David Pierce - Consultant - 2004


I was hired by Steger & Bizzell, an engineering and surveying firm, to debug a water-treatment plant that had been causing problems for the better part of a year after it was delivered from contractor to customer.  The instrumentation contractor had created the control program by copying and tweaking an existing program and had done no systematic tests when bringing the plant online.

To solve the problem, I performed the following steps:

  1. Performed an exhaustive failure-mode analysis to determine how the plant could fail and what could be done to minimize the risk of failure.
  2. Analyzed and documented the existing code.
  3. Found and fixed bugs in the existing code.
  4. Designed and implemented a set of shakedown tests to prove that the plant would operate as designed.

The project was a success and the customer was happy with the results.

Demonstrated Strengths

Rapid Learning

For this project, I had to quickly learn the following:

Developing Infrastructure

By this I mean the development of procedures and templates on which subsequent developers build.  Examples:


Diplomacy was required because of the lack of communication between the higher-ups who asked for the testing and those who actually ran the plant and were skeptical of having an outsider troubleshoot it.