Millennials Take On Our
Increasingly Complex World
By Dr. Scott M. Shemwell, CEO of Knowledge Ops
ON January 1st at 0348 hours a young engineer employed by a service company is trying
to address a problem she has encoun-
tered with a compressor on a drilling
rig in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
She graduated from college three years
ago and went to work for a large energy
services company. However, several
months ago she changed jobs and is
now on her frst offshore hitch as team
leader with her new company, a similar
size global energy services company.
She is a competent engineer but is
uncertain what the company policy
is regarding a piece of rotating equipment that while seemingly malfunctioning does not appear to jeopardize safety, the environment or production at the
present time. But she worries that the situation could get worse.
A quick call to the “graveyard” shift
at the company onshore Operations
Center is not reassuring. Staffed by
those who are too junior to be on vacation during the holiday season, the engineer she talked with had only been
with company three years and actually
had less feld experience than she did.
His supervisor was not encouraging ei-
ther. Should he call and wake experts
at this early hour?
Adding to the problem, the com-
pressor’s data plate was mostly unread-
able. And of course, a famous Texas blue
northern was blowing through. High
winds, rain and cold temperatures fur-
ther impaired proper equipment identi-
fcation, much less working conditions.
Both the feld engineer and the operations engineer are aware that their company signed a Bridging Document with
their customer as part of the new Safety
and Environmental Management System (SEMS) regulatory requirements
and both had attended the appropriate
training for this project. Both are knowledgeable that the Stop Work Authority
(SWA) gives them the right and even
the obligation to dramatically intervene
with operations if they feel it necessary.
As a new mom, the feld engineer
Horns of a Dilemma
is concerned that she might develop a
reputation in the company as “fakey”
if her next decision turned out to be
a mistake. The engineer at the opera-
tions center was receiving real time data
feeds from the rotating equipment but
he could not “feel” the vibrations as the
on-site individual could and the equip-
ment was still within tolerances.
The engineers in our story are compe-
tent, qualifed individuals doing a great
job. Early in their careers, they are the
vanguard of feld operations. Millennials
by label, they are technologically savvy
and among the best and the brightest
in their felds.
Things never go “bump in the night”