Friday, December 7, 2012 | Post a Comment
Who: Sean Cohen, ECLP Class of 2014, Water, Australia/ New Zealand (ANZ)
School: MBA 2009, Australian Graduate School of Management
Where: Engineered Systems, GE Water & Process Technologies, Sydney, Australia
What: At the moment I’m splitting my time between two areas; my main project is to put together long-term market intelligence on water treatment requirements for coal seam gas operations on the east coast of Australia, and I have a second project to investigate, review and recommend new areas of technology development and investment.
It’s a good combination of work: the market intelligence keeps things laser-focused on customer needs and the current commercial reality, while the technology development side lets me stretch the more entrepreneurial muscles I’ve developed over the last few years to help GE get a leg up on the next big technological breakthroughs.
Coal seam gas (sometimes called “coal bed methane”) in Australia draws natural gas from underground deposits, where it is held under pressure beneath large volumes of water. There’s no stimulation or fracturing (“fraccing”) necessary - you just need to pump the water out of the way. Much of GE’s focus is on providing the technology that cleans this water and provides it to local farmers for agriculture.
Coal seam gas has proven to be a nexus of technological challenges - and achievement. Water purification, salt production, gas extraction, distribution, and land management are all represented, giving a tremendous opportunity to see how all parts of a major infrastructure project interact - and where better to see it than on the two largest such projects in the world?
I’ve also been lucky enough to be able to get a place on the assessment panel for the Eco Challenge competition. We have a ten million dollar pool to invest in breakthrough technologies submitted to the competition by the public. We have seen some real breakthroughs through the door, really innovative stuff, all from local small businesses and start-ups. I have a long personal history working with entrepreneurs in product and technology development, and it’s heart-warming to see a company like GE invest so openly in the local business community.
Photo caption: This is my beautiful family on our recent trip to Singapore - where even the taxi drivers will strike up a casual conversation about water trade policy, treatment technologies, and the typical cost-to-treat per litre of desalination…
What would be your words of wisdom for a prospective ECLP?
The program is looking for determined, humble, intelligent, self-aware, professional contributors to the business community.
I would pass on some great advice that was given to me some time ago:
“Act like the man you want to be.”
(Of course, replace “man” with your own pronoun of choice.)
Have a clear vision of what kind of person you want to be, and then let that vision shape your actions. You may not always agree with that ideal person - after all, we all get tired, anxious, restless, impatient, angry - but the way you *act,* the way you let the world see you, is entirely under your control.
This is your greatest tool for shaping your life. Use it.