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Chartered Engineer (CEng)

Danny Steel BEng (Hons) MSc CEng MIMechE

Published: 07/02/2023

Education and qualifications:
MSc Subsea, Offshore and Pipeline Engineering, Newcastle University
BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering, Northumbria University
NVQ Level 4 Extended Diploma, Advanced Manufacturing Engineering
HNC General Engineering

Job title:
Technical Business Manager MEAC (Middle East, Africa and Caspian)


What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
Throughout my school years I always seemed to excel academically in the analytical subjects such as Mathematics and Science. I always found these subjects both challenging and mentally stimulating, and the methodical approach to teaching always seemed to better suit my style of learning - most probably with my grandfather having a career in banking and being ‘good with the numbers’.

During my school years, I naturally opted for the engineering-related subjects, electing to study all of the sciences, resistant materials, and electronic products. I have always been interested in how things work, and the sciences helped satisfy some of this curiosity, while the other two subjects provided me with the opportunity to work with innovative technology and be able to use this to design and build products of my own invention.

Towards the end of my A-Levels, I was presented with the opportunity of university or a higher apprenticeship in engineering, with the promise of this eventually leading to a mechanical engineering degree. I opted for the apprenticeship, given that this would allow me to apply what I was learning and set a solid foundation from which I could begin developing my career.

Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
I have worked for TEAM for almost ten years now, and in that time have worked through various roles, beginning as an Undergraduate Engineering Apprentice and progressing through to Senior Design Engineer. At the beginning of 2022, I transitioned into a new role at TEAM taking on the responsibility of Engineering Lead for TEAM’s Middle East, Africa and Caspian (MEAC) business, working out of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This role was offered to me following an extended secondment to the Middle East, undertaken to strengthen a strategic restructure and expansion of TEAM’s Middle East operations.

My current responsibilities predominately lie in providing the initial engineering assessment of asset integrity threats in the region. Be it a requirement for an on-stream repair solution for a Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Vessel in Middle Sub-Saharan Africa, to a bespoke valve-freeing tool for an Arab State in the Gulf.

I am actively involved alongside the regional sales, operations and projects teams to assist with gathering data to support finding solutions; and I then develop the technical premise and direction on which a repair strategy is proposed. By working alongside each business function, I can maintain and develop direct relationships with asset management and global technical authorities, to ensure they have a single point of engineering truth for all technical queries.

My position typically requires that I deliver presentations and literature on TEAM’s capabilities as an engineering service provider, discuss proposals, and provide technical clarifications to engineers and maintenance departments responsible for approving interventions.

I maintain many of my core engineering responsibilities from my previous roles, particularly relating to the design and verification of on-stream repair equipment. More recently, I have had the opportunity to begin developing a more local engineering presence in the region, which will better support the MEAC business. This has involved technical training, developing strategy and the organisation of international secondments to ensure engineering support can be effectively executed.

On top of my day-to-day responsibilities, I also get the opportunity to support research and development-focused initiatives. I most recently supported two global operators to design, test and install two of the first Wire Arc Additive Manufactured (WAAM) repair clamps, made using 3D printing. I also support the core business to develop strategy for the expansion of technical services and regional capabilities.

Can you describe a typical working day?
In my current role I have the partial freedom of flexible working hours. This helps me manage my time professionally to meet business and client needs, particularly when interfacing with overseas colleagues and clients located in different global locations - such as North America and far east Asia.

I typically start work at 9am from the Dubai office. I will continue with any outstanding work such as an engineering assessment, technical specification, business proposal, or directly supporting clients with technical seminars.

I use my morning to briefly check in with the engineering team, ensuring that on-going work is on track and will be delivered on schedule. I also ensure the team has enough support technically. In some cases, there may be a requirement to provide more detailed engineering support internally – this may involve a design review meeting with one of the mechanical design engineers, writing bespoke calculations and extending the methodology of the closed book design rules in accordance with the underpinning design premise, verification, numerical analysis, or progressing an innovative design.

Setbacks are inevitable in engineering; having a role that works between all the core functions means that I can readily understand the impact of delays and work with the various departments to minimise the impact they have.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
Due to the nature of plant maintenance, it is common for operators to be unaware of the need for intervention until an asset has become impaired. Emergency mechanical repairs are a core service offered by TEAM which are carried out at short notice when it is not economical to shut process equipment down and repair it conventionally.

When repairs become emergency in nature, support is needed on an around-the-clock basis to enable the expedited return of equipment to full operational capacity. In my previous roles, I participated in a 24-hour on-call system to provide out-of-hours design and verification. I now continue to support this but use the support of the regional and global engineering teams.

Callouts can be expected at any time during evenings and weekends; as the business I currently support comprises the Middle East, Africa and Caspian, defects found during daily inspection may not necessarily coincide with standard operating hours.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
My role at TEAM has allowed me to work within a global team working from various locations and with varying technical expertise and experiences. While working through the various responsibilities at TEAM, I have found that I most enjoy being part of a large international team and continuously being able to learn, travel and share experiences from other engineers and business functions.

I enjoy the challenges that some of the more complex work offers, and I am always seeking new opportunities within the business to continue my development in non-technical roles, which the company supports.

Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
My progression through the professional registrations from Engineering Technician (EngTech) through to Chartered Engineer (CEng), as a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), is one of my biggest achievements to date. I set the levels of professional registration as career milestones to assist in demonstrating my competence as an engineer, both academically and through my on-the-job experience.

In working towards my CEng, I put a lot of focus into my Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and in 2021 I was awarded Distinction in my Masters degree from Newcastle University, while also winning the course Student Performance Prize.

I have had several internal achievements that I am proud of. The first, receiving a certificate of recognition from TEAM’s Executive Vice President of Engineering and Manufacturing, to recognise the success that was achieved in the development of TEAM’s eastern hemisphere engineering outsourcing structure. The second, leading TEAM’s contribution to an industrial project with Shell and Vallourec to produce the first WAAM clamp.

What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
I personally like the framework of professional registration as it requires engineers not just to prove their achievements academically, but also to demonstrate their competence and commitment as a more rounded professional. I feel that achieving registration assists in validating my title as an engineer and allows other colleagues and clients to see that I am committed to my professional development and long-term career objectives.

In what ways has registration benefitted your career?
I feel professional registration has helped enhance my status in the workplace and therefore improved my confidence in all aspects of the business - from engaging with more senior colleagues and clients, to demonstrating my professional attitude when working on non-technical projects with other business areas.

I believe my registration will give me better long-term career prospects and improve my employability should I ever decide to take on a new challenge.

How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
TEAM have always encouraged professional registration, as it helps to give clients the confidence that they are working and communicating with a competent engineer. It also allows my employer to clearly identify my career aspirations and support me so that I remain challenged and committed to the organisation long-term.

As a member of IMechE, I have also been able to attend a number of local networking events where I have been able to meet other professional engineers and gain insight into their roles - promoting TEAM and also building my confidence professionally. Likewise, I have attended several public lectures organised by my institution which allows me to broaden my engineering knowledge outside work.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
If you are a goal-orientated professional and looking at ways of developing your career, professional registration could be a good tool to help you set your long-term career objectives and allow you to practice and promote your development in all aspects of your engineering discipline.

Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time or what are your future ambitions?
In the next few years, I will be hoping to complete a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). I believe this will help support my current work responsibilities and allow me to strengthen and better integrate TEAM’s regional business into the core global business.

I would also like to take on more responsibility at work in terms of professional leadership and to help effectively lead a larger team of engineers. In five years’ time I would like to have seen TEAM’s MEAC technical capabilities mature and become independent of support from other regions.

Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time that relates to engineering? For example, do you participate in mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
In 2017 I became a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Ambassador to help enrich and enhance the learning of students considering careers in science and engineering. My main contribution to this organisation is through the mentorship and training of TEAM’s work experience students and graduates seeking internships.

I have recently joined my local IMechE Panel. I hope that while serving with this dedicated group of engineers I can promote STEM subjects through providing lectures and mentorship to local students.

When I’m not at work or studying I try to mostly switch off from engineering. I do however enjoy Formula 1 and follow this year-round, trying to attend a race at the end of each year as annual leave. I am also a keen road cyclist and enjoy other outdoor pursuits such as rowing and hiking.