Story by Francesca Pascual

Sahil Popli is a doctoral candidate, teaching assistant, and graduate research assistant with years of experience in design, process layout, experimental testing and analytical evaluation of academic and industrial research projects related to advanced thermal energy systems. He finds a great deal of satisfaction in creating a product that will make people comfortably cool while  saving energy and money over traditional models.  But for him, ‘cooling it’ can also mean taking some time out to sketch just for the sheer pleasure of it.

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He earned his Master of Science, Chemical Engineering in 2011 from the Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, UAE, and his Bachelor of Engineering, Chemical Engineering in 2008 from  Manipal Institute of Technology, India.  Coincidentally, during his study at PI Sahil first ‘met’ Prof. Radermacher when taking an online course offered by the University of Maryland. Prior to studying for advanced degrees, Popli worked in industry as a development associate with the Unilever Research Center in Bangalore, India and as a production executive, for Unilever Limited’s Rajpura (India) Factory.

After graduating with his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in May 2014, Sahil Popli began working for Emerson that September. He serves as the Lead System’s Engineer for the Air Conditioning Division.

Though his job title hasn’t changed since he began working at Emerson, Popli’s responsibilities have increased considerably. His work at Emerson focuses on analysis of advanced energy system level concepts. This is a unique role which involves stepping into the shoes of our OEMs and looking at the HVAC system as a whole rather than just the compressor (component) design. In addition to Copeland’s brand of compressors Emerson provides plenty of opportunities that go well beyond advancing energy efficiency and environmental conservation.  Emerson’s brands such as ClosetMaid, InSinkErator, White-Rodgers, Retail Solutions, Vilter and RIDGID (Ridge Tool Company) cover engineering services ranging from protecting food quality, building automation solutions, ensuring human comfort and health. 

‘Innovation is an important part of my job.’

Popli is also involved in developing integrated system solutions for commercial and residential markets which requires a portion of his time being spent at the recently-built Helix Innovation Center. “Product Innovation is an important part of my job,” he explains, “I need to work closely with Marketing and Regulatory affairs teams to understand future customer needs and determine the types of products that could fulfill them.” He also focuses on industry stewardship, and regularly attends conferences and consortiums.

“Finding the message in data is important.”

Popli had many pieces of advice to offer engineers at the start of their career. “As students of CEEE we are part of an elite community working in prestigious organizations in US and abroad. Dr. Radermacher’s annual meeting with students to discuss their career goals and how their time spent at CEEE could benefit them as much as it helps their project is something unique to CEEE. “After deciding he would like to work in the industry, he began to make contact at the consortium meetings. “I asked sponsors about the skills they want their employees to have, then I asked for advice about how to acquire those skills,” he says, “It significantly reduced the learning curve when I began working.” Lastly, Popli believes that understanding data analysis and planning is essential. “Finding the message in data is important. With big-data becoming omni-present, organizations look at engineers to add-value through effective extraction of key messages and lessons learnt,”he mentions. Popli believes some aspects of the job search can be applied to all new workers: begin searching for a job at least four months in advance and take into account the location of any potential jobs.  “You need to be happy with where you are living, as well as where you are working.”