Meet Lead Design Engineer, Tim Rocque

Posted: August 11, 2020

Tim Rocque

What is your role? What are your day to day activities?
I am a lead electrical design engineer. I manage a team of electrical design engineers who create transformer designs for quotation in support of the sales team and for production in support of manufacturing. I provide technical support for sales, manufacturing and quality teams within SPX Transformer Solutions. I also offer technical support for customers and channel partners inclusive of technical presentations and seminars.

How long have you been at SPX Transformer Solutions? How have you seen your career grow during that time?
I have been at the company for over 10 years – will be 11 years on January 10, 2021. I’ve been given tremendous opportunities with SPX Transformer Solutions. I was hired into the engineering development program immediately out of college and spent one year rotating through four different departments at the company’s Waukesha location. Upon completion of the rotations, I joined the engineering team permanently as a design engineer. With increasing responsibilities, I was promoted to senior design engineer and now lead design engineer.

What is your favorite part about working for SPX Transformer Solutions?
The people and the work. My entire professional career has been with SPX Transformer Solutions, so I don’t have personal experience elsewhere, outside of internships and part-time jobs in high school and college. However, talking with peers and seeing people leave and subsequently return over the years, there’s something special about the people here. Everyone is kind, inviting, willing to teach and learn, collaborative and hardworking. The list could go on. Regarding the work, transformer design and manufacturing is more complicated than I ever could have imagined! Transformer design is like a large, complicated puzzle, but the puzzle pieces can fit together in different ways, which makes it even more difficult. But, it’s also what makes it so fun, interesting and rewarding! The challenge comes from balancing major design aspects like short circuit withstand, dielectric design, thermal design and performance characteristics, while keeping the design manufacturable and cost effective.

What has been the biggest challenge so far? How was it overcome?
To me, I feel like the biggest challenge has been expanding further into the large power transformer market, where SPX Transformer Solutions is competing primarily against global competitors having strong footholds with customers. This is in opposition to the medium power market, where the primary competition is other domestic manufacturers. The process to overcome is continuous, but via voice of customer and diligent continuous improvement, SPX Transformer Solutions continues to grow successfully in the large power transformer market.

What would you say to someone interested in working for SPX Transformer Solutions?
Prepare to be surprised! People seem to always be surprised by the complexity of transformers, the materials that go into transformers and the amount of material that goes into transformers. You’ll learn something new if you’re interested and open-minded every single day for many years. I probably average learning something new every other day instead of every day after 10+ years.

Describe how you provide our customers value?
Our customers are our most valuable asset. I try to add value in every interaction with them, whether that is designing their transformer for long term reliability, discussing and presenting a technical topic or discussing a specification. A recent example involves a valve leak issue. The customer had specified ball valves to be used for all applications of valves on their transformer. SPX Transformer Solutions uses different valve types for different applications; nevertheless, the customer was insistent for compliance to the specification. We had agreed to use ball valves for mounting the sudden pressure relay on several units. In service, these valves were consistently leaking, causing headaches for the customer and our field service team. During the design and design review of a new production order, the customer was determined to address the leak issue on transformers in the field. After reviewing the data and photos from the units leaking in the field, one transformer out of the six or seven did not have a leak issue. That one transformer used the SPX Transformer Solutions’ recommended and standard gate valve for mounting the sudden pressure relay rather than the customer-specified ball valve. I sent pictures of the transformer 3D models with the ball valve and with the recommended gate valve to show why a greater risk of leaking existed with the ball valve vs. the gate valve in this application. Following this analysis and reporting, the customer agreed to allow use of the recommended gate valve in place of the specified ball valve.

Tell us a time when you exceeded customers’ expectations?
One example was when I gave a presentation to a prospective customer. The engineers at this company are extremely technical and often challenge presenters with difficult questions. I was able to effectively present the topic and answer all questions thrown my way. My presentation was so well received that the vice president extended the lunch-and-learn an extra half hour to address additional questions! I was also requested back to do another presentation, demonstrating their initial expectations were exceeded.

What advice would you give to an employee to be become better at focusing on the customer?
I try to put myself in the customer’s shoes – what would I want/expect from SPX Transformer Solutions if I was a customer, what would make me want to do business with SPX Transformer Solutions. Usually the answers to those questions come back as requiring clear, honest and responsive communication. People appreciate and trust honesty, responsiveness and a consistent willingness to help.

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