Meet Mike Bromfield, Project Engineer at NSLS-II

Bromfield handles a wide range of facility construction projects and tasks, including beamline modifications and staff safety training

Mike Bromfield enlarge

Mike Bromfield

Mike Bromfield is a project engineer for the Research Operations Support Group and research space manager at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The wearer of many hats, Bromfield oversees facility improvement projects, beamline space modifications, safety procedures, and many other facets of daily operations at NSLS-II.

What is your role at NSLS-II and what kinds of projects are you responsible for?

I have two titles. My primary role is project engineer in NSLS-II’s Beamline Research Operations Support Group, where we support the NSLS-II beamlines and research laboratories for operations, maintenance, service, and improvements. The group works closely with just about all of the groups at NSLS-II as well as Brookhaven support organizations, such as the Environment, Safety, & Health Directorate and the Modernization Project Office. I’m also the research space manager for the NSLS-II building complex, which encompasses the main ring building, and laboratory-office buildings (LOBs), Bldg. 703, which houses offices and research laboratories, and the Instrumentation building (Bldg. 535), where the detector lab is located.

I’m involved in designing and modifying facility-related things, such as buildings and beamline areas. For example, if a beamline needs to tie into the building’s exhaust system, I step in and design a connection for them. If they need to expand or modify their control stations or their utilities infrastructure to suit their work, I help make that happen.

In the earlier days of NSLS-II, I worked on the NSLS-II beamlines, and now we are working on the three NEXT-II beamlines, where I’m responsible for the design and installation of the utilities and control stations.

In my role as research space manager, I serve as a liaison between NSLS-II and Brookhaven’s Facilities and Operations Directorate. They are the landlord and developer, so to speak. If we need something major done, I will work with the scientists and help develop the design, and then work with the Facilities and Operations Modernization Project Office on finalizing it.

Overall, I make sure the research spaces are safe to operate in, that they have the resources they need, and that the facilities are generally prepared for the research that will be done there.

I wear many hats, because you’ve got to be multifaceted here at NSLS-II, you’ve got to be agile. In that respect I’m also a work control coordinator, where I assist in the work control planning process to ensure work is performed safely. Additionally, I’m the aerial lift trainer and evaluator, as well as the fall protection evaluator, for NSLS-II personnel. In these roles, I train employees in using mobile elevating work platforms, and I evaluate fall protection systems and requirements.

What projects are you focused on right now?

Currently, most of my time is spent on preparing for the design and installation of the NEXT-II beamlines. I’m also involved in the build-out of two new labs in one of the unfinished buildings, Bldg. 742, which is now under way.

Additionally, I’m working on developing an equipment maintenance program for some of the equipment that we use here at NSLS-II.

What is a typical workday for you?

I usually arrive around 8 a.m., although earlier if there is construction taking place that I need to be involved in. I attend the plan-of-the-day meeting at 8:45, where we run through the work that is scheduled for that day, as well as any safety concerns for those tasks. After that I’ll generally take a walk around the facility, listening and looking for any potential problems. I might hear something out of place and make a note of it. During this walk, I often run into a staff member or scientist who needs to speak with me, such as about a facility-related issue or modification at their beamline, and we’ll take some time to discuss it.

In the afternoon, I might review designs that the Modernization Project Office is doing for NSLS-II or designs submitted by vendors, and address any outstanding paperwork, such as training paperwork. I also might have afternoon meetings. For example, I’m involved in the facilities committee for future development of NSLS-II, such as additional beamlines and labs we’re planning for and improvement projects for existing beamlines.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I really enjoy being engaged with the scientists and staff of NSLS-II and learning how I can be of service to them, especially in terms of what needs to be built and what needs to be modified. I like to see development taking place at NSLS-II. Those are where my strong points are: interacting with the scientists and staff and addressing their concerns. How can I help make their space or their beamline better? How can I apply my expertise to help avoid potential costs or time impacts down the line? I like that I can be a part of these solutions.

What is an example of a project in which your input proved especially valuable?

I completed a pipe bridge structure for the RF group that connects the RF building to the compressor building. It was challenging because the engineers wanted a simple stand that would support the pipe, but I thought that they would eventually want more than just one pipe on the stand. I told them that I would design a bridge that would provide better support for future development. It was difficult to predict what that development would be, and then to design and build something that would match what they might want down the line.

The process was also challenging because there is a lot of planning, documentation, and coordination involved in doing things properly. All of the effort paid off, though: The engineers have nearly filled the bridge. I’m proud of that project. It wasn’t difficult, but it was challenging in terms of its routing and the modifications to adjacent structures.

What brought you to NSLS-II? What was your background before coming to Brookhaven?

I came here specifically to help with the construction of NSLS-II. I arrived during the final design phase, and I was hired as the construction engineer. I participated in coordinating all of the construction and was part of the construction management team. I was also the project manager for the construction of the LOBs. When the buildings were completed, I was asked to continue in that role and be an in-house engineer for the design and installation of the utilities and control stations for the beamlines that I already worked on. My role has morphed from the construction of the physical plant to beamline construction, then to the ongoing development of the beamlines, and now I’ve come full circle as we work on NEXT-II.

I am originally from the island of Jamaica. I was an engineer there, where I did road and bridge construction and sewer system design and construction. I came to the U.S. for graduate school, but I had the opportunity to work on nuclear power plants and I took that opportunity.

Since then, I’ve worked in several states on many projects. I’ve worked on malls and hotels in Florida and Tennessee, high-rise buildings in New York City and Tennessee, sewer plants all over New York City, and also worked for the Rockefeller Center Management Corporation. I’ve had many experiences.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Golf is my big thing. I’m the competition chairman of the Brookhaven Employees’ Recreation Association (BERA) golf league. I also play bass guitar and I’m a member of the BERA music club, and we have done a number of fundraising events here. I’m also really into football, or soccer as it’s called in the U.S. I like to read, see plays, and to travel with my family.

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