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Get to know Orbital Research

Garrett, production department co-op student, summer 2019

Tell us a bit about yourself…

My name is Garrett Jones and I’m an electrical engineering student from BC’s interior. I’m in my 3rd year at BCIT.

How did you get into this field?

I’d always planned to go to BCIT – it has so many opportunities and I wanted to try out city life. I originally planned to go for biomedical engineering, but biology didn’t end up being my strong suit. When I started to look at other options, electrical engineering really stole my interest. I guess it fits since as a child I would take all my toys apart just to put them back together. I’ve really enjoyed my schooling the past few years and can’t wait to see where my career takes me.

What do you want to do with your degree?

I have a goal to make a prosthetic arm. I’m already a part of a biomechanical prosthetics team, so I’m hoping eventually this will come to life. I’d also like to work in the radio frequency field, so Orbital is a great starting point for that.

What do you do on a typical day at Orbital?

My job title is Production Assistant. My day usually consists of building, testing and troubleshooting SIPs (System Interface Products) and LNBs. When I’m not doing that, I have opportunities to go for external training, assist with soldering, and document tests and procedures. I’ve got to try out a little bit of everything and my coworkers are always willing to teach me new things.

What are your biggest accomplishments at Orbital?

I learned how to work in a fast-paced environment. In the first quarter I was here, I assisted in shipping out $2.3 million worth of products. I got to create and rewrite testing and assembly instructions that will be used by future employees and co-op students for years to come, so that was cool to think about. I also joined the Safety Committee and helped keep an eye out for any unsafe or potentially dangerous situations.

Which activities/tasks did you enjoy the most?

Following schematics. It seems so intimidating when you first see it, with all the graphs and numbers that look like they have no relation to each other. I wanted to avoid it at first, but my coworkers helped me and answered any questions I had, which made it a lot easier.

What skills have you learned that will transfer to your schooling?

I got to try out a lot of hands-on work like soldering and using different RF testing equipment. I did a lot of schematic reading too which we don’t have a ton of in school, so hopefully that will give me a leg up from the other guys later. In addition to the hard skills, I have a better understanding of calibration, the impact it can have on testing and why it’s so important. And like all jobs, collaboration is so important. The production department works so closely with engineering and operations, so interdepartmental communication is a huge asset at this company.

Did you learn any life lessons?

Do your research and take the extra time to plan. Being more prepared will literally never hurt you. It also helped me learn to adapt to change – as this is a fast-moving industry and everyday something is different.

What personality traits do you think are important for this type of job?

  • Patience – you’ll need a lot of it for troubleshooting, there isn’t always a one-fix-wonder
  • Works well under pressure – some days are pretty low-key, others are crazy
  • Positive attitude – there are a lot of different opinions on this industry, and having a positive attitude will take you places

What advice do you have for incoming co-op students?

Bring a notebook and write down as much as you can, at least for the first week. There was a lot of jargon that was brand new to me. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help, everyone is more than willing to teach you and they would rather you ask and do it the right way, than have to do it over again when it’s wrong.

Would you recommend Orbital to a friend?

Yes! It’s a very accepting work environment and I’ve made many good friends along the way.

Interested in joining the Orbital Research co-op program? Reach out to your university or contact us for more information.

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