Suthan Vaheesar is an Engineer and Artist duo. He is a Systems Design Specialist at Thales, a multinational company that specializes in services for aerospace, defense, transportation and security, and he is also a recognized self-taught artist with an international fan base of over twenty-eight thousand.
Suthan knew he wanted to become an engineer at a very young age. His deep curiosity of how things worked steered him in this direction. Though his goal was clear, Suthan faced the challenge of coming to a new country, Sri Lanka to Canada, in his late teenage years. He had to adapt to a new country, education system and culture. With his relentless hard work, in 2008 Suthan was accepted into the Mechanical Engineering Program at the University of Toronto with the Galbraith Scholarship and the Top Ten Applicant Award. To help ease the challenges he faced of trying to understand the education system here, Suthan joined various engineering clubs such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the University of Toronto Robotics Association. This allowed Suthan to not only network with other students, but also learn more about engineering and decide what specific career path he wanted to take.
Upon graduation, Suthan wanted to work in the designing field in the transportation sector, but most positions required a minimum of 5 years of work experience. As a recent graduate, he soon realized he couldn’t have high expectations yet and that he would have to work his way up. So he started applying to companies that were looking for designing engineers regardless of their size and sectors.
Soon enough, Suthan secured a job at Aventech Research Inc., an Aerospace Company that manufactures air-data systems that provide meteorological data to the aircraft pilots and GPS tracking information to the control centre. With this experience, Suthan was able to land his dream job at Thales, a transportation company in the field of design.
One of Suthan’s biggest motivations that allows him to excel in his current job is his high level of interest in the transportation field. Suthan really enjoys the fact that his job could potentially result in innovative opportunities, and as a creative individual, this job really suits him. Suthan says, “Mechatronics engineering is ideal for someone who would like to have a broad knowledge in various engineering fields such as mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, control engineering, embedded programming, robotics and so on.”
Suthan’s current project involves working on a railway signaling upgrade program for the London (UK) Underground Railway. Though he works in Canada, being part of a multi-national company, the locations of his projects vary. Being a Systems Design Specialist he performs system analyses and simulations to specify the system performances, and to verify the train control systems. He also analyzes train characteristics, safety requirements, safe train separation, and interlocking requirements to define the safe breaking model and to help resolve any operational conflicts.
His advice for aspiring engineers, “Engineering has a wide range of fields to choose from. Don’t decide your career based on the demands for that field or the salary you’ll get. It is important to know your strengths. Find out what field you’re good in. You should focus on applying for positions in that field rather than all the engineering posts you find in the job bank. You shouldn’t only focus on large, famous companies. In my experience, small companies give you more opportunities to work on various tasks, giving you wider exposure. Find jobs that will give you the required experience you will need to land your dream job in your dream company.” – Suthan Vaheesar
Another field Suthan excels in is the Arts. Drawing was a hobby Suthan picked up at a very young age with inspiration from local artists. He would go to art exhibitions bringing his own work to gain feedback to help garner and grow his skills. Going into university, his artistic inspiration branched out to a realm of international artists that he came to know of through social media. He learned various art techniques by reading their blogs and watching their YouTube videos. Suthan says the constant positive words he received from his friends encouraged him to create his Facebook page, which is now just shy of 30,000 likes. Though it was once a mere hobby, he has now invested more time and money into his artwork. His artwork has been recognized by organizations such as the Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance and various other organizations from around the world. His Facebook page is called, “Pencil Drawing and Painting Suthan Art.” He can also be followed on instagram at @suthan_art and his website is http://suthanart.com/.
When asked how he manages to excel in two completely different fields, he says,
“All you need to achieve your goals in two different fields is dedication. We all have to do at least one thing to establish ourselves through our lives, whether it be work, study or something else. If someone has a passion for two different things, they must be a dedicated person who can put effort into achieving their goals in both fields. If both fields are treated with equal importance, you can excel in both fields.” – Suthan Vaheesar
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Co-Executive Editors – Stefi Anthonipillai & Narmitha Kanagaratnam