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Driven by passion

October 09, 2014
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By Caitlin Dawson

Kjell Sadowski doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet.

Graduating with a B.A.Sc. in Mechatronics Systems Engineering (MSE), Sadowski traded the classroom for the control room just days after his final exam, landing a plum job as an engineer-in-training at a Richmond-based systems-integrator company.

He earned his leadership stripes as vp-external for the Mechatronics Systems Engineering Student Society (MSESS) and was subsequently elected president.

Driven by a passion for effecting positive change in both the student community and society at large, he is recognized as a gold-level student ambassador and was awarded the SFU Leadership Award in 2011.

In 2012, Sadowski’s interest in renewable energy led him to Köln, Germany, where he embarked on an eight-month internship with a clean-technology startup specializing in small wind turbines.

“Seeing first-hand how German society was changing to encompass environmental awareness was very motivating and inspiring,” he says, referring to the country’s ambitious plan to shift away from fossil fuels and generate electricity from renewable sources.

“Almost all buildings have solar panels; even the government building is run by renewable energy,” he says, noting that Germany has been at the helm of renewable energy initiatives for some time.  

For his final-year capstone project, Sadowski and three other MSE students partnered with Kodak to modify a printing-plate printer’s automation system. The goal was to reduce energy use and noise-levels by replacing the conventional pneumatic actuators that load the printing plates onto the printer.

“It was my first time working with such a large company—the people at Kodak were excited to see students working on a new research and development project,” he says. “We presented the final product to the project manager and the technical management team at Kodak, who will decide if the new system will be taken further.”

It’s a compelling time to be an engineer due to the rapidly growing industrial automation industry and a changing political landscape, says Sadowski. But with power comes responsibility.

“The more technology we develop, the more we require energy and that demand is exciting,” he says. “But as an engineer, it’s also important to think about environmental and societal impacts.”

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