Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Did not see that coming

A semiconductor manufacturing facility, called a fab, takes teams of people to run. The operators move the product from place to place and make the machines go. But before they do that, the process engineers like me have to create a process that runs and devise some way of knowing at any given moment whether or not it should be run. Before that, the equipment engineer makes sure it's safe to turn the tool on and set up according to spec for general use. Before that, the facilities group makes sure there's power and water, gas, and a floor that will support the the tool. Before that... get the picture? There are more people involved, but primarily it's production, process and equipment once things get going. Any problem gets kicked back to process and equipment and when it's a challenging problem, the process and equipment engineer usually work together to solve the problem. Or when we need it to do something new, we work together to make it do what we need it to do.

Our fab has a dozen process engineers, of which I am one, each responsible for a subset of process steps. We also have about 10 equipment engineers. We work together all the time. Just yesterday, my equipment engineer and I met to hash out some action items for one of my toolsets, established some priorities, and from that devise a plan of action to beat my balky tool into submission. There's just one hitch.

My equipment engineer died suddenly this morning.

This was very unexpected and has hit the office pretty hard. He died before coming into work and I have no details. I feel a little outside of it all emotionally because while he's my direct counterpart, we've been struggling to build relationship since we both got reassigned to work with each other. He's a nice guy but we didn't really connect...yet. That meeting yesterday was also an attempt to build rapport. And now we won't. My boss, however, has worked with him for years and years, and has a friendly relationship that includes regular lunches and the like. He's pretty devastated. I'm a little worried that my lack of overt grieving will be seen as callous disregard. I really hope not. But this isn't a death that makes me rethink the direction of my life or think I'm next on the list, and I actually got a large amount of work done today. I like to think it's partly because I was motivated to make sure his toolsets don't go to hell. Because he surely won't.

1 comment:

farmwifetwo said...

That's what happened with my FIL and yes, it's a heck of a shock.

I don't public weep... sorry if you aren't really close I probably won't do the huge tear thing. But many do and they think the rest of us are callous but... that's how it goes.