Emerson’s Jerry Chen joins our continuing podcast series, 5 Questions for an Emerson Expert. As an Operational Certainty Consultant, Jerry works with clients to help build a reliability culture for their maintenance professionals. He works with them to implement the technologies and to establish the work practices required for more reliable and streamlined operations.
In the coming weeks, look for a more in-depth podcast with Jerry on the walk down process to identifying and improving reliability.
Jim: Hi, everyone. This is Jim Cahill, and welcome to another edition of Five Questions for an Emerson Expert podcast series. Today, I’m joined by Jerry Chen. Jerry is a Principal Field Engineer who works with Operational Certainty Consulting organization to help manufacturers instill a sustainable culture of reliability in their operations. Jerry has a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Tennessee and has broad experience working with companies such as Eastman Chemical, Schlumberger, and Emerson. Welcome, Jerry.
Jerry: Thank you. Thank you very much, Jim, for inviting me here.
Jim: You bet. So, we like to try to find out a little bit more about the experts around Emerson. So, what made you decide to pursue a STEM-based career?
Jerry: Well, I’ve always been drawn to science. In school, teachers have always told me and other people have always told me that engineers are problem solvers. And I’m sure many other people I’ve heard that. That really drew me to a career as an engineer because I love a good problem and I always like to try to find innovative solutions. And as an engineer, we come up with innovative solutions. We’re kind of dreamers. We may not make the most financially feasible or practical solution, but I know we can create something that’s innovative. I’ve always enjoyed a career in STEM.
Jim: Well, that’s interesting. I think a lot of people start that way. The natural gift in math and science and the curiosity, and always solving problems. So, given that and getting an engineering degree, what led you to a career in the field of process automation?
Jerry: Well, I mean, I was working for Emerson while I was in college, working in the field, collecting oil samples, collecting vibration data, and I really enjoyed just working out in the field and not really just sitting in an office. I got my hands dirty. I was talking to the engineers, talking to operators, and really understanding a process and understanding how things are made, whether it be candy, whether it be food, whether it be extracting zinc or something. It was always interesting to me. And working with OCC [Operational Certainty Consulting], I was promised that I would be traveling around the world and working with a diverse background of people. You know, working with Emerson, so far, they’ve made pretty good on that promise. I’ve worked in China, I’ve worked in Singapore, I’ve worked in the Gulf of Mexico, and South Carolina. I love to travel, so Operational Certainty has really helped me get there.
Jim: Yeah, that’s one great thing about being part of a global company. And if you’re in that area, especially, as you are working closer with our customers and there being able to have opportunities to head all over the world. So, I guess given some of that experience and getting to travel around, can you tell us about a recent challenge that you’ve been working on to solve?
Jerry: Yeah. So, recently I’ve been heavily involved with digitalizing the walk-down process which, essentially, is taking or verifying a list of equipment that you have in your plant. May it be 10 years or 15 years or even just 2 years that you’ve had your plant running. That equipment can be deactivated, activated, you could have it being sourced out to third-party and that CMMS [computerized maintenance management] system or that maintenance system needs to be updated. So, that’s where walk-down comes into play. And, historically, it’s been done with a clipboard and pen and a majority of our competition does it that way, but we see that there’s an opportunity where we can digitalize that process and bring phones in, and bring in machine learning, and just being able to standardize that process because what we want to do is instead of provide a pen and paper or provide data that is a flat file, we want to provide a picture where you can always have that picture to reference. That may be attributes like horsepower, RPM, voltage, pump head, any sort of information that is critical to the maintenance process. We will provide a photo and you can always reference that as opposed to having just a flat data file.
Jim: Wow. It sounds like there’s real opportunity through that digitalization process to make things more efficient in doing that whole walk-down process in there. We’ll do a followup podcast on that and delve into that a little bit more deeply. That sounds fascinating. Enough about the work side of what’s going on. So outside our world of process automation, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Jerry: So, I touched on it briefly, but I really enjoy traveling. Personally, I’ve been to over 30 countries and I plan to continue that global journey. All the countries I go to, you get to experience food, culture, cooking and just a different lifestyle. And that’s pretty much my passion, just to travel the world, and get to know different cultures and eat all different kinds of food.
Jim: Well that’s really cool that you’re able to combine, you know, through work, some of the ways to travel to some of these places. And then, I guess, maybe squeezing enough time outside of that or taking extra time in there to immerse yourself in it. That sounds like a great deal. So, what advice would you have for someone new coming into our whole world of process automation?
Jerry: I would consider myself part of generation, I guess, it’s Z. We grew up in the age of technology. We grew up in the age where internet was pretty much always available to us, so we’re very quick at adopting technology. But I would err on the side of caution because, you know, technology is great and very useful, but it’s also important what you input into it, right? Because if you input in not so great data, you’re probably going to get back not so great data. So, I think that we should err on the side of caution when adopting technology, but I think we should definitely adopt technology.
Jim: Well, that’s great to have the caution come along with the technology is great, and especially, I guess in our world, yeah, some care has to be taken given these different processes that are trying to control and operate reliably and everything else. Well, Jerry, I want to thank you so much for sharing a little bit more about yourself with our listeners today. And we look forward to doing this again and learning a lot more about digital walkdowns. So, thanks for joining us.
Jerry: Thank you very much.