Grad begins career at Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre

New Mechanical Engineering Technology grad Ben Laurence has been hired as full-time research laboratory technologist for the College’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre.

On his convocation day, Ben Laurence didn’t bid farewell to his days at Niagara College; for him, it was just the beginning of an exciting new career.

The 33-year-old who graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Technology (Co-op) program on June 17 has been hired as a full-time as research laboratory technologist for the new College’s new Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre. His new job consists of designing new products and machinery, managing a small fleet of leading-edge 3D-printing and spatial imaging technologies, and working with local companies and inventors to help them realize their goals.

“Essentially, I have never been so happy to get to work before and this is due, in no small part, to the dedicated professors here at the College,” said Laurence.

Laurence came to Niagara College after completing a BA in the political sciences as well as a certificate in aeronautics and commercial aviation training. While he initially aimed for a career in the aerospace industry, he realized during his time at Niagara College that he would be much happier working in research and development. He began working for the College’s Research and Innovation department in January 2012 during his first semester. In September 2014, he was promoted to senior research associate.

Working for Research and Innovation, Laurence had the opportunity to gain experience working on several interesting projects. He developed a vibrating settling machine for developing bio-columns used to test DNA/RNA. He developed a novel dispensing machine for a new-to-industry packaging material. He also created a virtual factory design for a multimillion dollar concrete plant expansion project.

Laurence also valued the experience he gained through the program’s co-op components. As part of a junior co-op at Aquatic Sciences Inc., Laurence developed a system to monitor unmanned submarines and relay information to its pilot. He was also part of a a 12-person team which set a world record for longest underwater tunnel inspection, over 10 km through the Andes Mountain range in San Fernando, Chile.

During a senior co-op experience at Magellan Aerospace in Winnipeg, Laurence created and implemented a laser positioning system used to build the composite wing structures for the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet.

“The program was exceptional and the training was world class,” said Laurence. “Small class sizes and dedicated teachers proved very effective in teaching the core engineering principles and much more.”

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