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Meet S&B Heat Transfer Expert Naomi Jabbari


Naomi Jabbari

Q: Can you share what led to your career with S&B?

A: Originally from Iran, I moved to Houston in 2013. In August 2013, I started in S&B’s mechanical group and then transferred to the heat transfer team, where my manager, Bill Ashenhart, was a great mentor who encouraged me to engage actively with the heat transfer community in Houston and nationally through Heat Transfer Research Institute (HTRI) meetings. Today, I'm deeply involved in leading heat transfer design and research, where we investigate industry trends and address gaps in process heat transfer, as the vice chair of the Houston communication committee for HTRI.

Q: What have been some highlights of your work in heat transfer and the energy transition?

A: I asked myself how I could use my heat transfer knowledge differently and learn more about the new topics in the energy market. That’s when my interest in climate change and sustainability grew. This led me to pursue a master's degree at Texas A&M University, focusing on economics, policy, law, and process technologies for energy, including carbon capture, biofuel, and hydrogen production. My background in heat transfer drove me to explore these energy topics further, especially their relation to the larger climate change conversation.

In 2021, I chaired the Heat Exchanger World America’s conference, where I delivered a keynote on the future of the heat transfer market and the need for net zero by 2050. (Scientists say the world needs to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) compared with pre-industrial times.) High-tech heat exchangers and electric heaters will play a growing role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, with the demand for compact designs increasing to enhance efficiency and minimize environmental impact.

My efforts to net zero by 2050 led me to being an award nominee for the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Initiative. I joined the award ceremony at the U.S. Department of Energy in 2022.

I always take what I learn from these opportunities into every project to achieve greater sustainability and customer outcomes. By continuously integrating these insights, I can offer innovative solutions that meet and often exceed customers' expectations, driving progress in the ever-evolving landscape of energy transition.

Q: How do you support your clients in achieving net zero goals?

A: The drive for net zero includes:

·       Heat-integrated process design.

·       More efficient heat transfer equipment.

·       Switching partially or completely to carbon-free fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia.

Every step makes a difference. We work with clients to understand their goals and help design and implement the most effective and efficient technologies.

Q: Describe your day-to-day role as a heat transfer engineer at S&B.

A: My role intersects the thermal and mechanical disciplines. I analyze data from the process team and design heat transfer equipment accordingly. I'm involved in everything from equipment design to preparing technical purchase documents and overseeing vendor selections and technical evaluations. I love that each project presents unique challenges and learning opportunities. Regardless of project size, I find value and growth in every experience, which is the exciting part of working on EPC projects with diverse requirements and specifications.

Q: Where do you see the field of heat transfer heading with energy transition?

A: I see an increase in high-tech and compact heat exchangers and electric heaters, reflecting the net zero goal's emphasis on electrification and hydrogen production. There's also a growing focus on cooling tower efficiency as water management becomes crucial in the drive toward greater sustainability.

Q: Congratulations on being named Empowering Pumps and Equipment's Mentor of the Year. Can you tell us about that recognition and the support of S&B?

A: Thank you. The award recognized my efforts to empower females in the industry by leading educational panel sessions, keynotes, and presentations on net zero goals. Being recognized for my work promoting these important industry shifts was an honor. This recognition wouldn't be possible without the positive workplace culture at S&B. S&B fosters a supportive culture that encourages exploration beyond one's immediate role. We're empowered to learn and collaborate on solutions. It's a culture that involves supporting and trusting employees, which is invaluable.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring female engineers?

A: Be a self-starter and trust your abilities. If you have ambitions, it's important to move forward, take responsibility for your decisions, and not let external factors limit your potential.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self?

A: Cherish every single moment. Life is fleeting, and each experience shapes who you become, whether good or bad. Don't be hard on yourself; mistakes are inevitable and are valuable lessons in disguise. Embrace them.

Pursue your passions fearlessly, and don't let the fear of failure hold you back. Remember, there is always time to start something new and to build deep and meaningful relationships. The people you surround yourself with can significantly influence your life. Nurture these connections, be kind, and show empathy. These relationships will be your support system and bring immense joy.

Lastly, keep learning and stay curious. Knowledge and experiences are the spice of life. Every day is a chance to grow and learn something new.

Q: What are your aspirations for the future?

A: I want to continue learning about heat transfer and energy transition to leave a better future for my children and reach net zero by 2050.

To learn more about S&B's experience and expertise to solve your most complex engineering and construction challenges, visit here.


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