Featured Engineer

Interview with Patrick Carr

Patrick Carr

Interview with Patrick Carr - Project Manager at EN Engineering

Can you give us a little background about yourself? How did you get into electrical engineering?

I am 29 years old. My engineering career has been mostly in the utilities industry. My focus has been on both I&C design as well as power design in many industrial facilities across the country. I grew up with a father who was an electrician and general foreman for an electrical company. Growing up around this I fell in love with electronics and the idea of power. Combining this with my knack for math and schooling, engineering was a logical path for me.

You worked for Sargent & Lundy, an electric power generation and power delivery company as an Instrumentation & Controls Engineer, kindly tells us what you do, what were your responsibilities and how do you find it?

My responsibilities at Sargent & Lundy were in their Fossil Power Instrumentation and Controls Group. I was in charge of doing control system upgrades at power plants, around the country. My responsibilities were to evaluate the existing control system and come up with both a hard-wired and software oriented upgrade of that system. I would evaluate existing electrical instruments and equipment at the site and complete hardware upgrades as required. I would then develop logic to control those components in association with the processes that they were affiliated with. Sargent and Lundy was an excellent company to begin my career with. I was given the tools to become a very strong engineer and was grateful for this experience.

You are currently a project manager at EN Engineering, could you please tell us what are your responsibilities, and is it difficult to handle such big projects?

It can be difficult to manage internal and external customer expectations. Internally you are working with a number of different engineering disciplines that can sometimes conflict on ideas of what the proper design philosophies, schedules and other things can be. Communication is critical to ensure that the best solution is come up with in the most efficient manner. Managing client expectations can also be difficult. Understanding what a client’s budgetary and technical expectations are can be critical. At times, a client will just want the bare minimum engineering done that it will take to complete a construction project. Other times a more technical and detailed package is expected to be provided. Understanding schedules and budgets associated with these expectations is critical.

Where do you see your company heading?

I believe that EN Engineering is going to grow into a strong competitor in a number of fields. As a company who got its start in the natural gas industry, I believe that it is critical that we branch out into other arenas. As an electrical engineering project manager, I am working with my team to break our firm into the electrical power industry. With the infrastructure that is in desperate need of upgrade across the country, I believe that this is an industry that we must be strong in.

What tools (software and hardware) are your favorites?

SKM is my favorite tool. It makes modeling electrical systems quite easy. I also think spell check was a wonderful invention because, as an engineer, my writing/spelling skills are not always the best.

What is on your bookshelf?

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, NFPA 70E National Electrical Code 2014, American Gas Association Classifications for Electrical Installations in Gas Utility Areas.

What do you do when you’re not working as an electrical engineer?

I am an avid skier and outdoorsman. Whenever I can be outside that is where I prefer to be. I guess that’s why I’m more comfortable in a power plant than an office! I also enjoy reading and spending quality time with my wife and dog.

Is there anything you’d like to say to young people to encourage them to pursue EE?

Don’t let school intimidate you. Although the material that you learn may be difficult, try and see through the wires. The bigger pictures things that you can do as an electrical engineer are innumerable. I highly encourage young people to complete internship and cooperative education opportunities to build your classroom experience along with some true engineering application experience. I believe that you will find the two to be quite different.

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