Interview/ Electrical design

The Importance of Acting Decisively — A Lesson from an Overseas Worksite

Kazuhiro Narano

Kazuhiro Narano (joined the company in 2015)

Electrical & Power systems engineering / Transportation systems

Digital Solution Department

Graduate in electrical and electronic engineering with a major in systems innovation engineering

Interview

“Let’s do work that will leave a mark on the world map”

Kazuhiro Narano

“Let’s do work that will leave a mark on the world map.” That message delivered at a recruiting session resonated with me and eventually led to me joining the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group. At the time, I was studying semiconductor devices at a material and device science laboratory; and so my initial aspiration after university was a job related to semiconductor devices or electronic components. However, that message stuck in my mind and choosing which direction to go became my dilemma. It was really hard because I felt both directions had merit, from the viewpoint of applying what I learned from university in order to help society. Finally, though, the desire to create things that will appear on the world map won over the other, and so I decided to join the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group.

What I learned during my yearlong Qatar posting

In my second year with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group, I was posted for a year at a construction site in Doha, Qatar to take part in the Doha Metro project. I spent the previous year migrating workflow for PJ management and design to an IT platform; so I was extremely excited to finally go and work at a project site.
My first responsibility was compiling cable designs. This job involved determining the size and other specifications of cables to suit the location where they would be laid, deciding on the cable route, and then finally ordering the actual cables. When the time for ordering the cables came, I was really anxious and so I checked over and over again whether the quantities were actually enough or whether I had made a silly error somewhere. Six months later the cables arrived at the worksite.Watching the cables being laid gave me a great sense of relief and also some degree of pride.
My next responsibility was system assurance. System assurance is a part of guaranteeing the quality of products and systems and involves explanations of why you can say conclusively the product or the system is safe. More specifically, it involves producing manuals with instructions like: “Given the nature of the design, such and such provisions are taken because in the future such and such incident may occur.” From analyzing past data we can figure out that, for example, a particular piece of electrical equipment should receive maintenance after “x” number of years to avoid future trouble. We share this information with the client and create lists of devices and equipment that require maintenance. However, to create such lists, we have to gather the necessary data from equipment manufacturers around the world. This part of the job was the toughest for me, requiring much persistence.
I communicated with the manufacturers in English, naturally, and at first I was very nervous and found it difficult to make the other side understand me and vice-versa. However, after I started devising some tricks such as making up a list of talking points beforehand, I was able to communicate a little more smoothly. This resulted in more people being able to understand my position, and whenever they agreed to my request, I felt a real sense of accomplishment. I’ve also learnt that if you have the technical skills, you can still get your point understood by drawing pictures if necessary.
The most profound memory I have during my posting in Qatar is mentoring interns from Qatar University. While ostensibly I directed the whole intern program, in fact, I was only in my second year at the company and knew very little myself. So the program was more about all of us learning together.
From big things to trivial matters, nothing went smoothly. Like the time I planned to take the students to a worksite but was told by the construction company on site that we couldn’t enter because the students hadn’t taken safety training. So I had to hastily arrange training for them. Through constant fumbling like this, I managed to clear each hurdle. Prior to this, I had mostly just followed the directions of my supervisors because I was still inexperienced. This is why the experience I gained directing the intern program, where I had to act and make decisions on my own is very valuable for me.
I lived in a hotel in Qatar and shared a room with a colleague who had joined MHIG at the same time as me. We made dinners together with our older colleagues who were really friendly and easy to get along. We used to take trips during holidays to countries like Germany and Switzerland. I fully enjoyed my posting overseas and I still have great memories of that time.

I want to gain enough knowledge that I can answer anything about electrical design

I want to gain enough knowledge that I can answer anything about electrical design

My main work at MHIG so far has been electrical design for transportation systems, but currently I’m in charge of a job related to liquefied natural gas tanks for chemical plants. Electrical design knowledge is very versatile and can be applied in all kinds of projects, not limited to transportation systems and chemical plants. This is one of the biggest attractions of working in electrical design. Nevertheless, the knowledge you need for chemical plants differs from what you need for transportation systems. So while I’m keenly aware that I still haven’t learned enough, I do appreciate the importance and difficulty of broadening my outlook and acquiring new knowledge by serving in a wide variety of jobs. Currently, I’m trying to learn more about high-power electrical systems; which I didn’t study much in university as I majored in semiconductors.

If I get the chance, I want to work overseas once again; and so I need to study more English, because the possibility of working overseas at MHIG is strong. I want to improve my English to the point where I can speak with more confidence.

Finally, my goal is to acquire enough knowledge that I can answer any question about electrical design, become a manager of an electrical design department, and lead a team. Every day is a study toward that goal.