MECH Machine Shop team receives 2018 President’s Staff Award

mech machine shop team

Roland Genshorek, Bernhard Nimmervoll and Erik Wilson — the UBC Department of Mechanical Engineering (MECH) Student Machine Shop team — have collectively received a President’s Staff Award for “enhancing the UBC experience.”  

In making the selection, UBC President Santa Ono and an advisory committee considered such factors as the extent to which nominees have provided a consistently high level of customer service, created innovative programs and opportunities, anticipated client needs and potential problems, and served as positive role models.

“It is obvious to me that Benny, Erik and Roland care deeply about students, the Department and the university as a whole,” said Sheldon Green, a UBC mechanical engineering professor and former head of MECH. “Their commitment to enhancing the UBC experience has transformed practical machining education in the Department of Mechanical Engineering."

A 300 square-metre space in the Fred Kaiser Building, the Machine Shop is where many MECH students first learn how mechanical devices are made and develop key machining skills, including milling, drilling, sawing, turning, fabricating, joining, shaping and cutting. 

According to colleagues and clients, Genshorek, Nimmervoll and Wilson have played instrumental roles in many aspects of MECH research, teaching and machining activities. Rather than merely setting up lab equipment, providing safety instructions and offering general supervision, they serve as valuable educators and mentors, routinely going above and beyond to support individual students, staff and faculty members as they tackle design and engineering issues.

Among the numerous improvements the Machine Shop team has made are the creation of an online booking calendar and job submission system, which have greatly facilitated access to Machine Shop resources, and a series of videos, available online and on dedicated monitors in the Shop, which answer common machining questions and teach the safe and proper use of Shop equipment.

“Benny, Erik and Roland have done an incredible job of creating a welcoming, supportive and educational environment, while ensuring a safe workplace is maintained for all,” said Peter Ostafichuk, a professor of teaching in MECH. “I cannot picture our department without the contributions they provide.”

Each year, up to 14 UBC staff members receive President’s Staff Awards across seven categories, including Leadership, Creativity and Innovation, and Advancing Diversity and Inclusion. In addition, up to five staff members receive President’s Service Awards for Excellence for exceptional “personal achievements and contributions to UBC and to the vision and goals of the University.”


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