Sterling Snapshot | Liam Forrest, Electrical and Instrumentation Project Engineer

05th Apr 2023

Our Electrical and Instrumentation (E&I) Project Engineer, Liam Forrest, joined Sterling in 2012 as a Trainee Process Operator. Since then, Liam has held roles as an E&I Craftsman and an E&I Technician. Liam is currently an E&I Project Engineer whilst studying his bachelor’s in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the University of Sunderland.

Headshot of Liam Forrest - Electrical and Instrumentation Project Engineer Can you briefly describe your background?

Before joining Sterling, I worked for Aardvarc Electrical, a high and low voltage electrical contractor, as an apprentice. In this role, I had the opportunity to work all around the country for customers such as Network Rail and Siemens on various sites, performing electrical maintenance work, which gave me a great breadth of experience. After my apprenticeship, I studied a foundation degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Newcastle College.

After completing my foundation degree, I started at Sterling as a Trainee Process Operator. I already knew many people who worked at Sterling, and knew it was a good local company to work for. I was in this role for around six months but I was keen to join the engineering team due to my electrical engineering background. From there, my career at Sterling has progressed from an E&I Craftsman to an E&I Technician, before starting my current role as E&I Project Engineer in February 2022.

Since joining Sterling, I’ve completed an NVQ Level 3 in Engineering Maintenance and an Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Level 3 qualification. I’m currently working towards a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Sunderland, to expand on my knowledge from my foundation degree and help me in my role.

What does your role as an Electrical and Instrumentation Project Engineer entail?

I work closely with the rest of the engineering team, the maintenance team and the drawing office on a variety of new product introduction and strategic projects to support our customers’ needs. I work on design scopes for new process streams that are to be introduced on the plant, as well as plant modifications of active processes when necessary to improve safety and quality. We receive the initial process scopes from other departments, which we then work to implement on the plant within budget and relevant timelines.

A key part of my role is designing new electrical systems and instrumentation circuits to engineering standards, as well as managing onsite electrical contractors; supporting them with their work in order to achieve project completion.


E&I Project Engineer




Foundation degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Newcastle College

Our customers’ needs are unique and ever evolving, so we must be flexible to ensure we support them the best we can throughout their project lifecycle.

How does your role support our customers?

Although my role isn’t directly customer facing, the processes the team and I implement must be bespoke to each of our customers’ requirements to ensure they get the most from their project. Our customers’ needs are ever evolving, so we must be flexible to ensure we support them the best we can throughout their project lifecycle. At Sterling, this makes us unique as we are open to doing whatever we can for our customers and to ensure their projects are successful.

Working with ever developing processes can be a challenging job, there are short time frames for project handovers and can be long lead times when sourcing components, so forward planning is key to ensuring that our targets are met.

It’s very rewarding for us knowing our work is supporting our customers and helping make a real difference to patients around the world. It makes you feel like you’re playing a big part at Sterling and contributing towards its success.

How important is internal collaboration in your role?

Internal collaboration is a critical aspect of my role and I work closely with various departments across Sterling throughout the project lifecycle. Whether its process engineering, understanding initial project outlines and process specifications, or planning work scopes with the production team, good communication with other departments is critical to ensure that projects run smoothly.

The engineering team has also been working closely with colleagues at our other sites in the US and Ireland, integrating new systems and helping Sterling achieve its global strategies.

Can you tell us about an exciting or rewarding project you have worked on at Sterling?

I’m currently working on an exciting strategic project that involves designing and installing a filter dryer in our pilot plant facility. This will increase plant drying capabilities for new and existing processes, it’s a great opportunity to work alongside different teams at our site. I’m also looking forward to further opportunities to work with those at our other sites to share best practices and support our global network.

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