Our co-op students and graduates are working all over the world in countries such as Germany, Japan, Australia and Malaysia as well as throughout Canada and the United States.
Some of our alumni share their careers to date and highlights along the way. To contribute to this section, please contact Mary Jansepar – we would love to hear from you.
- Eric Dowdle, BASc 1995, MASc 1997
- Simon Jupp, BASc 1998, MASc 2000
- Daniel Khai Hwai, BASc 2000
- Kevin Dring, BASc 2001
- Scott Ramsay, BASc 2001
- Jennifer Cutting, BASc 2002
- Ka-Hay Law, BASc 2003
- Jessica Mager, BASc 2002
- Rajen Sidhu, BASc 2003
- Darren Bromley, BASc 2004, MASc 2008
- Adrian Daniel, BASc 2007
- Jana Haggins, BASc 2007
Eric Dowdle, BASc 1995, MASc 1997
After finishing my M.A.Sc. at UBC, I worked for 4 years at Dofasco where I concentrated on solving formability issues for our automotive clients. We used finite element analysis (FEA) to identify potential failure sites during stamping of sheet metal parts that had been proposed for future car models. Based on the results of our analyses, we then offered part redesign or material change suggestions to solve the problems before any part passed beyond the conceptual stage.Since 2001 I have worked at Acuren Group Inc specializing in failure analysis. It’s a lot like the TV show “CSI”, but instead of murders we investigate material failures (and use actual science). It is a role which utilizes nearly every aspect of the education I received at UBC.
I have investigated hundreds of failures relating to corrosion, fatigue, fracture mechanics, creep and poor material selection to name just a few. Occasionally, the results of our investigations are used to help settle litigation issues.The best part of my career has been working as a failure analyst. Each investigation is different from the rest and can take me from the vast wilderness (to look at ruptured or leaking pipelines) or into the smallest nooks and crannies of a vessel (such as a collapsed boiler in an NHL arena). I enjoy the challenge of solving these problems and learn something new every day.
Simon Jupp, BASc 1998, MASc 2000
My metals and materials engineering bachelor’s degree has taken me to the copper mines of Mexico and Australia as a field engineer before returning to UBC to study for my Master’s degree. As a Master’s degree student I conducted a portion of my research in IJmuiden, The Netherlands at Corus. Through my industrial contacts I was introduced to Prof John Beynon, then at Sheffield University, where I was offered a scholarship to study my PhD. Through coincidence Corus also sponsored my PhD work and for whom I went to work in their research division upon completing my PhD, also in IJmuiden. After about two and a half years I changed jobs and countries, moving to Hydro Aluminium in Bonn, Germany.
While working in industrial research I have had the opportunity to be involved in many multi-company and multi-national projects. This has given me the chance to see many different companies and places that are generally not open to the general public. These activities, in addition to attending conferences, are great for networking in order to organise the next big project or look for the next step up in ones career development. As my career has developed the people with whom I have worked, both as a student and afterwards, have been very important. My contact with professors, both currently and previously at UBC, has been very important since, particularly in research, the reputations of the professors and universities are extremely important, especially in Germany. To my benefit UBC, specifically the metallurgical side of the materials engineering department, has an excellent global reputation.
To date I am very happy with my educational choices and how my career has developed.
Daniel Khai Hwai, BASc 2000
After graduating from UBC Metals and Materials Engineering, I went on to pursue my Masters in Microelectronics Engineering and Semiconductor Physics at the prestigious Cavendish Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge and followed up with a PhD in Engineering. During my PhD, I managed to publish several research papers and to obtain an international patent in conjunction with BAE Systems, UK.
Whilst I was pursuing my PhD, I decided to explore a career outside of engineering and landed a summer internship with Barclays Capital as part of their Mining and Metals Investment Banking team in London. Following the internship and completion of my PhD in 2005, I was lucky enough to land several job offers from top tier investment banks and decided to pursue a career in Investment Banking with Lehman Brothers, London. Currently, I work within the investment professional team for a Private Equity Fund with over $1bn of Asset Under Management, specialising in acquiring financial services businesses (e.g. banks and insurance companies) throughout Europe.
Kevin Dring, BASc 2001
Career to date:
Sep 2002 – Aug 2005: PhD Imperial College London – High temperature electrochemistry of titanium, or, more descriptively, development and study of a new extractive metallurgy route for titanium metal production.
Mar 2006 – Present: Chief Technology Officer, Norsk Titanium AS. Responsibilities include management of research projects totalling 5M CAD, patenting and development of IP strategies, commercialisation of emergent metals technologies.
- Becoming one of the foremost experts in a particular field, travelling the globe to preach, and having the good fortune of experience scaling-up lab-scale research.
- Learning how the world outside/beyond academia functions.
- Collaborating with exciting research groups in order to bring new technologies to market.
- Building up an industry in a time when most companies are downsizing.
- Understanding and relating to the concerns of non-engineering/technical (finance, HR, marketing/sales) colleagues and counterparts, and helping them to realise their objectives.
Scott Ramsay, BASc 2001
After graduating from UBC Materials I went to the University of Toronto to do a Masters in a collaborative program between Materials Science & Engineering and the Institute of Biomedical and Biomaterials Engineering. I was lucky to work with a pioneer in the biomaterials field, Prof. Bob Pilliar. After completing my Masters I continued on and completed a PhD. Following my PhD I changed gears for a while, working as a Process Manager at Capital One. This was a great experience and taught me a lot about big business. While at Capital One I held an adjunct professor appointment at U of T and continued to teach a fourth year biomaterials course in the evenings. After just less than 2 years at Capital One, I took an opportunity to return to U of T full-time to do a considerable amount of teaching. Recently I’ve been working towards getting my own research program started.
I really enjoy teaching and I’ve been lucky to have had numerous opportunities to demonstrate my competence in this area. I’m proud to have received some of the highest teaching evaluations in the faculty. Of course, there is always room for improvement and you’ll surely find a few students cursing me around midterm season!
Jennifer Cutting, BASc 2002
Hi. My name’s Jen and I graduated from UBC Materials Engineering in 2002. During my final year, I was hired by Chevron Canada to work as a Maintenance Engineer at their Burnaby oil refinery. The refinery processes 55,000 barrels per day of crude oil into various petroleum products, including much of the gasoline in Vancouver. My office is on-site so I get to spend lots of time working outside and in the field.
As a new EIT, I started with basic design projects such as installing new equipment and piping systems. The company has a new hire training program, which involves 6 weeks training at locations across the US from California to Mississippi. Traveling with the company was pretty nice and I got to meet lots of other new grads from around North America.
After a year, I became the refinery’s Materials Engineer. Corrosion here is a big deal because if something breaks it can cause a whole plant to shut down and disrupts production. Therefore, I spend a lot of time selecting materials for new equipment. It’s similar to the 2nd year materials selection course we took at UBC, except the parts are way more expensive than mountain bike cranks!
Another part of my job that I especially enjoy involves investigating mechanical failures. It’s a lot like detective work and we uncover some surprising root causes. My absolute favourite part of this job though is the other people I work with. I have some great coworkers, who make the atmosphere supportive, exciting, and all-around fun. My UBC MTRL background definitely prepared me for this career and created a range of opportunities to look forward to in the future.
Ka-Hay Law, BASc 2003
When she started studying at UBC nearly ten years ago, Ka-Hay Law’s experience of Africa was limited to the National Geographic poster of elephants and giraffes that hung on her brother’s wall. Now she lives and works in Zambia and Malawi with Engineers Without Borders. Pages from Trek, Fall 2008.
Jessica Mager, BASc 2002
Since graduating from UBC with a Bachelor’s degree in Materials Engineering in 2002, I have had three jobs with different employers. I interviewed with Northwest Mettech in Richmond during my final year of studies and secured an engineering position with them upon graduation. It was great to have a job waiting for me during the final crunch of fourth year studies.
Mettech is a plasma spray innovator which began at UBC with former Materials Engineering students, and now markets their own plasma spray systems and coatings. I was involved in all aspects of equipment and coatings development, manufacturing and testing in this tiny company, and worked extensively with outside machine shops, materials suppliers, university researchers and engineers from large companies in BC and in places including the UK, Germany and Japan.
After nearly three years I needed new challenges so I worked temporarily in a mining and geotechnical consulting firm while looking for my next job. After a few months I was hired at Avcorp Industries, a large aircraft components manufacturer in Delta with over 700 employees. My materials education was crucial to understanding the complex processes and requirements of aircraft specifications as a Quality Assurance Engineer. I worked with many internal engineers and union employees, as well as people from Boeing, Cessna, Bombardier and regulatory agencies to improve our processes and satisfy audits. I learned a great deal about heat treating, anodizing, shot peening, coatings and metal bonding involving honeycomb core and fibreglass composites.
After three years I was approached to interview with Acuren Group and accepted their offer of employment. I was thrilled to be among the best Materials consulting engineers in BC, investigating failures and performing testing for virtually every industry in Western Canada. I also work with the company’s Nondestructive Testing (NDT) technicians on oil pipelines and at industrial sites such as Teck Cominco’s Trail smelter and Syncrude in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Recent failure investigations include the Blackcomb gondola tower collapse, bucket separation on a 10,000-pound cast stainless steel Pelton wheel (part of a hydro power turbine), and water pipe leaks in residential buildings, to name only a sampling.
Rajen Sidhu, BASc 2003
I went on to Arizona State University (ASU) in June 2003 to complete my PhD in Material Science and Engineering, focussing on the thermo-mechanical behaviour of lead-free solders for microelectronic packaging technology. After graduating from ASU in June of 2007, I began working at Intel Corporation as a Senior Packaging Engineer. I am in the metallurgy core competency group, leading research and development for next generation material solutions for Intel microprocessors.
Some career highlights:
During my PhD I was awarded:
During my professional career:
- TMS Young Leaders Professional Development Award
- Playing a pivotal role in defining technology roadmaps and evaluating next generation interconnect solutions to address a variety of electronic packaging challenges for Intel CPU microprocessors has allowed me to generate several valuable Intellectual Property in the form of trade secrets and patents.
Darren Bromley, BASc 2004, MASc 2008
During my undergrad studies, the co-op program introduced me to my current employer, Powertech Labs. I have been involved in an assortment of failure analyses and metallurgical investigations, as well as standard and customized mechanical testing. With Powertech’s support, I returned to UBC eight months after graduation to obtain my masters degree. By studying test methods for high pressure hydrogen environment embrittlement of materials, I have since been involved in design and construction of test equipment and in-depth material evaluation test programs.
The best moment of my career was when I completed delivery of equipment I designed and built for a European client. Since the steps leading to delivery were very trying, the satisfaction of completing the task was most rewarding. I also enjoyed travelling to Europe to provide installation and training.
Adrian Daniel, BASc 2007
I started as a Junior Metallurgist for a small mining company developing a gold mine on the Canadian Arctic coast. As a way to break me in to the company, I was sent to the Con Mine in Yellowknife to help with the reclamation there, in mainly water treatment and the removal of arsenic trioxide that was on surface. At the request of my boss, Jim Currie, I began a report on the site’s history and the present cleanup efforts focused around the arsenic trioxide. During this, I discovered that my great-grand father had staked the original claim for the mine during the 1930s. It was awe-inspiring as I was, in effect, cleaning up the mess that he created.
Before the report was completed the second largest gold company in the world, Newmont Mining, ended up purchasing the company just after I returned to Vancouver. Witnessing a 1.46 billion dollar takeover as one of three company engineers was very much a highlight.
Within a week of the official hand off, I was attending all the project meetings in Denver, Colorado and living out of carry-on for 10 days at a time became a monthly thing as the project picked up pace. With my new boss’s support, Graham Karklin, I managed to develop the previously orphaned report on the Con Mine into a presentation to the Colorado’s Section of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME). Shorty thereafter I submitted the paper to the Canadian Mineral Processor’s annual conference in Ottawa where I presented it and had it published. Two years after graduation, I’ve since left Newmont to return to get my Master’s in Mining Engineering at UBC and am working as a document control consultant within the Mining industry.
For some major career highlights, I would have to list them as this: chasing bears in helicopters, swimming above the arctic circle, experiencing 24hrs of daylight (which is certainly interesting at 2am on a Saturday morning), contributing to cleaning up the environment, giving a university lecture and having seen the inner workings of one the largest Canadian mining purchases this decade. Most of all, it’s how lucky I have been in crossing paths with some absolutely amazing people and mentors in mining, it’s been a wild ride so far.
Jana Haggins, BASc 2007
Since graduating from UBC, I’ve been employed at a single company, CIMARRON Engineering Ltd. in Calgary, AB. The company is a consulting firm for the oil and gas business that provides services for pipeline and facility design as well as integrity support.
My role has been quite varied at CIMARRON. The group I work in focuses on internal corrosion, therefore that has been my focus over my time at the company. We perform internal corrosion assessments for a number of companies using a software tool to calculate theoretical corrosion rates for individual pipeline segments.
In the Oil and Gas upstream (production) business, the biggest threat to gathering lines is internal corrosion due to the typically high water content in the lines. There are a number of factors affecting corrosivity in a line including CO2%, H2S%, chloride and bicarbonate levels to name a few. The software tool that has been developed internally relates all factors including pipeline dimensions (e.g., 3 inch diameter) to calculate theoretical corrosion rates. There are many details to this work that are quite interesting.
I’ve also done work with the regulatory bodies (e.g., Energy Resources and Conservation Board (ERCB)) to ensure that companies are in compliance with industry regulations. This has included engineering assessments to address suitability of pipelines for ongoing service, assisting with response to the ERCB when failures occur, and developing corporate documents for companies that provide guidance to operations with regards to integrity management.
Overall, I’ve been exposed to a wide variety of projects. This industry is very interesting because no one project is exactly the same. Additionally, my position is very secure due to the large number of pipelines installed in the ground that require maintenance. My division manager is predicting much more work over the year to come and 2009 has been our busiest ever.