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Being an engineer, husband and father rank highly among my endeavors. I have had great mentors throughout my professional and personal life; and have tried to be a good mentor to those I worked with, and to those close to me. This book is perhaps a completion of that attempt to mentor others to become better engineers. When I ask someone, “How do you solve a problem?” they look at me and ask anything ranging from “Don’t you know?” to “What problem?” I don’t know the answer either.
What I do know is that the more problems I solve the better I am at solving problems. Thus, experience is a valuable teacher. The trouble is, experience takes time. Reducing the time to gain experience in real‐world problem solving is therefore a goal of this work. I have taken from my career the most memorable projects. They are memorable because they were difficult. Memorable because I learned something from each one.
Although they may seem difficult, there are paths through the data and seemingly unconnected points that reside in our engineering education. My hope is that these scenarios open doors to problem solving and life beyond the university that will pay dividends in the reader’s career as a mechanical engineer. The cases in this book are experiences, altered to avoid identification with any owner. Names are excluded. Locations are not mentioned and in many cases transposed across oceans to disguise the original project.
It is not my intent to identify anyone but to present a situation that provides a learning opportunity. I anticipate that each chapter, including the problems and outside readings, can be completed in one week as part of a supplement to course studies. There are people and institutions that have made this book possible, and I would like to acknowledge a few of them. To the contributors of artwork, Mitsubishi‐Hitachi Power Systems Americas, EPRI, Doosan, ERCOT, ThermoFlow, Fram, Nooter/Eriksen, Atco, General Electric, Siemens, ASME, Crane, DeWalt, Dresser, Alstom, Triad Instruments, and owners that permitted the use of photographs, I am deeply grateful.
Being able to show size, scale, and details of equipment characteristics is a valuable contribution. Thank you. My engineering and professional mentors are too numerous to recall; however, a few deserve a mention. Charles, it was great to work with you and create a first of its kind. Keith, you directed a mentor/mentee relationship that changed the company, and protected it in a unique project that resulted in a considerable new opportunity. Who says Fortran is dead? Reid, “you can have only one first priority,” “everyone has a contribution to make,” and “there are only two decisions you make in your life” are valuable life lessons that will stay with me.
Mike taught me how to appreciate everyone’s opinion, to seek them out, and incorporate everyone’s knowledge. George helped me understand that there is no greater joy than to enjoy what you do. Jo showed me how to progress the work and how to motivate people. A special thanks to Steve Turns at Penn State. Your feedback was a breakthrough for this book. Also a special thanks to my publisher. Paul, thanks for believing in the book as much as I did, and in my ability to create it.
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