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Azra Ross, BEngScty '98

(Mechanical Engineering) | Engineering artistic creativity

Building a life-sized Optimus Prime might not be every engineer’s fantasy but it’s precisely the type of challenge that Azra Ross had in mind when she launched her company.

Nearly two decades ago, the 1998 Mechanical Engineering & Society grad began Epiphany Engineering with the vision of providing mechanical and structural engineering services to the entertainment industry.

“When I got out of school, I was looking for an interesting way to apply engineering,” says Ross (nee Hussain), who minored in music while earning her B.Eng.

Working with Universal Studios to create an Optimus Prime capable of transforming into a truck in the middle of a parade has been one of the most amazing projects in a pretty interesting career, she admits.

After McMaster, Ross found a way to combine her passion for the arts with her love of the engineering world by working with a company that provided sets and scenery for theatre productions.

A few years later she started her own firm, which bridges the gap between the artistic vision of clients in the film, theatre and television world and the technical teams that turn ideas into physical reality.

“I love all the interesting personalities in this creative world, like the musicians, actors and directors – all these people with great ideas,” she says. “They know what they want, but the idea is just kind of floating around and then we grab it and bring it down to earth and say, this is what you’re looking for.”

The meeting of the minds is an amazing feeling, she admits. “When we were working on the Universal studios project, we were on a conference call with Japan and eventually we had the whole creative team jumping up and down and shouting, yes, that’s exactly it.”

The best part of owning her own company is the ability to control the direction of her work, says Ross. From construction drawings to on-site reviews and inspections, the firm’s focus is on “solving any problem that comes up in the entertainment industry.”