Sven Krueger was raised in a small village called Meldorf in the Dithmarschen area of Germany, where he assisted his father making installations and repairs for the family’s business. His early memories were filled with lessons of efficiency, empowerment and hard work. Their conversations molded young Sven, and helped to define his future as a professor, inventor and leader. “My parents instilled in me the importance of getting to my own opinion, and making my own decisions,” said Dr. Krueger, reflecting on what his parents taught him. “You need a little bit of courage to do this, and it’s more important than trying to think about what other people would expect from you, to live your life.”
Through adolescence and into adulthood, Sven believed in taking a systematic approach to solving technical problems. This led him to pursue a degree that provided a broad range of technical disciplines—mechanical engineering. “Mechanical engineering was the basis of mental learning, problem-solving, getting to the end, and making a successful product.”
Pursuing a PhD in engineering science was an opportunity for Sven to take a deep dive into learning and test his limits. During his research, he found that every question prompted more questions. “At first, I had the goal to answer all the questions around my PhD, and every time I asked one question, two or three new questions showed up.” Instead, he adjusted his focus to provide targeted, quality answers, and make a good contribution to the scientific community.
As a professor at Technische Universität Clausthal, Dr. Krueger taught hydraulic systems, and soon realized the importance of adapting his message. “Every lecture was different, because you have a different group of students sitting in front of you,” said Dr. Krueger. “Each time, you have to explain the subject slightly differently.” He discovered that his students were not very familiar with hydraulics at the beginning of the semester, but by the end of the semester, they made great strides in the subject.
There has always been research and development, and these discoveries have led our civilization to advanced technology, and “this is where the new stuff is coming from,” said Dr. Krueger. “I would say that technology is my passion,” he continued. “This is where you start to try out things and come up with new ideas, to try to create an invention or innovation. It is a very rewarding feeling.” This growing desire to create new technologies led him to the ideal company that would allow his passions to flourish.
Dr. Krueger has been with Baker Hughes, a GE company, for almost 19 years and has thrived in this environment. However, in a big company, there may be temptations for young engineers to transition roles frequently. He believes that building a depth of knowledge in a project is the best way to help an engineer’s career. “For an engineer, it is important to stay in your role long enough to see a project from concept to commercialization. This allows time to develop, and grow, into technical leaders. In addition, the gratification one gets from seeing their accomplishment working in the field, is very rewarding. I want people to have a valuable experience.”
A few years ago, Dr. Krueger drove early adoption of the technology needed to commercialize SureTrak, a steerable drilling liner system that helps personnel efficiently drill and complete a high-quality wellbore. “We spent a lot of time brainstorming and discussing this tool,” he said. “We put in so much time and effort into this, with hundreds of tests to prove the underlying technical concept, but we didn’t give up.”
Today, Dr. Krueger holds 40 U.S. patents and has contributed to 30 technical publications. In addition, he is a sought-after mentor, an honorary professor, involved in many industry organizations and winner of the Innovative Thinker award at the 2018 World Oil Awards, with no plans to stop there.
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