Recent electrical engineering grad Abe Kohandel was super involved at the University of Calgary: he was part of the Engineering Students’ Society and, in his last year, he was the engineering representative for the Students’ Union, as well as the chair of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students.
You could call him a bit of a social butterfly, so it’s not surprising that he chose a really active, social company to work for.
“There are great people here to mentor me through this early phase of my career. Most of our projects are fairly large in scope, which means multiple people are working on it and it requires team work.”
–Abe Kohandel, new grad engineer, Pason
Abe completed an internship with Pason while he was a student but came back full-time in May 2011 – he says he loves the challenging work, the social culture, and the support of his co-workers.
Pason, based in Calgary, is an industry-leading service provider of proprietary instrumentation and data technologies for the North American on-shore drilling industry. Depending on need, Pason hires from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds, but the company mainly seeks mechanical, electrical and computer software engineers and computer science students.
Abe’s job currently splits into two areas: working on new designs and sustaining Pason’s existing products.
“Since Pason operates on a rental model, we own our products and must support them,” Abe says. “Users ask for new functionality in our products and we work to implement them, or when something is wrong with a product we need to figure out what it is and fix it.”
Sometimes, though, he gets to create something completely new. For instance, “I was told we need to spin a brushless DC motor at a certain speed. It was then left to me to determine how to implement that. I had a very superficial understanding of motor controllers; certainly not enough to design one. So I spent a couple of weeks learning about all the different types of motor controllers and then pitched one to the project team.” After that, it’s testing, testing and more testing to ensure the design meets all the requirements.
The work sounds interesting, sure, but what’s being an employee at Pason really like? Keep reading – Abe told us all about it.
Getting to work
I usually get in sometime between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. The flex hours are great because they allow for an active life style. If I am rock climbing until 9 p.m. the night before, I don’t have to be up really early to get to work. I can sleep in a bit so I am refreshed.
I would say I have a very interesting job. There are periods where every day is similar and there are periods where I am doing different things every day.
I start my day by checking my email and making sure there are no fires that need my attention right away. Sometimes there is something happening on a rig and they need engineering support right away, so I need to be quick and work well under pressure. But generally, I continue working on the project that I’ve been tackling for the last few days or weeks.
“You can choose from table tennis, ball hockey, ice hockey, or – my personal favourite – foosball. [And] there’s always a fascinating conversation going on around the kitchen table. There is a huge social aspect to working at Pason.”
When lunch time comes around, usually everyone is ready for a break so they can let off some steam and be ready for the afternoon.
You can choose from table tennis, ball hockey, ice hockey, or – my personal favourite – foosball.
If you’re not in the mood for games, there’s always a fascinating conversation going on around the kitchen table. There is a huge social aspect to working at Pason. Most people here love to talk to each other and interact with people.
There are lots of hallway discussions and interactions with the other members of the team to ask for help or advice. There are great people here to mentor me through this early phase of my career. Most of our projects are fairly large in scope, which means multiple people are working on it and it requires team work.
At the end of the day, again you have lots of options: We have after work boot camps, gym facilities that can be used at anytime, and lots of email groups for people who, for example, want to organize a mountain biking trip in Kananaskis or – like I do – want to hit the local climbing gym.
If you like to push the envelope of traditional thinking, Pason is the place for you. Be a part of a thriving Canadian-based company that offers rewarding career opportunities and student internships.