Member of the Month - November 2018
Meet November's ASNE Member of the Month - Peter Ludwig! Read on to learn a bit more about Peter in his interview with Membership Manager Michelle.
Michelle: What got you into Naval Engineering? (What specific event or moment).
Peter: My path to Naval Engineering was unique. I always enjoyed taking things apart and fixing them while growing up which ultimately led to my entering Tulane University with the intent of studying to be a civil engineer. One course in waste water management, way too many beers, and even more pointed discussions with the ROTC staff later, I altered course to re-focus on getting a history degree (which ultimately allowed me to raise my GPA and get my commission in the Navy). I never lost the desire to become an engineer and while serving as the Main Propulsion Assistant and Maintenance Officer on USS Dubuque (LPD-8) I was introduced to the local Engineering Duty Officers who showed me I could have a career tearing apart and re-building ships which was much more interesting to me then operating them. Despite only having a BA in History, I somehow convinced the surface line detailer to send me to NPS to get a masters in mechanical engineering and while there I converted to EDO.
Michelle: What is a fun fact most people don't know about you?
Peter: I gave away the answer in your first question - I have a BA in History and a MS in Mechanical Engineering, not too many people take that path.
Michelle: What is one engineer/scientist/ or mathematician dead or alive would you like to meet?
Peter: There are many that I would like to meet and it is hard to narrow it down. I have however technically met the engineer that I would put at the top of the list but wish that I had been able to spend a great deal more time with him learning from him directly. My grandfather, Gilbert Ludwig was a mechanical engineer with a specialty in lubrication who worked for Conoco-Phillips. Unfortunately, he passed when I was quite young and well before I knew that engineering was my calling. I do have some of his hand made tools as well as a compilation of his professional notes that give me insight to his thoughts; however, if I could rewind the clock to my younger years, I would definitely have tried to spend more time in the garage with him.
Michelle: If you could engineer your perfect concession stand/food truck, what would it be?
Peter: To me, the perfect concession stand or food truck needs to produce a high quality product that one wants to return to eat again, much like a favorite restaurant. I think that many get a bad rap because they sell an inferior product due to the constraints, particularly in food preparation space, that they face. I would design one much like I would a ship and would look to optimize the limited space available. On the food truck side of things I would consider designing it with slide outs similar to a modern RV to increase the physical size while maintaining mobility. Both would need to be fully self contained so that the product could be produced on site and be of the freshest quality. Particularly on the food truck side that becomes a bit more challenging due to their mobile nature, so it would need to have sufficiently sized generators and gas tanks to meet a full days demand, while being soundproofed etc. to avoid being both an eyesore and distraction to customers and neighbors. In short, I'd look to give the owner/operator the best environment possible to produce high quality fare.
Michelle: Why are you a member of ASNE?
Peter: I originally joined ASNE as a young EDO to help enable access to technical discussions and to foster additional insight into areas of Naval Engineering outside of those I was working on daily. Unfortunately, as my responsibilities grew and time became more scare, I let my membership lapse. After I retired and started working in the private sector supporting a company in the Birmingham Alabama area which was providing stress relief services for sensitized aluminum to the Navy, I found that I was missing the technical interaction and access to the latest trends etc. within the Naval Engineering fields and with navy maintenance as a whole, so I re-vitalized my membership. Additionally, I have found the opportunities to network at the symposiums to be of great value.
Michelle: What does "Naval Engineering" mean to you?
Peter: I have always viewed a ship as a complete system that must be fully integrated to be of value. I saw an example of this early on in my career while on USS Dubuque. At the time, the ship was 30+ years old, operating a 50+ year old design. Over time, the addition of numerous computers, removal of steam and installation of electric fire pumps, upgrades to the combat systems, etc. placed a heavier than designed for electrical load on the grid. As a result we constantly ran three generators instead of the two as designated in the Propulsion Operating Guide to maintain the necessary factor of safety to keep us from going dark when a pump was started or A/C cycled etc. My CO at the time and I often discussed the issue as it was driving up our fuel and feed water consumption rates. One day he opted to see how long we could survive on two instead of three. Less than thirty minutes later, we were dark and floating, while we got the boilers back up. Needless to say, we always ran three after that. In that moment in the dark engine room, the true effect of the ship as a system really hit home. So to me, Naval Engineering means - What can I do to ensure that whatever system I'm working on, designing, testing, etc. meets the full requirements of the ship as a system so that ship does not end up cold and dark at an inopportune time.