Skip to main content

Alan Locke

Research Technologist
Defence Research and Development Canada
Alan Locke au travail
Alan Locke au travail
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

About me

I was born/grew up in: Shelburne, Nova Scotia

I now live in: Halifax, Nova Scotia

I completed my training/education at: I attended NSCC where I completed the Mechanical Engineering Technology and Machining programs.

What I do at work

In my work at Defence Research and Development Canada, I use Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to design and visually represent 3D models of parts. After I have the models, I use Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM) software to create Computer Numerical Control (CNC) programs. The CNC program will then create the parts on specialized CNC milling machines and CNC lathes. I also operate manual, conventional machine tools such as milling machines, lathes, presses, grinders, saws, and other hand tools.

Each task I perform is directly related to STEM. We use the scientific method when we test our prototypes out in the field. We collect data and then analyze this data. Technology in the form of specialized machines and processes are used to produce components to solve problems. Engineering and Math is used to design and develop new technologies. Together, this helps make sure the product will fit and function as intended in a wide variety of environments/applications. I work as part of a team in the Prototype Development Group. When we have a new project to work on, we divide the scope of a project into achievable tasks. Each member of the team has specific skills that make a meaningful contribution towards the end goal.

My career path is

When I was in school, I could not have dreamed to be doing what I do.  I didn’t know such a career existed! As a kid, I knew I wanted to work with my hands. I also wanted to know why things were designed in such a way. I spent a lot of time with my family working on cars, trucks, boats etc. I observed many hands on skills from my father, a Red Seal Machinist and Millwright. This led me to this career path.

I had challenges while attempting Engineering at University. However, I was able to switch to NSCC and keep my career path headed in the same direction. I flourished in the more “hands on” learning environment at NSCC. I would certainly recommend Mechanical Engineering Technology and Machining as complimentary trades. Together, they provide theoretical knowledge and practical hands on skills. I completed a co-op term and apprenticeship with DRDC. I am now a Red Seal Endorsed Machinist. Check my LinkedIn profile for more information.

I am motivated by

I get excited at work for projects that are difficult, time consuming and complex. By using STEM principles, I am able to provide important information to our scientific research program. My career is interesting because we test each prototype. These tests take place in a wide variety of field/sea trials both near and abroad. I most enjoy implementing STEM principles to take a chunk of raw material (metal/plastic) and cutting/forming it into a useful prototype for further scientific research. This is the right career for me because I can see the finished part inside the raw stock. I can visualize how to plan the manufacturing process in order to end up with the desired part. I love seeing the final product come together.

How I affect peoples’ lives

My career is relevant and fulfilling because I am able to contribute to the advancement of the scientific research program at DRDC. My career matters because I am able to take concepts and ideas from a theoretical state, and by applying principles of STEM, create a physical prototype.  This prototype is used to prove or validate an idea, and provide feedback for further scientific research. The things I do and produce affect every Canadian. The products we create helps provide a strong, secure, and engaged Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces.

Outside of work I

I enjoy an overlap between my career and hobbies.  I spend my spare time restoring an old Volkswagen pickup truck, implementing more STEM principles in my free time. I like being active such as shooting hoops, playing golf, and sailing.

My advice to others

Take a “test drive” at NSCC. It led me down this road, and I love going to work every day because of it!

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Geography
  • Math
  • Industrial Arts
  • Physical Education/Health
  • Science
  • Technology
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Brought people together
  • Liked helping people
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked being given specific instructions
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Was really creative
  • Always knew exactly what I wanted to do
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
  • Liked to design or build things
  • Learned best “by doing”

Related Topics

Partners

Skills/Compétences Canada

Let's Talk Science would like to thank Skills/Compétences Canada (SCC) for connecting us with the individual profiled above.

Skills/Compétences Canada was founded in 1989 as a national, not-for-profit organization with partner Skills Canada organizations in each of the provinces/territories that work with employers, educators, labour groups and governments to promote skilled trade and technology careers among Canadian youth. Its unique position among private and public-sector partners enables it to work toward securing Canada’s future skilled labour needs while helping young people discover rewarding careers. Skills Canada offers experiential learning opportunities including skilled trade and technology competitions for hundreds of thousands of young Canadians through regional, provincial/territorial, national and international events, as well as skilled trade awareness programs. For more information, visit www.skillscanada.com.

Skills Canada

Explore Career Profiles

  • Peter Vlasveld headshot

    Peter Vlasveld

    Intermediate Software Developer

    I write backend code for web apps that help in Cyclica's drug discovery efforts.
  • Sara Knox headshot

    Sara Knox (she/her)

    Assistant Professor (biometeorology)

    I study ways to restore and protect ecosystems to help fight climate change.
  • Benjamin Pauquet designing a part for the lunar lander on his computer

    Benjamin Pauquet (video)

    Mechanical and Materials Engineer

    I design parts for off-road and off-planet vehicles.
  • Evaline Warmels with lunar rover in background.

    Evaline Warmels (Video)

    Mechatronical Engineer

    As an electrical engineer at Canadensys, I help build robots (lunar landers) that will explore the surface of the moon.
  • Benjamin Pauquet with lunar rover in testing room.

    Benjamin Pauquet (he/him)

    Mechanical and Materials Engineer

    I design parts for off-road and off-planet vehicles.
  • ulie Hlavacek-Larrond headshot

    Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo (she/her)

    Astrophysicist and Associate professor

    I study black holes, which I think are the most fascinating objects in the Universe!
  • Justin Rotman headshot

    Justin Rotman

    Founder & CEO

    I help to determine business strategy and lead our team to serve our customers and build our product.
  • Madu Kingsley headshot

    Madu Kingsley

    Manager, Digital Platform

    I manage a diverse team of cross-functional software developers.
  • Jim Wei tenant un drone

    Jim Wei

    Associate GIS Analyst

    I use online mapping software and programming skills to help solve real-world problems in the environmental and health industries.
  • Allison Guitor in her lab at McMaster University.

    Allison Guitor

    Researcher - Antibiotic Resistance

    I study antibiotic resistance, which is what makes bacteria able to live in the presence of antibiotics.
  • Portrait de Isha Berry

    Isha Berry

    Epidemiologist

    I look for patterns in disease outbreaks and health outcomes in populations across the world.
  • Portrait de Nishant Pillai

    Nishant Pillai

    Cybersecurity Director

    I help organizations protect their computer and networking systems from potential hackers and cyberattacks.
  • Chris Derksen en train de faire ses recherches sur le terrain en Arctique.

    Chris Derksen (he/his)

    Climate Scientist

    I use satellite data and climate models to understand how climate change is impacting snow and ice across Canada.
  • Peter Visscher devant un tableau blanc

    Peter Visscher

    Robotic Vehicle Development, General Manager

    I work with my team to develop extreme robotic vehicles designed to operate off-road and off-planet.
  • Andrew Brereton travaillant à l'ordinateur

    Andrew E. Brereton

    Computational Scientist

    I write code that teaches computers how to design new drugs.
  • Ray Hyde

    Ray Hyde

    IT Manager, Customer Experience

    I oversee the day-to-day operation of our IT infrastructure in support of the offshore oil platforms and our local office.
  • Bryan Rolph

    Bryan Rolph

    Sales Manager

    I lead a team of technical sales professionals that help deliver on the best technology solutions for our customers.
  • Diya Isac

    Diya Isac (she/her)

    Software Lead - Vehicle Motion Embedded Controls Team

    I give technical guidance to develop software for features that make the car move and stop.
  • Joshua Walton derrière le volant d'un véhicule à l'essai.

    Joshua Walton

    Operations Leader, Vehicle Testing

    I oversee the day-to-day operations of GM’s testing facility to make sure our vehicles can withstand the most extreme cold weather conditions.
  • Sarah Raddatz

    Sarah Raddatz

    Structural Designer

    I use software to create building models in 3D and 2D formats to make plans before the construction of the project.