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Haroon Aslam, BEng '10

(Mechatronics)

The art of cooperation

In a world that’s come to increasingly value multi-disciplinary approaches, Haroon Aslam is an early adopter.

Graduating as part of McMaster’s first Mechatronics class in 2010, Aslam says he was excited by the opportunity to study a mixture of electrical, software and mechanical engineering.

It’s a combination of skills that has proven valuable in a market focused on the growing integration of digital elements into mechanical products.

After launching his career working in engineering product design for aviation and energy firms, Aslam turned his focus to digital design, recognizing its importance in customer experience.

Over the last five years, he’s brought that combination of experience to global management consulting firm ICF.

Today he serves as VP of Emerging Strategies, employing a team approach to helping clients address economic transformation challenges.

 “The program that I run at ICF is really an innovation lab,” he explains. “Emerging Strategies is the promise that our organization is able to seamlessly bring forward designers, engineers, and social and economic policy experts to work on some of the most pressing challenges in a variety of industries.”

Aslam’s role is to make it easy for those experts to apply the best of their knowledge to the problem, while finding inspiration from other people’s contributions.

He says that workspaces that bring together a diversity of skills and a diversity of thinking offer tremendous advantages – including the chance to mitigate some of the risks of today’s rapidly developing technologies.

It’s a topic he’s recently spoken on to Google employees in California.

“I’m really lucky to have the room to speak about and design models that help all sorts of experts come together and work on the same problem at the same time,” says Aslam.

In his spare time, he is studying to become a barista – a hobby that contrasts with his daily work of merging the perspectives of many different people.

“I love the science that goes into making the perfect cup of coffee,” he says. “It is a very calming craft. You can just hone in on making one great cup of coffee.”