Our Industry Person of the Week is Garett Earl. Garett is a reliability engineer at Cargill, E.I.T.
Q: How did you get started working in your field?
Garett: I grew up in a small city with a lot of industry (oil and gas, mining, power plants, and agriculture), so I was around many different types of industrial equipment growing up. I believe this influenced me to take mechanical engineering in university. While in university, I did an internship in oil and gas where I looked at trends of well failures and an internship in mining where I worked on small projects in the mill maintenance department. Upon graduating I got a job in the food industry where I found my way into a reliability engineering role after a couple of promotions. I kind of just found my way into reliability through opportunity, but now that I am in it, I see it as a place for a lot of growth opportunity for a young engineer like me.
Q: What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Garett: What I love most about my job is that everything day is something different, a new problem, a new opportunity to improve. I really enjoy working with the people on the front line and digging in to help solve the problems or issues that they are facing. It allows me to actually make an impact or a difference for someone else. I also love that it gives me the opportunity to learn something new every day and continue to grow. I often say my best days at work are when I am like “Wow! We learned something new today!”
I am most proud of moments where I am able influence the culture in a positive way and see technicians engaged and curious about solving problems or learning new things. I enjoy when my passion is met with a similar passion from others.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Garett: The biggest advice I would give someone is be curious, be engaged, and try to learn as much as you can from the many people in industry who have years of experience. There is so much knowledge out in industry and if you show an eagerness to learn, most people are willing to share it. Try to be a sponge and absorb as much information as you can.
Q: Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Garett: A project that I recently worked on was an incident investigation of a multiple VFD failure. We were able to trace it back to a poor installation of wrapping the motor leads on a large motor in the area. It also brought to light that we did not have any line protection installed on the VFDs, the ION program was not functioning properly, and the VFDs we were using were an obsolete model. We have since made plans to upgrade our VFDs to a new model, install line protection, and make the repairs to our ION system, in addition to improving our installation practices. The best part about this is that we had a separate multiple VFD failure a week earlier that we dug into with the electricians. By completing the feedback loop with our findings in this instance the team was extra engaged in getting to the root cause of the problem in this new failure. It was awesome to see how the findings of the previous investigation created this type of engagement!
Q: Anything Else you would like to add?
Garett: One of things I struggled with starting out was managing professionals who has been in the industry longer than I had been alive. I had this feeling of ‘who am I to lead these people.’ What I learned and would share with other young professionals is to believe in yourself and your ability, you have valuable contributions to make even with experienced people in the room. Do not be afraid to challenge the status quo as just because something has been done a certain way does not mean there is a new, improved way of doing things. I also cannot say enough about how important it is to find mentors who believe in you and will help you in your career. I have been fortunate to find some great mentors in my career to this point who have been instrumental in helping me grow as a young professional. Just to name a few: Rob Kalwarowsky, David Stoops, Charli Matthews, Dylan Day, Bryan Bieschke, Susan Hobson, Brent Kelly, Rishi Behari, and Kyle Taylor have all had an immense impact on my career.
It is an exciting time for industry with all the new technology coming out. I believe there is going to a be a lot of new and thrilling opportunities for young people like myself in the industry, which makes me happy to see what the future holds!
THANK YOU, GARETT! WE LOOK FORWARD TO KEEPING UP WITH YOU THROUGH THE #PUMPTALK COMMUNITY!
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