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Spotlight: Iryna Mykhailova - Lead Mechanical Static Engineer - Harbour Energy

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I have started as a Technical Assistant in my current company growing all the way up to being a Lead Mechanical Engineer looking after several offshore platforms.

Tell us about your career journey so far.

When I finished school, I never imagined that one day I will be working in North Sea supporting crucial energy industry as a Mechanical Engineer. My first choice was to study computer based systems of control and then finish off to be an Electrical Engineer, but while in Uni I realised that only electrical engineering is not something that fulfils my interests, I was fascinated with materials as well, so I ended up completing my PhD in the field of fracture mechanics studying how and why cracks grow in material and if we can predict their growth.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

At school I loved math and physics as one provided only one correct answer, while the other was full of exciting experiments that were helping me understand how the world worked. It is the hands on experience and the ability to notice physics in everyday life that was interesting to me.

What subjects/qualifications/skills are useful for your role?

I would say that open mind and problem solving, thinking out of the box is very important, but at the same time you have to be good at communicating your solutions and working as a team, as the problems usually are too complex for a single person to solve.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

There are no dull days, one day you are in the office, the other day you are getting on a helicopter and flying to a ‘town in the middle of the sea’. You always meet great people, and I made some lifelong friends along the way.

What is a normal day in your role like?

On a daily basis I get in touch with other mechanical engineers and we identify priorities for the day, to understand if there any emergencies that we need to resolve quickly. If there are no urgent requirements for help, then we get on with our longer projects which can be updating documents, attending meeting to define how we can introduce new equipment or improve the processes that we have. Quite often we look for innovative solutions, like metal 3D printing.

And what does your job title mean?

My job title means that I am responsible for the pipes and vessels that contain pressure but remain static. So that means that I am looking at anything from welding and materials selection, to bolting flanges and installing valves into the systems.

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?

Try using drinks straws to transfer liquid from the floor up to the table level without spilling the liquid.


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