James Paul Weir:
Chemical Engineer

James Weir Headshot

Your name?
James Paul Weir

Your job title?
Chemical Engineer with CRH.

What is your job and what are your main tasks / responsibilities for an chemical engineer?

My primary role is the quality improvements for the Yatai Building Materials Ltd cement group in China. CRH are a partner in the company. My main responsibilities are: Problem Solving, Data analyzing, Stock management, People management, Troubleshooting, Risk assessing, Project management

How do you use mathematics within your job?

Maths is used in most thing I do, to a certain degree. Simple addition and subtraction for stock management. Understanding numerical trends and cause/effect for data analysis. Very simple calculus for tuning PID (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) loops.

What type of mathematics for you use to solve problems?
Most often algebra, infrequently calculus.

What aspects of the mathematics curriculum or mathematics courses have proven most useful to you?

Everything that was on the honest junior cert paper. But Algebra and trigonometry.

What is your education to date?

Completed my leaving cert in 2004. Best subjects: Maths, Physics, Chemistry and economics.
Completed my degree in 2008 in Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering.

What advice would you give to someone considering your job?

Maths is only small part of my job. Not all engineers are the same. Some are more technical and other more management orientated. Therefore even though i was good at Maths, it can be just a means to an end. The question is not what subject you would like to do or what you would like to be, because they will change throughout your life. But more who you would like to be as a person.

What do you find most interesting in your job and what do you find are the main challenges?

For me, I find challenges hugely motivating. In my current role, I think dealing with people from different: cultural backgrounds the most challenging and the most interesting. I think having an engineering degree is a massive help for a person that would like to travel and meet new people.