Sunil Kumar, Project Lead, Seismic Sensor Dev.
I’m a Project Leader in Celle. We work on the next generation of products, designed to work in particularly harsh environments. Before I joined Baker Hughes, I achieved a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering, Nanotechnology, and Microsystems. I’ve conducted research into and developed microseismometers; I’ve run my own company; and I’ve worked with the European Space Agency on its Phoenix Mission to Mars. So, I think it’s fair to say I’ve had quite a wide-ranging and varied career to date. But, the oil and gas industry, so far, has provided some of the biggest challenges.
It’s a unique industry because the environments in which we work are so extreme so we deal with conditions every bit as hostile and alien as the space industry. In fact, in some cases, the commercial imperatives of the oil and gas industry lead to the creation of technologies that are used in space exploration. The one very often borrows from the other. It may surprise many people—engineers included—to know the oil and gas industry has to be every bit as innovative as more high-profile industries, such as space and aerospace. It’s a two-way street.
Working at Baker Hughes has given me a lot of freedom, as well as the chance to collaborate with research groups around the world. There’s so much good work coming out of the UK, US, and Germany right now, and the chance to work with these university groups is a great bonus. It really helps to drive forward what we do here.
The company has offered me a great deal in terms of my professional development. My in-house training has included the LEAD Learn Excel Achieve Develop program, which I attended in Dubai. Training here is incredibly well-defined to meet your needs and yet it never seeks to put you in a box, as it were. It always seeks to broaden out your potential and horizons rather than narrowing them into a specific discipline. I’ve also taken on management training, and I think this has made me a more well-rounded individual.
As far as my future aspirations are concerned, I’d like to get to maintain my interest in technology, but also get more involved in operations and marketing. I think it can only be a good thing to be aware of the bigger picture, particularly as this helps to inform and support our cross-functional working.