I was born/grew up in: Dundas, ON, Canada
I now live in: Parksville, BC, Canada
I completed my training/education at: I completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering (Mechatronics Specialization) at University of Ontario Institute of Technology. I completed the first half of my military occupation (Combat System Engineering Officer) training in Halifax, then the remainder in Esquimalt. The training is about 15 months of theory and then 1 year on ship.
What I do at work
My current job is not a typical engineering job, either for the civilian world or in the military. I use the problem solving skills I learned through my Engineering degree to try to figure out how to make sure the infrastructure and equipment at our base are at their best. My technical background has come in handy many times when I have been hunting for new equipment, such as radars and sensors, to upgrade and improve our operations center.
The parts of my job that are not typical to an engineer are those related to my role as a Range Safety Officer. A Range Safety Officer make sure the people using the firing range, or those who might come in close relationship to it, are safe at all times. I spend a lot of time talking on the marine radio to fishing vessels, the Victoria Coast guard, and other commercial or private vessels. My job is to make sure they do not enter our Acoustics range while we do torpedo testing. To do this job I have to know such things as the rules that sailors follow as well as our safety policy when it comes to working around marine mammals like Orcas.
When it comes to keeping the range safe, it can involve many moving parts. For example, sometimes I have to direct our own military boats to stop someone from coming on the range, while at the same time trying to contact the vessel on the radio, and looking out for whales. We do this so that we can continue our torpedo tests or helicopter crew training without interruption and in a safe manner.
Unlike being on a frigate where I am part of a 40-person department, at CFMETR we only have a few military members. This means I have a much wider variety of jobs to do. It also means I get experiences I would never get to have.
My career path is
The military has always interested me. During high school, I never actually considered the military as a career. After high school, I did a 1-year college program that led me to realize that mechanical engineering was what really interested me. I loved both the theoretical components as well as the practical hands on design. In my first year I decided to apply for the military because they would pay for my schooling and it would mean that I would have an interesting job on the completion of my degree.
Joining the military was the best choice I could have made. It took the stress off me as I did not have to worry about finding jobs each summer and I had great experiences during training. Having my school paid for me meant that I could focus on studying and I didn’t have to get a job during the school year.
Once you graduate, the navy has a very streamlined path for the training system until you are qualified and it is time for you to do your job on ship. This path provides you with a lot of certainty and goals to aim for.
I am motivated by
My primary motivator right now is my desire to get back onto a warship as an Assistant Head of Department. This position will put me in charge of a bunch of great technicians who repair the weapons and sensors on a ship while we are out sailing around the world. The experiences we have and the destinations visited while on deployments are amazing. These are a highlight of my career.
Beyond getting back to ship, I always enjoy getting to work with new electronics and equipment. I also enjoy learning about military systems and what they are capable of doing.
How I affect people’s lives
My job is relevant because I am a member of a team that supports Canada and the United States’ torpedo testing programs. We also facilitate training of Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) helicopter crews in their Anti-submarine warfare. An added bonus is that the autonomy of my job provides me time to volunteer and help the community in various ways.
Outside of work I
For fun, I lift weights, rock climb, hike, ski, snowshoe, and play sports.
My advice to others
Naval Engineering is a great opportunity with a ton of amazing experiences. Work hard, stay positive and it will be a career you won’t regret. And, make sure to apply for the Regular Officer Training Program (ROTP) where the military pays for your school in exchange for a set amount of service.