Wes Simms

Piping Designer

Production Services Network (PSN)
St. John's, NL

Why did Wes choose this career area?

Wes grew up in Winterland, so he knew something about marine occupations. He first completed a Fiber Optic Installation and Repair program, but there were few jobs and limited room for advancement.

Wes’s brother-in-law completed the Systems Design program. When Wes heard about the kind of work he did and the demand for graduates, he decided to try the program himself.

What’s Wes’s educational background?

Wes graduated from the Marine Institute’s Marine Engineering Systems Design Technology program. He did not study physics in high school, and he was uncertain about his program choice in first year.

However, once he started the really technical courses, his interest in mechanics and how things worked was sparked. He was hooked.

Wes worked for Genoa Design International in the summer of his second year and part-time in his final year of the program. This gave him experience working with 3D piping and machinery models, using the latest computer software. He did drawings, referenced contractual and regulatory requirements, and complied with shipyard standards. The work experience was invaluable, and the staff was professional yet relaxed.

What’s Wes’s job all about?

PSN is an oil and gas sector company that focuses on the operation and maintenance of offshore installations. Wes’s main job is preparing technical packs for work to be completed on the floating production, storage, and off loading vessel (FPSO). This includes step-by-step instructions and reference information necessary for the jobs to be completed. He regularly uses CAD.

In some cases, Wes has to do offshore vessel or platform surveys to gather pictures, descriptions, measurements, materials, and hand sketches. This information is critical to the precise designs he produces. He completes written reports and specifications based on his trips offshore to the FPSO.

While offshore surveys are one of the most interesting parts of the job, Wes says working with 3D piping models is exciting. Every piece of pipe and machinery in the field can be viewed in a virtual 3D model on his desktop computer. Before anything is built, it is analyzed in 3D. The work relies on the latest technology and skills.

What are Wes’s working conditions like?

PSN employs 150 people in its modern St. John’s office. Wes works regular hours Monday to Friday, and he enjoys a quick 10-minute drive to work. Weekends are free.

Wes shares a four-person cubicle work area at the PSN office, making it easy to interact with the other designers. He has his own phone, computer, and telephone. His work-related travel is strictly offshore.

What benefits are associated with Wes’s job?

With this education and experience, a person can earn a salary in the $50,000- $65,000 range. The money increases with experience.

PSN is an excellent employer, and getting time off if needed is never an issue. As well, training is provided in the latest technology and in safety courses necessary for travel offshore to the FPSO.

What’s exciting or cool about Wes’s career area?

Wes’s position has the benefits of a desk job, combined with the excitement of field trips offshore. He likes the variety, the challenges, and the opportunities. He could get a job in lots of places, but he’s very happy to be employed in servicing NL’s growing offshore sector.

What advice would Wes give to people considering a marine transportation career?

This is an excellent career choice for anyone interested in a shore-based job in NL’s offshore oil and gas industry.

The personal characteristics necessary for success are attention to detail, a strong work ethic, and good communication as well as interpersonal skills. People with a keen interest in industrial machinery and mechanical engineering should definitely consider this career option.