Albemarle Potential: Reliability Electrical Engineer Eleftherios Ordoulidis

Albemarle Potential: Reliability Electrical Engineer Eleftherios Ordoulidis

Eleftherios Ordulidis

At Albemarle, our potential is in our people. The quality of their work drives our success around the globe. One of those people is Eleftherios Ordoulidis, an Albemarle Reliability Electrical Engineer at our jointly owned (by Albemarle and Mineral Resources Limited) Kemerton Plant in Western Australia.  

Ordoulidis grew up in Greece, where he studied Automation Engineering at the Alexander Technological Education Institute of Thessaloniki. He was influenced by his father, an electronics engineer who worked for the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation, and by family and friends with similar technical backgrounds.

"I have always been fascinated with electrical and electronic circuits," Ordoulidis recalled. "As a young student, I remember visiting the local electronics shop buying components for fabricating my own boards. It was such a rewarding experience to see things work as intended.

Nowadays, as professional engineers, we get to design and make things work on a larger scale, often positively impacting the local community, the environment, or the economy."

Ordoulidis’ professional career began in a small electrical contracting company providing services to the local aluminum industry. He then moved to a maintenance and operations role at a power plant attached to a refinery.

"It was astonishing to be part of a project that replaced three coal-fired boilers with a cleaner, more-efficient gas turbine cogeneration,” he recalled. “I built up my technical skills and confidence over the next five years. This launched my passion and work in the clean energy industry."

In 2011, Ordoulidis and his wife (also an engineer) received permanent residency in Australia as skilled migrants. He continued to work in the alumina industry until 2020, gaining the skills to be a subject matter expert in process instrumentation and reliability systems.

That experience and knowledge brought him to Albemarle a month before the pandemic. "I had about six weeks in the office but integrated quickly,” Ordoulidis said. “Albemarle really supported the smooth transition to working from home, and the team and I were able to continue business as usual throughout the pandemic."

At Kemerton, he has been directly involved in developing the reliability program for process instrumentation. These programs create equipment maintenance, management, and breakdown response plans that allow plants to eliminate safety incidents, maximize time online and minimize the total cost of ownership. These strategies support Kemerton’s efforts to become operationally ready and enable a successful transition from construction to an operating environment. 

Ordoulidis is the co-author and lead in developing Kemerton's Functional Safety Management Plan, Instrument Calibration Management, and Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Areas (EEHA) management procedures. He also was tasked with identifying the requirements for operating, maintaining, and monitoring the performance of the Burner Management Systems.

"I am very proud of the team and the work outputs we produced. It has shaped how we manage our safety-critical instrumented systems, operate safely and meet regulatory compliance," Ordoulidis said.

His peers say Ordoulidis is a gifted engineer, especially his ability to discover and utilize every tiny, technical detail to accomplish assigned tasks. He has taken his interest and passion in functional safety to the next level and elevated the work Albemarle is producing in Western Australia. 

"It is inspiring to be part of Albemarle's current and future investments. Electric vehicles and battery energy storage, combined with renewable energy projects, can further reduce our communities' dependence on fossil fuels for energy supply and create plentiful job opportunities. I'm proud to be in the developing stages for a better future for my friends and family," Ordoulidis said.


Eleftherios Ordulidis and his family camping

One of Ordoulidis' passions is camping with his family. "We were in our camper trailer during a powerful storm. Wind and heavy rain started to take some poles down in the awning. As we took shelter in the camper, my 4-year-old son shouted, ‘Everyone…we need to stay calm!’ We then knew his daycare education at the time had indeed paid off.”

He is incredibly proud of his Greek heritage and native language while enthusiastically embracing his life as an Australian citizen. His given name has five syllables (El-ef-ther-i-os), but Australians love to shorten names. Thanks to this national quirk, he has encountered more than 20 misspellings and nicknames but takes them with a great sense of humor. "I used to tell people that they were allowed to misspell my name as long as it was on my 'approved' list!" Ordoulidis joked.