Staff Profile: Dr. James "Jim" Brethour
Education: B. Eng. Chemical Engineering, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
Why did you choose Flow Science? I had other opportunities at much larger companies, but what attracted me most to Flow Science were the broad range of applications FLOW-3D could be used for, the small group of people and their open thinking that produced FLOW-3D, and the ability to work a wide variety of problems with customers from around the world.
So, Jim, what do you do all day? Code development is one of my major tasks; this involves creating new ideas and approaches to solve new types of problems, and implementing and programming these ideas into FLOW-3D, which includes debugging and testing & analysis. Another important task is assisting customers with their particular problems, including some customization of FLOW-3D to tailor the code to their needs, if necessary. Finally, I am involved in developing the logic structure behind FLOW-3D's new Graphical User Interface, coming out in Version 9.0.
What helps you get out of bed each morning? The feeling that I am doing something worthwhile. Sometimes, as a member of my local volunteer fire department, I am forced to get out of bed very, very early in the morning!
Who was your greatest influence? Well, my parents had the greatest influence on my life growing up, and they still do in many ways. My wife, Kate, influences me greatly as she helps to keep me "grounded" and focused on the priorities in my life, and helps encourage me to try new things that I would never have tried without her. In my career, two men have been influential to me: C.W. "Tony" Hirt, the founder of Flow Science and current Chief Technologist, who has taught me that the simplest solution to a complex problem is usually the best one; and L.E. "Skip" Scriven, my graduate school advisor, who taught me to always strive for perfection and to not settle for less.
How would you describe yourself? Well, I am inquisitive, and many would say that I am inquisitive to the point of annoyance. Also, I am dedicated to completing a task that I begin. Finally, I am a bit of a perfectionist, which sometimes is a hurdle, as this is the one thing that slows me down on completing a task.
What are your important accomplishments? I consider my marriage to be a very important accomplishment, as it takes a lot of dedication and continual effort to make it work. Also, I consider the completion of my Ph.D. a great accomplishment, as it was fraught with many struggles and challenges.
What is your favorite pastime? Well, I suppose my favorite pastime has always included some form of outdoor recreation: hiking, biking, cross-country skiing. Also, I enjoy spending time with my two dogs, Sasha and Khaki.