Benjamin Pauquet (he/him)
I was born/grew up in: Paris Area, France
I now live in: Cambridge, Ontario
I completed my training/education at: Associate degree - Design and Manufacturing in Micro Technologies - Lycée du Parc de Vilgénis.
Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) and Master’s degree - Material Science Engineering - Université de La Rochelle
What I do at work
I design parts for off-road and off-planet vehicles. The designs are sent to machine shops where they are made. Once I have these parts, I assemble them in the vehicles. When the vehicles are ready, I perform and document various tests. This is to make sure the vehicle is reliable and does what it is supposed to do.
Most of my activities are split between what I would describe as “desk job” and “hands on”.
The desk job involves using CAD (Computer Assisted Design) in the design of various parts and assemblies. I use CAD to create drawings of the parts for manufacturing. I write various reports on testing procedures and results. I also write assembly instructions and various checklists to ensure quality and reliability of the product. The hands on part of my job involves bringing the mechanical and electrical parts together. It also involves troubleshooting as well as testing.
I use many STEM skills in this work. For example, before I build something, I check to make sure it is likely to work as it should. This could be a calculation of the strength of a material. It could involve the calculation of torque and speed to determine motor and gear box selection.
I work on a small team of engineers and technologists. Each team member’s knowledge supports the others on the team. Some have more electrical or mechanical knowledge. Others are more specialized in fabrication and manufacturing. In addition, we all have other work experiences that help overcome new issues that could arise.
My career path is
I always liked taking things apart and understanding how they worked. I always thought I would be a technician or engineer. However, in high school my goal was to be an electrician. I have always enjoyed hands on work. When I was in grade 11 and 12, I was able to follow a program that allowed me to get my electrician apprentice certificates.
Some of the courses I most enjoyed during that time were mechanical and design. This pushed me to go to college to get an associate degree in Design and Manufacturing in Micro Technologies.
At this point, I decided I wanted to have a career in engineering and more specifically in material science engineering.
I am motivated by
Science fiction has always fascinated me. Being able to design and build rovers for lunar exploration is as close to science fiction as you can get! Getting to test drive our off-road vehicle in the woods, in water, on very tough terrain, is so much fun! And, that’s a big part of my job.
Some of our off-road vehicles are designed to be “unmanned”. This means they operate with a remote control or an autonomous kit. They can be equipped with different systems. These systems include such things as military (with weapons, or medical supplies), hazardous location surveillance, firefighting… All pretty cool things if you ask me!
How I affect peoples’ lives
Part of the work we do here is developing off-road vehicles. Such vehicles can be used by “Search and Rescue” people. These vehicles are often used in places that are hard to access or are dangerous. We have also worked with firefighting system companies to develop a fire fighting unit that would help fight fires while keeping the operators safe. This is very valuable especially in the case of a chemical or nuclear fire. In addition, our various space projects helps the science community as we try to better understand our universe and the place of humankind in it.
Outside of work I
I enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities, although mostly sports oriented. Mountain bike, golf, hockey, soccer … Home renovations are also my favorite way to use up my free time.
My advice to others
Work hard both in school and during the internship. Keep learning new things when the opportunity is there. Above all, do things that make you happy.