Mechanical Engineering grad lands position with prominent Canadian manufacturer

Andrew McCuaig’s journey at Niagara College began in international business before finding his passion in mechanical engineering.

A big opportunity awaits NC Mechanical Engineering Technology and International Business Administration graduate Andrew McCuaig, who will put his skills to good use working for a leading Southern Ontario manufacturer.

McCuaig, the research associate of NC’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre has accepted a new position as a mechanical designer at Jantz Canada, a manufacturer of conveyors, palletizing and bulk material handling. In this role, McCuaig will help create and improve high quality machinery, working with automation and robotics to support the agricultural industry.

Prior to graduating from the college’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program, McCuaig earned his degree in International Business Administration, which he looks back on as a great asset to have because of the routine communication and relationship building he experienced in project engineering. After graduating with his first degree, he decided to pursue mechanical engineering and chose to stay at NC after talking with the program coordinator, touring the facilities and comparing it to other programs offered in the province.

For the last three years he has been a pivotal member at the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, starting as a Jr. mechanical engineering co-op research assistant and progressing into leadership-focused duties as a research associate. He enjoyed each passing year at Niagara College, seeing the growth, learning a range of concepts and having the ability to gain experience from hands-on work in the field.

“It was a wonderful journey to see Niagara Research evolve and grow into Research & Innovation and see the expanding scope of projects that we’re able to do,” he said. “Research is able to make the region more competitive not only with the applied research projects and tech services, but also with the students that go out into industry after they gain an experience that they wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else.”

During his time at NC Research & Innovation, McCuaig had the opportunity to work on a variety of process improvement and lean manufacturing projects. For one of his mechanical engineering co-ops he and faculty worked in the region’s food industry, changing layout systems to improve the number of peaches manufacturers could package by 20 per cent.

He credits the college for providing him with the necessary skills and tools to adapt in the industry, citing the work he did in his program and at Research & Innovation for giving him the edge for his upcoming position.

“For our Capstone Project, we designed a log splitter which had to be sized accordingly to withstand a certain force and the whole unit had to meet a specific criteria,” he recalled. “Going to the interview with that project under my belt and having the engineering drawings to show the engineering team was a good showpiece for what I’m capable of and what Niagara College provides.”

In the last six months he has been working with a local reseller, developing a product and design for an injection mould that he hopes to see on the shelves at retailers in the coming year.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing something I had a good amount of work put into come to fruition.”

The Walker Centre is consistently impressed with the strong work ethic and contributions of their students beyond graduation.

“When students and graduates working at the Centre find employment beyond Niagara College, I’m excited by the possibilities that lie ahead,” said Gordon Koslowski, the research project manager who worked with McCuaig in the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre. “They put in an overwhelming amount of effort, day in and day out, to harness the cutting-edge technologies available to them and through this solve real-world problems that ultimately benefit our project partners. Individuals like Andrew are contributing to the highly skilled workforce necessary to continue growing our economy at a regional level.”