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Michael Bulk, BEng '05 & MSCAP '08

Engineering Physics | Optics expertise in demand in today's newest technologies

From robotic surgery to military surveillance to consumer electronics, Michael Bulk has discovered a world of technology that demands his expertise.

A 2005 engineering physics grad drawn to that discipline’s broad scope of the study, Bulk then stayed at McMaster to earn his master’s degree specializing in laser and optical engineering.

Those skills have landed him in Munich, Germany, where he works as a global product manager for the applied microscopy division of Excelitas Technologies.

His role bridges the marketplace and the technical world of R&D, as he helps develop new machine vision optical inspection systems for examining tiny components and materials.

“Engineering physics has given me the opportunity to work on new and exciting upcoming technologies around the world,” says Bulk.

He launched his career with L3Harris WESCAM before exploring other areas of technology, including the medical field.

Working for Synaptive Medical, he was involved in developing image-guided robotic surgery machines for brain surgery – a role that put him in contact with patients and neurosurgeons.

“It was great to see how the work I was doing in the lab had a real-world impact on real people,” he says.

A Dutch citizen, Bulk says he was always interested in working in Europe and his educational background and experience provided the skillset to do so. In 2017, he made the move to Munich.

“Germany is a hub for innovation and development of a lot of these technologies and products,” he says. “I think it’s a great place to be from a technology perspective, from a work-life balance perspective and just for the opportunities.”

His advice for today’s students: “Stay curious. Ask questions and ask why you’re doing things.”


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