Demystified: Asset Management Consultant in the Mining Industry
Aaron Patterson works with huge machinery that look like something out of the movie Avatar
Which type of engineering did you study at university and what inspired you into that field?
I am currently completing my Mining Engineering, but am also an Electrical Engineer and have a MBA with Law Majors. Deciding on studying mining engineering was a four simple and easy decision for me. The reasons:
- Employment and career opportunities
- Work life balance (many jobs have rosters with travel to and from remote sites)
- A technical challenge, and most importantly for me:
- To make a difference for all people with improving resource and energy practices.
Was that field of engineering an obvious path into the Mining & Energy industry?
Yes, the choice was obvious. Globally, for the last twenty years the ratio of supply and demand every year of engineer; is FOUR engineers are needed for every ONE that graduates and this clearly trends exponentially.
No other profession is needed more than engineers than perhaps medical doctors. In choosing an engineering discipline all are in heavy demand, but in my observation the ranked highest to lowest the demand is: petroleum, mining, molecular, chemical, process, civil, electrical, electronic, structural, and mechanical engineering.
The advantage is that engineering is less competitive in entering theses sectors than more easily skilled operator or support administrator positions so you have a better chance of getting in.
Are you more interested in the Asset Management side of things or the Mining & Energy Sector?
Asset Management is a funny specialisation. Today in our capitalistic markets money drives all things the Mining and Energy Sectors are no different. I am more interested in Asset Management because it's the makeup of and use of Assets that is the Business Case that defines a business or activity. Assets are the tools we use to get the job done and we need to make a profit from it so from a hierarchical importance it's all about the assets and how we use them at the end of the day.
What is your job description at Specialized Services and what do you do on a daily basis?
I am a self employed specialised asset management principal consultant working on projects, programs and assignments in Australia. I have worked at locations all around Australia from capital cities to outback camps. From open pit mines to a kilometre underground, power stations and huge heavy mobile machinery that look like something out of that movie Avatar. I would sum up what I do as asset project and program management, asset management strategy, reliability engineering and asset maintenance management.
What advice do you have for engineering graduates who want to work in the Mining & Energy industry?
Breaking into these in industries can be tough without experience so graduate positions are the go. You have a good chance if you have a double degree, the right attitude and willingness to tough it out and at least start out in a remote area. Be patient and do a lot of research. It can sometimes be disheartening at times getting turned down when economies become tight but don't give up.
Do you have any tips for those who want to work in Asset Management?
Most start off as maintenance engineers. Asset management is very much suited with people whom are mutil skilled and talented with balanced mindsets between a logical / mathematical and creative/spatial. If you thrive for knowledge and complexity with limitless areas of specialisation to become successful in asset management you need:
- An engineering degree with at least one of the following:
- Reliability engineering experience, training or specialisation
- A business degree.
- An asset management degree
- Lean manufacturing knowledge and training
- Kaizen or Six Sigma Training And a passion in continuous improvement and optimisation.
What are your plans for the future?
I am planning to do a PhD in Economics. The paper is titled "Australian Strategy: Mineral and Energy Economics". The main issue I see is Western Nation State Governance is often led by politician and minsters whom have vertically zero technical portfolio expertise whom through lobby groups or industry powers led by profits build economies policies, plans and strategies that are not optimised nor aligned to benefit people, industry, technology development, the planet or civilised development. As I continue to work I will strive to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these sectors.
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