Shining a light on the valuable work of IChemE volunteers
Zaid, you are the webinar coordinator for IChemE’s Process Management and Control SIG; tell us a little about yourself.
My current role is Engineering Product Owner – Tools & Data, in the BP Innovation & Engineering – Engineering team. My studies took me through BSc Chemical Physics, and a PhD in Chemical Physics, at the University of Sussex, and MSc Process Automation, at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.
I was really interested in science, particularly physics. I took chemical physics further into research to understand how to utilise that knowledge in application, which then led to a job in on-line analyser technologies. But then I got interested in control and automation at work and retrained in that.
I started as a BP Process Analytics Scientist and then progressed into instrumentation and control, including team lead roles. This was followed by Engineering Learning Director and then Engineering Modernisation & Transformation Director leadership roles.
How long have you been volunteering for IChemE in the role above, and why do you do it?
I’ve been volunteering for around five years. I’m interested in new ideas and technology so it’s a great way of staying in touch with new developments and hearing new things. I also enjoy helping with other committee roles like setting up our Advances in Process Control conference and helping others with their continuous professional development.
What skills or qualities are required for your volunteering role?
You need imagination to think of interesting subjects, organisational skills to arrange things like the webinars, along with communication skills to help deliver the webinars. After all, behavioural skills are just as important as technical skills.
What has been the most rewarding part of your volunteering experience?
Volunteering has been good for my own networking and continuing professional development. And it keeps me on my toes, having to think of (hopefully!) good questions to ask our webinar presenters. And it’s important to keep learning and to help others do their professional development too. Getting chartered with an engineering institution is an important recognition and indication of quality, so it’s great to help IChemE achieve that for engineers.
What is your proudest achievement to date in your professional life?
I’m really proud of my part in work to create a sustained suite of hi-fidelity ‘digital twin’ control room operator training simulators which have had great benefits and we’ve been expanding to include field technician 3D virtual reality simulation, and with many other uses such as engineering studies.
What is your proudest achievement to date in your personal life?
I really enjoyed representing my country in ultimate frisbee tournaments – it’s similar to football but with a flying disc.
What would we find you doing outside of work on the weekend?
Driving old cars, playing football and tennis – not at the same time!
What is your advice for others who might be considering volunteering for IChemE?
My volunteer role is useful for project management and behavioural skill development, not to mention technical development, as you find out about the subject area and listen to the webinars yourself! And networking is so important for helping with our careers.
This the twelfth article in a series that highlights the variety of work done by IChemE member volunteers. To read more, visit the series hub.
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