Describe your role as a Mechanical Design Engineer.
This role is quite niche and the title does not encompass all my job functions. I design mechanical components at an avionics company, I manage contract design/test/build projects and I act like a glue between Sales and the Production floor.
Within this role there are technical aspects like designing to meet the environmental testing standard DO-160G (vibration endurance, EMI resistance, waterproofness etc.) and non-technical aspects like constant team collaboration and liaising between customers and sales/production.
What inspired you to go into Engineering?
I grew up on a farm and my father also ran his own mechanics business. He was always fixing heavy equipment and working on classic cars in his off time. This got me interested in mechanics and the design of mechanical components and ultimately engineering.
I was actually enrolled in the Arts program at UBC Okanagan right out of high school until I heard of an FSAE team (UBCO Motorsports) that was trying to get off the ground. It fit perfectly with what I enjoyed doing so I started the long process of transferring into the Engineering program.
Why did you choose the School of Engineering?
I was already enrolled at UBC Okanagan in the Arts Program and I found the School of Engineering was the faculty that fit me the best.
What are some highlights of studying at UBC Okanagan?
I am a very outdoorsy person and enjoy a lot of outdoor activities, the area allowed me to still enjoy this aspect while attending school. Big White is amazing, the summers are amazing and Kelowna is the perfect sized town for me as I dislike large cities.
For me, the academics were never my main focus. I immersed myself with the FSAE team and became the powertrain lead for three years. This was the largest “highlight” of UBC Okanagan and was arguably the biggest reason for me getting interesting work outside university. I met so many like minded people on the team, they were all determined and industrious individuals that wanted more than a typical degree. We built two cars in my time on campus, raced them in the States three times. The amount of learning and sense of accomplishment from the team was more significant than any course or degree for me. UBC Okanagan allowed me to meet these people.
Also, The Well was always a place for decompression and I have fond memories within that establishment.
Were there some faculty / courses that really had an impact on your experience? If so, how/which ones?
I am a very project-oriented thinker so Capstone 499 had the largest impact on my experience. I was given the ability to shine in areas where I excel and work with a team. Other project-based classes like 278 (the robotic rover) and 320 (electric motor) I also really enjoyed and excelled at because the project was the end goal for me, not the grade (which for me were generally higher in these classes because I enjoyed them so much)
Dr. Sediako was always supportive and fostered a sense of professionalism and deeper learning. Out of all faculty, he was the one who really made me think about pursing a Masters or PhD because he has worked in some very interesting fields. He is also a very humble person and passes his knowledge on well. He really wants the best for his students.
Upon graduation, what was your plan?
I did not have a firm plan but I needed to start my career and I wanted to remain in Kelowna for the short-term to be able to enjoy the area without school. I wish I had a firm plan but that is still something I have not developed. Starting my own company has always been on the back burner and is something I work towards.
Working in some type of motorsports industry would be the “dream job” but it requires a significant move because there are very few opportunities in Canada for that sector.
How did you find your current role?
I knew someone who works at AEM and he recommended me for the job. Before that I worked for a start-up company as a technical designer/manager. UBCO Motorsports, and my desire to keep working on more technical and demanding projects, has always helped me find work. You have to break the norm and stand out to get interesting work.
Every single member of UBCO Motorsports that put in a significant amount of work will have a job out of school and I can bet that most of them will have very positive things to say about what the team has to offer.
Overall, what would you say is the impact that UBC Okanagan and the School of Engineering has had on you?
The overall impact was positive, I wouldn’t be where I am today without a degree from a prominent university and more importantly, the experiences that I had while attending.
I have further enhanced my critical thinking skills and gained immense insight to global technology advancements, politics, different cultures and world issues. Being immersed in a university that attracts people from all over the globe allows you to get exposed to the world. University has made me a well-rounded human and not a one-trick-pony.
It is what you make of it.