28 February 2017
Two outstanding individuals were honoured with Service Engineer Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Institute of Refrigeration Annual Dinner.
The award is supported by the ACR Trainee of the Year Awards and the calibre of nominations was such that the judges decided to make two awards.
Martyn W Ross
Senior Commissioning Engineer Martyn Ross has worked at J & E Hall for more than 40 years. He is based in Dartford but has worked across the globe.
He joined the company (then Hall-Thermotank International) in 1975 after studying for an HND in Mechanical Refrigeration Engineering. Grimsby College of Technology put Martyn forward to J & E Hall with the request to offer him industrial training and he secured an interview with Tony Pitt. An extract from the notes on his job interview form reads ‘too good to miss!’
Martyn joined as a Trainee Commissioning Engineer and his first job proved a blueprint for the years ahead. Martyn could not get the new plant to operate and claimed the new compressor was wrong. After a careful examination of the plant the compressor was stripped down and his bosses found that Martyn was right… a suction valve on one of the pistons was missing. This has been Martyn’s way of working ever since: reduce every situation carefully and systematically to simple processes, and apply basic engineering principles to find the root cause of the problem in hand.
He recalls working on the cooling for Harworth Colliery, once the deepest mine in Europe, as one of his most challenging and rewarding projects. “The miners were exceptional engineers,” he says. “I always enjoyed working with people like that.”
On his regular travels around the world, Martyn has been in charge of commissioning and troubleshooting plants in remote locations, often working on his own, but many times sharing his knowledge training local staff on the basics of refrigeration.
Martyn said: “Grimsby College gave me a very good grounding in problem-solving. There was no Google to check things then, or mobile phones to phone a friend from a remote location, so you had to learn how to do it yourself.
“I’ve been very lucky with the variety of work from J & E Hall, no two days are ever the same. I think some people think I’m a bit of an oddball because I wasn’t always chasing the next job up the ladder. But I enjoy what I do and it’s about using the skills that I have.”
Grayme has worked in the refrigeration industry for over 39 years and has spent around 30 of them as a Senior Engineer or Supervisor. This has involved a wide variety of duties, from being Tesco's lead engineer tackling critical issues across CO2 and HFC systems, to using his extensive experience and knowledge to support engineering colleagues with technical problems.
He has also led commissioning works for new installations, passing on his knowledge of maintenance service to improve future Tesco equipment designs and standards. An example was when investigating a large number of evaporator fan motor failures in a Kent Tesco store. The store was losing over 25 fan motors per week and by working collaboratively with the store maintenance technician and through weekly visits to the store, Grayme was able to clear the condensate, install rodding eyes to give the technicians easy access and install Jally strips to keep the drains clear. The store has not had a fan motor failure since.
Grayme has also led the development of young talent in Tesco Refrigeration. He has played a major role in the training and mentoring of developing engineers and apprentices, many of whom have gone on to become Senior Engineers, well respected within the industry. This has led to a huge improvement in Tesco Refrigeration's technical capability.
But it’s not just Grayme's technical knowledge that has been a huge asset to Tesco, it is his people skills. The support shown for other engineers has helped create a great working environment across the team, not something always easy to do in a 24/7 high-pressure reactive maintenance world.
Grayme said: “This industry has just been a way of life for me and it’s given me everything. I’ve loved the freedom and independence of the job and the way it has taught me self-reliance.
“I learned the right things in the right way at the very start of my working life and those lessons have stayed with me. Hopefully that now helps me to pass on that experience and knowledge to the next generation of engineers.”
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