Bill Martin IEng MSOE MBES is the Engineering Unit Leader and Key Account Manager at Irish Engineering Services, a part of the BES Group . Bill shares some of his experience, challenges achievements and tips for aspiring engineers starting their careers or looking to develop their career path.
Background and career path in engineering:
From a young age, Bill loved to travel. This love drove him to seek a career that would take him around the world whilst getting paid.
After weighing his options Bill found that seeking education would help materialise this dream as a result of which he studied for a Higher National Diploma in Marine & Plant Engineering at Cork Institute of Technology. After receiving his Diploma Bill joined the Merchant Navy as an Engineering Cadet, not only did this allow him to fulfil his dream of travelling but also the idea of working with large power plants at a young age was awe-inspiring.
“Most young men at the time were talking about the first car they had bought and bragging about how much power was under the hood, but they couldn’t compete with the 45,000 SHP engine I worked with”.
Bill Martin IEng MSOE MBES
Bill went on to complete an Engineering cadetship in the Merchant Navy qualifying with a Combined (Steam and Moto) Officer of the Watch Certificate. At the time this was unusual as steam technology was becoming obsolete as it was increasingly difficult to find a shipping company that still had them in their operating fleet. Bill served onboard a range of vessel types including roll on roll off ferries, tall ships and Very Large & Ultra Large Crude Carriers which carried up to 3.5 million barrels of crude oil.
Bill spent five years in the North Sea and served on board Chevron Texaco's flagship the Dynamic Positioning shuttle tanker, the MV Aberdeen. The MV Aberdeen was originally built to shuttle crude oil from the Captain field to the Nigg Bay terminal in the Cromarty Firth, Scotland. Shuttle tankers transporting crude oil from offshore oil fields to terminals were crucial as the use of subsea pipelines would not be feasible. Due to the notoriously harsh weather of the North Sea, the use of shuttle tankers was dangerous but nonetheless critical role.
During his cadetship, Bill worked on several ships with his favourite being two 61.2 Bar(g) superheated water tube steam boilers which fed cross compound HP & LP steam turbines producing up to 45,000 SHP. Whilst working Bill developed a passion for working with steam and more so an interest in Engineer Surveying. This came from working alongside the Classification Society Surveyors.
Current Role managing a team of 20 Engineer Surveyors:
After years at sea as a marine engineer, Bill joined the engineering arm of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance in late 2006 and qualified as a Boiler Surveyor via their bespoke in-house training programme. Some of Bill’s day-to-day activities involved conducting statutory inspections on behalf of the insurer at different client sites. The clients ranged from small local garages to state-of-the-art pharmaceutical plants. Bill works with everything from a small coffee boiler to a fluidised bed water tube boiler and every piece of pressure plant in between. No two days were the same. Examination of lifting equipment soon followed, looking at everything from lifting tackle to electric overhead cranes.
“Im involved in one shape or another in the inspection industry ever since.”
Over the years Bill's role has evolved and changed. Currently, he has responsibility for and management of engineering surveying which consists of a team of 20 Engineer Surveyors that delivers a statutory inspection service to two insurance partners. This involves the delivery of a statutory engineering inspection programme that spans over 3800 individual client sites and 80,000 assets in Ireland. Irish Engineering Services has also developed a strong consultancy arm and is a recognised EU Notified Body (2820) under the pressure equipment directive.
Bill’s role also now includes a very strong Key Account Management focus with a panel of 10 larger clients and delivering to commercial business targets and KPI’s.
What do you like most about your current role?
“No two days are the same and when the phone rings he has no idea what problem I am going to be asked to solve next.”
Bill remarks that due to his role being hybrid the flexibility is a massive positive. He could be working at home, out and about with Surveyors, on clients’ sites or delivering presentations online or in person. Additionally, as the role is very busy Bill says he is extremely lucky and humbled to have a great team of Engineer Surveyors and a customer support team around him to support him in his role.
Bill particularly enjoys seeking out engineering talent, seeing the potential in candidates, recruiting them, and seeing them join the business. He believes that if you work closely with them, they go on to develop their careers, and skill sets and grow in confidence.
Most Challenging Time:
Bill suffered with confidence when it came to public speaking and presenting in front of an audience in the early part of his career. He credits his local Toastmasters club and their tailored program for helping him overcome that fear.
Standout Experiences and Achievements:
“There have been many career highlights to date and far too many to list.”
The variety of Bill's career journey to date has never been something he would ever have imagined. Bill is incredibly proud of being awarded the title of Incorporated Engineer has been a very proud moment. Seeing the success of the Irish business today and its development from the point of sale has also been incredibly gratifying. Bill also never thought in his career he would work with Consultancy clients on both sides of the United States, Italy, Germany & Singapore.
Tips for Aspiring Engineers:
Learn to communicate effectively with everyone from the mechanical fitter on the workshop floor up to the CEO and don’t neglect your soft skills. They are vital when dealing with clients.
When you are asked by your boss to get involved in a project or something that takes you outside of your comfort zone, just say YES. Don’t overthink it, as the only way to develop is to challenge yourself and push past your perceived boundaries.
Surround yourself with only the best people and find yourself a panel of mentors who can help you.
It’s not all about work! Find ways to switch off and disconnect. Bill has a passion for triathlon and has completed two half-distance Ironman 70.3s. He credits long swim sets in the pool as helping him to clear his head after a busy week and switch off from work.
On joining the Society of Operations Engineers (SOE):
SOE are there to support and guide you as an Engineer. Whether you are working towards registration as EngTech, IEng or CEng with the Engineering Council, SOE is available to help and guide you on the process. They also supply plenty of online resources and opportunities for online continuing professional development (CPD) and it's important you keep your CPD log up to date. Thanks to video conferencing it's now possible to conduct your professional review interview (PRI) online with a panel of peers.
Engineers are in high demand and being professionally registered with an institution shows a commitment to your profession and that you are committed to a professional code of conduct and CPD. The world is facing many global challenges as we speak. It will be Engineers and Scientists that develop the solutions to these problems.