Jump to main content

Interview with Piping Engineer, Michael Bower

Name: Michael Bower
Current employer: Fluor Corporation
Job title: Piping Engineering Manager
Science Career: Mechanical Engineer
Time working in this field: 37 years

What do you do?

Piping Designers are the architects of industrial facilities, such as oil refineries, and chemical plants. Similar to architects that design buildings and the floor plans within those buildings, we design the processing units and arrange the equipment within the processing units.

How did you become interested in this area of science/engineering?

I've always loved architecture and would design houses when I was in elementary school. Architecture was my college major.

Note from Science Buddies staff: There are multiple ways to become a piping engineer today including starting with a degree in mechanical engineering or architectural engineering.

What are some of the key characteristics that are important for a person to succeed in this type of work?

It helps to have a passion to design and build things. There is a lot satisfaction that comes from seeing your designs go from conception to actually being built.

Describe a project that you have worked on that was of particular interest to you.

I will always remember a power project near the ocean because of the engineering challenges we faced. Designing and installing large sea cooling water lines at an existing facility pushed the limits of our design/engineering capabilities.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy working on teams that create things. While your personal contribution is important, it is the team aspect of design/engineering that achieves the most.

Is there any advice you would give to someone interested in this field that you wish someone had given you when you were starting out?

Learn to develop your emotional intelligence. Being able to handle difficult situations in a controlled fashion will help you advance further in your career. It is also better for your physical wellbeing.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I enjoy golf and of course I enjoy building things. Building things usually entails remodeling the house in some way. Again, that satisfaction that comes from seeing your designs go from conception to actually being built.

Together, these four engineers inspired the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge for K-12 students. Read about what each one of them does at Fluor Corporation:

Free science fair projects.