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Of the thickness of a piece of paper can be measured by the Coordinate Measuring Machine at Jane Campus.

Program advisory committee volunteer

Roger Conzelmann President, B.C. Instruments

Bruno Conzelmann immigrated to Canada in 1957 and found work in a machine shop. In 1971, he turned down an ownership offer, opting to start his own company, B.C. Instruments, with just one milling machine in his garage. It was the right decision. Today, B.C. Instruments supplies precision machined components to clients globally and has opened a sister plant in India.

Bruno’s son Roger has recently lent the company’s expertise to the program advisory committee for Jane Campus.

He talks about his dad’s connection to Seneca, preparing students for the workforce and taking on the family business.

How old were you when you first started working with your dad? I was nine when the shop started in our garage. My brother, Bruce, was 12. We would come home after school and see what he was doing and, at first, just sweep the shop on the weekends and in the summer. Then I started working on a saw, cutting material and so on. Both Bruce and I were mechanically inclined. We just kind of grew into the industry.

You have clients in aerospace, plastic injection molding, medicine, and nuclear power. How do you become knowledgeable about all those sectors? That comes from the development of long-term relationships. You also have to know what is unique about each product and elevate your understanding of the industry. When we call on new customers to get to know them, we typically talk to multiple areas of their organizations—design, engineering, quality control. Once you start to work with the engineers and the designers, then the real relationships happen. For us, some have lasted for 40+ years. We can then say, “This is what you have done in the past. Are you sure this is what you want?”

You are Seneca’s neighbour in King Township. How did your dad get involved with the Jane Campus? In the late 70s, he was part of the Canadian Innovations & Technology Corporation, which worked to train young people in high tech-trades at specialized facilities like the Jane Campus. He was always interested in looking at how we would find and develop skilled people.

You recently visited Jane Campus yourself and B.C. Instruments will be advising curriculum there. What are you looking for in potential employees? I think it’s the same things that make us successful: commitment. If you are going after a type of career, stick with it and do what it takes to develop your ability. Take responsibility for your thoughts, decisions, actions and results. Commitment, plus the technical skills students are getting at Seneca, will allow them to be successful—100 per cent.

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