Alex Martin, PE
When I was younger, I would spend a fair bit of time around my grandfather’s garage. He always had a few different projects going on, ranging from rigging up an irrigation system for the garden out back, to trouble shooting an uncooperative carburetor. Despite being hard at work, he always found a way for me to be involved in his projects and helped me see all of these things as puzzles that we could solve. It was that early involvement in those sorts of hands on projects that sparked my love of engineering and set me on the path that I’m on today.
Since I’ve been with Summer Consultants, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a good number of interesting projects. All of these projects have been unique in some aspect, but the one that stands out the most to me is a chiller plant replacement at a building in Richmond, VA. The existing system was loud, inefficient, and getting to the age where maintenance costs were stacking up. Summer Consultants was brought in to design a replacement for the system that would reduce maintenance requirements, increase energy efficiency, and be as quiet as possible.
Converting the existing piping system to one that was compatible with modern magnetic bearing chillers was an extreme exercise in 3-D puzzle solving, with new routing for all of the system piping within the mechanical room all while coordinating a temporary chiller solution for continued occupancy. That chiller replacement project has stuck with me because it really reminded me of working with my grandfather in his garage and the passion for this type of problem solving that it instilled.