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Mark Passino

Chief Engineer of Product Development Engineering Team

Background

I attended Clarkson University and Georgia Tech for mechanical engineering. I began my career at General Electric®, where I gained a broad range of experience in centerline equipment design while working on rotational assignments in the Edison Engineering Development Program. After graduating the A, B and C courses in engineering, I spent significant time performing detailed steam turbine design, primarily focused on high temperature/high pressure applications. Since joining MD&A, I have focused on steam turbine valves and sealing technologies across all of the major OEMS.

What do you do here at MD&A?

I am the chief engineer for product development at MD&A.  I oversee all new product development and introduction into the market for MD&A’s upgraded and enhanced offerings.  I own and evaluate all technical risk associated with the service/repair work performed and parts supplied by MD&A.  I provide technical support to all divisions and when required lead cross divisional Root Cause Analysis.

What is the most interesting challenge you have come across?

Every outage, repair scope or replacement part opportunity is a new challenge for myself and the MD&A engineering team. We collaboratively work together to develop solutions across various turbine types and multiple OEM’s.

The power generation industry is changing rapidly, how is MD&A keeping up with innovation?

MD&A is keeping up with innovation by listening to our customers’ needs. MD&A has a pipeline of new product development programs that cater to specific target product line offerings across Gas turbine, Steam turbine and Generator Technologies. Some of these recent product, repair and service offerings include Gas Turbine Rotor life extension, Advanced Hot Gas Path Repairs, Generator retaining ring replacement, and Steam turbine last stage bucket replacement. To execute these programs, the MD&A technical team hires and trains the best engineers in the power generation industry.

What is involved in Root Cause Analysis?

Root cause analysis (RCA) is the process of discovering the root causes of a problem to identify appropriate solutions. In the power generation industry, technical RCA’s typically involve an issue or failure at the component level, or overall system level problem; such as a unit underperforming or unit rotor train vibration.

A typical root cause analysis is conducted at MD&A by assembling a team of cross divisional technical experts to evaluate the problem. Once the problem is defined, the team creates a fishbone diagram listing all potential causes of the event. The team then lists specific actions/measurements/data points to obtain to determine if each potential cause is a contributing factor. At the end of the analysis, the completed fishbone will list all contributing causes and the steps needed to address the problem and prevent reoccurrence.

The purpose of performing an RCA is to systematically prevent and solve the underlying issue(s) instead of simply treating the symptoms of the problem.

What is your personal motto?

“Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up.” – Munger.

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