Our Industry Person of the Week is Eng. Cornelius Mpesi, a Projects Engineer for Water Mission.
How did you get started working in your field?
Cornelius: I’d say I got into engineering as a try out, and down the line as I was pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering (from the University of Malawi) something just sparked within me during my industrial attachments at a sugar factor (Illovo Sugar Limited). Soon after completing my degree (2017) I worked with Castel Malawi (which was the then manufacturer of soft drinks like Coke and Fanta, and alcoholic beverages) for whom I worked as a Management Trainee and later on a Maintenance Planner. I was fascinated seeing machines moving producing Fanta, I was glad I operated most of the machines which was fun and I was able to assist in the maintenance and reliability planning of the machinery. I called it time after two years, having worked with sugar and then soft drinks, it was now time to work with the thirst quencher, water, and I was offered a job at Water Mission Malawi as Projects Engineer, where I design and oversee the installation of water supply systems..
What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Cornelius: I enjoy designing water supply systems, it’s not as easy as ABC, but it sure does give me satisfaction, that I am able to contribute to the wellbeing of people through the supply of safe and clean water. So for me, after I design a water system, the next I look forward to is seeing it come to life, have the pump throw water in the tank, and have water gushing out of taps, this makes me glad. It also comes with working with people from diverse backgrounds, starting with my workmates, government representatives up to those right in the communities. And of course, I like to remember the words of Thomas Tredgold, ‘engineering is the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man,’ this kind of sums up everything for me, for the use and convenience of mankind/people, what is engineering if it doesn’t touch people’s lives.
What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Cornelius: I strongly encourage people to get into engineering, it is a wide field there is so much to do, you just need to find where you can fit in and where you heart is, mine is in water. Coming to pursuing a career in water engineering, it is fulfilling and satisfying. If someone told me 4 years ago that I would be into water I wouldn’t believe it. The key thing is to keep learning from everyone, it doesn’t matter if they are below you, above you or at par with you, that way you won’t restrict yourself, and be willing to push yourself to understand things, read widely and practice your stuff, that is the only way to master it.
Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Cornelius: Sure thing. I’ve just recently finished working on an exciting design. It was quite a challenging project, you look at the population it’s over 20,000, with almost 22 kiosks, and designing that was no mean task. It required attention to detail, and of course being open-minded and flexible to take in suggestions from my team members and supervisors. There would be days I would dream about it (trust me it happens) figuring out stuff, the network modeling and sizing the pump was the deal for me. I look forward to see it come to life in the future.
Anything else you would like to add?
Cornelius: In closing, having become a registered professional engineer myself, sometimes people think that is the end of the line, you have finished everything now you can sit down and relax. But the catch is that you never stop learning, and it is always essential to keep yourself up to date with the new technologies and trends in engineering, because engineering is dynamic.