Employee Spotlight Brandon Brookenthal

Meet Brandon Brookenthal, one of our Level IV Engineers based out of the Memphis office. He is a key member of our growing Process Mechanical team, and we are honored to have him on the LSI team. Three words to describe Brandon: accommodating, assiduous, and compassionate. Read our latest interview below.

How long have you been with LSI?

I’ve been with LSI for 9 years.

Describe your current role and experience at LSI.

My current roles revolve around process mechanical design, writing functional descriptions, and commissioning new equipment for various clients. Here are the types of projects I’m involved in:

  • Design of a proportional injection process for creating seltzers and canned cocktails.
  • Optimization of CO2 collection systems for breweries to lower costs.
  • Written functional descriptions to help our clients migrate from legacy platforms to new technology. I’ve worked on many platforms including D/3, Modicon, DeltaV, Allen-Bradley, Brewmaxx, and Siemens.
  • Created DeltaV process simulations for training and testing purposes.
  • Improved parts passivation systems and automated controls and chemical dosing for medical manufacturers.
  • Assisted with installing entire new batch kitchens, utility systems, CIPs, and packaging for large breweries.

Where did you go to college?

I graduated from the University of Memphis in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.

What industries have you been involved in?

Most of my experience is in brewing and specialty chemicals, but I’ve also been involved in pulp & paper, mining, and corn milling.

Tell us about a project success story that you are proud of.

One of my success stories is a project I was involved in a few years ago for one of our specialty chemical clients. The EPA had announced that one of the client’s components was being named a restricted substance. As a result, the client needed to change the formulation of a few of their products, which required significant process changes, logistics changes, and a variety of new equipment. We had three months to complete the project, going from R&D to pilot production. Our effort included:

  • Modifying the existing system to handle the new chemicals
  • Designing a custom handheld vacuum addition system that allowed the operators to add fumed silica into the mixing tanks safely
  • Handling the fire safety requirements during the project, as the process area was an electrically classified area
  • Construction oversight of all related equipment and provided commissioning of the new modified process

We completed the project on time, and the client was very pleased with the outcome.

What do you think is unique about LSI?

  • Many companies have teams or divisions with hard boundaries in terms of employees. But not at LSI. We have a very adaptive structure to accommodate clients better. Employees can freely move between clients and teams to work effectively and meet client needs quickly.
  • Our team has a wide variety of experience and skillsets, which gives us an advantage in working with many, many clients across multiple industries.
  • Finally, we don’t only chase big projects. Many of our projects are less than $100k, so we ensure that clients have support regardless of scale. I’ve personally written dozens of proposals for less than $30k.

How have you grown professionally since joining LSI?

Since I joined LSI nine years ago, I’ve learned a lot and been exposed to more industries than I ever would have if I hadn’t joined the LSI team. Here are some of the significant areas:

  • Selection of the right instrumentation based on the process needs
  • Sanitary and hygienic installation for the food and beverage sector
  • Intrinsic safety and electrical area classification
  • Many control platforms, both legacy and new technology
  • AutoCAD and many design drawing types, such as process and instrumentation diagrams, process flow diagrams, loop sheets, and motor elementaries

All of these have contributed to my growth and broadened my engineering expertise.

What advice do you have for aspiring engineers?

The best advice I can give is:

  • Join a team that will support and challenge you as you grow rather than accepting a position where you are doing the same thing repeatedly.
  • Volunteer for a wide variety of projects to expand your understanding of the manufacturing processes and “ecosystem.”

What is your favorite vacation spot?

Until this year, my favorite vacation spot was Cincinnati, but after moving here to be closer to family, I’d probably say Louisville — I prefer bourbon as a drink of choice and have visited the bourbon trail a few times thus far.

Do you have any hobbies or random facts about yourself that you could share with us?

As for hobbies, I really enjoy cooking and doing leather work. I make mostly wallets, bags, beer koozies, and watch straps. I use a CNC laser to cut and customize with text and graphics, then dye, sew, seal, and assemble my personal projects by hand.

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