Inspiration & Motivation: My Mohawk Experience

Mohawk College circa 1990's

I graduated from the two-year Electrical Systems Engineering Technician diploma program back in 1991. Disappointingly, I’ve never worked in this field. Since 1992, I’ve laboured in production manufacturing jobs, one of which lasted 15 years. The main point here is that I always maintained contact with a few of my instructors.

There was one instructor who has stood by me ever since graduation. Leslie Williams is in his 80’s now, but every time I see him, I’m always left feeling very motivated and inspired. Les was my Program Advisor in 1990 and he really wanted me to continue on to the three-year Electrical Control Engineering Technologist program. When I declined, he was so disappointed that he told me that I was likely making a big mistake. I always tell Les that he was absolutely right! I’ve also had meetings with Michael Edwards (Electronics), and Klaus Schmidsrauter (Digital Logic). These guys are also retired, but they hold an abundance of experience and suggestions!

I’ve always wanted to find ways to advance myself and get out of production. This is when I started studying Industrial Engineering and Quality Assurance in Continuing Education. In my Industrial Engineering program, I was very fortunate to have Joel Gaudet teach most of the courses.I will always benefit from the way he would stretch the outline of the courses to include Lean Manufacturing. This always gave me a head start in my manufacturing facility. In Quality Assurance, I had become good friends with one of the instructors. William Stewart is a guy that leaves me feeling very envious. To be able to work in Quality Assurance and then become an instructor would be a great career path for me!

Classroom - teacher and students

Everyone has had instructors that they didn’t like or didn’t get along with. However, not all of the instructors that I initially disliked turned out to be who I thought they were. Michael Piczak taught my first Quality Assurance course. This course required a major research paper to be done. Mike and I were constantly butting heads over disagreements about the course. Mike is also an instructor at McMaster University and I always felt that his lectures and exams were very comprehensive and made me feel like I was studying a university course rather than a college course. Mike somehow motivated me and brought out the best in me. I ended up submitting the greatest research project I’ve ever done. Mike was so impressed with this paper that he asked me for a copy of it to use in future lectures.

At semester’s end, he pulled me aside and we had a very inspiring conversation about my career path. I was suddenly seeing this guy in a very different light. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve always had a desire to become an instructor. To be able to make an impact on the lives and careers of others is the most rewarding feeling.

Developing a career can be a daunting experience. However, it’s been much more pleasant while having the constant support of my past instructors. I am very fortunate and proud to have these people as my friends.

Thanks for everything, guys!

ToddMidgley– Todd Midgley
Electrical Engineering Technician ’91

Here’s a C that’s worth an A

I recall several points throughout my years at Mohawk being told that immersing yourself in the community in which you live and eventually plan to build a career would be essential for a complete experience. I wholeheartedly agreed. It wasn’t a stretch for me afterall; a sense of community had already been a part of my DNA. It’s why I’ll always tout the ‘C’ in college is for community.

The Business Administration Program was a rewarding three years to say the least. Since graduation in 1994, I’ve stayed in regular contact with Janice Shearer; a former teacher during my days at the college. Perhaps the litmus test for how connecting with people can forge lasting relationships even when the dynamic changes. She’s now retired from the College and transitioned to the position of Manager, Marketing and Community Engagement at Ronald McDonald House Hamilton (RMH) and a passionate crusader for the institution’s positive support role for families facing children in long term hospital stays.

Brent (left), Janice (centre)

As many Hamiltonians do every day, I’ve driven past RMH countless times without ever a thought to what was happening inside the walls. It was often a part of my running route and I began to take notice as their expansion construction progressed. One day this past summer I visited Janice and was treated to a tour. The sense of togetherness was instant. The staff is truly committed to their cause. Janice fills an important role that was triggered by a defining moment with a parent at the house. While on sabbatical from Mohawk she met a father who shared that the support of RMH was offering a simple yet impactful service. It provided a place to rest his head, recharge and return to the hospital to help show his ill child what courage was all about.

Janice is employing innovative ways to share the message through corporate partners, experiential activities and hands on support. An interactive video donor wall highlights corporate partners and individuals contributing to success at the house. Staff members from local companies volunteer for cooking programs to support the in-house chef and prepare meals for those taking temporary lodging in the remodeled guest rooms. Dalton Timmis Insurance has supported a program with the aim to win funding for a serenity garden offering outdoor space for those seeking refuge.

Cause related marketing programs are a new focus for Janice, as are opportunities for corporate donors to experience the services and support system available there first hand. My visit struck a chord and levelled greater awareness inside me. The tour included a window to the ‘secret room’ that made me smile and wipe a few tears at the same time. It felt good to have a taste of the c in community. Get involved. Go visit Janice and ask her for a tour. Check out the secret room, it’ll feel like you got an ‘A’ and make you glad you did.

BrentKinnardBrent Kinnaird – Partner, Inspire Marketing
3 Year Business Administration ’94
Follow Brent @brentkinnaird