Jim Lambert takes the “advanced” part of advanced manufacturing seriously. The new Centre Manager with the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre has spent much of his 33-year career ensuring what he does is, in fact, progressive enough to be considered cutting-edge. Lambert joined Niagara College at the beginning of April, after a successful run as Design Engineering Manager with Bosch Rexroth Canada.
Rather than embarking on a new career, the Wainfleet resident sees it more as a coming home.
A graduate of what used to be a two-year mechanical engineering program here at Niagara College, Lambert was already working for a local manufacturing company before he graduated.
Until this year, Lambert stayed with that Welland company – which today operates under the banner of Bosch Rexroth Canada – taking on increasing responsibility with the engineering department as the company expanded.
Initially working as a designer-draftsman, doing traditional mechanical design and drawings at drafting tables, he took on additional training at Niagara College and encouraged his boss to enter the world of computer technology; what was then the infancy of computer-aided design (CAD).
He was promoted to CAD administrator and worked for the next three years to replace drafting boards with workstations. By 1991, Lambert was put in charge of the design portion of the engineering department. In 2003, he oversaw the implementation and evolution from 2D to 3D design software at Bosch in time for a multi-million-dollar project with the St. Lawrence Seaway, resulting in several global industrial awards which brought further recognition to his design team.
A big supporter of the College – serving on both the Mechanical PAC and the alumni boards, always hiring co-op students and graduates, and more recently, serving on the advisory committee for the manufacturing centre – the capability of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre hit home for him when his company was involved in an innovation project.
When he saw first-hand the ability of the centre to solve his company’s challenges using leading-edge 3D technologies, he knew the College had found a fit with the regional economy, and he wanted to have a role in its development.
“I really connected with what the College is doing. I understand the challenges that exist with smaller companies in the region, wanting to have a competitive edge, but being too small or not having the resources to gain the needed traction.”
As Centre Manager, Lambert is responsible for the overall operations of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, shaping its strategic direction, including outreach to industry, as well as determining new or untapped sectors of industry that could benefit from the Centre’s offerings.
He says he sees future opportunity in the medical sector, as well as with addressing the aging infrastructure of Niagara.
The married father of two adult children spends his spare time dabbling in car restoration, playing stringed instruments (guitar, banjo and mandolin), and volunteering his time and expertise in the world of audio-visual production.
More information on the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre is available here.