24 hours with Marco Conrad at a dam construction site in Vietnam
Marco Conrad leads the work of a hydropower unit stationed in Baden, Switzerland. Marco is a graduate engineer with a doctorate in hydroelectric dams from the technical university in Munich, Germany.
Day One: 15.15. Arrives at the Son La dam construction site after a seven-hour car journey from Hanoi. Assesses construction progress and carries out an on-site qualitative study of the facility. Meets representatives for the client and owner to deal with design and engineering matters.
19.00. Dinner with the team leader. Discusses cultural differences and plans how to handle the questions raised and any problems that may arise.
Day Two: 08.20. Back to the dam for a site visit with the consultant responsible for engineering inspections. Performs careful checks and status reviews. Assesses any need for change and improvement.
11.20. Lunch with the client at the site’s local canteen. Excellent Vietnamese cuisine! Good, frank discussions with the client about technical and scheduling matters.
14.35. Drives back to Hanoi and reviews the various options with a colleague en route. Thinks about the upcoming inspection report and improvements that might be worth suggesting. Already looking forward to the next visit after a stint back in the Hanoi office.
A day with Ingeborg Grötterud at Ringhals nuclear power station, Sweden
Ingeborg Grötterud is a graduate engineer and section leader in Gothenburg, Sweden. She spends most of her time working as a "hands-on" project manager at Ringhals nuclear power station, around 60 kilometres south of Gothenburg.
06.30. Meets colleagues to share a car to Ringhals.
09.00. Conference call. Checks capacity with section leaders and other key personnel. Discusses resource requirements. Holds weekly meeting with the project group: design engineers, installation managers, technical coordinators and project administrator.
11.00. Weekly "girls’ lunch" in the staff canteen with the other project managers in the department.
11.45. Back in the office. Checks in-tray. Answers a question about holiday leave. Tip-off from the boss about a good consulting candidate. Phones the project principal. Writes up minutes from the weekly meeting.
13.45. Installation inspection. Meets others at the water-intake building with hard hat, rubber boots, diary and pen, to inspect pipes in one of the cooling-water channels. The channel has been emptied of water. Climbs seven metres down a ladder to take a look. It looks fine and matches the drawings.
15.00. Back to the office. Sends comments on the inspection to the supervisor. Deals with a few other matters before it is time to car-share back home.
21.00. Checks her e-mail again. Reads the CV from the applicant the boss mentioned. Looks interesting. Decides to arrange a meeting and jots down a few questions.