Brock Husak is a 2019 graduate of Niagara College’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program. He did his co-op with the Research & Innovation Centre in 2017, followed by a contract as research associate until September 2020, when he assumed the role of interim research laboratory technologist. Brock is employed with GS Machine and Tool in St. Anne’s Ont., as a manufacturing technician.
Tell us about where you work:
GS Machine and Tool is a small machine shop in St. Anne’s, Ont., with four full-time employees and one part-time. GS Machine might be considered a job shop, as we do one-off parts for companies as well as small batches of parts 100-500-ish.
Describe your role and what you like about it:
I’m a manufacturing technician (machinist). Similar to the College, I cannot disclose any names of the companies we do work for, but there are some pretty neat partners. A typical day for me involves running multiple machines and programming occasionally.
How has your experience with Research & Innovation helped prepare you for your current role?
R&I has given me the fundamental skills and knowledge to embark on a job like this. I am considered a machinist, but I do a bit of everything, from programming the Mastercam tool paths all the way to final inspection.
A memorable applied research project during your time at R&I?
Brilliant Photonics really shed some light (pun intended) on the machining world for me. I was the only WAMIC employee running the mill at the time and had no idea how to go about machining that project until I dove into it and did my homework! Am I ever grateful I took that project on.
What led you to Niagara College in the first place?
Niagara College is local for me and is known for their mechanical engineering technology program, so it was a win-win for me.
Most memorable experience at NC?
Meeting the people I was able to work alongside for the years I was there.
Is there a particular mentor who influenced you?
Al Spence, Gord Maretzki, Dave McKechnie, Brian Klassen and Tyler Winger all played a huge role in my development, both personally and professionally. They are all extremely smart folks and were a pleasure to work alongside. They have all taught me skills I can hold onto throughout my career.
“Be a sponge. Learn everything you can. People do not realize the gift they are being given when hired to work at WAMIC.”
What advice would you impart to current research students or future alumni?
Be a sponge. Learn everything you can. People do not realize the gift they are being given when hired to work at WAMIC. The research lab has cutting-edge technology and the consequences for making mistakes as a new employee or student are quite low. Learn the tech and work-flow and get good at it and you’ll end up with a very nice resume!
After being in the workforce, what have you learned?
I have learned that the work force is extremely fast paced. It is intense.
Proudest achievement since graduating?
I have multiple:
- • Producing thousands of face shields for our local front-line health-care heroes.
- • Not having to collect any CERB because I remained employed throughout the pandemic. And I now have a job in industry.
- • Custom painting the helmets for Canadian Paralympic medalist Shelley Gautier and also X Games multi-medalist Jesse Kirchmeyer.
What are you passionate about at the moment?
Custom paint work.
Interests outside of work?
Family, friends, my girlfriend, custom paint work, motocross, RC Cars, cycling.
If you could have a billboard message seen by many, what would it say?
Work at WAMIC if you want to get paid to learn. You read that right: PAID TO LEARN.
Anything else you want to say?
I miss WAMIC and will be forever grateful to have spent so many years there.