The lights must go on

Senior electrical engineer Bob Wolff explains his love for the intricacies of electricity and his work for NNE.

In January 2015, Bob Wolff joined NNE as a senior electrical engineer. With an extensive history in healthcare design, Wolff knows what it means to work under pressure. He has led engineering design teams on many mission-critical areas, including operating rooms, intensive care units, airborne infectious isolation rooms, protective environment rooms and drug compounding rooms. Now he has shifted to pharmaceutical engineering and explains the essential commonality between electrical fields:

“Everyone expects the lights and air conditioning to work, and frequently in the environments in which we work, they have to,” he says. “Today, there is a constant assumption that electricity will be available. Therefore, no feedback often means good feedback in this field.”

Wolff chuckles at this paradox, but his long list of experience in the field solidifies this claim. He has personally designed numerous emergency power supply systems ranging in size from 100 KW to 15 MW. He has served as a special expert on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) healthcare technical committee and is a member of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) as well as the Project Management Institute (PMI).

The fact is over-design is just as bad as under-design. A well-designed, reliable electrical system should be both intuitive and elegant. It is critical to completely understand client expectations and needs and design solutions to match. That is what NNE is all about.

Bob Wolff

Attractive company culture

With years of experience in healthcare, what prompted Wolff to move into pharmaceutical engineering electricity?

“I sought a change of culture,” he explains. “The NNE company culture is attractive. It boasts challenging engineering with a high level of detail. The dedication to quality and determination to be best in class align perfectly with my own beliefs and goals. There are many similarities between the healthcare field and pharmaceutical engineering so I had the qualifications to dive right in. I am drawn by pharmaceutical engineering because of its need for robust, high-quality and reliable electrical systems.”

Wolff goes on to describe a playground for electrical engineers – a field filled with detail design, processes with high levels of coordination, a tremendous number of devices and a constant need for both utility and emergency power.

“It is an intense and demanding field,” Wolff says. “It can be challenging to explain the complex processes and theories to customers. Sometimes, one must understand that the solution is not always electrical. But providing reliable electricity makes alternative solutions run so much smoother.”

Setting expectations

The close relationship between NNE and customer is a positive factor for Wolff. He explains that the need for solid communication between himself and the customer is more important than ever. He stresses the importance of setting expectations:

“The fact is over-design is just as bad as under-design. A well-designed, reliable electrical system should be both intuitive and elegant. It is critical to completely understand client expectations and needs and design solutions to match. That is what NNE is all about.”

Bio

  • Senior electrical engineer Bob Wolff, already possessing an Electrical Contractors License from North Carolina, which complements his Professional Engineers License, took it upon himself to obtain a California General Contractor’s License to provide this requested service for a West Coast customer
  • Additionally, he recently passed the NASCL:A exam – a standardised contractor's exam that is currently accepted in about a dozen states in the US

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