EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: Juergen Bloch
After almost 4 decades in the non-destructive testing industry, Juergen Bloch has seen a lot. He’s helped scores of technicians and still thoroughly enjoys his work, especially his current role as Technical Manager in one of our Labs at IIA. It’s possible that Juergen has his mom to thank for putting aside a brochure to Spartan School of Aeronautics when many other college and military brochures were streaming in. Also, during the same time, a family friend advised him to investigate working within this industry.
Now, Juergen spends his days writing procedures and techniques, as well as training technicians at IIA. Also, much of what Juergen does in his day-to-day role involves consulting with other companies who look to IIA and Juergen to use their NDT expertise to train their own technicians to work in the field. Once technicians pass the rigorous and meticulous programs, some with ASNT curriculum and some with IIA specific curriculum related to our proprietary technology, techs can be qualified and the company can become certified.
IIA is proud of its internal and external training programs, and Juergen is a lead employee who trains technicians for X-ray, Penetrant, Mag Particle testing and more. He gives hands-on and written exams and facilitates the certification programs to ensure that technicians are proficient in testing methods and can provide customers with the high-quality services IIA customers have come to expect and appreciate.
Dispersed throughout his day in between writing procedures, guiding engineers on procedures, and approving methods, Juergen reviews reports and connects with customers who need a deeper understanding of their testing procedures and project completion. Sometimes questions arise regarding testing interpretations, or customers look for his expertise in reviewing x-ray films connected to their project. When it’s possible, Juergen also enjoys traveling to conduct hands-on training programs around the country.
What Juergen loves most about his job is helping people. He truly enjoys training people and, as he tells us, “Knowing that people can come to me for help and to get answers and support on anything related to NDT.” He’s been involved with many interesting and surprising projects over the years, for example inspecting cake mixes, chocolates, and medicines to make sure there is nothing unsafe in these products before they are sold to consumers or sent to other businesses.
Even though there have been dozens of unique projects, one of his most interesting moments in the industry was working in Houston on a program for the space station. During this project, the team was involved in conducting x-rays on stainless steel ammonia lines to make sure they were safe and up to specifications. “This is one of the projects I’ve enjoyed working on the most. I love being able to saying ‘I worked on the Space Station!’”
Other neat projects that Juergen has recently worked on have been with the St. Louis Art Museum and History Museum in St. Louis. One recent example involved helping to x-ray a very large painting that had been given to Charles Lindberg. Juergen helped record and validate some artist revisions. This painting is about 8 feet tall by 12 feet wide. This may sound like a nearly impossible feat when it comes to an x-ray project, but IIA Lab Services has designed a method to x-ray any size painting in only 4 exposures!
Juergen finds this work “very rewarding” and says, “it’s a nice atmosphere and a really good thing to do that helps the museums.” He appreciates being a part of history.
Juergen has the best of both worlds in his job. He is involved in creating step-by-step techniques (work instructions) for projects, taking images and reviewing drawings, specifications and completing techniques for ultrasonic scanning, and indexing, as well as radiography, liquid penetrant, magnetic particle and providing acceptance (or rejection) criteria. On the other hand, he is also able to be involved in diverse and seemingly more interesting projects, like the one with the History Museum, whereby the public and history buffs reap the benefits of his work.
Juergen walks the lab floor three or four times each day to connect with the techs and to make sure all the projects are moving along smoothly. He appreciates that he can use his expertise to help IIA’s technicians learn and grow and to provide IIA’s customers with exceptional service and professional guidance.
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