My biggest career milestone so far was when I chose to study Mechanical Engineering in the University of Limerick.
I always wanted to be an engineer, and subjects I chose during school were influenced by this, e.g. physics, construction studies, etc.
I completed 9 months of co-operative education as a mechanical engineer in Wyeth Nutritionals in Limerick as part of my engineering degree. This not only gave me a great insight into the technical aspects of a mechanical engineers job, but also the interpersonal aspects of working in a large company and dealing with people in completely different disciplines.
I chose to travel for a year after college to Australia, New Zealand and America. I would highly recommend this to anyone wishing to get some "worldy" experience. It not only allowed me to have fun and explore remote parts of the world, but also increased my confidence and developed my personality in new ways.
On my return from my travels, I then chose to accept a job with Irish Cement in Drogheda as a mechanical engineer. I worked in the Maintenace Department here for 2 years with a hugely varied number of challenges over this time.
I was then asked to transfer departments, and work on a new 200million project in Irish Cement, called "Kiln 3".
Shortly into this project I was asked to move to Copenhagen to work in the Layout and Design Department of the main suppliers of equipment to the project, FLS. This was a higly rewarding experience for me, and I would recommend anybody to spend some time abroad working in a foreign environment. It was a sharp learning curve here, and I attended some high profile meetings that I would otherwise have not been involved in had I not been in Copenhagen. I learned a lot about plant design, the importance of good communication, and all the aspects associated with a large new Cement Plant - design, layout, procurement, supplier issues, documentation control, civil/mechanical/electrical interaction, shipping and deliveries.
I am now back in Irish Cement in Drogheda, and am heavily involved in the installation of large sections of mechanical equipment for the new plant.