San Francisco, California
Fred Schenkelberg is the owner and consultant at FMS Reliability, a reliability engineering and management consulting firm that he founded in 2004. His job as a reliability and management consultant is to enable better decisions at all stations in an organization, and improve decision making in regards to due consideration of the impact on reliability.
Thank you so much, Fred, for sharing your incredible story and for your passion to help organizations improve their reliability culture! We feel lucky to have met you and know you!
How did you get started in maintenance?
My first experience with reliability was when I was six years old, testing a handful of vacuum tubes for my father using the local store tube tester. I’ve enjoyed experimenting, testing, and sorting out how and why things fail ever since. My formal education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Physics with minors in Math and Electrical Engineering, followed ten years later with a Masters’s degree in Statistics. The informal reading, writing, and questioning have continued my education and have never stopped.
All of this has got me to where I am today – from my first role in industry as a shift supervisor, then to the role of a manufacturing engineer, then over to R&D, moving to Hewlett-Packard as a Design for Manufacturing Engineer, then to a corporate role as a reliability engineer/champion.
What is one of your proudest achievements?
When I left Hewlett-Packard to start my own consulting business, I sent out the goodbye email to my friends and colleagues. I also sent it to the folks on our internal email list called the DFR list. It was via the DFR list that I shared information, study results, and answered questions concerning reliability from across the company.
One response to the goodbye note helped me realize my work was appreciated and valued. My work made a difference. The note mentioned that we had never met nor spoke, yet she followed my work, webinars, emails, etc. within the company. She said the knowledge and confidence gained helped her become a recognized and valued member of her group as a reliability professional. My proudest achievement is helping others become better reliability engineers.
Why do you love what you do?
I am passionate about helping organizations improve their reliability culture. Shifting organization from being reactive to failures to preventing failures. The part I love is working with people so they do their job better, get better results, and make a difference, which means they can improve the organization’s reliability culture and sustain the improvements. The best part of what I do is guiding others to love what they do as a reliability professional.