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Michael Takla, BEng '17

An eclectic electric career for Dyson winner

Michael Takla made his name at McMaster as a member of the team that won the 2017 James Dyson award for the sKan, a handheld device designed to improve the detection of skin cancer.

The 2017 Biomedical & Electrical Engineering grad has since turned his attention to Ontario’s power system.

“After a 16-month internship with Hydro One’s Protection and Controls engineering group, I knew I wanted to stay close to the power sector,” he explains. “I saw how important good decision making is in this industry, as power is a product that everyone needs and needs in a reliable and constant way.”

Takla is an electrical plant engineer (in training) at Ontario Power Generation. Working as part of the hydroelectric central office, he’s involved in providing engineering services across the province.

His first year with OPG was spent rotating through different hydroelectric plant groups in Ontario, from Thunder Bay and Timmins to Niagara and the Ottawa area.

He now works on a range of projects, including networking and communication (SCADA, WANs, LANS), controls systems (unit control, governor and exciter systems, gate controllers, water flow controls) and typical electrical upgrades (cables, lights, grounding).

“I like the satisfaction of knowing my work helps the province of Ontario function,” he says. “And I love the variety.

“Sometimes I am in the office reviewing drawings and sometimes I’m on top of a dam reviewing an installation or underground in a generator pit, inspecting the condition of some instrumentation. One week I can be in Kenora and the next week in downtown Toronto.”

As for the sKan, Takla says the team has made some progress but encountered technical difficulties that are limiting further development of the product at the moment.

But he urges students to be ambitious with their capstone projects.

“If you think you have a good idea or product, apply to competitions and speak to investors. It doesn’t have to end when the semester is over,” he says.

“If it fails, you will have learned a lot in the process. If it succeeds, remember that you got this advice from me.”

 

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