipment Engineer

"The company strongly believes in training you, not only for their needs but also to develop your potential to the fullest."

Role: Fixed Equipment Engineer

Degree: MAI Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Trinity College Dublin.

I was first introduced to the company in my second year of university when I applied for the Exxon Mobil Energy Challenge day that was held in the UK headquarters in Leatherhead. This was a day where we learned lots about the company and the different career options available to us. They had a formula one racing car in the building and we got to work in teams to take part in the pit stop challenge, which I thought was pretty fun!  From this event I learned about the internship programme and applied for the 8 weeks summer placement.

During my placement I was surrounded by over 20 other interns. We were put into pairs and given a project to complete in 8 weeks. What I loved about this was being given real responsibility and engineering work from day one. I worked on developing an Excel-based tool that could be used to carry out a level one fitness for service assessment, which basically considers factors such as the material specification, pressure, temperature and service to determine whether a piece of equipment is safe for continued operations. The tool I created focused on general metal loss and brittle fracture. It was a steep learning curve, but it helped that I was in an environment where everyone was always willing to teach you and help you when you needed it. It also makes it so much more interesting when you can see the equipment on site and work on real issues- not theoretical ones like you normally do at university.

After my placement I completed my master’s year in Trinity College and came back as a Fixed Equipment Engineer for the Reforming and Lubricants units. Our department is responsible for calculating and predicting the risks associated with different bits of equipment such as towers, reactors, piping and exchangers. To manage these risks we work alongside a multi-disciplinary team of process safety Engineers, Chemical Engineers and material specialists- to name but a few- to ensure we carry out the correct maintenance work during the year. Our team also works with the business team trouble shooting any day-to-day issues the unit may be experiencing. This also means my schedule often changes at a moment’s notice when I get a call to go on site. This is something I quite enjoy as I am always faced with a unique challenge!

My department is also heavily involved in turnarounds - major maintenance events when the plant is shut down for maintenance work and we get to go inside pieces of equipment to inspect them to make sure they are ok for the next 6 years. I’ve been involved in turnarounds from the planning stage all the way through to execution. Last year I got to take part in a turnaround for a different team which I found to be a lot of fun. Turnarounds provide a different environment to work in as there are a lot more people on site at any one time, with lots to see and learn from.

At ExxonMobil, the focus on personal training and individual development is second to none in the industry, and the company strongly believes in training you, not only for their needs but also to develop your potential to the fullest.  Over the past two years, I have been on a number of formal training courses to aid in my job.

In the future I hope to continue my career in the challenging, unique environment provided by ExxonMobil, and to build on the knowledge and skills I have already acquired in whatever my next job role will be!

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