National Engineering Month is Canada’s largest celebration of engineering excellence. Presented by Engineers Canada, this event aims to educate people about the many engineering options available as careers—and it is the perfect opportunity to showcase the amazing work ADI Systems’ engineers do!
Throughout the month of March, we’ll be featuring some of our engineering team members. Without them, ADI Systems would not be able design, build, and commission sophisticated the wastewater treatment technologies that are successfully operating around the world.
In our Engineers Week blog post, we explained how our engineers typically fall into three categories. In this interview with Ryan Frenette, Manager of Engineering at ADI Systems, we dive into the world of the engineers responsible for designing our wastewater treatment and waste-to-energy systems.
Ryan Frenette, P. Eng.
Ryan is a certified professional engineer who manages ADI Systems' design department.
Q: Why did you choose to study engineering?
A: Like most high school students, I met with a guidance counselor and took a series of tests to determine my core aptitudes. Those conversations and tests revealed that I was naturally good at math and creative problem-solving, two important skills for my line of work. I went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New Brunswick in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating, I was hired to design fire trucks, which I did for five years. I’ve worked for ADI Systems ever since.
Q: Can you describe a typical day at work?
A: I oversee the everyday workflow of the design team and provide expert in-house advice on engineering matters. A typical day of work involves a lot of cross-company collaboration. Our project managers are working to make sure the system is constructed on-time and on-budget, and the process engineers are working to make sure the system operates as it should. My job is to make sure the project managers have the designs they need in a timely fashion, and that the process engineers understand why the system is designed the way it is.
I spend my work days doing hydraulic and other necessary mathematical analysis (thermal expansion calculations, etc.); selecting and procuring equipment and materials to standards of acceptance; sizing piping, blowers, pumps, elevations; reviewing shop drawings and technical specifications; and, of course, managing the design team and developing their capabilities through mentorship.
The design team tackles the preliminary process design and the final detailed design of all civil and mechanical components of ADI Systems’ wastewater treatment solutions. We use Computer-Aided Design (CADD) software and innovative 3D modeling to incorporate the industrial processor’s “wishlist” into the design. The drawings we create provide the rest of the engineers and the client with realistic visual depictions of the final product. We create entirely customized process flow designs for each customer. There’s no such thing as copy-paste in our world.
Q: What advice do you have for young people who want to enter the engineering discipline?
A: Be prepared to put in the time and do the work! Since joining the ADI Systems team, I’ve worked on dozens of complex engineering projects. I’ve had to learn how to think outside the box to overcome obstacles so we can design something we’re proud of. It’s challenging work, but it’s rewarding too! In my career, I’ve already established myself as one of the most knowledgeable design specialists for anaerobic membrane bioreactors.