Michael Kirschenheiter is a senior at SUNY Buffalo pursuing his degree in Mechanical Engineering. He works in the Mechanical Maintenance Engineering Department at the Niagara Power Project.
The focus of my work at NYPA is to support plant operation and maintenance. This includes designing, planning, setting up work orders, submitting purchase requisitions and working with various engineering or technician outfits to achieve a common goal.
I am currently working on many HVAC projects such as redesigning existing pipe supports and designing a pipe structure for an existing oil-water regulator so that it will adhere to OSHA’s changing safety regulations. These tasks are fitting because I have prior experience as a plumber and HVAC technician; I am now able to design systems that I once installed.
These current projects give me a new perspective on the project that I’ve worked on in the past, not only from a design standpoint but also from a logistical perspective: all the design, material, and labor has to come together at a single time from multiple sources to achieve a singular goal. It is a rewarding experience working with engineers, technicians, vendors, suppliers, and outside firms to see a project completed from start to finish. Having the logistical capability to gather all the required information before a project begins is often very difficult and is not something taught in class.
The Niagara Power Project is an expansive engineering marvel and there is still much for me to learn, as my internship has only just begun. I look forward to the remainder of the internship and the remaining guidance the fellow engineers and NYPA staff can give me.