Lisa Cooper, a supremely talented engineer (who we’re lucky to have on our team at Inertia) took some time out of her busy day to share some perspective on her work here as well as talk about her own path towards establishing herself as an engineer.
Can you describe what you do at Inertia on a day to day basis?
My day to day work really depends on what project I’m working on and how far along in development it is. For a new project, I could be doing a lot of concept sketches, and very basic CAD studies to get an idea of what mechanisms and packaging might work for that particular problem. As development continues, I do a lot of prototyping, testing and updating of designs based on the data we get from those prototypes. Once we get close to releasing parts I’ll do some updates to make the parts more manufacturable and make drawings to tell the manufacturer everything they need to know about the part. Through all of this I do daily reports to keep the customer in the loop with my progress and to gather their feedback on the design direction.
Can you share an example of a product you’ve worked on recently?
The images below show a wheel design (called Wheelz) that are part of a shower commode wheelchair Inertia developed for Raz Designs. This was one of my first projects at Inertia. The goals for the design of Wheelz were to create a wheel that showcased the Raz brand, was aesthetically pleasing and had a comfortable ergonomic grip. You can learn more about our work with Raz by checking out our RAZ case study linked here.
What’s an example of a significant challenge you overcame at work?
The biggest challenges are often the non-technical ones. We have customers with incredibly tight deadlines and deciding what work is critical and what can be deferred is always difficult. Similarly, updating the customers expectations as to what is feasible in the time given involves a lot of tricky conversations and diplomacy. Engineering is as much soft skills as it is technical smarts.
Lisa’s Mechatronics cohort at the University of Waterloo
When did you know you wanted to become an Engineer?
Both of my parents are in the STEM field, so I was always exposed to it, and encouraged to explore it. I had a little rebellious streak in me, so for a long time I was determined NOT to go into STEM.
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