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A polarizing topic and a polarizing question, who wins in the battle of the sexes? The topic of equality in the workplace and lack of transparency has come to the forefront of many internal and external discussions. According to the Society of Women’s Engineers, in 2003 only 20% of new graduates from an engineering discipline were female in the United States. Compare that to a recent study in 2018 by Roberta Rincon, PH.D., Manager of Research at the SWE, where only 30% of women who earn a bachelor’s degree in Engineering are still working in that profession 20 years later and only 13% of engineers are women in the USA. However, there was a 54% increase in women being awarded engineering and computer science degree between 2011 and 2016. If we bring this closer to home, just 11% of the UK’s engineering workforce were female in 2017, a 2% increase since 2015. The UK also has the lowest percentage of female engineers in the EU, under 10% where the likes of Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus have nearly 30%. One step closer again and we are in Ireland where less than 25% of the people working in STEM related professions are women. Accenture conducted a survey which conveyed that there are negative stereotypes towards STEM subjects and careers. Certainly, there is still a long way to go before we reach true equality, it is a highly important issue. Yet, how about we move away slightly from representation and focus on pure achievement and contribution when discussing women and men in engineering? We provide the engineering icons and their achievements, and you decide who wins in a casual five-a-side match up! Let’s start at a time when engineering was starting to make waves across the whole of society and specifically focus in on electrical engineering, our first match up is Nikola Tesla and Edith Clarke. Edith Clarke First Female Electrical Engineer and First Female Professor of Electrical Engineering in the University, teaching for 10 years. Invented the calculator while working as a Supervisor in GE. Also invented Clarke Transformation and was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame Two of her papers in mathematics won awards from the AIEE, best regional paper in 1932 and best national paper in 1941. Nikola Tesla The famous Croatian began working in Edison Machine Works, troubleshooting installations and improving generators patented over 300 inventions but is most well known for the Tesla Coil and oscillator. Advised on the electrical system for Niagara Falls. Invented a radio remote control boat, dubbing it “teleautomation” but the general public considered it magic or even made the outlandish claim a small monkey was driving it. This would later go into mass use in World War I for torpedoes with Tesla getting little acclaim. Effectively dying bankrupt, he was well known for his eccentric behaviour, working everyday from 9am to 6pm, walking at least 8 miles every day and possessing an eidetic memory. So, who was the bright spark who outshone the other between this duo of electrical engineers? Next up we have the Civil Engineers who paved the way in their fields, Gustave Eiffel and Emily Warren Roebling. Emily Warren Roebling Contributed massively to the completion of the Brooklyn bridge. After her husband, Washington Roebling, the chief engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge, contracted Caisson Disease and became bed-ridden, she developed an extensive knowledge of Materials, Stress Analysis and Cable Construction. She also became the only person to relay instruction to his assistants and aided in the plans for completion of the bridge itself. She took over a lot of the chief engineer duties and jointly planned the bridges completion and was the first to cross the bridge by carriage. Campaigned for women’s rights and against discriminatory practices targeted at women, winning wide acclaim and awards for her essay “A Wife’s Disabilities”. Gustave Eiffel Most famous for the Eiffel Tower but also contributed to the liberty statue and also designed the Garabit Viaduct. The Eiffel Bridge, and Gustave’s first major work, which is in Bordeaux has been protected as a French Historical Monument. Even though he was only a contractor for the Panama Bridge project he was implicated in the financial and political scandal. Contributed massively to aerodynamics and civil engineering, he died on 27 December 1923 while listening to Beethovens 5th Symphony The Brooklyn Bridge vs the Eiffel Tower, who built more of a legacy, Gustave or Emily? Both certainly had their issues to overcome but left a lasting legacy behind them but who made the bigger impression on the civil engineering world? Following on from Civil Engineering, we have a match up between a physicist and a chemist who both revolutionized their own respective fields and the world as we know it. Stephanie Kwolek Offered a position at the DuPont facility in New York, the vacancy arose as the majority of men were overseas in World War II but developed a career spanning 40 years, becoming the only female employee in 2015 to receive the Lavoisier Medal for outstanding achievement. She became the fourth woman to be added to the National Inventors Hall of Fame after creating Kevlar and had an illustrious career in working with polymers. Stephanie never profited from the discovery as she signed it over to DuPont, but Kevlar is used in hundreds of different products that we use daily such as mobile phones and cables. She won a publication award for her Nylon Rope Trick which created Nylon from a beaker at room temperature but also received the Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists and an award for Creative Invention from the American Chemical Society. The Royal Society of Chemistry awards scientists the ‘Stephanie L Kwolek Award’ to exceptional contributions to the area of materials chemistry outside of the UK. John Bardeen Awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics twice, first in 1956 for the invention of the transistor and secondly in 1972 for a fundamental theory of conventional superconductivity known as the BCS theory. His development of the transistor helped with almost all modern technology such as telephones and computers, effectively bringing in the information age. In 1990, John was included in Life Magazines 100 most Influential Americans of the Century. Worked on magnetic mines and torpedoes during World War II. Sony have created a John Bardeen Professional Chair post at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bursar of $3 million. With both inventors and engineers leaving a massive legacy behind them both in academia and in real life application of science, it is a hard-won battle about who comes out on top between this pair. Now to look at more of a celebrity type of engineer and inventor with a flair for the limelight. Hedy Lamarr An Austrian born, inventor and actress who both helped develop a radio guidance system for allied torpedoes and starred in the likes of Algiers, Boom Town and Samson and Delilah. With no formal training, she created improved traffic stoplights, torpedoes that could resist frequency jamming and advised Howard Hughes on changing the design of his aeroplanes to sleeker, streamlined versions. In 1939, she was awarded the “most promising new actress” and has a Hollywood walk of Fame star. She became the first woman to receive the Invention Convention’s BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, was awarded the Electronic Frontier Foundations Pioneer Award and also was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. She has had her fair share of controversy with her film Ecstasy being banned in numerous countries for its content, being convicted of shoplifting twice and a few other scandals. Elon Musk The South African entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of SpaceX and Co-Founder and CEO of Tesla with other massive companies such as The Boring Company which cover infrastructure and construction to Neuralink, a neurotechnology company. He founded X.com which later became PayPal and was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion and also Zip2 who were later acquired by Compaq for $340 million. Elon has stated that the goals if SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity are humanitarian in reducing the effect of global warming by increasing the use of sustainable energy and even found a colony on mars. He has been ranked as one of the most powerful people in the world by Forbes, was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Business Insider named him in the top ten of business visionaries creating value for the world. Who has the bigger wow factor, the movie star who escaped Nazi occupation to become a massive film star and inventor or the modern-day entrepreneurial engineer changing the landscape of the world? Up next are two engineers who have represented two of the biggest companies in the world with very different backgrounds but still inspirational stories. Ann Kelleher Born in Macroom, Co. Cork who was one of 5 women in a class of 55 studying engineering in UCC. She continued her studies achieving a master’s in electrical engineering and became the first ever female to receive a PHD from the NMRC. She began her career as a process engineer in Intel Ireland later progressing to factory manager, eventually site managing Intel’s New Mexico plant. She became the first woman in Intel’s history to be named Vice President, later becoming senior vice-president. In 2018 she became one of 25 women to be recognised in “Ireland’s Most Powerful Women Award” and was even tipped by Forbes as a good candidate to replace Elon Musk at Tesla. She is a huge advocate for women working in engineering and has called for more girls to study engineering and that more women should be applying for senior management roles. Steve Wozniak Electronics engineer who co-founded Apple who is widely considered one of the founding fathers of the personal computer revolution. After a traumatic plane crash, he suffered from amnesia using Apple II computer games to regain his memory but later leaving apple to invent and patent a universal controller. He has a long line of philanthropic programs he works on, ranging form founding the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sponsoring the Tech Museum, the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose and provided the entirety of the budget for the technical program for his local school district in Los Gatos. In 2014 he was induced into the Manufacturing Wall of Fame while also acting as the Innovator in Residence at High Point University and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Museum of Natural History. As well as holding an electrical engineering degree from the University of California, he has 10 honorary degrees from American, English, Canadian and Spanish degrees. Is it the Cork native with her extremely impressive CV who comes out smiling or is it Woz with his contribution to Apple and personal computers? Overall this is not to split opinion or be divisive, it is an insight into the major engineering feat’s that have been achieved by men and women. Despite low female representation in the engineering sphere, female leaders such as Hey Lamarr and Ann Kelliher still emerged changing the world for the better. These female leaders went against the grain in spectacular fashion portraying that we can do more to further the conversation on diversity in engineering.
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Working as a Mechanical & Electrical Engineering Recruitment Consultant I’m very interested in educating people on a career in the building services industry. I’ve been recruiting in the industry for nearly three years and have noticed a significant drop in the amount of Building Services graduates entering into the workforce. M&E Engineering firms are constantly calling looking for assistance in filling positions they can’t seem to fill themselves. A career in Building Services can be very challenging and rewarding with several different types of positions available in the industry. It combines a flair for design and problem solving along with dynamic working environments in Ireland and abroad. According to the CAO, points for a place in Building Services have been relatively low over the last few years which is surprising given the job opportunities. What is Building Services? Building Services Engineers are responsible for designing and installing energy systems in buildings. These systems include heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, water supply, fire protection, power, lighting and data communication systems. They work alongside architects and other engineering disciplines to design, develop and manage new technologies that impact the economy, utility, durability, and comfort of buildings. Working in Building Services Building Services Engineers can either work on the consultancy (design) side or the contractor (installation / commissioning) side of the industry. Both require knowledge of Building Services but are different in terms of day-to-day activities. Working for the Consultant – Design, Flair & Problem solving. Meeting with Clients. Tender / Concept design. Research new designs, technologies, and construction methods. Design calculations. Layout designs / drawings. Simulations. Working for the Contractor – Dynamic, Hands on, Commercial. Installation of M&E services. Commissioning of M&E services Interpret technical drawings and schematics. Environmental, Health and Safety on site. Provide feedback to design engineers on Client problems. Quality assurance. Careers & Opportunities Working as a Building Services Engineer there are several areas one can specialise in ranging from Residential / Commercial projects such as apartment complexes, offices and retail units to large Industrial / Pharmaceutical projects such as food processing plants, power stations and manufacturing facilities. As well as these projects happening in Ireland, there are plenty of opportunities in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and also Africa. Projects in the Commercial sector use conventional HVAC systems however above is a photo of the mechanical services in a Pharmaceutical plant. Plants like this have a higher demand for air, water, steam and other hazardous materials hence the larger and more specialised equipment. Salary Information Position Salary (1 – 2 years) € Salary (2 – 5 years) € Salary (5 years plus) € CAD Technician 25 – 27 27 – 30 30+ BIM Modeller 25 – 27 30 – 35 35+ Revit MEP Modeller 27 – 30 30 – 40 40+ Mechanical Design Engineer 25 – 28 35 – 45 50+ Electrical Design Engineer 25 – 28 35 – 45 50+ Mechanical Project Engineer 25 – 28 35 – 45 60+ Electrical Project Engineer 25 – 28 35 – 45 60+ Mechanical Project Manager N/A 40 – 60 70+ Electrical Project Manager N/A 40 – 60 70+ Software Building Services has come along way over the years in terms of the software used by engineers. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the most talked about / required package in the industry with it being used by both consultancies and contractors. It describes the process of designing a building collaboratively using a system of computer models rather than separate sets of drawings, this helps reduce the risk of errors through integrated design, engineering and fabrication workflows. Below is an image of how a coordination issue between the structural engineers and HVAC engineers was resolved long before the construction phase began, saving precious time, manpower and money. Before BIM, this issue may only have been spotted when the mechanical services were being installed and this issue would have been sent back to the consultants to reroute the services. Most companies nowadays will have BIM as a requirement on their job specifications however, if you have never used it before there are several types of courses available to do. Other software used in Building Services includes: Revit MEP IES Navisworks AutoCAD Dialux Hevacomp Having worked on very exciting roles with extremely innovative and dynamic companies, I find it hard to believe that there is not more of an interest in Building Services as a career. If you see yourself as someone with a flair for design, an interest in energy systems and good at problem solving then why not give me a call to discuss the first / next step in your career.
Face to face interviews can be scary, but with the added pressure of presenting during an interview anyone can become a nervous wreck. Here are our tips to help you ace your interview presentation. Structure Your Presentation A strong structure is the most important thing to get right. The aim is to keep the interviewer’s attention through presenting engaging and relevant content. Plan out what you want to say through brainstorming. Draw a map showing how each point links to the next. Make sure the points you are making fit within the companies aim and objectives, thus showing the research you have done. The key thing is not to waffle. A basic outline for any presentation should have: Introduction: Give a brief overview of the subject of the presentation and what you wish to cover Elaborate: Discuss the subject in as much detail as time will allow using as little slides as possible Conclusion: Sum up what you have spoken about adding in your thoughts where necessary N.B. A useful slide to include would be a “Why Me?” slide. At the end of the day you want them to hire you for the job so this should be one point they take home. Be Visual Use your slides to keep the panel engaged as reading from slides will send anyone into a daydream. Use bullet points and images as much as possible to keep your audience attentive. Other things to include: Provide hand-outs for them to read and to take away (but give them out at the end!) Have inviting body language (do not cross your arms or put your hands in your pockets) Do not be afraid to use gestures (it will draw their attention back to you) Practice Makes Perfect Preparation is a vital part of any interview and this will help overcome nerves. You should be given enough time to prepare your presentation in advance. Use this time wisely and practice until you know everything off by heart. Additional things to perfect include tone of voice and gestures. Worried you might trip over your words? Ask a friend to help you practise your presentation until you’re completely confident. The key is to talk naturally as this will show the panel that you understand your area and that you are the best person for the job. Pronounce Every Word Clearly When you are nervous there is a temptation to speak fast to quicken the whole process; you must resist this. Add commas to your notes to signal where to take breaths and regularly pause to collect your thoughts. Speaking clearly will ensure that the panel understand your points and won’t be interrupting the presentation to ask questions. Eye Contact Presentations can be a lot harder than face to face interviews as the interviewee is the main talker. One sure way to ensure that people stay engaged is to maintain eye contact using friendly eyes. It is important to shift eye contact to everyone on the panel to keep everyone engaged and listening. There Will Be Questions Doing a presentation doesn’t mean that you will not be asked more questions. It is still an interview and the interviewer/s will still have questions to ask. They will more than likely ask about you and your presentation so be prepared. For further interview advice and/or to discuss career opportunities call 01-4744624 or send a confidential email to Alan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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