Engineer In Focus: Sean Halpin - DataPlex Group
Updated: Apr 6
To celebrate Engineers Week 2020 Host In Ireland teamed up with Sean Halpin, Associate Director of Engineering at DataPlex Group and asked him a few questions about being an Engineer...
The most exciting project of 2020..
a. In the industry, I find the ongoing Facebook expansions in Clonee to be the most interesting. Their design is intuitive and the site is a great example of M&E design for their specific requirements, and for size of scope. Paired with expert and comprehensive construction and commissioning teams that also deserve considerable recognition, it makes for a thoroughly interesting construction and engineering project in our industry in my opinion.
b. In Dataplex Group, it has been the further development of our Edge facility designs. Over the past two years we have been making considerable advancements in our pursuit of the <1-2ms agenda. Myself and our team have been tackling it from an infrastructure, networking, user equipment and software angle. We are very close to presenting our end to end solution that we feel is going to bring something genuinely new to the Edge. It has been a long process of listening to our clients, watching what is in the industry, and looking towards future applications that may not yet exist. It has been a serious engineering challenge to date.
Message to Ireland's current Engineering Students..
a. We have entered a time when the real effects of human actions are becoming more obvious by every season. Our climate has changed considerably, and it will be up to our young and upcoming engineers to take climate action to the next level. Our renewable energy sources could be better, and more widely applied across more industries. Your responsibility, as professionals, to inform the greater public on the short, medium and long term benefits of renewable sources of energy and carbon negative practices will drive wider acceptance. It is your skills, and the projects you work on, that will make a real difference to future generations, and climate, to come.
Why did you become an engineer?
a. I love being able to cluck my tongue and say “ooo, I wouldn’t have done it like that”. Is that not why we all do it? In seriousness, from a very young age I remember the quarterly trip up to Dublin airport to welcome home, or wave off, my grandfather who worked for many years in Saudi Arabia as a Petrochemical Plant engineering lead in a SADAF plant near Bahrain. The stories of his and my grandmother's life over there sounded very romantic. Then the older I got, more details came out. He was out in the desert while Desert Storm was raging and there was a real threat of SCUD missile attacks across the gulf. He would come home with US Aircraft Carrier morale hats, gas masks and various ceremonial knives that were awarded as annual good performance prizes. Certainly a different time, but back then I thought, “wow engineering is REALLY exciting!”. I still think that, but just not quite the same way.
More Specifically why this Industry?
Like many engineers, you always have an eye towards the next challenge. Every day is a school day, and I have been fortunate to work in practically every field of M&E Infrastructure design from High End Residential around Belgravia, to Hospitals here in Dublin. However, the biggest challenge I have stuck with is the Data Centre Challenge. They, along with Pharma plant and Hospitals, have it all. The real notable differences being medical gas. I would say though, that Data Centres are generally designed with more overwhelming resilience. We have the latest technology in Data Process, Batteries, Gas & Diesel Generation, Cooling, Lighting, Automation, High>Medium>Low>Extra Low voltage transmission, the lot! Some industries may do one or some of these to a higher level, but in my opinion, if you want to learn Building Services Engineering, head to a modern Data Centre. Additionally, they are constantly being updated, which is always a real engineering challenge. Modern Data, and how it is handled, drives almost every industry today. Data Centres in all their forms, are at the centre of it all.
If you were not an engineer what would you be?
a. This is a genuinely hard question, as most of my first thoughts were engineering, just in different industries (sound engineer, mechanic etc). My wife says I’d be a baker, so I will go with that. I do make a good loaf.
Associate Director of Engineering
A huge thank you to Sean from the Host In Ireland Team for your fantastic contribution!