ChemE Future Leaders: Brandon Nagy (ChemE 1T7 + PEY)

For Brandon Nagy (ChemE 1T7 + PEY), a recent graduate of U of T’s Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, “if you own it, you should know everything about it”. From high-end cars and technology to taekwondo, when Brandon finds something intriguing he has to learn everything he can about it. “I guess I just love figuring out how things work. I have a passion for working with my hands, but I’ll also read anything I can find on a topic once it’s caught my interest. I’ve also travelled to over 20 countries across Asia, Europe, and North/South America; I think there are so many different ways of learning and knowing something, and seeing how others do things is an incredible opportunity to learn something new. I hope to keep learning something new every day for the rest of my life.”

During his degree, Brandon’s most memorable times were spent in the lab. “From the day I walked into the lab, I just found something incredible about taking a concept I’d just learned and being able to actually see it happen in front of me to truly get a sense of how it applies in real world scenarios. In 2015, I had the opportunity to work for CRH Canada as a Physical Lab Assistant, which was an incredible experience for me. I was responsible for running ASTM testing on cement that was produced in the plant. It was an incredible feeling to take what I’d been learning in school and apply in an actual plant setting.” Brandon’s PEY position was at the Bank of Montreal as a Process Analyst where he worked on a team with an enterprise wide mandate, jumping on different projects to help support, lead, and advocate for continuous improvement. “When I was at Bank of Montreal I help create the ‘Nimbus Community Call,’ which was a quarterly call with over 200 process map authors teaching them mapping best practices.”

If Brandon isn’t working on one of his hobbies or spending time the lab, you’re likely to find him in the pool. “I’ve been in competitive swimming for as long as I can remember, and I was a Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor for the City of Pickering for 6 years. I’ve also worked at the YMCA as an Aquatics Counselor. Swimming has been a huge part of my life.”

 

Q: What are your biggest strengths?
I really pride myself on being able to pick up new things quickly, and I’ll keep working to understand something new until I’m sure I’ve got it inside and out. When I first started at Bank of Montreal, I had absolutely no financial background. Instead of letting myself get overwhelmed by the things I didn’t know, I just kept asking as many questions as I could think of, and I was able to learn the inner workings of their system within my first month there. I’m also very organized and I like to have a plan in place, which really helps when I’m put into a leadership role. I was the team lead for our Capstone project, which we finished well before the final due date. Creating a solid plan and communicating it to the entire team gave us extra time to work on our final presentation. I think that really helped us to finish strong.

Q: How would your friends describe you?
I think they would say I’m confident, but also easy to get along with. I try to bring my sense of humor and positive energy to any situation. First and foremost, I’m all about working hard and getting stuff done, but why can’t we have fun at the same time? I think keeping things upbeat really helps to keep a team together, and ultimately leads to better results.

Q: What industry would you like to work in and why?
I’m really interested in working in energy since it’s always going to be a critical part of society. In particular, I’m looking towards sustainable energy because I’m very interested in how we’ll eventually transition toward different systems to power our world.

Q: Describe your ideal job?
I think I’m at my best when I can be hands-on by working on projects, and solving problems. I love being in the field, in the plant, and in the lab. I also love travelling, and having the chance to travel for work would be a dream. I like to see how things are done in different places, and I think working with different people from cultures that are different from your own can be incredibly valuable.

Q: How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
As computerization and automation become more and more important to everything we do, I’ve decided to learn programming through an online program called The Odin Project. It’s a 6-month course, and by the end of it I plan to have technical skills in numerous coding languages. I think it’s really important to always be learning, and being able to code will be increasingly important as time moves on.

Q: Why should a somebody hire you?
I have transferable skills from numerous industries: customer service, quality assurance, finance, and safety, to name a few. I am very adaptable, coachable, and I’m a very quick learner. If I don’t have the skills required today, I will have them by tomorrow, or the next day, or as long as it takes until I’m able to do the job to the highest standard possible.I’m not afraid to get involved, ask questions, and do what it takes to get the job done. I’m also very honest and realistic; I won’t promise you the world but I will do my job to the fullest.

 

Interested in learning more about UofT Engineering’s Professional Experience Year Co-op? Learn more about PEY Co-op HERE


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