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Peter Gowthorpe, BEng '90

Mechanical Engineering | Career shift pays off

The thrill of his first job out of university still ranks as one of the highlights of Peter Gowthorpe’s career.

Landing a position with Babcock & Wilcox Canada set the 1990 Mechanical Engineering grad on the path to a career working with the nuclear power industry.

But by 1998, he knew it was time to pivot.

“Understanding that my heart wasn’t in the inherent bureaucracy of a large company forced me to re-think my plans,” says Gowthorpe, who left his job to start his own firm – Intech International Inc. -- in January of 1998.

“I was nervous to leave the stability of a good job to start a venture of my own, but I knew I had to do it,” he says. “And while it was a challenge financially at first, I soon realized there was a niche I could take advantage of.”

The company, which focused on custom tooling systems and staff augmentation for the nuclear service market, was successful enough that eventually Gowthorpe sold it to Babcock & Wilcox Canada. He stayed on and continued to run it until 2013, when he launched his second company.

He now owns and operates Laveer Engineering Ltd., an engineering firm focused on custom engineered tooling solutions for the nuclear power generation industry.

While his current responsibilities are varied, his main focus is business development and finance.

“One key thing I learned in school is you can’t know or do everything yourself.  If you do what you are good at, and let others do what they are good at, you will have a stronger product in the end,” he says.

He urges young people to seek out jobs and clubs to maximize their practical experience with machines and processes.

“Focus on the details, this is the basis of engineering,” he says. “And do an internship.  It allows you to test drive that career before you commit fully to it.”