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Overcoming challenges to move towards a sustainable future: New technologies require new ways of thinking – Emma Goulding, Commercial Manager at Siemens Energy

Emma Goulding

Emma Goulding is a commercial manager at Siemens Energy, the former Gas and Power division of Siemens that was spun out into a stand-alone company. Emma joined Siemens as an apprentice in December 2012 before going on to work in both controls and performance engineering roles before then moving across to Siemens Energy at the end of 2020 She was the winner of the IET [Institution of Engineering and Technology] Mary George Prize for Apprentices in 2015 as part of the Young Woman Engineer (YWE) awards.

Emma Goulding
Emma Goulding

“Not having to commute to my place of work every day is brilliant – I’m saving money and also reducing CO2 emissions from not driving! It’s a win-win situation for me, and certainly a positive during these challenging times we find ourselves in.”

Moving up the ladder at Siemens

I started working for Siemens in 2012 as an apprentice, having just finished my A-levels at college.Emma Goulding Graduation

After I finished my three-year apprenticeship, I started working in my first role as a controls engineer, before eventually accepting another position as a performance engineer within the same company. I loved both roles, especially the people I worked with, and I learnt so much about our gas turbines during these years.

During both engineering roles, I was studying at university on day-release, to which I’ve now graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering.

The latest development for me occurred just before Christmas, where I moved into my new role as a commercial manager! I’ve only been in the role a few weeks, and there are loads to learn, but I’m really enjoying it so far.

Siemens Energy – a new beginning

A part of the Siemens business was spun off to form Siemens Energy, so we could really focus on providing value to the market within the energy arena. There’s been a lot of change for us, but it’s certainly going in the right direction, and the challenges we’re working on are undoubtedly new and exciting.

In my commercial manager role, I’m now looking after all our commercial contracts and commercial relationships with our maintenance, repair and overhaul bases, as well as the repair vendors we use to help support our fleet of industrial gas turbines!

Blending academic knowledge with on-the-job experience

My on-the-job engineering experience has been invaluable. By working in a company like Siemens Energy, I was able to actually lead projects that, in one case, became the source of inspiration for my dissertation for my university degree.

The blend of academic knowledge, on-the-job learning whilst also working with other colleagues within Siemens Energy gives you a full 360 degrees experience, which I think is certainly the fastest way to learn and grow as an engineer.

Overcoming challenges to move towards a sustainable future

A lot of work is going on at the moment that looks at how we can operate our gas turbines using sustainable fuel sources. It is certainly the way forward for the future.

Emma GouldingSome of the trickiest challenges we’re looking to overcome are how we ensure a safe and stable fuel supply to our gas turbines, what potential hardware modifications may be needed, all the infrastructure to support any necessary modifications to our engine testbeds, and ultimately how much power we can extract from these new fuel sources!

The person who is spearheading this project within my business sector within Siemens Energy is actually one of my old managers, Nick [Corbett – pictured below]. I feel lucky to work with people like Nick, who has not only spent significant amounts of time helping to develop me as a young engineer, but he is quite literally paving the way for the future generations in the work he’s doing now.

Becoming carbon neutral

Arguably the most challenging aspect of becoming carbon neutral is cost. In weaning ourselves away from our use of traditional fossil fuels ultimately means significant investment into new, sustainable technologies has to be done.

There is also a significant investment that will need to be undertaken to secure the actual physical infrastructure required to become carbon neutral, especially as we investigate alternative energy sources such as battery technology and the use of ammonia etc. However, there is no denying it is now more critical than ever that we work towards sustainability, and it’s something that Siemens Energy takes extremely seriously.

New technologies require new ways of thinking

Emma Goulding
Emma at the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year celebration in London with her colleagues Amber O’Connor and Nick Corbett

Showcasing women and their contributions to the engineering industry, or any STEM profession, is really key to help encourage the next generation to also consider a career in that field. I am a huge believer in how a range of different perspectives, thoughts and ideas can help shape a general creative concept.

Now more than ever we need to be pooling our resources together – we need to be more collaborative with one another if we are going to tackle the current energy challenges facing us.

To do that we need diversity within STEM. New technologies require new ways of thinking. We know historically that there are low numbers of women, specifically, in engineering, and using the platforms I have available to me to help spread this message and encourage those around me I think is certainly the right thing to do.

A changed woman: The perks of working from home

COVID-19 certainly saw a lot of companies facing worries about work continuity. I have to admit, I was never a fan of working from home pre-COVID, but I’m a changed woman.

Now I’ve got into the swing of things, I will definitely be looking to work from home more when things go back to normal. I’m actually working more hours, and I’m considerably more productive.

Not having to commute to my place of work every day is brilliant – I’m saving money and also reducing CO2 emissions from not driving! It’s a win-win situation for me, and certainly a positive during these challenging times we find ourselves in.

After the pandemic…

Emma-Goulding In general, I’m hoping to get really stuck into my new role and I’m hoping that once the COVID restrictions begin to lift I will be able to start travelling for work again.

I’m keen to meet up with a lot of new suppliers and engine overhaul bases who work with Siemens Energy who I’ve not yet had the chance to meet in person due to the pandemic. I’m also really looking forward to seeing my colleagues in person again!