Category Archives: Where Are They Now?

Where Are They Now?: Jason van de Laar

Jason van de Laar, C.E.T., is a graduate of Niagara College’s Mechanical Engineering Technology (Co-op) program. Jason worked for a year as a Research Assistant with Research & Innovation’s Advanced Manufacturing division. After graduating in 2012, Jason assumed the role of Quality Control Manager for JTL integrated Machine Limited in Port Colborne.

Tell us a little about where you work:

JTL Integrated Machine Ltd. is a full service welding and CNC machining facility. We serve customers in a variety of different industries including oil and gas, energy, mining, air compression, rail, valves and pumps.  

Describe your role and what you like about it:

As the Quality Control Manager, it is my responsibility to ensure that products are processed through our facility, sparing no attention to detail. I prepare dimensional inspection reports for use by our quality assurance inspectors. I am also responsible for ensuring that dimensional measurement data produced by our inspection tools, including our CMM laser tracker, is included into these reports and that the data is thoroughly reviewed for accuracy and completeness. If any irregularities are discovered, I generate a non-conformance report and work with the customer to achieve a resolution to the problem. The best aspect of the job is knowing that I play an important role in our success by ensuring that the customer is satisfied with the work that we are performing.

How has your experience with R&I helped prepare you for this role?

Working at R&I helped reinforce my time management skills and independent work skills. In the real world, you are not always going to have a helping hand to point you in the right direction. Sometimes you have to be the person to take the lead and make the right decisions when it matters the most. R&I helped me in that they give you some guidelines to operate within, but for the most part, they let you think independently and use your best judgement to come to solutions to problems. It is these principles that have helped me out significantly at developing good communication, time management, and work-planning skills at JTL.

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

In 2011—2012, we helped Calhoun Sportswear in St. Catharines develop a one-piece flow process that helped streamline some of their merchandise picking and processing operations. We began with mapping out their facility floor and performed an extensive analysis of how some of their products were moved from one area of the facility to another. We then developed a plan to transition their batch processing method to a one-piece flow method. In the end, this resulted in their employees using less energy and less time to accomplish more work. Prior to working at R&I, I never thought about all the effort that goes into getting sports merchandise manufactured and then processed and packaged so it was a very cool experience to see more of what’s involved and to help develop new techniques and processes for small businesses.

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?

I had previously taken the automotive service technician program at Niagara College from 2004 to 2006 prior to my most recent program in mechanical engineering technology from 2008 to2012, so I knew what to expect in terms of quality of programs, staff, and facilities. Niagara College offered the program I needed and was very close proximity to my home so it was definitely the right move for me.

Most memorable experience at NC?

I met my wife, who I am happily married to for over seven years while I was at NC. So, I would definitely say that is my most memorable experience.  

“I met my wife, who I am happily married to for over seven years while I was at NC. So, I woud definitely say that is my most memorable experience.”

Any faculty members who influenced you?

Alan Munro, C.E.T. and Lois Johnson, P.Eng. and Rick Baldin, P.Eng. were excellent role models and mentors. They are very knowledgeable and really push you to be your best and bring your best effort to the classroom, the lab or the office.

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

Learn as much as you can from faculty and people in the workplace and co-op placements. Look for employment well before graduation. Life moves very quickly once you’re out in the working world so set yourself up for success by talking to people at potential employers about the nature of the work they do and what the culture is like at those facilities to help strengthen your communication skills. Focus on growing as a person and not just a student, the transition of going from being a student to an employee is easier if you develop good communication skills and interpersonal skills early on prior to graduation either by practicing with your peers or taking classes outside of work or school.

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?

I have learned that you have to be mentally tough to succeed in business and in life. School and work give you some tools for success but ultimately your mind is the greatest tool you have. You have to look at yourself and decide what you are good at and use that to your full potential. Work will throw curve balls your way and present challenges you may not have experienced before and things will not always go the way you planned. You have to be strong and be confident that you can take that situation and turn it around into a positive thing.

Proudest achievement since graduating:

I am very proud to have developed our ISO 9001:2015 quality management system program at JTL. It was a lot of work and a lot of responsibility, but it was also a very rewarding experience.

Interests outside of work?

I love spending time with my amazing wife and our four beautiful children. I’m an avid player of hockey and I love to be out on the ice every chance I get. I have been the treasurer of the board of governors for OACETT (Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists) since 2015 and have been an active member of OACETT since 2009.

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

Think of the things that matter most to you in tough times; positive thoughts are contagious and will encourage you and others around you!

 


» 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?: Jon Weber

 

Jon Weber is a 2016 graduate of Niagara College’s Culinary Innovation and Food Technology program and worked for two and a half years as a Research and Sensory Assistant with R&I’s Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre. For the past two years Jon has worked as the National Sales Manager/Partner with Wholly Veggie!, a Toronto-based company that makes vegan and vegetarian food products. 

Tell us a little about where you work:

Wholly Veggie is on a mission to get vegetables on peoples’ plates. Our goal is to provide convenient and easy ways for consumers to eat healthy, without compromising on taste and quality. Wholly Veggie is now found in stores across Canada and Target stores throughout the United States.

Describe your role as National Sales Manager/Partner:

The function of my title and my day-to-day can often be two very different things. My primary focus is to maintain activities of the Wholly Veggie! brand at the store level. This means managing a team of sales and marketing folks that provide boots on the ground support for the promotion and/or introduction of Wholly Veggie products. I am continuously hunting for new business this is done nationally and internationally and includes meeting with a number of prospect retailers/foodservice partners to the planning and execution of tradeshows. Behind the scenes, I work closely with our operations team to ensure successful delivery of orders, assist in managing the launch of new products and work with a team of creatives who help build the beautiful brand you get to see on the shelf and in the media.

What are types of things have you been up to since graduating?

I started as a R&D Intern with Daiya Foods. This was a great learning opportunity both academically and personally; I worked with a team of science enthusiasts and received my first taste of a corporate environment. I then shifted to be a R&D Technologist and Head of Sales (Herbaland Brand) for Herbaland Naturals, to eventually leading a team to help create the Herbaland brand you see now.

How has your experience with R&I helped prepare you for your current role?

Product Diversity, networking, training and mentorship from staff and industry professionals

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

The Vineland Project. This was an in depth sensory panel conducted over a weeks period. We invited panellists in over a period of five days to taste a number of different varieties of sweet potatoes. The foods were prepared under different conditions in the search of finding the perfect crop! I was able to carry these skills over to all my employers following my graduation. 

“Embrace and take advantage of every minute. It goes fast and there’s a bank of knowledge and experience sitting there at your finger tips…just ask.”

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?

I originally wanted to be a chef but knew I wanted to better understand where my ingredients came from, how they got there and why ingredients interact the way they do when introduced to different environments. Niagara offered a unique program offering both culinary and food sciences. 

Faculty members who influenced you?

Where to start?: Amy Proulx, Ted Reader, Sunan Wang, Gary Torraville, Sarah Scott, Sam Seaver, Dave Gibson, Jim McLean, Sabjit Bamrah.

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

Embrace and take advantage of every minute. It goes fast and there’s a bank of knowledge and experience sitting there at your fingertips…just ask.

Best experience at NC?

There can’t be just one. The wonderful team at Benchmark, the awesome professors, great facilities, and breaking into song with my classmates singing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” before Regulations Class. I’d do it all again!                                                    

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?

I’ve learned to work hard, stay persistent, and trust your gut. It’s a big bad world out there and you’ll have your ups and downs; but if you set goals and don’t give up, the world is full of opportunities. They’ll come from anywhere, and they’ll come to you. 

Proudest achievement since graduating:

Helping build a brand (Wholly Veggie!) from zero to over 1,500 stores across North America. 

Interests outside of work?

Fitness, food, travel, reading and social networking.

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

No matter where you are, have fun; life is busy and complicated so make sure you’re doing something you enjoy.

  


» 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?: Jonathan Pinchbeck

 

Jonathan Pinchbeck, C.E.T. is a 2013 graduate of Niagara College’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program and spent one year with Research & Innovation as a Research Assistant. Since April 2018, Jonathan has headed up the R&D at Deville Technologies in Ville St. Laurent, Quebec, a designer of high-capacity industrial food cutting systems. 

Tell us about where you work:

Currently, I’m working for Deville Technologies in Ville St-Laurent, QC near Montreal. It is a Canadian company more than 25-years strong. The company designs and sells automated high-capacity industrial food cutting systems (shredding, grating, portioning, dicing, secondary dosing, conveyance) at rates of up to six tons/hr per process line (some clients have multiple lines). Our client base is in Canada, US and Europe for a variety of products (dairy, fruit and vegetable, meats).

Describe your role and what you like about it:

As Deville’s R&D Technologist, I’m mainly responsible for researching, designing, and testing prototype machinery. I also help grow the department (currently two people: lab tech and myself), curate and build intellectual property, manage progress of R&D projects, help to increase our testing capability, investigate new components and building materials, develop pilot plants and processes, test rig design and automation, as well as help manage the tax credit process.

We’ve currently launched a machine to market that can successfully shred Edam cheese at high rates. I was directly involved in the shred chamber design and performance analysis of the machine. I also helped develop some new testing equipment to analyze force and friction in real time. I’ve got a few game changer technologies on the go right now that aren’t market ready yet. Still hush-hush. 

Please give us an idea of what types of related things you’ve been doing since graduating.

My first job after graduating was working as a machine designer for a company in hydraulics and pneumatics and later as a junior project manager. Then I worked as an R&D Tech, Junior and then Senior Project Lead over a three-year period, driving projects to improve, develop, manufacture, and maintain commercial-scale rotisserie ovens used at major grocery deli counters worldwide. Then after working as a Manufacturing Specialist at an architectural LED lighting company for a year I was approached by a headhunter working for Deville and it was a perfect fit.

How has your experience with R&I helped prepare you for your current role?

By exposing me to the research process first hand professionally, while still in college, it gave me the tools, perspective, and perseverance needed for that type of work early on and opened those doors down the road. I can easily now boast five years working in some kind of function related to research for product development since graduating; this easily puts me on top of the list when trying to apply and perform those kinds of jobs. 

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

There were two main ones I worked on: one was a project with W.S. Tyler, helping them make improvements to their machinery for looming steel. We designed a fixture for a vision inspection system, a sturdy rack to assist tensioning of the in-fed steel wire, as well as improvements to the loom frame and an embedded wheel to reduce wear and machine downtime.

I also worked on a project with Ryan Industrial Technologies. It was a prototype machine for proof-of-concept for an automated system to pressure injected heated topping asphalt to fill potholes. I designed the heated mixer, screw conveyor, and hydraulic injection head assembly. Ryan IT handled the trailer and gantry design. I also reverse engineered, redesigned and recommissioned the manifolds and hydraulic power unit (HPU) with the owner and inventor of the application, Bill Ryan. We went to Princess Auto together to get all the fittings and size the hydraulic hoses needed to get it to work.

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?

They were very responsive with my education, known for being very supportive of their students, and was rated highest in that time for student satisfaction.

“Never stop learning or seeking opportunities. Be hungry. Don’t settle for anything.”

Most memorable experience at NC?

Cramming for design projects late at night with peers to make deadlines. Eureka moments when programming PLCs to get an application to work a certain way and it actually works as intended. Long hours in the robotics and flexible manufacturing lab. Great debates with teachers on the realities of industry, technological trends, the job market and politics. Too much pizza and coffee just to get by. Oh and it was when the Harlem Shuffle was happening in schools everywhere before it went mainstream. 

A faculty member who influenced you?

They all did. At school and at Research & Innovation. For school I got a lot from Rick Baldin, Neil Walker, and Lois Johnson. I learned the most from them. At R&I it was Costa Aza, Rick Baldin, and Brian Mewhiney I learned the most from, as well as our clients Bill Ryan (Ryan IT) and Wilm Schulz (W.S.Tyler). Tremendous wisdom there collectively and not enough space here to describe well enough to give it justice.

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

Get ‘yer hands dirty. Take design outside of the office. Experiment, learn, and make decisions from hard data. Go out and see what heavy industry is like in the workforce first before making conclusions about your field. Also, seek a specialization or cross-over field knowledge. I’ve been pushing industrial automation technical studies part-time on the side for a few years now and is complementary to what I do. It has opened so many doors as well. It helps when collaborating in cross-disciplinary teams to understand these technologies, opportunities and their limits first hand.

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?

Never stop learning or seeking opportunities. Be hungry. Don’t settle for anything. 

Proudest achievement since graduating?

Getting this job, which is a culmination of everything I’ve worked on, studied for, and took extra training to get to.

Interests outside of work?

Brazilian Jiujitsu, new tech, guitar, politics, and of course my girlfriend lol. 

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

Stay sharp!

Anything else you want to say?

I’m grateful for the experiences NC and R&I have provided me, which helped ready me for where I am today. Cheers guys.

  


» 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?: Ursula Susunaga

 

Ursula Susunaga received an Advanced Diploma in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Niagara College in 2014 and spent a year as Research Assistant with Research & Innovation during her last year of studies. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lakehead University in 2016. She accepted a role that same year with PIA Automation Canada Inc. (Toronto), first in Applications Engineering and currently in Project Engineering and Support

Tell us about where you work:

PIA Automation is a global group of companies that offer complex and efficient solutions in automation. We have facilities in China, Germany, Austria, USA, and Canada. At PIA Canada we develop and manufacture customized assembly, measurement and testing systems for the automotive Industry (mostly in powertrain and e-mobility).

Describe your role and what you like about it:

As Project Engineering and Support, my current job requires me to support project managers on incoming material status, assembly status, customer parts status and running machine test parts. With this new position, I had the opportunity to go as an on-site supervisor for the installation and commissioning of one of our assembly lines in Mexico. I was responsible for solving any issues that presented themselves as we started to run parts through the line and assigning the correct resource to the different tasks that we had to handle day-by-day. Speaking Spanish was a positive advantage as I helped my team communicate with our Mexican customers and vice versa.

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

R&I introduced me to the world of an integrator, which is responsible for providing a turnkey solution from combining several subsystems to work together as one large system. 

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

I had the opportunity to work on a project with W.S. Tyler in St. Catharines to automate one of their loom machines. In this project, I had to analyze the process and try to replicate it with an automated system. We simulated the process by adding a robot to the cell. After thorough analysis, it was determined that their output of mesh screens would increase if they invested in automating the stations. It was then when W.S. Tyler decided to go forward and invest half a million dollars on this project.

 

“Keep up the hard work; it will pay off a little later in life. Don’t give up!”

 

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?

Niagara College seemed a good school to prepare me, not only with hands-on experiences but also with the right knowledge to enter the workforce.

Most memorable experience at NC?

Being able to design, from scratch, a log splitter for my last year’s final project.

A faculty member who influenced you?

Professors Neil Walker and Rick Baldin.

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

Keep up the hard work; it will pay off a little later in life. Don’t give up!

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?

I’ve learned that school teaches you about deadlines and hard work. It gives you the bases so you can then solve problems on your own. But, in reality, you don’t stop learning after school; every day is a new day, new project, new problem, and it is up to you to find the resources to make it work.

Proudest achievement since graduating?

After graduating from college, I decided to go to Lakehead University to finish my Mechanical Engineering Degree. Now, I am a registered EIT. I have passed my ethics exam and now I’m just waiting to achieve my required work experience so I can get my P.Eng designation.

What are your interests outside of work?

Outside of work, I like to dance and run by the water (especially in the summer).

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

Believe in yourself. You are enough. 

 


» 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?: Jon Weber

 

Jon Weber is a 2016 graduate of Niagara College’s Culinary Innovation and Food Technology program and worked for two and a half years as a Research and Sensory Assistant with R&I’s Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre. For the past two years, Jon has worked as the National Sales Manager/Partner with Wholly Veggie!, a Toronto-based company that makes vegan and vegetarian food products.

Tell us a little about where you work:

Wholly Veggie is on a mission to get vegetables on peoples’ plates. Our goal is to provide convenient and easy ways for consumers to eat healthy, without compromising on taste and quality. Wholly Veggie is now found in stores across Canada and Target stores throughout the United States.

Describe your role as National Sales Manager/Partner:

The function of my title and my day-to-day can often be two very different things. My primary focus is to maintain activities of the Wholly Veggie! brand at the store level. This means managing a team of sales and marketing folks that provide boots on the ground support for the promotion and/or introduction of Wholly Veggie products. I am continuously hunting for new business this is done nationally and internationally and includes meeting with a number of prospect retailers/foodservice partners to the planning and execution of tradeshows. Behind the scenes, I work closely with our operations team to ensure successful delivery of orders, assist in managing the launch of new products and work with a team of creatives who help build the beautiful brand you get to see on the shelf and in the media.

What are types of things have you been up to since graduating?

I started as an R&D Intern with Daiya Foods. This was a great learning opportunity both academically and personally; I worked with a team of science enthusiasts and received my first taste of a corporate environment. I then shifted to be an R&D Technologist and Head of Sales (Herbaland Brand) for Herbaland Naturals, to eventually leading a team to help create the Herbaland brand you see now.

How has your experience with R&I helped prepare you for your current role?

Product Diversity, networking, training, and mentorship from staff and industry professionals

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

The Vineland Project. This was an in-depth sensory panel conducted over a weeks period. We invited panellists in over a period of five days to taste a number of different varieties of sweet potatoes. The foods were prepared under different conditions in the search of finding the perfect crop! I was able to carry these skills over to all my employers following my graduation. 

 

“Embrace and take advantage of every minute. It goes fast and there’s a bank of knowledge and experience sitting there at your finger tips … just ask.”

 

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?

I originally wanted to be a chef but knew I wanted to better understand where my ingredients came from, how they got there and why ingredients interact the way they do when introduced to different environments. Niagara offered a unique program offering both culinary and food sciences.

Faculty members who influenced you?

Where to start?: Amy Proulx, Ted Reader, Sunan Wang, Gary Torraville, Sarah Scott, Sam Seaver, Dave Gibson, Jim McLean, Sabjit Bamrah.

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

Embrace and take advantage of every minute. It goes fast and there’s a bank of knowledge and experience sitting there at your fingertips…just ask.

Best experience at NC?

There can’t be just one. The wonderful team at Benchmark, the awesome professors, great facilities, and breaking into song with my classmates singing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” before Regulations Class. I’d do it all again!

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?

I’ve learned to work hard, stay persistent, and trust your gut. It’s a big bad world out there and you’ll have your ups and downs; but if you set goals and don’t give up, the world is full of opportunities. They’ll come from anywhere, and they’ll come to you.

Proudest achievement since graduating:

Helping build a brand (Wholly Veggie!) from zero to over 1,500 stores across North America.

Interests outside of work?

Fitness, food, travel, reading and social networking.

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

No matter where you are, have fun; life is busy and complicated so make sure you’re doing something you enjoy.

 


» 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?: Jonathan Pinchbeck

 

Jonathan Pinchbeck, C.E.T. is a 2013 graduate of Niagara College’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program and spent one year with Research & Innovation as a Research Assistant. Since April 2018, Jonathan as headed up the R&D at Deville Technologies in Ville St. Laurent, Quebec, a designer of high-capacity industrial food cutting systems.

Tell us about where you work:

Currently, I’m working for Deville Technologies in Ville St-Laurent, QC near Montreal. It is a Canadian company more than 25-years strong. The company designs and sells automated high-capacity industrial food cutting systems (shredding, grating, portioning, dicing, secondary dosing, conveyance) at rates of up to six tons/hr per process line (some clients have multiple lines). Our client base is in Canada, the US, and Europe for a variety of products (dairy, fruit, and vegetable, meats).

Describe your role and what you like about it:

As Deville’s R&D Technologist, I’m mainly responsible for researching, designing, and testing prototype machinery. I also help grow the department (currently two people: lab tech and myself), curate and build intellectual property, manage progress of R&D projects, help to increase our testing capability, investigate new components and building materials, develop pilot plants and processes, test rig design and automation, as well as help manage the tax credit process.

We’ve currently launched a machine to market that can successfully shred Edam cheese at high rates. I was directly involved in the shred chamber design and performance analysis of the machine. I also helped develop some new testing equipment to analyze force and friction in real-time. I’ve got a few game-changer technologies on the go right now that aren’t market-ready yet. Still hush-hush.

Please give us an idea of what types of related things you’ve been doing since graduating.

My first job after graduating was working as a machine designer for a company in hydraulics and pneumatics and later as a junior project manager. Then I worked as an R&D Tech, Junior and then Senior Project Lead over a three-year period, driving projects to improve, develop, manufacture, and maintain commercial-scale rotisserie ovens used at major grocery deli counters worldwide. Then after working as a Manufacturing Specialist at an architectural LED lighting company for a year I was approached by a headhunter working for Deville and it was a perfect fit.

How has your experience with R&I helped prepare you for your current role?

By exposing me to the research process first hand professionally, while still in college, it gave me the tools, perspective, and perseverance needed for that type of work early on and opened those doors down the road. I can easily now boast five years working in some kind of function related to research for product development since graduating; this easily puts me on top of the list when trying to apply and perform those kinds of jobs

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

There were two main ones I worked on: one was a project with W.S. Tyler, helping them make improvements to their machinery for looming steel. We designed a fixture for a vision inspection system, a sturdy rack to assist tensioning of the in-fed steel wire, as well as improvements to the loom frame and an embedded wheel to reduce wear and machine downtime.

I also worked on a project with Ryan Industrial Technologies. It was a prototype machine for proof-of-concept for an automated system to pressure injected heated topping asphalt to fill potholes. I designed the heated mixer, screw conveyor, and hydraulic injection head assembly. Ryan IT handled the trailer and gantry design. I also reverse engineered, redesigned and recommissioned the manifolds and hydraulic power unit (HPU) with the owner and inventor of the application, Bill Ryan. We went to Princess Auto together to get all the fittings and size the hydraulic hoses needed to get it to work.

“Never stop learning or seeking opportunities. Be hungry. Don’t settle for anything.”

 

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?

They were very responsive with my education, known for being very supportive of their students, and was rated highest in that time for student satisfaction.

Most memorable experience at NC?

Cramming for design projects late at night with peers to make deadlines. Eureka moments when programming PLCs to get an application to work a certain way and it actually works as intended. Long hours in the robotics and flexible manufacturing lab. Great debates with teachers on the realities of the industry, technological trends, the job market, and politics. Too much pizza and coffee just to get by. Oh, and it was when the Harlem Shuffle was happening in schools everywhere before it went mainstream.

A faculty member who influenced you?

They all did. At school and at Research & Innovation. For school, I got a lot from Rick Baldin, Neil Walker, and Lois Johnson. I learned the most from them. At R&I, it was Costa Aza, Rick Baldin, and Brian Mewhiney I learned the most from, as well as our clients Bill Ryan (Ryan IT) and Wilm Schulz (W.S.Tyler). Tremendous wisdom there collectively and not enough space here to describe well enough to give it justice.

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

Get ‘yer hands dirty. Take design outside of the office. Experiment, learn and make decisions from hard data. Go out and see what heavy industry is like in the workforce first before making conclusions about your field. Also, seek a specialization or cross-over field knowledge. I’ve been pushing industrial automation technical studies part-time on the side for a few years now and is complementary to what I do. It has opened so many doors as well. It helps when collaborating in cross-disciplinary teams to understand these technologies, opportunities and their limits first hand.

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?

Never stop learning or seeking opportunities. Be hungry. Don’t settle for anything.

Proudest achievement since graduating?

Getting this job, which is a culmination of everything I’ve worked on, studied for, and took extra training to get to.

Interests outside of work?

Brazilian Jiujitsu, new tech, guitar, politics, and of course my girlfriend lol.

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

Stay sharp!

Anything else you want to say?

I’m grateful for the experiences NC and R&I have provided me, which helped ready me for where I am today. Cheers guys.

 


» 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.