In the long run, sticking to what you naturally feel called to do will make you a lot happier and more effective in your career, according to Fred Post, global COE leader for field application engineering at GE Energy.
Post felt called to power generation when he was a child. He saw his first industrial power boiler when he was eight years old when he accompanied his father to work.
His father was a facilities engineer for a major automobile manufacturer. Post has always been impressed with the scale and magnitude of power generation equipment, he said. “I was also heavily influenced by one of my uncles, who was on the development team with Canada's CANDU reactor program.”
Post said he got “locked in” when he worked a summer student with Detroit Edison at its Monroe Power Plant.
“I enjoyed wrestling with the operations and technical challenges of a major coal fired power plant,” he said. “Detroit Edison did a wonderful job of giving us wide exposure to all the operations of the plant while providing us detail individual projects.” Post’s projects involved improving the boiler combustion performance and establishing a performance test program for boiler feed pumps.
Now Post shares his calling with students at GE Energy's Power Systems & Energy Course (PSEC) in the Integrated Gasification Power Fundamentals class on Nov. 18-20, in Schenectady, New York. The course covers extensive, basic knowledge of IGCC power plants. Participants will learn engineering and application of the components of an IGCC power system as well as basic knowledge of systems engineering for working out reliable and cost-effective solutions required for the planning and design of IGCC power plants.
Although Post has taught seminars in the past as part of GE’s technology transfer activities with gas turbine licensees, this is his first time to teach a course as part of PSEC.
“I am particularly looking forward to teaching a course on gasification because of my experience doing project development work for low BTU applications in the ’90s and being an active participant in the industry debate between the relative advantages of IGCC and conventional pulverized coal applications,” Post said.
Post was referring to his opportunity to perform the initial gas turbine application work for GE's Sarlux project in Italy, helping shape GE's system offerings through participating in a number of industry studies in Europe. He was also the project development leader for a turnkey project GE was developing in consortium with others for a domestic opportunity.
“Gasification is huge for the industry because it provides greater energy security and fuel flexibility,” Post said. “Coal is one of the world's most plentiful resources and has a significant opportunity to be used for new generation. Coal gasification provides an efficient and ecological effective solution to the global power industry.”
It is also an effective solution for the oil and gas industry in effectively utilizing refinery waste products as a fuel for power plants, according to Post.
Post has had more than 27 years within the power generation industry.. In his current position as global COE leader, he has been exposed to all power generation technologies used worldwide as well as the relative advantages and disadvantages of these technologies.
He has also had a broad range of roles within GE that have provided him with a solid technology and global customer perspective. He started with GE right out of college at its steam turbine facility in Lynn, Massachusetts. From there he went on to work in the aircraft engine business, commercial operations for combined cycle projects, project development for IGCC applications, strategic planning, marketing and product management for the steam services business, operations management for GE’s services proposal organization and business development for the T&D business.
He enjoys working with an international team of “very smart and creative engineers,” he said. “I enjoy being exposed to different cultures and perspectives on both a professional and personal perspective.”
He also is inspired by the variety of applications his team addresses, from gas-turbine combined cycle plants to wind applications.
When he is not working to address customer problems with a variety of technologies, he and his wife are active in their church and in their two grown sons’ lives. His oldest son got married this summer and is teaching English in Korea with his wife, and their youngest son is on leave of absence from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He is working at a Boys Ranch in Oklahoma and hopes to be readmitted to the academy next June.