Justin Gaudry, who graduated from RRC’s Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technology program in 2014, was deemed best in his trade last month based on a range of criteria, including on-the-job performance, classroom accomplishments, certification exam results and recognition from employers.
Now an employee of Lakeside Process Controls, where he’s worked since January 2015, Gaudry was formally recognized for his achievements at an April 19 ceremony hosted by Apprenticeship Manitoba and the Apprenticeship and Certification Board.
“It’s exciting to know that industry leaders are appreciating what I’m doing,” says Gaudry (shown above), who first entered RRC’s Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) program so he could learn to repair his guitar amps.
A longtime axe-slinger — whose most memorable on-stage moment was being chosen to accompany TV’s Bubbles at a Trailer Park Boys Live show in 2008 — Gaudry says he had little knowledge of Instrumentation as a second-year option when he enrolled.
“But after the first year of EET, Instrumentation made the most sense,” he explains. “There were perks — you get to travel and make good money. There’s also a certain element of mystery to it, because not many people know what Instrumentation is.”
Though he’s modest regarding his recent scores, he credits his RRC training with helping him prepare for the journeyman exam, as well as the “random day-to-day tasks” he carries out regularly at Lakeside.
“My favourite part of the job is that you get to go all over the place — like The Pas, Lake Superior and other parts of Manitoba — to get a glimpse into how some local products are made,” says Gaudry, citing his work helping to instrument a batch of Crown Royal as one of the coolest projects he’s been involved with so far.
“It’s all about controlling variables and making sure everything runs smoothly.”
Instrumentation instructor David Bertin says he’s not surprised by the recent news, recalling Gaudry and his classmates as enthusiastic and hard-working — even during a somewhat disruptive period when the program was being modernized.
“I believe the Instrumentation program is a life-altering experience for many of our students,” says David Bertin. “We stress hands-on equipment training coupled with engineering design skills — it’s a powerful combination that turns out graduates who are highly employable.
“We push them hard, and force them to find things inside themselves they didn’t know were there.”
The approach is clearly working. At the recent International Student Games, held March 15-18 at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, current Instrumentation student Kevin Spence was one of just four participants (out of hundreds) to bring home a gold medal.
Hosted by the SAIT chapter of the International Society of Automation, the annual event finds students from across Canada — as well as Brazil, India and the U.S — working with teammates they’ve never met before to collaborate and problem-solve in scenarios inspired by industry.
Spence attended the Games with fellow RRC students Dustin Hartery, Gurvir Bajwa and Steve Kowalyshyn. The tasks their teams were assigned — in areas such as DCS and PLC control systems, orifice plate changing and measurement, and control valve maintenance and calibration — were designed to simulate real-world pressures and problems that wouldn’t normally be encountered in a classroom setting.
“A consistent theme throughout our program is ‘Do it right,’ meaning there are no half measures — everything must be done correctly,” says Bertin.
“I believe that our students take that with them, and is a part of why they are so successful.”