Mohammed Efratsin Chowdhury is a Mechanical Turbine Erection Engineer who leads the turbine (steam turbines and gas turbines) group at China Energy Engineering Group Co. Ltd He also acts as an interpreter for English and Chinese when needed. Mohammed is based in Bangladesh.
Background and path to mechanical engineering
Could you give a brief description of your background and what led you to study and work in mechanical engineering?
What led me to study and work in mechanical engineering was an engineering movie which is called 3Idiots as well as science fiction movies. I also got inspiration from family members to have a career in engineering to explore the world.
At university, I didn’t just study but also took part in lots of other activities:
An engineering project
Presentation speech for new r international students
SWPU International cultural carnival
Volunteer to help other students
I still managed to obtain top marks in my undergraduate class though.
As I had learnt Chinese, I took part in a speech competition and competed with students from ten different countries.
I lead the turbine group at China Energy Engineering Corporation (CEEC) Site Management. So, I have a lot of experience in all the rotary heavy duty mechanical equipment installation. I also contribute to the engineering management of site activities including planning, organising, integrating, monitoring and installing. (For example, GE’s first advanced 9HA.01 Gas Turbine and H84 Gas Turbine Generator, the Alstom (STF-A651) Steam Turbine and A74 Steam Turbine Generator).
How have you balanced working, studying for your Master’s degree and learning Chinese?
Because of Covid, I am completing my Master’s degree at Southwest Petroleum University in China online. So, balancing working and studying is easier.
Engineering Group Northeast No.1 Electric Power Construction CO, LTD.(CEEC)
While I lead the turbine group, I can keep my passion for sustainable energy generation, and create ideas that will lead to its development and growth. The turbine group are responsible for:
mechanical turbine equipment assemble and disassemble
Current work is interconnecting piping upgrades improvement of all the GE 9HA Gas Turbine, H84 Generator and Alstom Steam Turbine and Generator installations.
Has there been a particular person who has inspired you?
Yes, my mother.
One day she said to me:
“You don’t need to go out and catch the butterfly. Just try to make a garden and then the butterfly will come to you automatically.”
That was a major source of inspiration for me.
What’s your typical day like?
I get things ready for the day by making a work plan.
My day includes:
Planning for the GT/Gen and ST/Gen erection equipment
Implementing the functioning and erection of GE 9HA.01 GT/Gen and Alstom ST/Gen unit
Installing all the particular machine parts to adjust alignment measure clearance
Working with FieldCore and the Owner’s Engineer to ensure that the operation erection is being done according to the drawing specifications as well as GE standard procedure.
Every day includes attending meetings with:
clients and third-party companies (technical team, operation team, supervisors, and manager)
on the power generation plants to explain and present each erection work scope, procedures, problems, and technical solutions.
I verify and revise technical documentation (installation and procedures, Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs) and drawings) during the installation of the new Steam Turbines and auxiliary systems. As part of this, I contact the engineering department so that we can together resolve all the problems that we find.
Another aspect of the work is to perform visual and dimensional inspections
(using callipers, micrometres, dial comparator, dumpy level, filler gauge, deep gauge, ITH tools )
How much of your time is spent hands-on and how much leading and managing?
Ideally, I spend time managing, communicating and leading the turbine erection team with project engineers, GE and Fieldcore engineers. I aim to accomplish the work content as per schedule and owner contract.
Turbine group equipment
What is some of the equipment the turbine group handles?
There is a huge amount and range:
Blowout preventer (BOP)
Inner oil deflectors
Outer oil deflectors
How many languages did you speak as a child?
I spoke my native language Bengali and could read Arabic.
How many languages do you speak now?
Arabic (Read only)
You were the Chinese Speech Competition Champion in 2019. Can you explain what you had to do to win this?
As an old Chinese saying goes:
“Ten minutes on stage, ten years of practice.”
Firstly, I am passionate about learning new things.
I never thought I would actually start learning Chinese.
When I had my first few classes, I was terrified that I would not do well in Chinese. I thought Chinese is just an alien language. I learnt Chinese for a little bit, I wished I could understand, and then suddenly I thought it’s possible.
You know what? If you can speak fluent Chinese, then you can talk to 1.4 billion Chinese people. Actually, I love speaking with friends who both speak, English and Chinese and slipping into Chinglish. To be honest, I like the Chinese culture and at university I took part in lots of cultural activities which helped me a lot to gain the Chinese actual tone needed to speak and pronounce perfectly.
What is the most challenging part of being an interpreter?
To be honest, patience and making sure everyone, not just one person, understands.
Do you have different techniques for interpreting?
Yes, I do. To demonstrate engineering involves applying something or solving problems to make it easier for someone to understand. For example, even the shape of something. So, I try to draw a picture or draw a rough sketch or use hand gestures and make good eye contact.
Most challenging part of the job
There are lots of challenges including:
Working on big projects with tight deadlines
Dealing with changes in technology because of innovation
Workplace environment issues
Challenges related to employee motivation
There’s always a great sense of achievement though in overcoming any of the challenges.
What has been the most challenging job you have been involved with?
For me every single step is challenging because I never know what will happen next.
Have you ever arrived on site and found that it was much easier than you expected?
Sometimes when I analyse the drawing and procedures, it is not completely clear. However, when I go on site it is clear and much easier than I expected.
Working with different nationalities and cultures
What are the benefits of working with different nationalities?
There are four key benefits:
More understanding and respect for cultural differences
The diversity helps you to align with an increasingly global workforce
Makes you highly versatile, with the ability to adapt to challenging scenarios under pressure
Making a winner
What makes the type of engineer who is tomorrow’s star or leader?
A good engineer is someone who has received solid scientific and technical training that allows him or her to devise a pertinent response to a problem, sometimes in a very short amount of time. An engineer must study a situation seriously, go out into the field to understand the facts and listen carefully to analyse phenomena and make improvements.
However, an engineer is also someone who is not afraid of hard work, for now more than ever, nothing is granted to anyone without effort. Work provides the opportunity to play a role and make a meaningful contribution to the community.
“In today’s very open and rapidly changing world, an engineer also needs to demonstrate persistence, boldness, team spirit and leadership”
Lastly, an engineer must increasingly manage teams and projects, and that requires leadership qualities. Leadership does not come through authority, but through recognition. You have to know how to communicate, develop your credibility through example and experience, and in doing so, gain the confidence of your teams. In my opinion, a good leader is someone who raises others up.
How important is ongoing training?
Ongoing training is important because it reduces skill gaps among employees, provides structure for employee development, increases employee productivity and morale. When your employees are trained regularly, your organization can outperform the competition and be successful overall.
How key is it to have a mentor and a good team supporting each individual engineer?
I have several senior FieldCore and GE engineers who naturally fill the role of a mentor for a team member. These relationships proved to be extremely beneficial both for the junior and the senior engineers’ growth and have helped the teams be more cohesive and move faster. Mentors are senior engineers who have a depth of experience to develop the skills of others.
New field engineers
What advice would you give to someone who has just started their first job as an engineer?
Try hard to overcome obstacles and learn something new.