Pits & Quarries
Getting to know a BKT field engineer
By Rock to Road
“In my training sessions I want to make people understand that a tire is not just an object, it must be handled with great care and attention,” Piero Torassa, field engineer.
By Rock to Road
BKT is one of the largest off-highway tire manufacturers in the world and here is a collection of excerpts from an interview with BKT Field Engineer Piero Torassa. Piero has been a BKT field engineer for more than a decade.
Piero, we know that you don’t have a technical approach during your training sessions, let’s say that you are more of a communicator who makes everything so simple and natural. Can you tell us something about yourself?
I’m from Turin, I’m 53 years old and I graduated from Genoa University in Thermophysical Mechanical Engineering of insulating materials. Including rubber, of course. What I studied then turned into the work I do and for 10 years I’ve been in the BKT family.
What do tires mean for you?
Good question for which I have only one answer: I love tires! I travel a lot to test them and check the applications in the field, under real conditions. Every tire has a different story to tell, it means new journeys and hard work to do. They are such an important part of my life that I can’t avoid checking out the sizes of the tires of any parked vehicle when I am out and about with my family. My wife often says “please stop!” but it’s difficult. I’ve been working in the tire industry for almost 25 years.
Can you describe your typical working day for us?
I’d really like to, but in reality, I can’t. I don’t want to be rude, it’s just that I do so many different things. Every day is different from the next and every day is special in some way. So, let’s say that I don’t have a real routine.
Let me put the question differently: can you tell us something about what you do? We’d really like to know what a field engineer does exactly.
Fundamentally I develop everything a tire needs depending on the different environments it’s used in. These environments include fields cultivated for agriculture and industrial sites, port logistics, worksites, OTR quarries. So, I travel a lot to meet our end-users here in Europe. And I’m always in touch with our sales department and research and development for further product improvements. The latter is based in India and I often go there.
What does your work involve when you go to the workplaces of end-users?
I provide on-site technical assistance. And I deal with any issue in the field regarding our products and services. In particular, for OTR tires, our number one priority is to manage to provide engineering and technical capabilities.
Do you also test the tire?
Of course, but I prefer to talk of monitoring. What I do is monitor and improve the performance of the tires and the quality of the product. This means I analyze all the key factors which contribute to the performance of the product, especially the conditions in which the customer operates.
You make everything seem so easy, but I know it isn’t. I saw you in some technical training sessions here on BKT Network. You feel quite comfortable explaining things to people, don’t you?
Oh yes, I do. I’m doing a lot of technical training at our partner distributors throughout Europe. And it’s important, you know, that people understand that a tire is not just some black, round object. In BKT we always say that “tires are the key to having high-performing equipment”, but I’d go further and I’d say: it doesn’t matter if it is an agricultural vehicle, a loader or a large OTR dumper. Tires are the heart and spirit of every kind of vehicle.
Piero, if I can tell you something — you’re the first romantic engineer I’ve met.
The fact is I’m in love with my tires. Everything else aside, I think it is important to convey this message. Frequent failures, downtime and excessive replacement of tires are, unfortunately, often a consequence of recommending the wrong tire. Tire retailers must have the appropriate technical skills and be specifically trained in order to recommend tires for customers’ different applications. Everyone knows that time is money, but this goes hand in hand with the operator’s safety. So, there are hundreds and hundreds of factors to consider. It’s not easy, but at the same time, it’s not so difficult. I think it’s like the proverb says: where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Seeing that you travel a lot, how many languages can you speak? And what languages do you use at work?
I speak Italian of course, then German, English and a petit peu de français. I do my presentations mainly in English but also in German, as Germany is a really very important market for us.
I know that you have a passion for television. Do you have a screen idol?
Not really, but I find it quite interesting to research some celebrities and find they have an engineering degree. Did you know, for example, that Rowan Atkinson, [Mr. Bean] has a degree in electrical engineering? Or that Jimmy Carter, the former president of the United States has a science degree and another actor, Ally Walker [Sons of Anarchy, Profiler] is a graduate in biomedical engineering? See, if I look at these famous people — I feel that I’m in good company!
And now some quick personal questions to get to know you better. Who is your favourite singer or band?
A lot of bands from the end of the ’80s, even if I now normally listen to classical, baroque and romantic music, it really relaxes me!
What are your favourite cities? One in Europe and another in any part of the world.
I’d say Rome in Europe, an open-air museum to visit with endless hidden treasures. You breathe in history in Rome. Outside of Europe, I’d say that some cities of the west coast of the United States are truly fascinating. San Francisco is certainly unforgettable.
Your favourite film?
Now, with our three daughters, it’s difficult to decide what film to watch. All of us in the family love to relax watching disaster movies, for sure Dwayne Johnson is our favourite actor. As for me, it’s hard to forget The Godfather trilogy. Yes, I live with four women, it’s hard work, probably more difficult than being a field engineer! I’m joking, I love being with my family and I am 100 per cent theirs when I get back home.
Now our final question, what is your greatest passion?
I like cooking and choosing the right wine to accompany the different courses. Then I really love playing the piano: it really is the most relaxing time of the day, I do it whenever possible. And finally reading, especially books set at the time of the Crusades, in the Middle Ages, where reality is often mixed with fantasy and beliefs. What a difference from the modern post-digital era!