David Hicks

Project Manager Retrofits

David Hicks- RetrofitsBackground

David received his B.S in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University. He then went on to Union College to receive his M.S in Mechanical Engineering. David also has his professional engineering license from New York State.

David’s experience includes 28 years in the industry, with about 90% of that within the Power Generation Industry, including Steam Turbine Design Engineering. David has worked for MD&A for seven years. David held various positions prior to starting at MD&A including, Field Engineer, Project Engineer, Design Engineer and Systems Engineer.

What do you do here at MD&A?

I joined MD&A in 2008, and my role is Project Manager in the Retrofits Division, which includes both Commercial and Execution responsibilities from cradle to grave for Turbine Generator retrofit projects. At the front end of the project, we direct the Mitsubishi Power Engineering Teams on the development of conceptual designs, lead cross organizational teams (at both MD&A and Mitsubishi Power) on the formation of detailed proposals, hold customer negotiations and for those contracts MD&A is awarded, we continue on as the Project Manager.  We hold the contract with the customer, coordinate with the Mitsubishi Power factory for the design, manufacture and delivery of the turbine, and coordinate the MD&A divisions for the  installation services.

What aspect do you enjoy most about your role at MD&A?

We wear many hats.  Retrofit activities not only span a broad range of topics, both commercial and technical but also  entail significant depth as well. Additionally, MD&A’s approach for the Project Manager to stay with the project from initiation through completion is not only a significant selling point to the customer, but also returns much personal satisfaction.

What is the coolest job you’ve worked on?

It’s the projects with the toughest challenges that require us to “raise up our game” to succeed.  These challenges on long term large capital projects such as retrofits often times are complex and come in many forms, both commercial and technical.

What is the most interesting challenge you have come across designing a steam turbine?

Steam turbine design is an exercise in optimization and compromise between many competing engineering disciplines.  There are many interactions to consider both within the turbine itself and also to the balance of the plant components and systems.  On top of that, retrofits have the added constraint of pre-defined interfaces, both physical and from a system standpoint that the designer must work within to achieve the customer objectives.  Steam Turbines come in many “sizes and shapes,” and overcoming these challenges keeps it interesting.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

X-Ray vision to see the inside of a turbine while it’s running would be extremely useful in our business.  Often times, evaluations, decisions and actions are taken based upon limited information since bringing a turbine offline and opening it is expensive, time consuming and disruptive to our customers.

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