At Intel, our manufacturing facilities are right at the heart of what we do. Our network of factories across the globe includes some of the largest, and most complex manufacturing spaces that have ever been built. And when it’s time to build a new factory – or fab as we call it – the task is led by our Fab Construction Enterprise (FCE) team.
The Intel campus in Leixlip, Co. Kildare is currently home to one of the largest construction projects in Europe, building out expanded space that will double the manufacturing capacity for Intel in Ireland. Along with this expansion project, there are many ongoing construction activities that are required as part of normal operations at a large technology campus. The FCE team lead each of these projects and all they entail.
Construction as an industry is one that is typically male dominated, but Intel is committed to growing our diverse workforce in this area. We recently caught up with some of the women in our FCE team to find out more about their roles at Intel.
Can you tell us about your job role and how it fits within the FCE organisation?
I’m a project manager for the Site Project Group (SPG) here at Intel which provides construction services to the existing manufacturing operations in Leixlip. A big part of what the FCE team does is shape the future of Intel by building new factories and getting the latest technologies up and running, but the work of the SPG team is to support the site’s existing operations. A lot of our projects involve ongoing upgrades – we take the fabs that already exist and ensure that they have the infrastructure and equipment needed to keep up with demand. We call these sustaining projects.
I specifically look after the SPG program for our back of house services. This includes the cleanroom manufacturing area, dedicated chemical and gas areas feeding the fab and all facilities serving it such as ventilation, electrical, ultra-pure water skids etc. – basically everything outside of office areas and canteens. Our work is varied – it can be anything from fixing a leaking pipe to re-designing and installing new systems and everything in between.
We study, design, commission, install, change out equipment and all while ensuring there is no impact to the factory operations. That’s one big distinction between working in a sustaining project versus in a new build environment.
What is involved in a typical day’s work?
A typical day or week doesn’t exist. Some days I could be on the phone non-stop supporting emergency situations – issues like leaks, where people need support immediately. These types of issues often happen on the fly and you have to drop everything and assist to get it sorted.
As the Intel project manager on the team, I work with many trade contactors, consultant designers and quantity surveyors who are all part of the overall program that I’m managing. When an emergency comes in I have to assign that work out to the team. We have a lot of projects happening at the same time, so at any time we might be responding to an issue while going through numerous other projects.
My days also involve things like site walks, managing budgets and team meetings.
Building relationships is an important part of my role. It’s key to have continuity of our work team when supporting the factory as we have so many specialised tools and processes. Normally when construction trades come to work at Intel, the manufacturing process isn’t running yet. When you have people working in a trade environment when the factory is actually running, experience is massive. Keeping the factory running, and doing so safely, is very important so we really rely on experienced people. Some of the trade foremen that support us have worked at the Intel site for more than 20 years.
What’s you own background?
I’ve had a number of different work experiences. I used to work in the Corporate Services mechanical team at Intel and have also worked as a design consultant, trade contractor and a vendor. In my role now – where I need to appreciate that designers have a different outlook, and to understand where the customer is coming from – I can help bring all the different stakeholders on the journey and to bridge the gap between them. Having personal experience in each of these different roles has been invaluable.
I did my degree in NUI Galway as a mechanical engineer and I came out of college and worked as a trade contractor doing commissioning for about 6 months before joining Intel. After some time at Intel I went on to a number of other roles outside before coming back in 2020.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I like getting stuck in on the engineering side, but I also like the management aspect of things. I love getting to talk to people all day long and that every day is truly different. I’m only in this role a year and have gotten to work with many different systems and different processes. It’s the kind of role where I can grow my network all the time.
I also love that I’m learning so much. I’m a mechanical engineer but due to high variants of projects I need to understand many disciplines, the likes of LSS (life safety systems), chemicals, gases, waste etc. – things that I never had a reason to learn before but are now giving me diversity away from my original degree.
I enjoy working closely with the tool owners in the factory to get the job done as safely and as quickly as possible. For example, we had a project recently to replace some end-of-life chillers that support the factory. We got in, the system was turned off and we followed through a detailed process, disconnecting the chillers, taking them out, bringing in new chillers, lining up and connecting the equipment using most of the same wiring, piping etc. and then handing it over. All of this was undertaken within 4 days. There is so much co-ordination that comes with doing this work in a live factory – partnership is key.
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