Beatrice Mikuzi, Senior Building Services Engineer
|Beatrice Mikuzi (left) with Morten Jensen, Head of the Storage Ring RF Group|
What/where did you study and what did you do after your studies?
I am from Kenya and I studied for a BSc in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nairobi. From there, I joined the commercial sector working as a Building Services Engineer for M & E Consulting Engineers in Kenya. This position gave me experience in various aspects of the construction industry on a variety of projects and, after a couple of years, I transferred down to Swaziland with the same company. My next job, in the late 1990s, took me across to Botswana where I worked for the Government’s Project Implementation Unit and was responsible for all the Unit’s services design requirements. We had a considerable remit as we had to identify construction projects throughout the country and deliver them in a coherent way. The Government looked to us to consolidate their construction projects so that they could be fast tracked and delivered as efficiently as possible. This 2 year contract gave me a great deal of experience and helped me secure my next job, in 1999, as a Senior Mechanical Engineer with Building Services consultants AR Edwards in Botswana. The work at AR Edwards was hugely varied and my projects ranged from hospitals to office blocks and my clients ranged from banks to the Government. In a consultancy setting there is obviously a lot of pressure to deliver your projects on time and within budget as clients will be reluctant to pay if this is not the case. The “time is money” ethos really comes to the fore!
My time with AR Edwards was tremendously valuable as I had the opportunity to work on so many different kinds of projects. However, by 2006 the economy in Botswana had dipped and I felt it was time for me to move on to new challenges. I was looking out for opportunities all over the world including South Africa, the US and even Canada and then I chanced upon a job advert in the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers Magazine. Diamond was looking for a Senior Building Services Engineer and, while I have to confess my knowledge of synchrotron science at that point was minimal, the position sounded very exciting.
What do you do here and how does your experience help you do your job?
I work within the Technical Division as Beamline Design Co-ordinator. My role is to manage the design of the accommodation and services throughout the synchrotron building and the office accommodation, Diamond House. Most of the people in the division work on the equipment side. So for me to be able to deliver everything that is required on the accommodation and services side I need to employ a variety of consultants and experts to help out. These include architects, services engineers, quantity surveyors, and any other required expertise. I do enjoy bringing such experts in to interact with people in-house and act as design manager on a wide variety of building services projects. My previous experience has helped me with multi tasking and ensuring that I keep all my clients happy – the only difference now is that my clients are internal as opposed to external! For example, I am continually working with the Principal Beamline Scientists as they work towards the completion of new beamlines. Currently, I am also working with colleagues and external consultants in the synchrotron to install air-conditioning in the offices in the synchrotron building ring and with the Radio Frequency (RF) team to build a testing facility for them.
What do you like about your job?
Having known so little about synchrotron science before I joined Diamond, I am really enjoying working with different people and teams throughout the company. In order to fulfil their building or services requirements, I need to learn exactly why they need what they do in order to carry out their work and this gives me an amazing insight into the workings of the machine and the science that is undertaken here. I also like the fact that no two days are ever the same and, due to the fact that Diamond has gathered experts from all over the world, I have the opportunity to work with people from different countries. The cultural mix gives Diamond a really vibrant working atmosphere.
What advice would you give to Mechanical Engineering graduates who are just starting their career?
Mechanical Engineering offers a huge array of careers in a wide range of Industry. Nothing moves without Mechanical engineers and there are opportunities in transportation industry, construction, science, and manufacturing. The list is endless. The career may not sound 'glamorous' but it is really what makes the world 'tick' and the workplace is very interesting as you are constantly challenged. All the problems facing the world at this time, from global warming to the economy will require some input from mechanical engineers for solutions.