Category Archives: Where Are They Now?

Where are they now?: Jason Wright

Jason Wright is a 2018 graduate of Niagara College’s Mechanical Engineering Technology (Co-op) program and was a Technical Services Research Assistant at the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre for the Research & Innovation division for one year. Jason has been employed with Burloak Technologies in Oakville as a Process Designer since November 2018.

Tell us about where you work:

Burloak Technologies is a leading partner for advanced additive manufacturing solutions. The company uses additive manufacturing with a variety of metals and plastics, and multi-axis machining to serve the aerospace, satellite communications, spaceflight, energy and high-end industrial sectors.

Describe your role and what you like about it:

As a Process Designer, it is my responsibility to get Burloak to define company processes around DfAM (design for additive manufacturing, operation of additive manufacturing equipment, and manufacturing of advanced manufacturing parts. I am creating documentation to support our processes and support traceability to our customers, and support the engineering team with any new projects that come along. Some days I am at my desk, and other days I am on the manufacturing floor either making something or helping to solve problems. My favourite part of the job is that every day is different, and everyone at Burloak shares the same passion: leading the advancement of additive manufacturing technology in Canada and across the globe.

How has your experience with Research & Innovation helped prepare you for your current role?

R&I gave me the additive manufacturing background that my company was looking for, which helped me to land this job.  I also had the opportunity at R&I to speak with customers, and turn their conceptual ideas into 3D models, and eventually into printed parts. The research, design, and communication skills I learned at R&I are skills I use every day at work. 

A memorable applied research project during your time at R&I?

In 2017, I worked with a company developing a product that required significant product design, and additive manufacturing for rapid prototyping purposes. The most memorable work I was a part of at R&I was working with the Fortus (3D printing) production systems (FDM Additive) and design projects.  The technology is very advanced, I always looked forward to going to work at R&I to see what the Fortus had finished printing the night before.

Most memorable experience at NC?

The most memorable experiences at NC were with my friends that I met in the program. The Mechanical Engineering Technology program at NC is very demanding and very rewarding. I lived with a few of my classmates, and we became close friends. The most memorable experiences were pulling long nights and early mornings studying and completing projects with my friends. It was a huge challenge and we all supported each other.

“The research, design, and communication skills I learned at R&I are skills I use every day at work.”

A faculty member who influenced you?

All of my professors were greatly influential, and helped me to develop strong interests in the classes they taught. 

Lois Johnson instilled in me a strong interest in material sciences; her classes were the most interesting to me. I plan to work towards a career in material sciences within the additive manufacturing industry.

Neil Walker has such a distinct passion for his courses and his students. He could explain the same concept a thousand different ways until everyone understood it. He really helped to connect the dots between the applicable engineering concepts and the math.

Scott Phillips really wants to exercise your mind. He might give you a problem, almost like an engineering puzzle, and give you 50 percent of the jigsaw pieces. It is your job to find the other 50 percent using any resources possible, with no hints. This was often frustrating, but I tried hard to solve those puzzles. I strongly believe his lessons contributed the most to my flexibility and problem-solving skills that I use every day now.

What advice would you impart on current research students or future alumni?

Take time to learn from your colleagues at R&I. Even if it isn’t a project you are directly working on, you can learn so much just from asking questions and being interested. This opens up the opportunity to be a part of multiple projects at once, which is both a great learning opportunity and can be a lot of fun.

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?

Entering the workforce can be intimidating and nerve-racking, but that’s where you are going to learn about your own strengths and weaknesses. It is humbling to enter a place where your knowledge is not judged on an even playing field, and it is certainly rewarding to learn new things about yourself. I quickly learned what my strengths are in terms of project management and the application of knowledge through technical writing. I also learned where I needed to improve. Keep your mind open and remember, you don’t know everything yet.  

What are your interests outside of work?

 I enjoy spending time outside, whether that means going for a hike, cycling, or reading a book by the lake. Working indoors all day can take a lot out of you – spend some time outside!

 

Web developer with eye for design gets start at NC

Brontë Bean is a 2016 graduate of Niagara College’s New Media Web Design program and was a Web Design/Developer Research Assistant for the Research & Innovation division for eight months. Brontë is employed with design agency Redstamp as an Intermediate Front End Developer.

Tell us about where you work:

My current employer is Redstamp. They are a full-service agency based in Port Moody, British Columbia specializing in creative design, technical development, and digital marketing, and emphasize automation and innovation to help drive growth.

Describe your role and what you like about it:

My role is Intermediate Front End Developer. I started in October of 2017 just after I moved to British Columbia. In May of 2018, I moved back to Ontario and have continued to work with Redstamp as a full-time remote employee.

My job is primarily developing websites using WordPress as a CMS [Content Management System]. I work with a team of developers and together we provide clients with different web solutions, ranging from marketing emails, and microsites, to web apps. We have a lot of great clients; many coming from tech backgrounds which makes projects innovative and fun to work on.  Our team is currently in the middle of creating a dynamic design system in Gutenberg, Germany.

How has your experience with Research & Innovation helped prepare you for your current role?

R&I helped accelerate my career. Before graduating, I was offered a job in my field and I credit a lot of that to the skills I learned at Research & Innovation. It gave me a taste of the industry and what typical processes may be like. I was meeting with clients, creating mockups and developing websites. I use those same core skills today at my current job.

A memorable applied research project during your time at R&I?

I was able to work on a project with Niagara Sustainability while at R&I. They were a great team and it was interesting to learn all about what they do for the area. I started with creating designs, which turned into a fully functional WordPress site. It appears that they are still using much of what I worked on with R&I.

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?

I liked the idea of being at a smaller school. I toured several colleges in the area but felt I would have just been another number. I wanted to be a big fish in a small pond. Niagara College offered small class sizes with hands-on learning. Niagara also offered several opportunities to get involved in the community and work with local professionals in the same field. Through those connections and experiences, I was able to get a job upon graduating.

“Before graduating, I was offered a job in my field and I credit a lot of that to the skills I learned at Research & Innovation. It gave me a taste of the industry and what typical processes may be like.”


Most memorable experience at NC?

There are too many memorable experiences to choose just one. I met many great people at NC with whom I made many amazing memories.

A faculty member who influenced you?

I was very lucky to work with some amazing faculty. I learned a lot from my teacher and R&I mentor Mark Hardwick. He would take the time to sit one-on-one with me to work out any design or development question I had. Looking back, a lot of the core knowledge I have about the industry comes from Mark.

A mentor at R&I?

Neil Wilkinson [Project Manager] was also a great mentor. He approached all projects with a positive attitude and made sure we had what we needed to succeed. Even recently, I have seen him engage with past R&I employees on platforms like LinkedIn for potential job opportunities.

What advice would you impart on current research students or future alumni?

Have fun. Although this is work, be sure you truly like what you’re doing. Take your time learning the basics as these will be essential to your career and future learning. I started making WordPress sites while at R&I and I am still using those same skills today.

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?

The last few years have been a whirlwind of knowledge and learning. My advice would be to take things one step at a time. Learn the basics before getting into more advanced topics. I have also learned the importance of a team – everyone brings something different to the table so try to use that to your advantage to widen your skillset.

Proudest achievement since graduating?

I am very proud of how far I have progressed in my career and the work I have produced in the last few years. I have gained a wide range of knowledge and skills throughout my experience working in an agency environment.

Interests outside of work?

I spend most days on the computer so outside of work I like to enjoy the outdoors – activities include hiking with my two dogs, kayaking at a nearby lake, or spending the weekend away camping. I also enjoy arts and crafts and going to flea markets or thrift stores to add to my multiple collections of things.

If you could have a billboard message seen by many, what would it say?

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!” ~ Wayne Gretzky

Anything else you want to say?

Thanks to both R&I and Niagara College for all the amazing opportunities I was given. I learned many valuable lessons and continue to use them in my everyday life.

Rafael Almeida on his strategy for life

Rafael Almeida
Niagara College Computer Programming student Rafael Almeida working on a project as a Research Assistant in the labs at the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre.

The Niagara region has a particularly sentimental meaning for Rafael Almeida. When searching for a Canadian school to enrol in computer programming, it was the beauty of this region that reminded him of his honeymoon locale in his home country of Brazil.

While it may not seem a likely comparison given the tropical South American climate, the southern tourist town of Gramado is a scenic four-season destination, with an array of food, culture, wine … and snow.

“Niagara really got to my heart because of the memories from my honeymoon,” says Rafael, a Research Assistant with the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre at Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division. “Then when I learned about what Niagara College had to offer for me, everything was a perfect match.”

His quest to further develop his specialized knowledge in information systems was just part of a bigger plan. In leaving the political and economic upheaval of Brazil, he and his wife also wanted to make a better life for their young daughter.

With a Bachelor’s degree in information systems and post-graduate education in IT Management, Rafael spent 15 years working for one of Latin America’s largest software companies. And while he had a comfortable financial footing back home, he knew that his education needed to be broadened to have security for the future.

“It was not only specialized, and a proprietary language that I was experienced in, it was very old technology,” he explains. “If they suddenly closed, I would be in trouble … it’s not a programming language that could be transferred easily.”

“In my job in Brazil I would never have the opportunity to work with lasers. Here, I have real-world problems that I’m solving with my knowledge – my college knowledge and my past business knowledge.”

Since arriving in 2018, Rafael’s strategy has been to work extremely hard at his grades, provide for his family, learn the language and give back when he can. To date, he has earned near-perfect grades in his first two terms, holds down two jobs, he’s nearly fluent in English, and peer mentors, and tutors other international students.

At 35, Rafael has the maturity to understand the importance of all his actions.

“I knew that it would be hard mentally and financially, but it’s all part of the strategy. I came here with this in my mind,” he says. “I had to be the best one in class and get as much knowledge as I can. I need to make it work. I need to do whatever I have time to in order to hopefully establish here.”

He realized it was going to be a challenging schedule, leaving little time to spend with his wife Priscila and five-year-old daughter Alice, given his school work, his R&I position and a part-time job at Walmart near his St. Catharines’ home. “That’s the only thing that makes me a little sad. But we all know it’s temporary and it’s good for our future.”

Since starting with Research & Innovation earlier this summer, Rafael has had the opportunity to work on projects he never dreamed possible – lasers, 3D printers, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence and more.  

His first assignment was helping his team with a project for industry partner Speed Composites, who had invented a product to provide precise measurements and optimum adjustments of a race car’s chassis prior to a race, and wirelessly transmit the data to an app. The company needed help building the electronics and programming the software/firmware.

Rafael was brought on board to help troubleshoot issues with the laser measurement sensor. He soon discovered that various surfaces made differences with the measurements and his team was able to adjust the sensors.

“In my job in Brazil I would never have the opportunity to work with lasers,” he says. “Here, I have real-world problems that I’m solving with my knowledge – my college knowledge and my past business knowledge.”

As well, with his expertise in process management software in fields such as logistics, manufacturing, and financial services, he has been putting his experience to good use in helping to revamp the R&I platform work management software, Tracksuite.

“The experience I’m gaining will definitely make a difference on my resume.”

Student Rafael Almeida speaking about his Research & Innovation experience at the funding announcement for SONAMI (Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation). See below for video.

Rafael understands that his current experiences will shape his future. So, when he was invited by R&I staff to be the student representative guest speaker at a $14-million funding announcement by the federal government to Niagara College, he knew he could not pass up the opportunity, even if he was hesitant to speak in front of a group of dignitaries in his second language.

“I was told the federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities would be there, and I was like, ‘for all of Canada?’” he jokes. “But I’m pretty sure this is going to help me in the future. The videos and photos of that day will definitely be part of my portfolio.”

For every milestone so far in the region that’s so close to his heart, he is grateful. “It’s been very good for us here,” he says. “For my daughter, she’s learning things and having opportunities that she didn’t have. Brazil is a good country with good people, but here in Canada we have opportunities that we wouldn’t have there, mainly for our daughter.”

Upon graduation, Rafael says his plan is to apply for a post-graduate work permit with the hope of staying in Canada another three years.

In the meantime, he continues to find time to mentor other international students who may be struggling to adapt to the region or their academics. 

“It’s always good to help others achieve success,” he adds. “We are more than only ourselves in this life. If at the end of the day you make someone feel better about themselves, I call it a good day.”

 

To learn more about the work of the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, visit the web page.

Where Are They Now?: Amanda Galenkamp

 

Amanda Galenkamp graduated from NC’s Culinary Innovation and Food Technology program in 2018 and served as Research Assistant for Research & Innovation for one year during her time as a student. Since September 2018, Amanda has been the Product Development Coordinator for Steeped Tea.

Tell us about where you work:

 Steeped Tea is a direct-selling loose-leaf tea company based in Ancaster, Ontario. Founded in 2006, Steeped Tea Inc. quickly became one of the fastest-growing social-selling companies in North America. In 2012, they were featured on CBC’s “Dragons’ Den” where Jim Treliving and David Chilton signed on as business partners and investors. Since then, they’ve been ranked on the Profit 500 list four years running – 24th in 2016. The company is built on superior quality, taste, and service, with more than 100 delicious varieties of premium loose-leaf teas, along with accessories. They also feature tea-based lattes, spices, salad dressings, hot chocolates, and sweet dip mixes.

Describe your role and what you like about it:

My job is all about creating new products for Steeped Tea. My main tasks include formulating new products, researching current and upcoming trends, sourcing new and unique ingredients, conducting sensory panels to get feedback on new tea blends, creating any necessary nutrition facts panels and product information, and coming up with new innovative ideas. I love being able to work with tea all day long and learn and participate in product development and marketing meetings.

Please give us an idea of what types of related things you’ve been doing prior to this recent position.

During school, I ran my own small hobby tea business selling tea at markets and at select retail stores. This really helped me learn about the tea and beverage industry, and gain valuable knowledge about marketing and business.

How has your Research & Innovation experience helped you prepare for your current role?

Working as a research assistant was such a great experience! I had some amazing mentors and was able to work on multiple projects doing a wide variety of tasks. I did a lot of product development and learned the importance of tracking and compiling all of your formulations. I had to come up with new product and flavour ideas, communicate with clients, create nutrition facts panels, participate in sensory panels, and much more. I use all these skills in my current role on a daily basis. Having this framework of useful skills really set me up for success in my career.

A memorable applied research project during your time at R&I?

Broya broth and jerky: I worked with other research assistants and we came up with multiple bone broth flavours and meat “protein bites.” It was a ton of fun to collaborate and innovate with other research assistants, and we had some trials but also some great breakthroughs. The client loved the products. It is so awesome to be a part of creating the products you see on the grocery store shelves.

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?

The Culinary Innovation and Food Technology program was a unique program because of the combination of culinary skills, food science, and product development. I liked the fact that it had a co-op to help gain work experience, and that it gave the potential for a whole range of jobs from product development to quality control.

“It is so awesome to be a part of creating the productions you see on the grocery store shelves!”

Most memorable experience at NC?

The culinary labs! It was so much fun to create things from scratch, like using cheese and bacon to come up with crazy inventions. I was also part of a close-knit class at NC. We would go out for wine tasting nights, have study groups in the library, and struggle together through the labs. It was great to be a part of that community.

A faculty member who influenced you?

I met Dr. Amy Proulx at a Niagara College Open House and she was a big part of why I chose the program. She works so hard to help everyone succeed and was such an encouraging and knowledgeable mentor during my three years at NC. She always believes in you 100% and is always there to help you through any struggles you are having.

A mentor at R&I?

Everyone at Research & Innovation was so amazing to work with. I had some great mentors and managers who showed me how to be organized, how to use the lab equipment, and gave helpful feedback countless times on product development.  

What advice would you impart on current research students or future alumni?

Work hard and focus on what you are passionate about; but also, don’t be afraid to try multiple things to find your passion. Talk to your teachers and learn everything you can from them. I am very passionate about tea and product development, and it showed in my resume and job interviews, which led me to find my dream job. This doesn’t always happen right away, but if you keep on working and keep networking you will find something that uses your strengths.

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?

Keep learning and don’t be afraid to try new things.

Proudest achievement since graduating?

I have created more than 20 new products for the upcoming Steeped Tea Catalogues. I can’t talk about any of them yet but they will be available soon!

What are your interests outside of work?

Being outside: hiking, running, travel, and climbing mountains. 


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Innovation in Action

Through applied research activities, Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division is preparing the workforce with the right know–how by providing an array of researcher expertise, supported by leading-edge facilities, technology and equipment. See how graduates and R&I alumni are applying their skills and knowledge in the real world.

Where Are They Now?: Ryan Tunis


Ryan
Tunis graduated from the Computer Programmer, Computer Software Engineering program in 2016 and worked in the Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre at Research & Innovation for four years, first as a Research Associate, and then, as a Senior Research Associate. Ryan began his new role as Software Developer in June 2019 with Anova, a global leader in remote monitoring, and industrial technology.

Tell us about where you work:
Anova does sensor networking for the industrial industry. Anova has a growing network of over 350,000 cellular, satellite, and LPWAN devices in 65+ countries around the globe.

Describe your role and what you like about it:
I am a software developer. The sheer volume of data that flows through this system is astonishing. The environment is very start-up like with all the newest tech and a comfortable working environment. Sit/stand desks, you get your own high tech laptop, which is easily one of the best you could possibly buy in terms of hardware.

Please give us an idea of what types of related things you’ve been doing prior to this recent position.
I worked at a company called ServicePRO, which does workflow management software and quickly moved into a senior role after a few weeks of working there. It’s not my cup of tea though; I prefer the big data scene.

How has your Research & Innovation experience helped you prepare for your current role?
If it weren’t for R&I I would not have had the time or opportunity to experiment with the latest and greatest technology that everyone is moving towards today. I would not have the experience to know how to handle situations where I know very little about it and still walk out on top. I also know a lot more about farming than I ever thought I would.

A memorable applied research project during your time at R&I?
Re-architecting the Crop Portal, AgroTelligent, RRx, and RTAG into one massive micro service application really allowed me to grow my skills as a full stack developer. I can now confidently say that I can build any application from the ground up and take it from alpha to production ready code.

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?
I was a framer for seven years prior to going to Niagara College to study Computer Programming. I have always loved the idea of creating something and looking back at it and thinking, “Yeah, I made that… nice.” The challenge was trying to get that same feeling without having to push your body to its physical limits every day and endure the cold and heat throughout the year. So naturally, I thought, “well, programming is kind of like building houses, so let’s give that a go,” and I fell in love with it. The best thing about it is if you make a mistake, you just have to delete the lines of code that don’t work, if you make a mistake building a house you could end up ripping an entire wall down and having to rebuild it again.

If it weren’t for R&I I would not have had the time or opportunity to experiment with the latest and greatest technology that everyone is moving towards today.”

Most memorable experience at NC?
I attempted to create an autonomous rover that was wired up with an Arduino and a whole slew of various sensors. I then programmed coordinates into it to feed to the GPS, compass, and servo, to get it to try to follow a path. After hundreds of test runs, I only succeeded once. I think it was a pure fluke or something to do with GPS drift because it never followed the route again, it would only go in the route’s general direction to the way point. Either way, that’s still a victory. Oh, and you could also control it manually with an Xbox controller.

A faculty member who influenced you?
Cliff Patrick was a fantastic teacher. I remember the day I had the “A-HA” moment when I finally understood the fundamentals of programming and I owe it to his teaching methods. He gave the best analogies. I frequently use some of them to explain what I do to people who don’t understand programming.

A mentor at R&I?
Dr. Mike Duncan was my biggest influence at R&I. I remember many occasions when Mike would ask me, “Hey, do you know how to do this?” to which I would respond, “I have no idea, but give me 20 minutes and I’ll let you know.” The overwhelming support and trust Mike has given me has allowed me to become the software developer I am today and I will never forget that. He’s also a decent bass player, too. 😉

What advice would you impart on current research students or future alumni?
As programmers, we often repeatedly have to put up with failure and you might often be asked to make the seemingly impossible, possible. But, if there is a will, there is a way, so don’t throw in the towel early because your next error message is your next victory. If that fails, you could visit Ballmer’s Peak. 😊

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?
Not every company values the same things and as such, their work processes are different. Not all code follows all of the conventions we were taught. Not all code has meaningful comments that explain precisely what the function you are looking at is supposed to do, like we were taught. It’s unfortunate but that’s just the way it is. Code is art; you wouldn’t purposely draw a crappy picture, why would you purposely write garbage code?

Proudest achievement since graduating?
Currently working on what will be a revolutionary musician’s practicing application that adopts gamification to get users addicted to progress. Stay tuned…

What are your interests outside of work?
Music (I play guitar), badminton, table tennis.

If you could have a billboard message seen by many, what would it say?
If you see a new error message, you’re heading in the right direction.

Anything else you want to say?
Thanks to everyone at R&I for being very supportive to everyone who works there, it is an amazing place to work.

  


» VIEW ALL PROFILES

Innovation in Action

Through applied research activities, Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division is preparing the workforce with the right know–how by providing an array of researcher expertise, supported by leading-edge facilities, technology and equipment. See how graduates and R&I alumni are applying their skills and knowledge in the real world.

Where Are They Now?: Brian Cunningham

 

Brian Cunningham graduated from the Electrical Engineering Technology (Co-op) program in 2018. He spent two years working on Research & Innovation’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre team as a Research Assistant. Brian began his new role as Engineering Technician in February 2019 at Cimcorp Automation, a global supplier of intralogistics automation.

Tell us a little about where you work:

Cimcorp Automation is a manufacturer and integrator of pioneering material handling systems for the tire industry that has developed unique robotic solutions for order fulfillment and storage. These solutions are being used in the food & beverage, retail, e-commerce, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), and postal service sectors.

Describe your role and what you like about it:

Currently, I am assisting in coordinating new resource management software for internal company use. My main responsibilities regarding this software include maintaining our large catalog of design and commercial parts, as well as providing training to engineering designers to allow them to utilize our new software for a number of engineering processes.

As we transition into this new software, I have also been taking on challenges with troubleshooting some of our smaller automated robots. This has led me to work with and testing servo motors and servo drives, as well as various battery and battery management technologies. 

How has your experience with Research & Innovation helped prepare you for your current role?

Much of my time at Research & Innovation was spent developing automated systems. This included programming PLCs and microcontrollers. I also worked on some electrical panel design, wiring prototypes, as well as designing and assembling printed circuit boards. 

I believe these experiences, that I enjoyed so much, led me directly into a career in the material handling industry. My constant exposure to electrical design as well as different advanced manufacturing processes has also allowed me to easily communicate between both electrical and mechanical designers to address their concerns, as we continue to roll out our new resource management software being used by our employees.

A memorable applied research project during your time at R&I?

The Grimo nut project was my first and most memorable project I was able to be part of at Research & Innovation. Grimo Nut Nursery breeds a walnut variation known as the heartnut, which is popular because of its heart-shaped shell. The nuts had to be cracked by hand using a hammer in order to keep the shell intact and the industry partner needed an automated solution for cracking.

Our team developed a proof-of-concept machine that employs pneumatics for quick feeding and positioning of the heartnut, a programmable logic control (PLC) system to control and fine-tune all of the operations on this machine, and a proprietary nut-cracking chamber. It was my first experience with PLC programming, and was one of the more intricate and complex projects that research had taken on at the time. It really challenged me and the rest of the design team to think outside the box.

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?

I knew I wanted to get into engineering and was looking for something a little more applied. My program at Niagara College offered courses that spent large portions of class time in the labs. Small class sizes also allowed students to get plenty of one-on-one time with professors.

“If you can show that you are able to recognize mistakes – correct them, learn from them, and self-regulate – you can make yourself a very valuable asset within your workplace.”

Most memorable experience at NC?

Being able to participate in open house events at NC was always a great experience. It gave me the chance to highlight the potential opportunities that await those who are interested in the Engineering faculty as well as Research & Innovation at Niagara College.

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to learn and grow during my time at NC and Research & Innovation, and it would be an incredible disservice to potential students and program applicants if they were not made aware of these potential opportunities that await them. Whether I was giving a presentation or providing a group with a tour of the research lab, I’ve always seen it as a way of paying it forward and hopefully inspiring future students to realize their full potential at NC.

A faculty member who influenced you?

There isn’t one particular faculty member that had an influence on me, because they all did! Every one of my teachers had something different to bring to the table; they all had different experiences that they could draw from to supplement the content taught in the classroom. So without making the list too long, I want to say thanks to Paul Jiankos, Fred Graham, Paul Kendrick, Sarah Rouillier, and Mike van den Bogerd for making #myncstory a memorable one!

A mentor at R&I?

Again, there are almost too many people to list. If I had to pick, my Project Leads Gord Maretzki and Al Spence were able to provide me with literally decades of industry experience expertise between the two of them. They always encouraged me to think outside the box and to continually hold my work to the highest standard. Their experience in automation and robotics certainly played a role in the career I find myself in today.

Big shout out to Jim Lambert, Gord Koslowski, Carolyn Mullin and Marc Nantel for bringing me along to countless trade shows, research symposiums, and showcases. Thank you for pulling me out of my comfort zone allowing me to show faculty, local business owners, industry professionals, and even members of parliament what Niagara College Research & Innovation is really all about.

What advice would you impart on current research students or future alumni?

Don’t let uncertainty stop you from doing anything. In research, when we’re uncertain of what’s going to happen, we try it out ourselves to find out! The worst possible thing that could happen in the end is you learn something, and you’ll only be better because of it. 

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes when you’re just starting out. That’s not to say you shouldn’t hold yourself to a high standard (because you should!), but employers recognize there is a learning curve to their processes and methods of operation. If you can show that you are able to recognize mistakes, correct them, learn from them, and self-regulate, you can make yourself a very valuable asset within your workplace. 

Proudest achievement since graduating?

Starting my career! It’s really encouraging to see all of my hard work beginning to pay off.

Interests outside of work?

In the summer months, I usually like to get out on my bike when I’m not playing on one of my slo-pitch softball teams. In the winter when the weather’s not great I’ll work on designing and building audio equipment for my home setup. My drums get played year round!

If you could have a billboard message seen by many, what would it say?

Check out Taylor Wallace & Patch Bay (my band) on Soundcloud!

https://soundcloud.com/user-618944530

  


» VIEW ALL PROFILES

Innovation in Action

Through applied research activities, Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division is preparing the workforce with the right know–how by providing an array of researcher expertise, supported by leading-edge facilities, technology and equipment. See how graduates and R&I alumni are applying their skills and knowledge in the real world.