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Tom Taylor, BEng '83, MEng '85

Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering | Teamwork builds systems and solutions

Computer Engineering was a fairly new field when Tom Taylor arrived at McMaster in 1979, but high school computer courses had convinced him the subject offered the right amount of challenge and excitement to build his career around.

 He followed his B.Eng with a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and then launched his career with the company that eventually became Nortel Networks.

“My initial jobs were in electronics hardware design, but my background in both hardware and software allowed me to solve problems in system integration,” he says. “This led me to take on more roles in system design, where knowing the capabilities and limitations, of hardware and software, enabled me to create better system requirements.”

Today Taylor is a senior systems engineer at Thales Defense Systems Canada, responsible for the interior and exterior communications systems for the new Royal Canadian Navy Joint Support ship.

He counts working on these sophisticated communication systems for both Canadian and American Navy vessels among his career highlights. He’s also proud of his work on an unmanned aerial vehicle that was used operationally.

And going back in history to the late ‘90s, he was involved in developing one of the first high speed (1Mbps) modems for use of existing telephone lines, the precursor to today’s multi-megabit modems.

Despite more than three decades of skills amassed over his career, Taylor urges young people to recognize the importance of teamwork.

“In university, you’re generally expected to know the answers yourself,” he says. “In your career, while you will have to contribute your energy and expertise, the solution usually comes from a large team of people all pulling together.

“You’ll work with other engineering disciplines, program managers, admin assistants, executives, and technicians. You can’t possibly know it all or do it all. Learn to trust team members and be a reliable team member.”