Michael Andrade, BESc'86
CEO, Morgan Solar
Founder, T-innovation Partners
Past President, Diversified Markets, Celestica
Mr. Andrade received the Lauchland Engineering Alumni Medal in 2015.
Q & A
How did your Engineering degree launch your success?
First of all, calling it a launch makes it sound more dramatic than it was; I started off as an entry level engineer at IBM, and my "success", such as it is, took a long time, and is still a work in progress. Secondly, over the years I have seen lots of definitions of, and paths to, success. There is no one way, and I would like to think that I would have found one of them, even had I not taken engineering, but of course I will never know. What I do know is that engineering has been absolutely critical to my career. I would never have been hired into a technology company and would not have been able to succeed after that, if I did not have it. Technology companies require you to be comfortable with technology, and confident in solving problems that involve technology, and I would not have had the skills or confidence to do that without engineering. The world is becoming increasingly technical, so I only see engineering becoming even more relevant and important.
Any advice you would offer an incoming Engineering student?
Becoming an engineer is a process rather than a series of courses. You will learn new things, but what you will really learn is how to apply them, and the limits of that knowledge. The most challenging part of the education therefore is how it changes you. So, you need to stay with it, good and bad, because you will only know after the fact what you really learned in many cases.
What would you consider your most treasured memory from your time as a Western Engineering student?
The memory I have is the intensity of the experience, be it social or academic and how it bonded you to your classmates; many of whom are my closest friends still. So, in keeping with the treasure theme, I guess it is like diamonds, time under pressure is what creates those relationships.