Calgary, Canada

Rob is RELIABLE and the proof is in the podcast. Rob has worked in jobs involving economics and asset reliability. On top of his day job, Rob runs his own podcast on the side. Rob’s been involved in many, many aspects of reliability and has turned his insights into his passion – Rob’s Reliability Project. Check out his page for updates and entertainment that make reliability accessible for everyone.

Thank you Rob, for everything you do! Your enthusiasm for reliability and your desire to share and educate the community make you a leader in the movement to shift from maintenance to reliability! 

rob kalwarowsky, enbridge, upkeep
Rob in a hazmat suit at work!

How did you get started in maintenance?

I grew up in Ottawa, Canada. I went to MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts and graduated with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, as well as a minor in management. I played water polo in college and was an NCAA academic all-American. For a few years, I was on the Canadian junior national team and actually won a Canadian national championship. After graduation, I worked as an economist with HDR Inc. for about six months. With HDR Inc., I was doing cost-benefit analyses for large infrastructure projects. This was right after the economic crash in 2008. A lot of companies that were in the process of building new infrastructure had requirements to show how it would benefit the community.

I found my first job as a reliability engineer at Teck Resources. I worked at Teck for two and a half years, primarily on spare parts optimization, failure/risk analysis and predictive maintenance on large haul trucks (for coal mining).

Then, I went to work as a senior reliability engineer at Fluid Life. Finally, in July 2019, I started in my current role at Enbridge in their asset management & risk department. I’ve also worked as a reliability consultant and seen many facilities in oil and gas, mining, energy, shipping, and manufacturing.

rob kalwarowsky, enbridge, upkeep
Rob improving asset reliability like he does best!

What is one of your proudest achievements?

Starting my podcast, Rob’s Reliability Project. I’ve had a few projects at work that saved millions of dollars, but rarely did I see much change as it was happening. With Rob’s Reliability Project, not only have I learned a significant amount, the reliability community has benefited from the sharing. Rob’s Reliability Project shares audio, visual, video and written content on a daily basis with the goal of teaching and interacting with the industrial community.

I’m still humbled, somewhat surprised that people listen and I always love to answer questions from listeners! I received a question from a listener in Chile the other day, and it feels great to spread the word of reliability!

What is one thing you wish people knew about your job?

Reliability is not about getting to 100% uptime or run-time. Rather, it’s about optimizing value over the lifecycle of an asset. Take a lightbulb for example. If you’re at your house the lightbulb fails, run-to-failure is the right maintenance plan. It probably costs more to do time-based replacements (preventive maintenance) or to try and predict the failure (predictive maintenance) than just going to the store and buying a new one. On the other hand, look at a smoke detector. The consequence of a fire-alarm or smoke detector not workng is very high. Therefore, a preventive maintenance or predictive maintenance strategy is a better choice (in most cases, people replace their batteries on a PM basis).

In reliability, you have to evaluate that decision-making process. Things will break. You have to accept that things will fail and think, “Okay, now what am I going to do?”

Thank you, Rob!