Inspectioneering Journal

FEMI Mountains We Have Climbed and Those We Still Need to Climb

By John Reynolds, Principal Consultant at Intertek. This article appears in the January/February 2019 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

Editor's note: This article is a summary of Mr. Reynolds’ keynote address to more than 1500 integrity professionals at the 2019 API Inspection and Mechanical Integrity Summit in Galveston, TX on January 29, 2019.


In the younger, slimmer, fitter, more adventurous, more vigorous years of my life (aka, the “summer years” of my life), I was indeed an avid mountain climber. I summited 32 mountains in the Rockies, the Cascades, the Canadian Coastal Range, and Alaska. Climbing mountains was a challenge for me, but it was also exhilarating and breath-taking once I reached each summit. Mountain climbing gave me confidence in myself and taught me a lot about life, as well as my career. It taught me that I could achieve most anything that I really set my mind to.

Mountaineering taught me that I could rely on myself as well as my mountain climbing team; and that we could go above and beyond what we thought we were capable of doing by ourselves. It also taught me that if I was going to achieve even bigger things, I would need to be a part of a like-minded team of mountaineers who relied on each other to get safely up and down the mountain each time, while achieving our shared goal – the summit of our chosen mountain. I find the same is true in our Fixed Equipment Mechanical Integrity (FEMI) teams. Climbing gave me great inspiration and aspirations to be the best I could be and to climb to the top of my FEMI profession.

In July 2018, I celebrated 50 years of being a part of a like-minded team of FEMI “mountain climbers” whose goal has been, and continues to be, to summit more and more FEMI mountains. We’ve climbed a lot of FEMI mountains together since I came onto the scene 50+ years ago – but we still have many more to climb. As a mountain climber, I know that no matter how many mountains you have climbed, there are always more to be summited. But believe me when I say, the view from the summit of a mountain is always worth the climb. This holds true when climbing FEMI mountains. Now that I am deep into the “winter” of my FEMI career, one of my remaining goals is to encourage all of you to carry on with our FEMI goals and to summit more FEMI mountains after I leave the scene.

One critical lesson I have learned from mountain climbing is to be wary of achieving false summits. In physical mountain climbing the actual summit is sometimes obscured by what we call false summits – those smaller peaks associated with the main mountain that can obscure the actual summit during a climb. In the photo below, the false summit is on the left hand side of the actual summit on the right. When a mountaineering team is climbing up from the left side of that false summit, they can’t see the actual summit until they stand on top of it. It’s only then that they realize that the actual summit is still some distance off and they have to keep going to conquer the true summit.

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Posted by Richard M.H. Ravestein on March 12, 2019
Great overview of the past, present and future of... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

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